The 3 oudlers of the French Tarot Nouveau, circa 1910
Photo by World Web Playing Card Museum
OTHER NAMES: trionfi, tarock (German) , tarocchi/tarocco (Italian)
Tarot cards first appeared in Italy in the 15th century, and was used to play a card game called tarocchi. (1) The 3 decks called the "Visconti Trumps" are generally regarded as the "forefathers" of the decks that are widely available today.
It is believed that Tarot Cards were originally created as a game for Nobles. (2) The earliest known tarot decks wasn't related or designed for mysticism, they were meant to play a game similar to bridge. (3) The origin of the word "tarot" is hypothesized to have derived from the Arab word "turuq", which means "four ways". (4) Although divination with playing cards is mentioned in text as early as 1540, the relation to tarot cards has not developed until the 18th century. (5)
The tarot cards are playing cards first used in a game called triumph, a game similar to bridge. The deck is consist of 78 cards with four suits. Each suit contains pip cards from ace to ten and four face cards, plus a special joker suit that contains 21 cards, and finally one card knows as "The Fool" which can be top joker or the card to avoid. 
Today, tarot cards are more related to mysticism than game play, mostly due to the rise of interest in occult in the 19th century. One of the most widely used modern tarot deck is Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot deck.
Tarot cards are still being used to play many games today such as Tarock and many other variations. A great game to bring back to play for group fun.
The origin of games is one of the oldest human civilization lineage, spanning over millenniums of development to date. From archaeological evidence traditional games is one of the fundamental aspect of life in the ancient world, and is paramount to the development of social culture and military strategies. Many of these games became modern day family fun for holidays and occasions to enjoy.