Puerto Rico, a vibrant island in the heart of the Caribbean, is not only known for its stunning beaches, rich culture, and delectable cuisine but also for its thriving board and tabletop gaming scene.
Explore the captivating world where strategy, competition, and camaraderie come together in card or tabletop games.
From classics deeply rooted in the island’s history to modern innovations that have gained global acclaim, there’s something for everyone: from avid gamers looking to expand their collection to curious travelers seeking to experience the island’s lesser-known activities.
Most Known Card Games
Card games are a popular pastime in Puerto Rico, and several well-known card games are played on the island. These are some of the most played ones:
Pyramids is a popular card game in Puerto Rico called “Truco” or “Truquito.” It is a trick-taking game similar to other card games like Spades or Hearts.
The game is typically played with a Spanish deck of 40 cards (remove the 8s and 9s from a standard deck) and is designed for 2 to 6 players. The game aims to win tricks by playing higher-ranking cards than opponents and accumulating points.
This game can be played in different ways and with various house rules, so it’s a good idea to clarify any specific rules or variations before beginning a game with your group.
Chinchorro is a trick-taking game played with a Spanish deck of 40 cards. It is similar to games like Spades or Bridge, where players try to win tricks by playing higher-ranking cards. It is typically played by four players in two partnerships, with them sitting across from each other.
This entertaining game is known for its need for strategy and teamwork, where communication and coordination with your partner are essential for success.
Parejas is a card game often played in pairs. It needs a Spanish deck of 40 cards and involves forming pairs of cards with the same rank. Since it’s a simple and luck-based game, it’s often played for fun and not as serious competition.
It makes an exciting choice for those looking to have fun at social gatherings or as a quick card game to pass the time.
Also known as “Escoba de 15”, this game is a popular card competition typically played with a Spanish deck of 40 cards. The goal is to capture cards on the table that add up to 15. It can be played from 2 up to 4 players.
It usually consists of several rounds, where players keep track of their points after each round. The winner is the player or team with the most points at the end of the agreed-upon number of rounds.
A combination of strategy and luck is needed to win, as well as planning your moves to capture specific combinations of cards.
Blackjack is a top-rated card game known worldwide, mainly played in casinos and homes worldwide. The game’s objective is to beat the dealer by having a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand without going over 21.
It’s typically played with one or more standard decks of 52 cards. The number of decks can vary depending on the casino or house rules. It’s trendy due to its learning simplicity and requires a lot of luck.
For those looking to learn how to play it, there are many sites for American blackjack online where users can try how it works.
This popular card game is played in Puerto Rico and other Spanish-speaking countries. It is typically played with a Spanish deck of 40 cards, which includes the 10s, face cards (Jack, Queen, and King), and Aces.
Played by two players, the objective is to score points by capturing cards in specific combinations. The player with the highest total score wins the game.
La Viuda (The Widow)
The main goal of La Viuda is to score points by winning tricks and taking certain cards with point values. The game typically lasts until one partnership reaches a predetermined number of points, such as 100 or 200, depending on house rules.
It’s important to note that communication isn’t allowed during the entire game. Paying attention to the cards is vital to strategize the moves of the next turn.
Other Known Tabletop Games for Everyone
Besides card games, the island has many local events and gatherings that unite tourists and locals. These are some of the most known games that everyone must try:
While not a card game, dominoes are extremely popular in Puerto Rico and often played alongside card games. Puerto Ricans have their variation of dominoes, and it’s taken both as a social and strategic game.
Most groups comprise 2 up to 4 players, with the latest being the most usual party number. It needs a set of double-six dominoes (28 tiles) to be played.
Players must match a tile from their hand to one end of the domino chain on the table. For example, if a table has a 6-6 tile, a player can play any tile with a 6 on one end. A player must draw a tile from the boneyard if they cannot legally move.
The game continues until one player plays all their tiles or until no more legal moves are possible.
Puerto Rico Board Game
“Puerto Rico” is a popular board game designed by Andreas Seyfarth. It’s a very famous strategy game set in the age of colonialism, where players take on the roles of colonial governors on the island of Puerto Rico.
The objective is to develop the island by constructing buildings, growing crops, and producing goods to earn victory points. The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
Once the game ends, players count their victory points from buildings, shipping, and other sources. The player with the most victory points wins the game.
There are also other simplified versions of the game, especially for people who aren’t used to the game. It involves a lot of strategy and player interaction, and there are many nuances to explore as you gain experience.
Exploring the world of card and tabletop games from Puerto Rico offers a rich and diverse gaming experience that combines strategy, history, and cultural elements.
Whether you’re delving into the classic game of “Pirámide,” the competitive spirit of “Dominó,” or the tactical depth of “La Viuda,” these games provide a captivating journey through Puerto Rico’s heritage and traditions.
Embracing these games fosters social connections and allows players to appreciate the island’s unique culture while having a great time.