How to Play Spanish Games


Playing card games is popular in Latin American countries. The traditional "baraja" or playing deck consists of 48 illustrated cards. Four suits number one through nine and three picture cards have points of 10, 11 and 12. Generally, card games require 40 of the 48 cards. Latin suited cards are played in Southern Italy, North Africa and South American countries such as Bolivia and Peru. Purchase a Spanish playing deck in game stores and online sites.

Things You'll Need

  • Familias de 7 Paises cards
  • Traditional Spanish playing cards

Familias de 7 Paises

  • Play the card game "Familias de 7 Paises." Resembling Go Fish, it incorporates seven clans: American Indians, Africans, Arabians, Chinese, Inuits, Mexicans and the Tyroleans (northeast region of Italy).

  • Look at the card face. Family titles such as "abuela" are found in the upper left corner and clan categories such as "Mexicana" are found at the bottom of the card.

  • Deal out all the cards. While holding one of the desired clan cards, a player inquires if another player has a particular family clan member. If a match is made, the requesting player takes another turn. However, when there is no match, it is the next player's turn.

  • Collect an entire family clan and lay it out for players to see. The game ends when all family clans are collected. The player with the most clans wins.

Play "Mus"

  • Try your hand at "Mus." This Basque game requires two or more players or teams of two. The game uses a 40 card Spanish deck with four suits: Oros (gold coins), Copas (glasses), Espadas (swords) and Bastos (sticks). Picture cards include Sota (jack worth 10 points), Caballo (horse worth 11 points) and Rey (king worth 12 points.) The four number 3 cards are valued as king. Technically, there will be eight kings.

  • Start counterclockwise and deal four cards to each player. Four rounds are played and proceed in order. Instead of tracking points on paper, piedras (small stones) are used. Improve hands by discarding cards. However, all players must be in agreement.

  • Score points for the best hand in each category. In the first, Grande or Handiak, try for the highest card combination. In the second set called Pequeña or Txikia, seek the lowest combination. In the third set called Pares or Pareak, obtain the best matching card combinations. Play for a total value of 31 plus points in the last round designated Juego or Jokua.

  • Increase player points. Bet on the outcome of the current round prior to being played. Each announced round begins with the player on the dealer's right. This player has the option of betting or passing. If this player passes, the next player has an opportunity to do the same.

  • Verbalize with gestures such as shrugging shoulders to signal partners of potential plays. Win three sets or the best out of three. Mus is a variant of poker, without monetary stakes but with a side of humor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Complete history, game rules and scoring are found online at the Ontario Basque Club. Play other card games like Brisca and Escoba online. Then use your game knowledge at the card table with the "baraja."


  • Photo Credit Dawn R. Levesque
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