How to play Continental with Barajas Españolas (Spanish playing cards)

Barajas Españolas (Spanish playing cards)
Continental is a popular Spanish card game for adults.

Continental takes a while to play, so is good for learning a few extra Spanish word, great for a Spanish evening!

Here are the rules.


  • For 3+ players. Use one pack per player minus one (i.e. for 5 players, use 4 packs ).
  • The object is to get the lowest score possible.
  • Each card has a point value equal to the number on the card:
  • eg- 1=1 point, 2= 2 points etc, except the 10,11,12 and Joker, all equal 10 points.
  • The joker is a wild card and can be played as if it were any other card.


Continental is played in the same fashion as Chinchon. It’s just more advanced and it takes longer to play. It is best to learn Chinchon first. You will need to know how to play Chinchon to use these rules for Continental.

The safe sets are the same as Chinchon, but in Continental, each round has a goal. The goal of the first round is to get 2 three of a kinds (2 safe sets of three numbers the same).

Turns are a little different in Continental. The person who’s turn it is must first decide weather he/she wants the face up card. If so, she/he takes it. If not the other players may call “me vale” (pronounced “me barli”) which means “ok for me”. If more than one person calls “me vale”, then the person sitting closest to the person who’s turn it is (following an anticlockwise circle), can take it, but must also take the top face down card as well. After a “me vale” the player whose turn it is can only take the top face down card off the pile.

Once you achieved the goal of the round (regardless of what other cards are in your hand), you say “me bajo” (pronounced “me bah-co”) which means literally “I’m going down”. You then lay down all your safe sets face up on the table, clearly showing how you have achieved the goal of that round. After you ‘me bajo’, you must pick up a card and throw one out as you normally would in a turn. You must say ‘me bajo’ before you pick your card up for that turn. If the card you pickup fits on the end of one of your safe sets, you can add it that set and throw another out face up on the pile. Keep any leftover cards in your hand.

If you don’t have any cards left after you “me bajo”, then the round is finished and you have won. If you do have cards left, play continues. When someone else says “me bajo” and lays his/her cards down, anyone who has already me bajo’ed, can, in her/his turn throw out any cards which match the other safe sets now lying face up on the table.

It is not uncommon for the person who calls “me vale” the most, to lay their cards down first (be the first to ”me bajo”) but then have a hard job getting rid of all the extra cards they have had to pick up.

Play continues until someone is able to throw out of all their cards. Once someone has been able to throw out all their cards, the round ends.

The goal of each round is listed in this table, along with how many cards must be dealt:

Continental table of scoring



A straight refers to a minimum of four cards in sequence with the same suit. You may have any number (more than 4) of sequential cards in a straight: eg. you may end up with, say, 2,3,4,5,6 of swords to use as one straight.
A Three of a kind refers to three cards of the same number regardless of suit. You may have any number (more than 3) of cards with the same value in a ‘three of a kind’: eg. you might actually end up with, say, six 5’s. Also note, that if you have 6 cards with the same number, that can be use as either one ‘three of a kind’ with six cards, or two ‘three of a kinds’ with three cards each.


When a player has gone out, all players count their scores.
Points are given for each card that is not safe.
Safe cards score zero points.
Unlike Chinchon, unsafe cards cannot be thrown out on other peoples hands.
The first player to throw out all her/his cards score the value according to the round in the table above.
Play usually goes on for either 9 or 12 rounds. Actually, you can choose how many rounds the game will have, but you must do so before you start the entire game.

Posted in Spain