May 142013

History of Aluette

The game Aluette (or La Vache, which means a cow in French)first appears in the sixteenth century France, when it was documented by Francois Rabelais. Some people believe it is older than this because of the use of a Spanish styled deck. The French styled deck came out in the fifteenth century, and would have been more than likely used instead of a Spanish deck.

Number of Players

2 to 4 people can play this game. Though when this game is played with 2 teams of 2 people the true enjoyment of the game comes out.

Equipment Needed

This game required a specific deck of cards called a Aluette Deck(48 cards). You can use a standard 52 card deck and remove the 10’s. If you think you might like this game I would recommend getting an actual Aluette deck of cards.


Each player is dealt 9 cards.
The player to the left of the dealer plays a card first.
The next player plays a card to try and win the trick.
There is no trump suit, and the players are not required to follow suit.
If the trick is a tie, the cards are set aside and the winner of the next trick wins the cards. If the tie happens on the last hand, then the winner of the first hand wins the trick
When you are playing in teams you can have some non verbal communication, which is shown below.

Winning a Trick

Aluette has a different value system than the normal game of cards. The four Luettes are the highest value, then come the doubles, next are the figures and the lowest ranks cards are the bigailles


Old Card Modern Card English Name French Name Gesture
Three of Denier Three of Clubs Mister Monsieur Looks Upwards
Three of Cups Three of Hearts Misses Madame Tilt head to the side
Two of Denier Two of Clubs The Blind Man Le Borgne Wink
Two of Cups Two of Hearts The Cow La Vache Grimacing Face


Nine of Cups  Nine of Hearts  Grand Nine Grand-neuf Move thumb
Nine of Coins  Nine of Clubs Little Nine Petit-neuf Move little finger
Two of Sticks Two of Diamonds Twp Oaks Deux de chêne Move middle and index finger
Two of Swords Two of Spades Two of Writing Deux d’écrit Moves ring finger

The remaining cards values are like the standard values with the aces being high


Aces – Kings – Ladies (Queens) – Valets (Jacks)


Remaining Nines – Eights – Sevens – Sixes – Fives – Fours  – Remaining Threes


Whoever has the most tricks at the end of the game wins the hand
If a player has the Three of Coins (Three of Diamonds) they win the hand
If a player has the Jack of Swords (Jack of Spades) they lose the hand
The first player to win 12 hands wins the game

Images of Actual Cards

Two of Cups

Two of Denier. Courtesy of the World Web Playing Card Museum

Three of Cups

Thee of Cups. Courtesy of the World Web Playing Card Museum

Two of Denier

Two of Denier. Courtesy of the World Web Playing Card Museum








The above images are photographs of playing cards that might have been used to play the games.


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