hist-games: Questions about Brelan and Bouillotte

Susan and Michael McKay seaan at concentric.net
Sun Jul 22 00:05:18 PDT 2001

Hi Anna,

I have found a little information about Brelan and Bouillotte, but I'm
copying your request to the hist-games list in case they can add some
information.  I've checked all my usual online sources and books, and the
only mentions I've found has been in three of David Parlett's books.

According to these books, there is no good description of how Brelan was
played.  It was played in the 17th and 18th century.  There is a colorful
story that Bouillotte was devised by a committee of the French Revolution as
a substitute for the officially banned game of Brelan.  Both Brelan and
Bouillotte are possible ancestors to Poker.

__The Penguin Encyclopedia of Card Games__ has a clear description of
Bouillotte card play (pages 586-587).  The [out of print] book __A History
of Card Games__ has the best historical information (pages 95-98).  The
companion book __A Dictionary of Card Games__ also has a description of
Bouillotte (page 30) and a paragraph on Brelan (page 37).  Note that __A
History of Card Games__ has a hardback version known as __The Oxford Guide
to Card Games__.

Here is a brief overview of the rules:

Bouillotte - 4 players, using a 20 card pack (AKQ98).  4 cards are dealt,
the last one face up.  There is a betting round very similar to Poker.
After the better, any player who has not folded compares their hand.  The
best hand is a "Brelan" -- three of a kind.  If there are no Brelans, they
count points (8=8,9=9,KQ=10,A=11).  There are a number of more detailed
rules that deal with ties.

Brelan - 2-5 players, each getting 4 cards, from decks of 24, 28, or 32

I'd recommend getting __The Penguin Encyclopedia of Card Games__, which is a
good compendium of cards games.  I believe it is still in print, although
you may have to get the UK version (I'm not sure if it has been published in
the US).  Perhaps some of the other list members can add interesting

Michael McKay  (known in the SCA as Seaan McAy)
seaan at concentric.net  or  owner-hist-games at pbm.com

-----Original Message-----
From: anna english [mailto:englishsilver at hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2001 7:50 PM
To: owner-hist-games at pbm.com
Subject: Games we can Talk about

I keep finding references to Brelan and Bouillotte, two card games that were
popular in the eighteenth century. I can't find the rules anywhere. Is there
anyone out there who can help me? I just need the basics, i.e.: how many
players, how many cards dealt, purpose of the game, etc (although detailed
rules would be nice). I'm particularly interested in Bouillotte, but I'd
like to learn how to play both, or at least have a general idea of what the
games are.

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