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Skat is the most popular German Card Game. It's always played by three folks - if there are more, some of them will have to sit out in some rounds, or you'll have to split the group if there are more than five. The game is several centuries old. In terms of strategy vs. luck, it's more on the luck side than Texas Hold'em Poker - meaning that a good player who knows about strategy will have an edge over lesser players, but not as much as in poker.

For the game, you need 32 cards, from 7 to Ace. Each player gets ten cards, for the start; the two remaining cards are the skat. Then, the reizen (bidding) begins. How high you can bid, depends on what kind of game you want to play, the number of trumps you have, how high you expect to win, even more, if you decide to play without the skat, or even open (showing your hand). The player who wins the bidding may pick up the skat and exchange one or two hand cards, then declares which kind of game is played - standard suit game (the four jacks and all other cards of one suit are trump, adding up to 13 trumps), grand ("great game", where only the jacks count as trumps, which is worth the most points), or null game (where the declarer has to lose all tricks). Each card has a point value from zero to eleven points; to win, the declarer needs at least 61 of 120 points - the number of tricks he won is meaningless. This includes the point value of the two cards in the skat. If you lose a game, the number of minus points is doubled.

It is often played for money, though not much - less than one cent per point, usually. Ideally played at Der Stammtisch.

No relation to the American card game Scat (also known as 31). It is one of the sources of inspiration for the related Russian card game, Preferans.


Tropes:

  • A Day At the Bizarro: The null game, which you have to lose if you are the declarer.
    • You not only have to lose, you must not get a single trick, even if it's worth zero points. If you get even a single trick you lost the round.
  • House Rules: Many groups have them.
  • Long List
  • Serial Escalation: Some groups will allow that after declaring the game, the opponents and the declarer may announce "Kontra!" - "Re!" - "Bock!" - "Hirsch!" - "Supra!", which essentially boils down to "You can't win this!" - "Can too!" - "Cannot!" - "Can too!" - "Cannot!". Each of this declarations doubles the point value of the game, so you can see where this ends. And some rounds don't stop at this.
  • Serious Business
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