Anonymous

# Do you know the card game called Skat?

Could someone explain how this card game is played? What are the rules?

Update:

the word skat may be in German

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It is a German game for three players using a 32-card deck containing aces through sevens. Each player is dealt ten cards with two cards dealt into the middle to constitute the Skat. The four Jacks are all trumps, outranking every other trump with clubs highest follwed by spades, hearts and diamonds. Tens rank below aces ahead of kings and queens.

Players bid in points for the privilege of naming the trump suit and getting the two cards in the Skat. The highest bidder can declare the trump suit (or that just the four Jacks are trumps) or can turn up a card of the Skat to declare it, add the Skat to his/her hand or make the game worth more by leaving the cards untounched until the end of the hand. Players must follow to the suit led (Jacks always become part of the trump suit), with the highest card winning unless a player trumps someone else's lead, the highest trump played always taking any trick. When all the cards are played, the bidder counts the value of the cards in tricks (s)he won. The counting system is Ace=11, Ten=10, King=4, Queen=3, Jack=2 for a total of 120 points. The bidder must take 61 of the 120 points to succeed in the game.

But that is not all - the game must also pay at least as many points as the bidder bid. Depending on the difficulty of the game, each game has a base value ranging from 5 to 20 points. The base value is multiplied by the sum of two factors. One is the number of the highest trumps the bidder either held or was missing, counting cards in the player's original hand and in the Skat. The other depends on how many points in cards the bidder took. Taking 61 points gives a multiplier of 1. If the bidder takes 91 points in cards (called a Schneider), that is an extra multiplier, as is taking all 120 points in cards (called a Schwarz). The bidder can also declare before play begins that (s)he will make a Schneider or a Schwarz for more extra multipliers, but then must take 91 or 120 points or the game is lost. Thus a successful declared Schneider would be worth 3 multipliers, a successful declared Schwarz 5.

The game multipliers and trump multipliers are added. The sum is multiplied by the base value of the mode of play to comprise the score. The score must equal or exceed the bid. If it does, and if the bidder succeeded in taking enough points in cards, the bidder's overall total is increased by the score for the hand, however much it might exceed the bid. If the bidder failed to take enough in cards, the vaule of the hand is deducted from the bidder's score. If the bid was higher than the score, the bidder loses the amount of the bid.

It's possible for the Skat to affect whether a bid succeeds or not. Suppose the high bid is 25 and bidder, whose highest trump is the third-ranking Jack of Hearts, calls a Spade Solo, worth 11 base points. Bidder takes 87 points in cards, enough for one multiplier for the game but just short of 2 for making Schneider. Still, bidder expects 2 multipliers for missing the two top trumps, giving a total of 3 multipliers and making the hand worth 33 points (3x11). But, suppose the Skat contained a black Jack (either one would have the same effect). The trump multiplier would only be 1, giving bidder a total of 2 multipliers and making the hand worth only 22 points instead of 33. As the bid was 25, bidder would lose 25 points.

I think recently there have been some tinkerings with base values of games and the bidder's options of what to do with the Skat and how it affects the base value or multiplier, but the general mechanics have remained the same.