Escoba players use this deck to take turns in an effort to score enough points to equal 21. If you do not have a baraja deck of cards, you will be able to use the standard French deck by eliminating the numbers eight, nine, and ten of each of the four suits. Once you are ready to start game play, the dealer will give you three cards which are turned face down. After making sure that each of the two to four players has received the appropriate amounts of cards, there will be four cards that will be dealt face-up, but they will be placed in the middle of the table. The game of Escoba now begins and each player will take a turn attempting to make a match from one of his or her cards to one of the face-up cards.
The goal of the game is for one player to score an Escoba, which simply means that she or he is able to match one card with all the cards on the board to total at least 15 points. The dealer will continue to deal three cards to each player until the deck runs out of cards. The scoring system is a bit complex and will take some getting used to. To make sure that you are doing it the correct way, you might want to write out the scores and keep them handy for ready reference:
•You will receive one point if you are the player with the most cards accumulated during scoring.
•You will receive one point if you are the player who has managed to accumulate the most “oro” cards, regardless of their values.
•You will receive one point if you are the player who has accumulated the most cards with the number seven on them. If you were lucky enough to garner each seven card in the game, you will receive an additional point.
•You will receive one point if you are the player who managed to hold on to the seven of “oro” card.
•You will, of course, receive one point for each Escoba you score.
As you can see, you will be able to score not only by matching cards, but also by collecting favorable cards, and discarding others which may not be so favorable. Perhaps the hardest aspect of this game is for outsiders to understand the game-play, simply because it uses a foreign looking deck as well as an intricate scoring system. Many novices have found it useful to sit out a few games and simply watch accomplished players take turns to score before venturing to play a hand themselves.