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Skat Game Free Download - Enjoy the Classic Card Game with German Roots

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.

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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.

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.

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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:

  • 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:

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