There is a certain charm about playing Italian card games with authentic Italian cards. The card designs are more fanciful then American Bridge or Poker designs. The Italian card manufacturer, MODIANO, produces a number of “regional” decks customized to different regions of Italy. In my possession is a deck labeled “SICILIANE”. Included in the deck are two cards with brief instructions on how to play two popular games.. Scopa and Briscola. Unfortunately I have no knowledge of Italian. The rules in English are easily found on the Internet. You can find versions of both games on the iPhone. Some are free, and some cost a few dollars. I have not played all of them but generally I find that paid versions have more work invested in them and have more features and better graphics.
Scopa is a “fishing” style card game. The objective is to take tricks and collect as many cards as possible. There is a similar Anglo-American game known as Cassino. Cassino is played with a 52 card Bridge deck but it is believed that Cassino is a derivative of the older game of Scopa.
Of course nearly any iPhone app can run on the iPad in 2X mode, but Scopa has come to the iPad in the iPad only form of iScopa. Gosh, how predictable a name is that? As I would expect of a game priced at $2.99 the gameplay and graphics are excellent. Amongst the many options are to select the playing table and card backs. The developer has faithfully reproduced many (perhaps all) of the Modiano designs. There is an option to customize the rules so that the game plays according to your personal preference. The AI has three levels of difficulty.. Easy, Medium and Hard. I don’t think the game cheats at the harder levels, I believe it simply has a better memory of played cards and implements some strategy in it’s play. If I have any criticism of the game it’s that I had some difficulty in changing the default difficulty of Medium to Hard (I was winning too many games at Medium). The game can played against a local opponent on a LAN. I have no way to report on how well this works as I am the only member of my home network.
As you can tell, I am very pleased with this game and will be playing it often. In fact I played it nearly all afternoon before writing this review. I hope the developer will consider making an iPad only version of Briscola. My suggestion to iPad owners is to first try a free version in 2X mode. Then if you like the game, invest the $2.99 and really have some fun!