In the Scopa card game it depends on logical thinking, tactics and luck to win

22. September 2016 - Anika Semmer

Scopa Card Game – Score, Stab, Win! | Game Rules


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Score, stab, win! The Scopa card game known as the hurricane card game in Germany was one of the top card games in the 1930s. Today hardly anyone knows it in Germany, but Scopa is one of the best Italien Card games. It is the ultimate game secret tip for a game evening with 2 or 4 players!

Hurricane is the only truly witty card game for two!” – so reads the original advertising supplement from the 1930s. And this game we don’t know?! Our curiosity was aroused and led to Berlin being stirred up by dozens of hurricanes in just one week 😉

One thing was clear to us very quickly: Hurricane  – the German name for the Scopa card game – is a real secret tip card game for 2 or 4 players and must definitely be played more often on game nights!

In the Scopa card game, the goal is to get hold of as many cards as possible and collect points through clever combinations. ♥-cards and 7s are particularly valuable – because these cards give extra points! Strategy and attention are therefore required, because card luck alone does not necessarily determine victory.

How to Play the Scopa Card Game

  • Game type: Card game
  • Players: 2 or as variant 4 (see below)
  • Accessories: deck of 52 cards, pen and paper to note down the points
  • Skills required: overview, logic, attention


In the Scopa card game, the dealer distributes the cards according to the pre-set rule of first dealing each player 2 times 3 cards, placing 4 in the middle and dealing each player another 3 cards.

The dealer distributes the cards like this in the Scopa card game

The 2 players sit down opposite each other. Before starting the first round of play, sort out all the eights, nines and tens from a 52-card hand and put them away. These cards are not needed for the Scopa card game. The first dealer now distributes the cards and first gives 3 cards to the other player, then to himself. Now he puts 4 cards face up next to each other in the middle of the table. Then he first gives 3 cards to the other player and then to himself again. The dealer places the remaining cards face down in the middle as a pile of cards.

The Card Values in the Scopa Card Game

Independent on the suit, the cards have the following values:

  • King – 10
  • Queen – 9
  • Jack – 8
  • 7 – 7
  • 6 – 6
  • 5 – 5
  • 4 – 4
  • 3 – 3
  • 2 – 2
  • Ace – 1

The Game Is On

In the Scopa card game, you should make sure to grab as many heart cards as possible right from the start, as they give you extra points at the end

First move: queen trumps queen in the Scopa card game

In the Scopa card game, the dealer deals cards 3 times in each round. The players take turns playing their cards. Only when all 12 cards have been played does the dealer give each player 6 new cards from the deck. After these 12 cards have also been played, each player is dealt another 6 cards. In the middle, the dealer only lays out cards in the first round.
The forehand (the player to the left of the dealer) is the first to act and plays cards. The aim is to grab as many of the cards as possible that are face up on the table. To do this, the player must make up the value of one, several or even all cards together (see table) that are on the table with one card. So if the player plays a king with the value 10 and there are 5, 4, ace with the value 1 and jack with the value 8 on the table, he can get the cards 5, 4 and ace with the king. If you play a card that has the same value as a card on the table, you must take it! Especially desirable are ♥-cards – especially the ♥-7 – and all other 7s, because they give extra points at the end!


Example 1: On the table are a queen worth 9, a king worth 10, a 2 and a 4. The player has in his hand an ace worth 1, a jack worth 8, a 6 and a 3. So if he plays the 6, he can get the 2 and 4.

Example 2: In the middle of the table there is a queen, a king, a 7 and a 2. The player plays a queen with the value 9: since there is another queen on the table, he must take it and may not pocket 7 and 2, which also give the value 9..

Now the player puts his played card together with the grabbed cards as a trick on a pile in front of him and it is the second player’s turn.

Hurricane! Clear All Cards in the Scopa Card Game

In the Scopa card game, a hurricane is especially good because when all the cards are cleared, you also get credited with an extra point

The jack sticks all the cards

If the first player clears all 4 cards on the table in one trick, this is a hurricane. He gets an extra point for this. In addition, the opponent must now place a card from his hand face up on the table. If the player is able to play a card with the same value, he thus stabs this card with a second hurricane and gets another extra point. Again, the opponent must play one of his cards. The turn is not over until the player can no longer play the face-up card with a card of the same value. The card remains on the table and it is the other player’s turn.

Tip: In a hurricane, it is tactically clever to play a card value of which you still have more or which has already been cut. In this way you increase the probability that the other player no longer has a card with this value in his hand and does not score another hurricane!

Clearing none or not all cards

If the player can only capture part of the cards with his played card, he takes those cards and it is the opponent’s turn to play. The fewer cards there are on the table, the easier it is for a player to clear all the cards and trigger a hurricane.
In the Scopa card game, it can be tactically wise to play a card that does not correspond to a value on the table. Ideally, this card, together with another card on the table, forms a combination that could then be played the next time. The player simply places this card next to the other face-up cards on the table. He now bets that the opponent will not be able to stab the card and that he will clear it in his next turn.

If one cannot form the value of an exposed card or card combination with no card in hand, the player places a card of his choice face up next to the exposed cards and it is his opponent’s turn.

End of the Game, Points and the Game Victory

The card values in the Scopa card game are based on the Italian game Scopa - the highest 4 cards are particularly interesting at the end

In the Scopa card game, the 4 highest captured cards count!

The Scopa card game is over when one of the following situations occurs:

  1. The players have no more cards in their hands.
  2. After the 3rd and last deal, none of the players can form a card value on the table.

Now both players place their scored tricks face up on the table in front of them. Then both players determine one after the other who has how many points and note down the points scored according to the following criteria:

  • First, everyone counts their captured cards: The player who has the most cards gets 1 point.
  • Now each player counts how many ♥-cards they have captured. The player with the most ♥-cards gets 1 point.
  • The player with the ♥-7 gets 1 point.
  • Each player looks for the 4 cards with the highest value from their tricks and adds up the values.The player with the highest card value gets 1 point. The cards count as follows: 7 counts 21, 6 counts 18, Ace counts 16, 5 counts 15, 4 counts 14, 3 counts 13, 2 counts 12, King counts 10, Queen counts 9 and Jack counts 8. So the highest combination would be 4 x the 7 with a value of 84.
  • To this, add the points scored in Hurricanes
  • If there is a tie, there is no point for anyone
Heart cards are especially valuable in the Scopa card game, the 7 of hearts even gives an extra point

Collecting heart cards pays off in the Scopa card game

The winner in the Scopa card game is the player who first reaches 16 points. This usually takes 2-3 rounds. If at the end both players reach 16 points or the same higher score at the same time, there is another round with the deciding game!

Thinking Along and Tactics

In the Scopa card game, those who remember as many cards as possible that have already been played have a clear advantage. This way you can calculate which cards are still in play and which cards your opponent has in his hand and outmanoeuvre him.

Play the Scopa Card Game With 4 Players

You are 4 players? Then try the entertaining version of the Scopa card game for 4 players. You play in teams of 2 and 2. The two players of a team should always sit opposite each other. Each player is dealt 9 cards at the same time – so they are only dealt once per game round.

For this variant, the same rules apply as for the Scopa card game for 2 players. But the points scored are always credited to the team. That is, 2 players each collect tricks and points together. The game is over when the first team has collected 32 points.


Has the hurricane hit you too? Or do you want to browse through our other game tips first? In addition, there are a lot of ideas to discover activities with friends, with children or with your partner.

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