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In the Skat card game, you have to know some rules and understand the bidding.

15. September 2016 - Anika Semmer

Skat Card Game - The Complex Game Explained Simply | Game Rules


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Trick, press, gamble: two against one! The Skat card game is one of those games that become addictive incredibly quickly once you’re hooked. Because this game is enormously versatile, tactical and complex – and very easy to learn with these instructions!

Skat Card Game – The Card Game with a Real National League

The famous classical composer Richard Strauss loved this exciting card game so much that he included a real game of Skat in his opera Intermezzo! There are skat congresses, a national skat league and even an international skat court – for many Germans, playing skat is more than just a nice leisure activity but a sport pursued with passion!

The Skat Card Game is a so-called sting game in which two players always play against the third player. Who plays alone is decided by bidding. In the case of bidding, the player who makes the highest bid and thus plays the game alone is auctioned off. The amount of the bid is decisive for the value of the game that is now played for – but the higher a player bids, the reduced his choice for game announcements. Then you play one against two for the tricks until the last card has been played. After each round, the players count their tricks and note the score.

The following Skat instructions are based on the official rules of the International Skat Rules – because, as with all popular card games, there are now many variations of Skat!

With this card game, a talented player can make it to the championship title – perhaps on your game night with friends? Because to learn this classic card game and fall under the spell of Skat, all you need is a deck of 32 cards and two players. If there are more of you, you can of course hold your own Skat tournament 😉.

  • Game type: Card game, Brain game, Expert game
  • Age: approx. from 12
  • Players: 3 – ideal 4 in tournament skat (+ x: Each additional player sits out in a clockwise direction. Since a round of skat is entertaining, skat can easily be played with 4-5 players and sitting out).
  • Playing cards: 32 sheets and pen and paper to keep score.
  • Skills required: Attention, thinking, tactics and a bit of luck.
  • Objective: To score the most points by playing tactically and cleverly.

Skat – The Preparation

The Encoder

In Skat, three players actively play each Skat card game. If there are four or more players, the dealer will sit out the game. The dealer changes clockwise each game if there are more than three players, so that no player has to pause for a long time. When each player has dealt the cards once, a round of Skat is finished and a new round begins.

A round always goes on until all cards are played. Then the cards are dealt again.

Take Off and Deal

In the Skat card game, the cards are also dealt according to fixed rules

3-Skat-4-4 – the dealer deals the cards

Before the start of each Skat game, the dealer carefully shuffles the cards. Now he places the face-down deck of cards in front of the player sitting to his right and has him lift cards from the top: at least 4 cards must remain lying and four cards must be lifted. He then stacks the lower pile of cards on top of the upper one.

Now the dealer distributes the cards face down from the top of his pile in a clockwise direction according to a fixed order, starting with his neighbour to the left. First he gives everyone three cards and then places two cards face down in the centre of the table. These two cards are the Skat or Stick. Then he gives everyone four cards and in the last round of dealing he gives everyone another three cards. However, each player may only see the 10 cards that he is dealt face down. Otherwise, the cards must be shuffled and dealt again.

Rice – Point Auction Around the Game

Each player now looks at his hand, considers which games he can and wants to play, and estimates the value of his own cards for the bidding. In bidding, one bids for the Skat game – that is, the player with the highest bid plays alone and “gets”it.

Order in Bidding

The teammates are now called forehand, middlehand and backhand in a clockwise direction from the giver.

Now the middle hand begins to stir: he is the first saying player. Der sagende Spieler nennt dem sogenannten hörenden Spieler – der Vorhand – ansteigende festgelegte Spielwerte (siehe Tabelle) bis einer „„weg“ sagt – er passt. Der Spieler, der nicht zuerst „„weg“ sagte, hört nun die Gebote der Hinterhand. Derjenige, der nicht passt und „„weg“ sagt, hat das Spiel und ist damit der Alleinspieler oder Solist. The other two players now form a team and play against him, but must not collude!

The soloist gets the Skat or Stick and announces which game will be played. If the hand is good, a player tries to become a soloist to score points – but if he loses the game, he gets double the minus points, so the risk is also higher! It is therefore important to think carefully about how high to bid – it does not always make sense in Skat to bid the maximum value that the cards allow..

If all players say “away“, i.e. pass, you note this and the next dealer deals a new game.

Calculation of the Stimulus Values

You can stimulate in the following number sequence in the points auction: 18-20-22-23-24-27-30-33-35-36-40-44-45-46-48-50-54-55-59-60-63-66-70-72-77-80-81-84-88-90-96-99-100-108-110-117-120-121-126-130-132-135-140-143-144-150-153-154-156-160-162-165-168-170-176-180-187-192-198-204-216-240-264

To decide how high to bid with your hand, you have to calculate or know by heart some play values and then come up with a number from this series of numbers. For the value of the game at the end must be equal to or higher than the bid with which the soloist decided the point auction in his favour!

Game Values to Attract

The actual value of the game is calculated from the type (suit game/random/zero etc.), the player’s own cards, the cards in the Skat (which, however, the soloist does not yet know when bidding) and the announced as well as achieved winning level.

Formula for Teasing

Value of trump colour (or play type, if applicable) x (number of peaks OR missing peaks + winning degree).

In Skat terminology, peaks are the highest trumps, according to the order:  ♣ Jack – ♠ Jack – ♥ Jack – ♦ Jack. If a player has the ♣ Jack but not the ♠ Jack, he has only one point! It does not matter whether he has the other two jacks. If he has the ♣ and ♠ jacks, not but the ♥ jack, he has two tips and so on. If he does not have the top trumps, the number of top trumps missing from the top in the fixed order is taken as the top factor: If, for example, the player has only the ♦ Jack from the Jacks, he plays without three tops, because ♣ , ♠ and ♥ Jacks are missing!
If it becomes apparent after the game that the soloist has not fulfilled his bid with his cards, he has overbid and thus lost the game.

The 3 Ways of Playing Skat Card Game

1. Colour Game:

In Skat, you can bid x12 in a suit game of clubs

Good Skat cards for a suit game of clubs?

There is the option of playing a colour game – that is, diamonds/clips, hearts/reds, spades/greens or clubs/acorns come up trumps. In this case, the number of spades + 1 is multiplied by the following fixed basic values: ♦ = x 9 , ♥ = x 10, ♠ = x 11, ♣ = x 12.

The jacks have a special role in Skat – all jacks are also trumps in colour games: and higher trumps than the colour trumps! In all colour games, therefore, all trumps are subordinate in rank to the ♣-jack:  ♣-jack, ♠-jack, ♥-jack, ♦-jack! The next trumps are the top-down descending cards of the suit.

In our example of a heart suit game, this is the descending order of the trumps: ♣-jack, ♠-jack, ♥-jack, ♦-jack, ♥-ace, ♥-10, ♥-king, ♥-queen, ♥-9, ♥-8, ♥-7. So in a trick, a ♦-jack is higher than a ♥-ace.

Example: Player A has the jack and jack. He wants to play a -suited game. So he can bid so far: without 1, play 2 x 11 (♠), gives 22. .

2. Grand:

In the skat card game, you can bid high on a grand

Skat: Grand or play it safe with a suit of spades?

Only the jacks/under are trumps! Multiply a grand by 24. The ♣-jack is the highest trump, the “”1″”, ♠-jack the “”2″”, ♥-jack the “”3″”, ♦-jack the “”4″”. If you have the ♣-jack, you play “”with 1″”, if you do not have it “”without 1″”. The first trump multiplier is calculated according to which jacks you have in your hand in descending order and adds a value. In the Grand, you bid like this: If you have the -jack and the ♥-jack, it is “”without 1, game 2”, i.e. 2 x 24 (Grand) = 48. If you have the ♣-jack and the ♠-jack: “”with 2, game 3”, i.e. 3 x 24=72.

3. Zero:

In the skat card game, even a conceivably bad hand can actually be great - with a zero

With a zero game, different rules apply in skat!

There is no trump. The solo player/soloist wins only if he does not take a single trick. The fixed stimulus value here is 23!

Tips and Winning Degrees in Skat

Tips factor: Descending from the Jack of Clubs, a gapless sequence of trumps is called tips. Thus: ♣B-♠B-♥B-♦B chosen trump suit Ace-10-King-Queen-9-8-7.

Example: If you have the ♣- and ♥-jack you say “”With 1″”, you have all 4 jacks + ace and 10 in the trump suit “”With 6”.

If the first trumps are missing up to the ♦-jack, one says “”without 3”

Winning degree normal game:

  • 1 = Normal game
  • 2 = Announcement Tailor, soloist or opposing party score a maximum of 30 eyes.
  • 3 = Black, soloist or opposing party do not get a trick

Winning hand:

  • 1 = normal play
  • 2 = hand
  • 3 = Tailor
  • 4 = Tailor announced
  • 5 = Black
  • 6 = Black announced
  • 7 = Open

Rule of thumb: (peak factor + winning degree) x trump colour = stimulus factor

Hand Play and Open Play

In Skat, a hand Ouvert increases the value of the game and the number of points for the score

Hand Ouvert game with good cards

These 3 types of game can be played as “”hand game“, or “”open/overt“. In the hand game, the soloist does not look at the skat and it remains face down. In return, he may add a multiplier and bid higher!

In the example: ♣- and ♠-Jacks + 1 hand = ”With 2 game 3″ + 1 hand x11 (♠), gives 44.

Open (also called French Ouvert) means: the soloist lays his cards face up on the table so that his opponents can see them. He must therefore be very sure of his win. If he plays a suit game or a grand, an ouvert game is only possible in combination with a hand game!

This means that the player has such good cards that he does not even look at the Skat and lays his cards face up on the table. For this announcement, he may add two multipliers to the stimulus.

Beispiel:   ♣-Jack, ♠-Jack, ♥-Jack, with 3 game 4 + 1 hand + 1 overt announce = 6 x 11, gives 66 if he plays a colour game. With a Grand with ♣-Jack, ♠-Jack, ♥-Jack, ♦-Jack he bids: ”With 4 game 5, hand 6, Ouvert 7 x 24 (Grand) = 168!”.

Null games always have fixed values – even with hand and overt: with a null hand 35, with a null overt 46, with a null hand, overt 59.

Playing Skat Card Game – It’s Sting Time

In the Skat card game, three players play and try to win

Colour game or Grand?

The players bid in the sequence listed above, so: first the middle hand bids and the forehand listens and calls or gets out of the bidding with a ”away”. The player who says ”away” first is out of the game. Now the backhand bids and the player who just did not say away is the hearer. The player who rides higher is the soloist. He has the game. The person saying can always skip numbers when stimulating (jump stimulation). The listener answers with ”yes” or ”away”. The number teased is important here: it may contain a statement about the cards in the soloist’s hand – or he was bluffing!
After the stimulus, the soloist in a normal game picks up the Skat and may put two cards of his choice back in face down. The Skat can therefore increase his chances of winning considerably, as he can get good cards and push away the 2 most unsuitable ones! But another strategy can also be to push straight cards with a high number of points, since the soloist has endangered high cards so safely!

Announce The Game

Now he first announces his game – either a suit, a grand or a zero. If there is a hand, he does not take up the Skat and as a consequence can still announce Schneider (the opposing party gets at most 30 points) or Schwarz (the opposing party gets no trick): this gives more points but is more difficult to play!

In total, a round of Skat lasts 10 tricks. The forehand starts and places any card face up on the table. In a clockwise direction, the middle and back hands must now service (confess) the suit of the card laid. If a player serves a lower card, this is called give, if he lays a higher card, this is called take over in Skat jargon.

If the player does not have the played suit (and only then!), he may lay any card. If he lays a trump card, this is called piercing. You can also bet that a trick will go to your opponent or partner and discard bad cards or put good ones in, this is called smearing.

Who Gets the Trick in the Skat Card Game?

In Skat, you try to be tactically smart about using the cards in the tricks

The ace gets the trick

The player who laid the ranking card wins the trick. He takes the trick and places it face down in front of him. Every trick goes like this – but the player who took the last trick always gets to play the first card.

In colour games, the Jacks are the highest-ranking trumps, the ranking of the cards is as follows: ♣B – ♠B – ♥B – ♦B- Ace-10-K-D-9-8-7 (the last 7 in each trump suit). In the case of a Grand, the Jacks are the only trumps in the ranking ♣B – ♠B – ♥B – ♦B. In the case of a Null, the values line up, there is no trump and also the Jacks and 10s are nothing special. The ranking is thus: Ass-K-D-B-10-9-8-7.

After the game, the soloist and the opposing party count their points: ace gives 11 points, 10 gives 10 points, king gives 4, queen 3, jack 2 points. The 9s, 8s and 7s are so-called louses and give no points. The soloist also counts the cards in the Skat as well.

For the victory of a normal Skat game, the soloist must score at least 61 points, the opponents have won with 60 points. For a cutter the soloist needs at least 90 points. For a black he scores all the tricks. A zero is won by the soloist if he does not take a single trick.

Who Wins? Scoring in the Skat Card Game

Overstimulating

First, see if the game value matches the irritated value. If the soloist has bid too high, he has lost the game no matter how many points he has scored! This can easily happen in a game ”without” – because the tips can lie in the skat and thus change the game value if you don’t push them away again..

Example: Irritated: Without 2, game 3 x ♠(11) = 33 ⇒ In Skat: ♣-Jack ⇒ not pushed away ⇒ new game value: With 1, game 2 x ♠ (11) = 22 ⇒ if he plays ♠, he has lost.

Alternative possibilities: He can try to play Schneider to raise the game that way: with 1, game 2, Schneider 3 x ♠ (11) = 33 or he plays a Grand: with 1, game 2 x 24 = 48.

Hand play: The Skat counts towards the soloist’s tricks when playing a Grand or a suit.

Valuation of the Number of Points

The maximum score in Skat is 120 eyes. The soloist needs 61 points to win, the opponents need 60 points for a victory.

Exceptions: With a announced cutter, the soloist must score at least 90 points, with an announced black all 120 points.

This is how the cards count: ace = 11 points, 10=10 points, king = 4 points, queen = 3 points, jack = 2 points, 9,8,7 = 0 points / louses.

Write Down the Score

For each Skat player, only the points he scores as a soloist are noted down! He is credited with the value of the game, as explained above in the case of the stimulus. If the soloist loses, however, he gets twice the value of the game deducted as a minus score.

Lust for a round of Skat at the next game night?

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At Abenteuer Freundschaft there are many other leisure ideas to discover besides games, e.g. activities with friends, the partner and the family.

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