How to play
In Skat, a player can choose among various game modes. In "Duel mode", the third player is the computer, which is programmed to be a good partner. If a player knows and trusts his or her opponents, s/he can play against two real opponents in the "Tournament mode". Another game mode allows for calling contra and re, i.e. doubling or quadrupling the stakes. If there is no call then "Ramsch" is played. You can select a mode by clicking the "New Game" button. A game is played for three rounds, in which players take turns being First hand. Winners are chosen separately for each round.
Skat is a card game for three or more people. We offer an online version for two to three players. The game is named after two face-down cards called Skat. One player always ends up playing against the other two. After the cards are dealt, “bidding“ is used to determine which of the three players will assume this role. As soon as this round is over, and it is clear whether the Soloist or the team has won, points are registered and the next round starts.
The object of the game is to win points by taking tricks, except in Null games, in which the Soloist wins by taking no tricks.
The Skat deck consists of 32 cards (four suits of eight cards each). The suits, in order of rank, are Clubs, Spades, Hearts; and Diamonds.
Values of the cards:
- Ace: 11 points
- Ten: 10 points
- King: 4 points
- Queen: 3 points
- Jack: 2 points
- Nine, Eight, Seven: 0 points
The Skat deck is thus worth a total of 120 points.
Significance of the cards:
In suit games, one suit is always Trumps. The ranks of the other cards stay the same. The highest Trumps in a suit game are the Jacks in the order Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds, followed by the seven cards of the Trump suit according to their values. In Grand games only Jacks are Trumps. In Null games the Jacks also count as a separate suit. The order is then: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, followed by 10, 9, 8,7, etc.
Peaks are Trumps in consecutive order from the Jack of Clubs on. If the Soloist has this card (including the two Skat cards), the peaks s/he has are counted, and s/he is said to be playing with peaks. If s/he does not have this card, the missing peaks are counted, and s/he is thus playing without peaks. There is a maximum of 11 peaks in suit games (4 Jacks, 7 Trumps). There are 4 peaks in Grand games (4 Jacks).
Each player receives 10 cards. There are also 2 Skat cards face-down in the middle.
The first player to receive cards is the First hand (designated by a flag), the player to the left is the Middle hand and the third player is the Post hand. The First hand has the right to open the game and the first option on the bids of the other players.
After the cards are dealt, bidding (offering and accepting game values) is used to find the Soloist. The minimum offer is 18, followed by 20, 22, 24 etc. The First hand asks the Middle hand to make a bid. If the First hand does not have an 18, s/he has to wait for the bid offer of the Middle hand, or, if this player passes, for the offer of the Post hand before s/he can pass. Both Middle hand and Post hand are bound to the bid offers they make. If the First hand cannot match or beat the bid offers, s/he has to pass. The third player (Post hand) then bids or passes.
The Soloist is the player who makes the highest bid. S/he opens the game, and then has to call a game:
A distinction is made between games in which the Skat is used and games in which it is not (Hand games). In games played without the Skat, the Soloist only uses the cards in his or her hand. There are seven winning levels in hand games and three in Skat games.
Both game categories also include the options of Suit games, Grand games or Null games:
A Suit game is the most common type of Skat game. In Suit games, Diamonds, Hearts Spades or Clubs are Trumps along with the Jacks. There are thus 11 Trumps in play.
In Grand games only the 4 Jacks are Trumps.
"Grand ouvert" is the highest game in Skat. It is a Hand game, meaning that the Skat is not used. The First hand opens this game. The Soloist has to expose the ten cards in his or her hand before the First hand opens, and has to take all ten tricks to win.
In a Null game, the Soloist tries to lose all tricks. Null games have fixed card values. The sequence is always: 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. In Null ouvert and Null ouvert-Hand, the Soloist has to expose all of his or her cards at the start, so the first trick is open.
Playing and following suit:
After calling a game, the First hand plays a card, followed by the player who took the last trick. The player to the left then has to play a card. S/he has to follow suit or match Trumps, as does the third player.
A player who does not have a card in the suit played either has to play a Trump or some other card. If Trumps are required, but the player has none, s/he can play any other card.
A trick consists of one card each from the First hand, Middle hand and Post hand. It is finished once all three cards have been played. The trick is won by the player who
- played the highest card of the suit
- played a suit which could neither be followed nor beaten
- was the only one to beat a suit played
- beat a Trump card of a suit played with an even higher Trump
- played the highest Trump
- played Trumps, and the others only followed with suit cards.
The player who takes a trick is the next to play.
A round is over once all three cards have been played.
Every Null game has a fixed game score: Null 23, Null Hand 35, Null ouvert 46 und Null ouvert Hand 59. A Null game is won by the Soloist who does not take a single trick.
Suit or Grand game:
A Soloist needs 61 points to win a Suit or a Grand game. Every Suit and Grand game has a fixed basic score, which is 9 for Diamonds, 10 for Hearts, 11 for Spades, 12 for Clubs, and 24 for Grand and Grand ouvert.
Winning levels for games using Skat:
- 1 Simple game
- 2 “Schneider“
- 3 “Schwarz“
Winning levels for games without Skat:
- 2 Simple game
- 3 ”Schneider“
- 4 “Schneider“ called
- 5 “Schwarz“
- 6 “Schwarz“ called
- 7 Open
A Soloist who has 61 points including the Skat wins a simple game. “Schneider” is a player who has 30 points or less.
“Schwarz” is the player who did not take a single trick. A player who takes one trick without points is “Schneider”.
“Schneider” called and “Schwarz” called are only counted if the Soloist calls them during a hand game. If the Soloist does not win the required points, s/he loses on the level called. If s/he wins on a higher level than the one called, the higher level counts. If the Soloist loses on the level called, this is not counted against the Soloist (you cannot “Schneider” yourself). Open/ Ouvert is a winning level in open Suit and Grand games. The Soloist may not lose a single trick on this level. These games automatically count as “Schwarz”.
The game scores of the individual games are counted in points, based on:
- Type and basic score of the game
- Winning levels and
- Number of available or missing peaks in the hand of the Soloist.
Peaks and winning levels are summed up and make up the number of cases. The two game categories include the following options:
Category I (Games using Skat): Peaks (1 - 11) + Winning levels (1 - 3) = Sum of Cases (2 - 14)
Category II (Hand games): Peaks (1 - 11) + Winning levels (2 - 7) = Sum of Cases (3 - 18)
The sum of cases is multiplied by the basic score of the game called to calculate the actual game score.
Overbidding occurs when a player sets a game score s/he is not able to reach. The player thus loses the game.
If it is not possible to attain the score bid during a Hand game, because a peak Trump was in the Skat, then the Soloist overbid the game. S/he loses the game even if she had more than 60 points.
Skat: Stakes and Winnings
- Firstly, the monetary value of the game is calculated (original stake * game value), for example, an original stake of 0.10 Euro * 18 (for example a game value of 1 - Diamonds) = 1.80 Euro.
- Secondly, the fee per player is calculated. In our example, according to the table, that equals 9% of 1.80 = 0.16 Euro.
- Finally this amount is multiplied by the number of players: 0.16 Euro * 3 = 0.48 Euro
Calculations can of course differ when player imposed limits (found in game settings) are in use.
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