Tarot is a card game or fortune?

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Super Moderator
City Watch
Jul 25, 2008
Cardiff, Wales
I'm not sure. I think it has become a way of telling fortunes, but I don't think that was why the cards were created. My guess would be that originally cards used for games would be used to read fortunes and the cards grew out of that tradition.

Looking at this Wiki, it seems that it started off as a way of divining using game cards and that tarot cards can now be used to play games with.

I hope that helps. :)


May 20, 2012
I got interested in Tarot cards some years ago and read quite a few books on it. The theory I read about traced the development of playing cards from a gambling game in Japan, through China, India and possibly Nepal, Persia and the area now known as Saudi Arabia. There the pictures were changed to just written descriptions. Some of the associated words traveled with the cards to Italy, where they were drawn again. The gambling games continued with variations all the way. Then some time in the 16th century someone wrote down a method of telling money fortunes with them, using only the card suit we now call Diamonds. I think it was during the 18th or 19th century that a Parisian named Alliette created a set of almost completely different pictures and wrote some fortune-telling instructions. The idea spread and people used the regular cards (readily available and much cheaper), and something like modern Tarot fortunetelling began. The card games continued too - there were many variations of how to play Tarocco, most of which were something like Whist or Bridge combined with Rummy. All sorts of odd statements have been made, based on minor details that artists put into the cards to fill up space or to compliment someone a deck was being made for.

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