Learn Skat from the Masters and Play with Friends - Free Download
Skat Game Download: How to Play the Smart Classic with German Roots
If you are looking for a challenging and fun card game to play online or offline, you might want to try Skat, the national game of Germany. Skat is a three-player trick-taking game that requires tactical and deductive skills. It is comparable to games such as Pinochle, Spades, and Doppelkopf. In this article, we will explain what Skat is, how to play it, and how to download it for free.
What is Skat?
Skat is a card game that was devised around 1810 in Altenburg, Germany by members of a local Tarock club. It is based on the three-player game of Tarock (German for Tarot) and the four-player game of Schafkopf (forerunner of the American game Sheepshead). It has become the most loved and widely played German card game, especially in German-speaking regions.
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The history and origin of Skat
The first recorded rules for "Scat" date to 1835, by when it was already popular in the Kingdom of Saxony, especially in the Duchy of Altenburg and the surrounding area. There were just two contracts Frage and Solo and forehand opened the bidding or passed. A Frage bidder could be overcalled by a Solo and either could be overcalled by the same contract in a higher-ranking suit, the suits ranking in the same order as in the modern game. The declarer needed 61 card points to win and there were bonuses for scoring 90 (Schneider), taking all tricks (Schwarz) and, optionally, for holding or lacking matadors in unbroken sequence from the top. The four Unters were permanent trumps ranking above the trump suit.
The first book on the rules of Skat, Das Scatspiel: Nebst zwei Liedern, was published in 1848 by one of its inventors, secondary school teacher J. F. L. Hempel. Nevertheless, the rules continued to differ from one region to another until the first attempt to set them in order was made by a congress of Skat players on 7 August 1886 in Altenburg.
The cards and ranking of Skat
Skat is played with a 32-card deck, either with French suits (Clubs, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds) or German suits (Acorns, Leaves, Hearts, Bells). The cards rank differently depending on which type of game is played: suit games, grand games, or null games.
In suit games, one suit is chosen as trumps, and the four Jacks are always top trumps, ranking from highest to lowest as Clubs, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds. The other cards rank from highest to lowest as Aces, Tens, Kings, Queens, Nines, Eights, Sevens. In grand games, only the four Jacks are trumps, ranking in the same order as in suit games. The other cards rank from highest to lowest as Aces, Tens, Kings, Queens, Nines, Eights, Sevens. In null games, there are no trumps and no card points. The cards rank from highest to lowest as Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, Tens, Nines, Eights, Sevens.
The deal and the auction of Skat
The dealer shuffles and then the player to their right cuts the deck. The dealer deals 10 cards to each player in batches of 3-4-3 or 4-3-3. The remaining two cards are placed face down in the middle of the table and are called the Skat. The player to the dealer's left begins the auction, which is a bidding process to determine the declarer and the game value. The possible bids are numbers from 18 to 264, increasing by increments of one. The bids are based on the type of game, the trump suit, and the number of matadors (the highest trumps in unbroken sequence). The player who bids the highest becomes the declarer and can pick up the Skat, discard two cards, and announce the game. The other two players form a team called the defenders and try to prevent the declarer from winning.
The types and values of Skat games
There are four types of Skat games: suit games, grand games, null games, and ramsch games. Each type has a different way of scoring and winning.
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