Troccas Playing Cards

Graubünden, most likely 1784

A card game with a secret language: «Troccas» is the Romansh word for Tarock, a game that is played to this day in the Surselva region. The French-language cards spread into Graubünden in the 17th century. This set was printed by a Solothurn card maker.

A Tarock deck consists of 78 cards, 14 per suit, with 21 Troccas trumps and the Fool. It is most commonly played by four players. In each round the players communicate to their partners what cards they have in hand, using coded Romansh terms and thereby trying to trick their opponents. By means of this «tschintschar» (talk), an oral culture of its own with many nuances has been created.