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Schafkopf Rules

Schafkopf Rules

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Schafkopf Rules
Schafkopf Rules

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Published by: ilie4alex on Jul 07, 2014
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Schafkopf is the national card game of Bavaria.

It is a 4-player game, though five often play with the dealer sitting out.
The following rules are based closely on the “official” rules of 1989, but if one decides to research the game, he will no
doubt find a large number of variations, some of them very localized, others more widespread. In the end, you should
feel free to play with whatever variations you see fit, or even to create your own! To avoid arguments, any special
variations of the rules should be agreed upon by everyone present before the game begins.
The Cards Traditionally, a Bavarian Tarock/Schafkopf pack is used. These decks are sold with 36 cards (sixes low)
which is required for the game of Bavarian Tarock, though for Schafkopf the sixes are removed, reducing the pack to
32 cards (sevens low). The suits are Acorns, Leaves, Hearts, and Bells. In place of the Queen and Jack there is an
Over Knave and an Under Knave, or simply Ober and Unter, respectively.
Rank and Value Schafkopf is a member of the Ace-Ten family of trick-taking card games, of which there are many! In
Ace-Ten games the cards usually rank as follows, with the corresponding point values:
Card A 10 K O U 9 8 7
Points 11 10 4 3 2 0 0 0
With 30 card points in each of the 4 suits, there is a total of 120 card points in the pack.
While this point value of the cards holds true in Schafkopf, the game’s design dictates that there be many Trump
cards, most commonly 14. That’s almost half the deck! This is accomplished by “borrowing” the 4 Obers and 4 Unters
from their normal places and promoting them to serve as the highest 8 Trump cards, with the lower 6 Trump cards
being the remaining cards of the Trump suit itself. Since the Obers and Unters are now part of the Trump suit, their suit
symbols serve only to distinguish their respective ranks. They no longer belong to their natural suits! The most
common Trump suit in Schafkopf is Hearts. Here is an example of the ranking of the cards when Hearts is Trump:
A 10 K 9 8 7
O O O O U U U U
A 10 K 9 8 7
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
A 10 K 9 8 7 Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
A 10 K 9 8 7
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each.
Notice that with the Obers
and Unters being used as
part of the Trump suit, the
plain suits are reduced to
6 cards each. A 10 K 9 8 7
The Deal The first dealer shuffles the pack, offers it to the player on the right to be cut, and then deals eight cards to
each player, four cards at a time, in a clockwise direction.
The Auction After the players have examined their hands, there is a round of bidding to determine who is going to
name the “contract” and attempt to take at least 61 of the 120 card points. The player to the dealer’s left starts by
either stating “I’ll play” or “I pass”. Once a player has passed, he may not bid any further in that hand. If a player bids
to play, later players may say “I’ll play also” if they wish to play a higher contract than the lowest contract (the Ace
game, more on this shortly). If 2 or more players want to “play” then the player wishing to play the higher contract
becomes the “declarer”. If 2 or more players wish to play the same contract, such as a Suit Solo, the player earlier in
the deal has priority. Once the declarer is chosen, he should again announce the contract for all to hear. If all players
pass, the hand is thrown in and the next dealer deals a new hand.
On the next page you will find the available contracts, from lowest to highest, along with their descriptions and base
payout value:
Copyright 2011 TaroBear’s Lair
http://www.tarobearslair.com/
TaroBear’s Lair presents:
Schafkopf!
Contract Description
Base
Payout
Ace Game
Trump Suit is Hearts. Declarer calls an ace (other than Hearts), the holder of which
becomes the declarer’s partner for the hand.
1 Unit
Wenz Solo
Only the 4 Unters are Trump. Obers return to their respective suits between the King
and the 9. This contract has 4 plain suits of 7 cards. Plays alone.
5 Units
Suit Solo Names any suit as Trump. Plays alone. 5 Units
The next 3 contracts are rarely played, but don’t forget them. Winning them can be very profitable! The next 3 contracts are rarely played, but don’t forget them. Winning them can be very profitable! The next 3 contracts are rarely played, but don’t forget them. Winning them can be very profitable!
Wenz Solo Tout Same as Wenz Solo, but contracting to win every trick! 10 Units
Suit Solo Tout Same as Suit Solo, but contracting to win every trick! 10 Units
Sie
Holding the top eight Trumps. Lay them out, then frame them and get a new deck! This
is an old Bavarian tradition. The framed cards are hung on the wall of the bar (or
home) where the game was played. The deck is immediately retired!
20 Units
The Ace Game If only one player bids and wishes to play an Ace game (the most common contract) there are some
requirements that his hand must meet, and some rules governing the play of the hand that both he and his partner
need to be aware of. He is going to need to be able to call a plain (non-trump) suit of which he holds at least 1 card,
but not the ace. If he cannot meet these requirements, then he cannot play an Ace game! He should not bid unless he
has a strong enough hand to play one of the Solo games.
Upon the declarer calling a suit, the person holding the Ace in that suit becomes the declarers partner for that hand,
but must not give any indication in word or gesture of his status. Nor should those who do not hold the ace make any
such announcements. The partner status will naturally be revealed through the play of the cards.
The called Ace cannot be thrown off on a trick! The first time someone leads the called suit, the partner must play the
Ace, even if he has other cards in that suit to choose from! If the holder of the ace wishes to lead the called suit, he
must do so with the ace, UNLESS he has 3 or more cards of the suit besides the ace, in which case he can lead a
lower card. This is called “running away” from the ace. After the suit has been played in this way, the Ace is now free
to be thrown off or played as desired. If the called suit is never led, then the Ace can only be played on the final trick.
Play of the Hand Once the contract has been announced and the ace called (if applicable), the player to the left of
the dealer “leads” to the first trick by placing any card from his hand face up in the center of the table. Before the
second player plays his card, if anyone on the defensive team believes that the declarer will not succeed in winning
the hand, he may “double” the stakes. If the declarer (or his partner, if applicable) still feels certain of a win, they may
redouble the contract. The “official” rules only allow for one double and one redouble, though many players allow
another round (or even two) of doubling. This, of course, is up to you, but should be agreed upon before playing starts.
Notice that the doubling and redoubling of an Ace game will result in players learning the identity of at least one of the
defense players, and if the game is redoubled by the partner, then he is also revealed in the process. Don’t miss this
information!
After the doubling round is over, the rest of the players, in turn, each play a card to the trick, observing the following
rules:
• Each player MUST play the suit which was led, if able, no matter whether it is higher or lower in rank. This is called
“following suit”. Remember that the Obers and Unters belong to the Trump suit, NOT to the suit printed on them!
• If unable to follow suit, a player may play any card he wishes. He does not have to play a trump card (unless of
course, a trump card was led).
Once everyone has played to the trick, the person who played the highest trump card, or if no trump card was played,
the highest card of the suit that was led, wins the trick and removes it from the center of the table, placing it face down
in front of him. He then “leads” to the next trick. Play continues in this fashion until all the cards have been played.
Counting the Hand and the Payout After the last trick has been played the declarer counts the points in his trick pile
and receives or pays out (on paper or with chips, dimes, etc.) according to the following table:
Copyright 2011 TaroBear’s Lair
http://www.tarobearslair.com/
Payout for Ace Game, Wenz Solo, & Suit Solo (Non-Tout) Payout for Ace Game, Wenz Solo, & Suit Solo (Non-Tout) Payout for Ace Game, Wenz Solo, & Suit Solo (Non-Tout)
If Declarer Has Won They And
61-90 Points Win Receive Base
91 Points or More Win Schneider Receive Base +1
All Tricks Win Schwarz Receive Base +2
31-60 Points Lose Pay Base
30 Points or Less Lose Schneider Pay Base +1
No Tricks Lose Schwarz Pay Base +2
If the hand has been doubled or redoubled, then double or redouble the
above payouts accordingly.
Note that in a Solo contract the declarer will pay all 3 opponents, or get
paid by all 3 opponents. In an Ace game, declarer and partner will each
pay a different opponent or get paid by different opponents.
If the hand has been doubled or redoubled, then double or redouble the
above payouts accordingly.
Note that in a Solo contract the declarer will pay all 3 opponents, or get
paid by all 3 opponents. In an Ace game, declarer and partner will each
pay a different opponent or get paid by different opponents.
If the hand has been doubled or redoubled, then double or redouble the
above payouts accordingly.
Note that in a Solo contract the declarer will pay all 3 opponents, or get
paid by all 3 opponents. In an Ace game, declarer and partner will each
pay a different opponent or get paid by different opponents.
After the payout has been made the cards are shuffled and dealt by the next dealer, and play continues as before.
There is no set way of ending a game of Schafkopf. Basically, you can set a stop-time, or simply call it quits when
everyone is too tired to continue.
Some variations:
Ramsch In case of an all-pass situation, rather than throwing in the deal, you may want to play a Ramsch hand,
where the object is to take the least amount of points possible. It is played with Hearts as the Trump suit, but everyone
plays for himself. The person winning the most points pays the other three players 2 units each. If two players tie for
most points, then the player who took the most tricks is the loser, if still equal, the player with the most Trump cards,
and if still equal, the player having the highest Trump card.
Pot Another common way to handle an all-pass situation is for everyone to put 1 unit into a pot, and this pot will be
won by the the next declarer to win an Ace game (not the partner). This is in addition to the regular payout. If the team
loses, then the declare alone must double the pot.
Matadors Currently, most players play with an added bonus, which is not included in the “official” rules. After the play
of the hand, during or after the payout, either side (offense or defense) can demand payment for their side holding in
their combined hands (as originally dealt) at least the top 3 Trumps (or at least the top 2 in a Wenz Solo). These are
referred to as Matadors. The payout is 1 unit for each Matador in the run until the succession is broken. This bonus
must be demanded, so if you are playing with this option, be sure to pay attention, since the opposition is not going to
volunteer payment! Also, most play that this bonus is subject to doubling. Most now play that if the losing team held
the top Trumps, then they pay the winning team, in which case the losing team would definitely not voluntarily admit to
having them! That doesn’t stop the winning team from noticing and demanding payment. However, if the next cut of
the cards happens before the matador payment is demanded, then it is too late!
Additional Contracts Some play with one or two additional available contracts. Some play with many more! You can
learn more about these by searching online or from the highly recommended book by David Parlett listed below.
References We recommend the following sources for information on other classic European card games, including variations of Schafkopf:
The Card Games Website, http://www.pagat.com Since 1995, the best place on the internet to find rules of card games from all over the
world.
The Penguin Book of Card Games by David Parlett (2009)
Copyright 2011 TaroBear’s Lair
http://www.tarobearslair.com/

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