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Download Skat Game: How to Play the King of German Card Games
If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding card game that combines skill, strategy, and luck, you should try Skat. Skat is a three-player trick-taking game that originated in Germany in the early 19th century. It is widely considered as the national game of Germany and one of the best card games for three players in the world.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Skat, including its history, rules, variations, strategies, and benefits. You will also learn how to download Skat game online and enjoy playing it with other players or against the computer. By the end of this article, you will be ready to join the millions of Skat enthusiasts who love this game.
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The History of Skat
Skat was invented around 1810 in Altenburg, a town in the German state of Thuringia. It was created by members of a local Tarock club, who wanted to create a new game that combined elements of Tarock (a type of Tarot card game), Schafkopf (a four-player game similar to Sheepshead), and l'Hombre (a three-player game popular in Europe).
The main innovation of Skat was the bidding process, which allowed the players to compete for the right to declare the contract and play against the other two players. The name Skat comes from the Italian word scarto, which means discard. This refers to the two cards that are dealt face down to the table and form the skat, which can be used by the declarer to improve their hand.
Skat became very popular in Germany, especially in Saxony and Silesia, where it developed its own regional variations. In 1886, a congress of Skat players in Altenburg established the first official rules of the game, which are still followed today. Skat is also recognized as a sport by the International Skat Players Association (ISPA), which organizes tournaments and championships around the world.
The Cards and Their Values
Skat is played with a 32-card deck, which can be either French or German suited. The French suits are clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds, while the German suits are acorns, leaves, hearts, and bells. The cards rank from ace (high) to seven (low), except for the jacks, which are permanent trumps and rank above all other cards.
The cards have different values depending on the type of game that is played. There are three types of games in Skat: suit games, grand games, and null games. In suit games, one suit is chosen as trumps, and the four jacks are also trumps. In grand games, only the four jacks are trumps. In null games, there are no trumps at all.
In suit and grand games, the cards have the following values:
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Jacks: 2 points each
Aces: 11 points each
Tens: 10 points each
Kings: 4 points each
Queens: 3 points each
Nines, eights, sevens: 0 points each
The total value of all cards in a suit or grand game is 120 points. In null games, the cards have no value at all, and the goal is to avoid taking any tricks.
The Deal and The Auction
Skat is played by three players, who are seated clockwise around the table. The dealer shuffles the cards and deals 10 cards to each player, starting with the player on their left. The remaining two cards are placed face down in the middle of the table and form the skat.
After the deal, the auction begins. The auction is a bidding process in which the players compete for the right to declare the contract and play as the declarer. The declarer plays against the other two players, who form a temporary alliance called the defenders.
The player to the left of the dealer is called the forehand, the player to their left is called the middlehand, and the dealer is called the rearhand. The auction starts with the forehand, who can either pass or make a bid. A bid is a number that represents the minimum value of the game that the player is willing to play. The value of a game depends on the type of game, the trump suit, and the number of matadors (jacks or trumps in sequence from the top).
The middlehand can either pass or accept or raise the bid. If they accept, they become the highest bidder and must make a higher bid on their next turn. If they raise, they challenge the forehand to either hold or fold. If the forehand holds, they remain the highest bidder and must make a higher bid on their next turn. If they fold, they drop out of the auction and the middlehand becomes the highest bidder.
The rearhand can either pass or accept or raise any bid made by either forehand or middlehand. The auction continues until only one player remains, who becomes the declarer. The declarer then picks up the skat and discards two cards face down, which will count for their score at the end of the game. The declarer then announces the contract, which specifies the type of game, the trump suit, and whether they play with or without the skat (called hand or skat).
The Game Play and The Scoring
After the contract is announced, the game play begins. The forehand leads the first trick by playing any card from their hand. The other players must follow suit if possible, otherwise they can play any card. The trick is won by the highest trump card, or the highest card of the suit led if no trump was played. The winner of the trick leads the next trick, and so on until all 10 tricks are played.
The scoring of the game depends on the type of game, the contract, and the outcome. In suit and grand games, the declarer wins if they take at least 61 points in tricks, or 91 points if they announced schneider (a special bid that means they will take at least 90 points). The defenders win if they prevent the declarer from reaching their target. In null games, the declarer wins if they take no tricks at all, and the defenders win if they take at least one trick.
The value of a game is calculated by multiplying the base value of the game by the multiplier. The base value of a game is determined by the type of game and the trump suit. The base values are as follows:
Suit games: clubs = 12, spades = 11, hearts = 10, diamonds = 9
Grand games: 24
Null games: null = 23, null hand = 35, null ouvert = 46, null ouvert hand = 59
The multiplier is determined by the number of matadors, the level of bidding, and any special announcements. The multiplier starts at 1 and increases by 1 for each of the following factors:
Each matador (jack or trump in sequence from the top) that the declarer has or does not have in their hand
Each level of bidding that the declarer reached or exceeded
Each special announcement that the declarer made or fulfilled, such as hand, schneider, schwarz (taking all tricks), ouvert (showing their hand), or open (showing their hand and taking all tricks)
The value of a game is then added to or subtracted from the declarer's score, depending on whether they won or lost. The defenders always get the opposite score. For example, if the declarer played a spade hand game with two matadors and bid up to 20 and won with 74 points, they would get (11 + 1 + 1) x 2 = 26 points. If they lost with 58 points, they would get -26 points.
The Variations and The Strategies
Skat is a game that offers a lot of variety and challenge for players of all levels. There are many variations of Skat that can be played with different rules and options. Some of the most common variations are:
Ramsch: A game that is played when all players pass in the auction. In this game, there are no trumps and no skat, and the goal is to take as few points as possible. The player who takes the most points loses and pays to the other players.
Bock: A game that is played after a special event, such as a grand hand game, a null ouvert game, a ramsch game, or a game where all players have the same score. In this game, the value of each game is doubled.
Kontra and Re: A way to increase the stakes of a game by allowing the defenders to challenge the declarer's bid (kontra) or the declarer to re-challenge the defenders' kontra (re). Each challenge doubles the value of the game. For example, if the declarer played a heart game with one matador and bid up to 18 and won, they would get 20 points. If the defenders said kontra and lost, they would get -40 points. If the declarer said re and won, they would get 80 points.
Revolution: A game that is played when all players agree to reverse the ranking of the cards. In this game, the sevens are the highest cards and the aces are the lowest cards. The jacks are still trumps, but they rank from jack of clubs (lowest) to jack of diamonds (highest).
Skat is also a game that requires a lot of skill and strategy to play well. Some of the basic tips and tricks for Skat players are:
Counting cards: A good Skat player should keep track of the cards that have been played and the cards that are still in their opponents' hands. This can help them plan their moves and anticipate their opponents' actions.
Bidding wisely: A good Skat player should know how to bid according to their hand strength, their position, and their opponents' behavior. They should also know when to pass, when to hold, when to fold, and when to challenge or re-challenge.
Playing tricks: A good Skat player should know how to play tricks according to the type of game, the contract, and the situation. They should also know when to lead, when to follow, when to trump, and when to discard.
Bluffing and reading: A good Skat player should know how to bluff and read their opponents' signals. They should also know how to use psychology and deception to influence their opponents' decisions.
The Benefits of Playing Skat Online
One of the best ways to enjoy Skat is to download Skat game online and play it on your computer or mobile device. There are many benefits of playing Skat online, such as:
Convenience: You can play Skat anytime and anywhere you want, without having to find two other players or a physical deck of cards.
Variety: You can play Skat with different rules and options, such as ramsch, bock, kontra, re, revolution, etc. You can also choose from different levels of difficulty and different styles of graphics and sounds.
Challenge: You can play Skat against other players from around the world, or against the computer with artificial intelligence. You can also join tournaments and leagues and compete for prizes and rankings.
Learning: You can learn Skat from scratch or improve your skills by following tutorials, tips, hints, and feedback. You can also review your games and analyze your mistakes and achievements.
Fun: You can have fun playing Skat with your friends or family, or with new people you meet online. You can also chat with other players and share your experiences and opinions.
Skat is a fascinating card game that offers a lot of excitement and challenge for players who love skill, strategy, and luck. It is a game that has a rich history, complex rules, diverse variations, and clever strategies. It is also a game that has many benefits for your mental and social well-being.
If you want to experience the thrill of Skat, you should download Skat game online and start playing it today. You will find that Skat is not only a game, but also a hobby, a sport, and a culture. You will also find that Skat is not only fun, but also rewarding.
What is the difference between French and German cards?
The difference between French and German cards is mainly in the design of the suits and the faces. The French suits are clubs (), spades (), hearts (), and diamonds (), while the German suits are acorns (), leaves (), hearts (), and bells (). The French faces are king (K), queen (Q), jack (J), while the German faces are king (K), over (O), under (U).
How many points do you need to win a suit or grand game?
You need at least 61 points to win a suit or grand game. If you announced schneider, you need at least 91 points. If you announced schwarz, you need all 120 points.
How do you calculate the value of a game?
You calculate the value of a game by multiplying the base value by the multiplier. The base value depends on the type of game and the trump suit. The multiplier depends on the number of matadors, the level of bidding, and any special announcements.
What is a matador?
A matador is a jack or a trump that is in sequence from the top. For example, if the trump suit is hearts, the matadors are jack of clubs, jack of spades, jack of hearts, jack of diamonds, ace of hearts, ten of hearts, etc. The number of matadors that the declarer has or does not have affects the multiplier of the game.
What is a ramsch game?
A ramsch game is a game that is played when all players pass in the auction. In this game, there are no trumps and no skat, and the goal is to take as few points as possible. The player who takes the most points loses and pays to the other players.