Skat was developed by the members of the Brommesche Tarok-Gesellschaft between 1810 and 1817 in Altenburg, in what is now the Federated State of Thuringia, Germany, based on the three-player game of Tarock, also known as Tarot, and the four-player game of Schafkopf (the American equivalent being She...
Skat was developed by the members of the Brommesche Tarok-Gesellschaft between 1810 and 1817 in Altenburg, in what is now the Federated State of Thuringia, Germany, based on the three-player game of Tarock, also known as Tarot, and the four-player game of Schafkopf (the American equivalent being Sheepshead). It has become the most loved and widely played German card game, especially in German-speaking regions. In the earliest known form of the game, the player in prior position was dealt twelve cards to the other players' ten each, made two discards, constituting the skat, and then announced a contract. But the main innovation of this new game was then that of the Bidding process.
Skat is a game for exactly three players. At the beginning of each deal, one player becomes declarer and the other two players become the defending team. The two defenders are not allowed to communicate in any way except by their choice of cards to play. The game can also be played in a round of four players; in this case, the dealer will sit out the hand that was dealt.
A central aspect of the game are the three coexisting varieties called “suit game”, “Grand” and “Null”, that differ in suit order, scoring and even overall goal to achieve.
Each deal starts with a bidding phase to determine declarer and type of game. Then, ten tricks are played, allowing players to take trick points: each card has a face value (except in Null games) and is worth that amount in points for the player winning the trick. The total face value of all cards being 120 points, declarer's goal is to take at least 61 points in tricks in order to win the deal. Otherwise, the defending team wins the deal. Points from tricks are not directly added to the players' overall score, they are only used to determine the outcome of the deal (win or loss for declarer), although winning by certain margins may increase the score for that deal.
After each deal a score is awarded, depending on the type of deal, how high it was won (or lost) and bidding calls that had been made. Generally, if declarer wins he or she scores a positive amount, otherwise the score is doubled and subtracted from declarer's tally (i.e. a negative score).