Fighting Cards

Contributed by Zhuzhu

Cards: Standard 32-card deck, from 7 up to Ace (as in the German game Skat). The rank of the cards in each suit, from high to low, is A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7.

Point Values of Cards: A=4; K=3; Q=2; J=1, all others=0

Direction of play: anticlockwise

Number of players: 3

Deal: 10 cards to each player. The remaining two cards are left face down on the table (as the skat).

After the deal there three phases: bidding, playing and scoring.

Bidding

Players bid in turn, stating how many card points they promise to take in their tricks. The minimum bid is 21 and the maximum is 40 (Grand Slam). Each bid must be higher than the last, and a player who does not wish to bid can pass instead. This continues until a bid is followed by two passes. If all three players pass, the cards are thrown in and the next player deals.

Example:

West South East
pass 21 25
pass 26 pass
pass    

The final and highest bidder (South in the example) is the declarer and must take at least as many points as the final bid to succeed.

Playing cards

The declarer decides whether to play with his original hand or to pick up the two skat cards. If he plays without using the skat, the score will be doubled. If he takes the skat, he adds the two cards to his hand and discards any two of his 12 cards face down to form a new skat.

Then the declarer announces the trump suit (spade, heart, diamond or club).

The player to the right of the declarer leads the first card, and the rules of play are similar to Skat: any card may be led; players must follow suit; players unable to follow suit may play any card; the highest trump wins the trick, or if no trump is played, the highest card of the suit led; the winner of each trick leads to the next.

Scoring

At the end of the play, the value of cards in the declarer's tricks plus the skat are counted. Any points in the skat count for the declarer even if the declarer chose not to look at the skat. If the points taken by declarer are at least the amount of the bid, the contract succeeds and the declarer scores the number of card points he took plus a bonus. If the declarer's card points are less than the bid, then the declarer loses according to the number of points by which he falls short of the bid.

The bonuses and losing multipliers are given in the following scoring table, where A is the number of points the declarer took in tricks, and B is the number by which the contract fails (for example if the bid is 26 but A=20 only, then B=6).

bid succeed fail
20 to 25 A + 50 – 20 × B
26 to 30 A + 200 – 50 × B
31 to 35 A + 500 – 100 × B
36 to 49 A + 1000 – 200 × B
40 40 + 1500 – 500 × B

For example if the declarer bids 28 and takes 31 card points, he scores 231. If he takes only 25 points he scores -150.