The aluette is a Card deck practiced in particular in the rural areas and coastal between the the Gironde and the estuary of the the Loire, i.e. in the Western part of the zone of influence of the patois Poitevin-saintongeais. It is wrongly presented like a play folk and specific to the department of the the Vendée. It seems still practiced in the south-western part of the Loire-Atlantique called " Country of Retz". He was also played much in the ports of the Cotentin, where its practice disappeared.
It is a card deck by liftings, practiced with forty-eight charts with the Spanish signs.
One says “to play aluette” (written form), or still “to more often play cow” (oral form), according to the name of the one of the charts of the play.
Origins and evolution
EtymologyThe oldest form of the word “aluette” is “luette”, whose origin remains dubious. The “play of the luettes” is mentioned twice by Rabelais in its work: first once in Pantagruel (1532) then in Gargantua (1534). The evolution by false-cut of “the luette” would have then given “the aluette” and the explanations of the type “lark” or “without luette” (the use of the signs would make the play dumb, which is false) do not hold.
ChartsThe charts used are them, inherited the Moorishes by Spanish with the fourteenth century. The Spanish signs are the sums of money, the cuts, the sticks and the swords. These charts are attested in France at the sixteenth century, time to which the French Master-cartiers export then towards Spain. They are with the number of forty-eight: from the 1 (Ace) to the 9, the servant, the riding one (or queen) and the king.
The drawing of the charts followed a long evolution, to be fixed at the 19th century. The strongest charts of the play (luettes, doubles and aces) as some weak charts present characteristic portraits and symbols, with the result that the card deck is specific to the rule of the aluette and is thus sold under this name. However, nothing prohibits to play with a Spanish play if the charts are sufficiently well-known players. And like points out it the Code of the plays , one can with the rigor play with a play with the French signs by withdrawing the 10 and while agreeing on a correspondence between signs.
RulesThe origin of the rules of the game of aluette remains unknown. Two assumptions are opposed:
- the play comes from Spain and was introduced in France by Spanish sailors into the French ports of the west (but curiously the South-west of France would not have been touched and the play would have disappeared from Spain without leaving of trace)
- the play was born in the West from France; it would have taken for support the only existing charts at the 16th century and it would have resisted the conversion generalized with the French charts which took place at the 18th century.
The rules of the game of Aluette evolved/moved during the centuries. One of the original characteristics of the play is the use of mimicry. Other card decks authorize those:
- the Trut or the trick, play of the 17th century announced in the west of France (for example in Two-Sevres), is played with a French play of thirty-two driven charts
- the '' '', play Basque of the 18th century, is played with a Spanish play of forty charts
- the brisca , Spanish play, is played with a Spanish play of forty charts
- drug, play of the 19th century, is played with a French play of thirty-two charts.
Rules of the game
Goal of the play
- the play is played four, by teams of two. The gaining team is that which marks the first five points.
- Each handle consists of nine liftings. The folds are deducted by individual and not by team. At the end of the sleeve, the player who garnered the most folds brings a point to his team. If two players have the same number of folds, it is the first player to have reached this number of folds which gains the sleeve.
The four colors (sums of money, cut, sword, stick) are of the same force and there is no asset.
The forty-eight charts, of strongest with the least strong, are classified in four categories:
- Mister (3 of sum of money)
- Madam (3 of cut)
- one-eyed (2 of sum of money) the
- the cow (2 of cut)
- Large Last nines (9 of cut)
- Small Last nines (9 of sum of money)
- Two of oak (2 of stick)
- Two of writing (2 of sword)
16 figures : ace, kings, ladies (riding), servants
24 “bigailles” : from the 9 to the 3 (except the 3 of sum of money, 3 of cut, 9 of cut and 9 of sum of money)
It should be noted that the 5 of sum of money is called north wind-hard, without the chart having a value particulère. It represents a couple being embraced or intertwining, according to the times.
With each one of these charts is associated a mimicry (there exist regional alternatives) intended to make known its play with its partner:
- Mister: to raise the eyes to the sky
- Madam: to raise the corner of the lips on a side (or to lean the head)
- the One-eyed one: to make to a wink
- the Cow: to make the Large pout
- Last nines: to show the Small inch
- Last nines: to show the little finger
- Two of oak: to show the index (or to raise the index and the major one)
- Two of writing: to turn the inch and index towards the table as to write
- Ace: to open the mouth (or to draw the language or claquer slightly from the teeth)
The most used signs are often the Ace (to open the mouth), the Cow (pout), the One-eyed one (wink) and Mister (raised eyebrows). The others are known as with “above”, or “below”. One can use “above on top” and “in lower part là-dessous" to mean difference in two levels with the announced sign, sometimes combined with “afterwards”. Examples: ace, king, Two of oak: (blow of language), and to announce “in lower part and above on top”. Two of writing and have: little finger (Small Last nines), and to announce “in lower part down there and lower part afterwards”.
A weak or very weak play announces by the sign “misery”, which consists in raising the shoulder more or less. If the partner is not parcelled out better, the team can decide to give the point without playing.
Course of the part
the charts are distributed by three, that is to say nine charts each one and twelve with the “heel”.
- If the alternative known as of the “song” is practiced and that the four players are of agreement, the twelve charts of the heel are divided between the two players with the left of the donor. Those then return six charts of their choice to the heel.
- the players can announce their play with their partner by making agreed mimicry discreetly, and while trying to see those of the adversaries. It there has then often leader (that which has the most play or that which can best play) and one carried out in the same team.
- One plays in the direction of the needles of a watch. The player with the left of the donor starts and the players carry out nine liftings then. There is no obligation to provide to the color, nor to overbid. That which gains the fold rejoue. One speaks much during the part, sometimes to tell his partner which chart to play. An expression frequently used is “to put at the force”, which consists has to test the adversary with a chart of average height (bigaille or ace).
- Play of “rotted” or play of “as much”: when the two larger charts of a fold have the same value (for example, two aces or two kings), the fold is not for anybody (it “is rotted”). One places it on the heel and the same player starts. For the fourth player of the lifting, the interest of this technique is on the one hand not to strip a good chart to make a fold made up of low cards, while not leaving the fold to the adversary, and on the other hand “to see coming”, i.e. to force the adversary with rejouer and thus to discover its play. This technique of play often reveals the will of a player to make “mordienne”.
- To make “mordienne”, it is to gain by gaining consecutively at least the three last liftings without to have collected folds before and without one of the last folds being rotted. For example, if the three other players did each one two folds, the player who gains the last three folds made “mordienne”.
- the intention to make mordienne announces with its partner and corrosive the lip.
- a mordienne brings back two points. If she were announced aloud at the beginning of handle, she perhaps accepted or declined by the opposing team: if it is accepted, the part is played in ten points and gaining it mark two points; if it is declined, the sleeve is not played and the advertiser marks a point.
Interest of the playThe aluette is today a forsaken play and one cannot miss noting that its disappearance could follow little that of the patois Poitevin-saintongeais. This play however has specific qualities which could be worth an renewed interest to him:
- the exoticism of the card deck, since it is the only play which is played in France with charts with the Spanish signs and which many figures are specific to the aluette
- the originality of the declaration of the play by mimicry
- the user-friendliness of the parts, consequence of mimicry and total freedom of speech during the parts.
Sources and referencesEtymology and language:
- Pierre Rézeau, Dictionary of regional French of Poitou-Charentes and the Vendée , Bonneton Editions, Paris, 1990
- Michel Gautier and Dominique Gauvrit, Another Vendée chapter XXVIII, Editions of the Gold Circle, Sands of Olonne, 1981 (restitution of many expressions patoises used in the play)
- a true set of gangsters: sound atmosphere of part of aluette collected by arte radio.com
- Re-examined of Low-Poitou, volume XVIII, Fontenay the Count, 1907
- Claude Aveline, the Code of the plays , Hachette, Paris, 1961
- J.M. Simon, Rules of the game of charts of aluette , Grimaud, Paris, 1969
- Alain Borvo, Anatomy of a card deck - the aluette or the play of the cow , Bookstore Nantes Yves Vachon, Nantes, 1977
- Alain Borvo, Discover the aluette in Jeux and Strategy, n° August 4th, 1980
- Jean-Marie Lhôte, Dictionnaire of the board games , Flammarion, Paris, 1996
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