What do four pensioners sitting at a garden bench anywhere in Portugal do? Play Sueca!
While in other countries people might gather around a board of chess or checkers, in Portugal a small crowd, or several small crowds, at a garden, cafe or square usually means there’s a game of Sueca going on. Always four players in teams of two, facing each other, and often with other teams around waiting for their turn to play and sharing loudly their thoughts on missed plays of the current game. It’s a simple game full of small rituals: the signals between team-mates, not allowed but a must-have for most seasoned players, the discussions whether an opponent didn’t follow a play’s suit (a big no-no) or between teammates for not memorizing properly all the cards, the player that hits the vigorously against the table, and the cryptic scoreboard of lines and circles written on a cardboard.
And if you hang for sometime around a game of Sueca eventually you’ll be invited to play.