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Quiz about Skatological basics
Quiz about Skatological basics

Skat-ological basics Trivia Quiz


No, there's nothing dirty here. Skat is the German national card game and one of the few strategic trick taking games for three players. Explore its rules and learn some basic strategy along the way! (Intended for casual to intermediate players.)

A multiple-choice quiz by WesleyCrusher. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
399,829
Updated
Dec 28 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
120
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. To play a card game, you'll of course need a deck. Which configuration would you use to play Skat?
Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Skat is of course the name of the game, but it also has a very specific meaning inside the game. What is "the Skat"? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. There are three main official game types in Skat. Which is NOT one of them? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. You have decided on a game to play and have figured out its base value. To find its final value, you need to consider a second factor. Which aspect of the cards you hold (including the Skat), is very important in this calculation? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Bidding in Skat is called "reizen" in German. Which of the following represents some possible bids by a player? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Apart from the jacks being trumps, you also need to remember the order of precedence of cards taking tricks. Which is the correct order, assuming a non-Null game? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Once the solo player has decided on the game to play, who will lead for the first trick? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Like in most trick-taking games, Skat requires players to follow suit (trumps being considered one suit - jacks included). If you are void in the suit played, however, what cards can you play? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Once all ten tricks are played, it's time to see who won the hand. In Null, this is easy - if the solo player takes a trick, they lose, if they take none, they win. How do you determine the winner in a suit or Grand game (with no special announcements)? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. If you have a really good hand, there are several modifiers you could apply to your game to make it score more. Which is NOT one of them? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. To play a card game, you'll of course need a deck. Which configuration would you use to play Skat?

Answer: 32 cards, Ace to Seven

Skat uses a 32 card deck with the values of Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8 and 7 in the usual four suits. Tournament decks are slightly different from what you may be used to because they have green spades and yellow diamonds.

Traditionally, Skat was played both with the standard "French" suits and with the German suits of acorns (clubs), leaves (spades), hearts (hearts) and bells (diamonds). The variant colors make it easy for a player used to German suits to immediately visually match the suits by color.
2. Skat is of course the name of the game, but it also has a very specific meaning inside the game. What is "the Skat"?

Answer: The kitty, consisting of two cards

As Skat is played with 32 cards and 3 players, it is impossible to evenly deal out all cards. The two cards left over after allocating each player a hand of 10 cards are set aside face down during the deal as the kitty, called the Skat. After bidding, the high bidder becomes the solo player and is allowed to pick up the Skat, then discard two cards to form a new Skat, before naming trumps. Alternatively, the solo player can set the Skat aside unseen, called "playing Hand". In either case, any trick points contained in the two cards set aside will count for the solo player, giving them a head start.

The official way to deal a hand of Skat is 3 cards to each player in one bunch, starting with the dealer's left neighbor, then place the Skat, then deal 4 to each player, then again 3. Tournaments are typically played with 4-player tables where the dealer will sit out each hand, preventing possible cheating during the deal. In tournaments, the official deal sequence is required (any other sequence is a misdeal even if every player winds up with the right number of cards), most casual rounds will also ask that it be observed.
3. There are three main official game types in Skat. Which is NOT one of them?

Answer: Répèchage

Most of the time, you will bid for and play a game in which one of the four suits is called as trump. In suit games, the four jacks - in descending order clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds - and the seven remaining cards of each suit. A clubs game has a base value of 12, spades is worth 11, hearts 10 and diamonds is 9. A Grand game, which has no trumps except the four Jacks, has a base value of 24. All base values are subject to a multiplier based on trump holdings and other factors.

Null (nil) games are different in that they do not have a base value but rather a fixed value. A basic Null (picking up the Skat) is worth 23, a Null Hand (leaving the Skat untouched) is 35. Null can also be played with an open (exposed) hand, which of course allows the opponents to see any weakness in the hand - but its value increases to 46, or 59 if also played Hand.

Those values are important to remember. You'll see soon why!
4. You have decided on a game to play and have figured out its base value. To find its final value, you need to consider a second factor. Which aspect of the cards you hold (including the Skat), is very important in this calculation?

Answer: How many top trumps you are holding or missing

This calculation is probably the most complicated aspect of Skat for beginners but vital to master because you need it to determine how high you can bid. If you hold the highest trump, the jack of clubs, you count how many of the top trumps you hold in an uninterrupted sequence (a "with" count). If you miss it, you count how many of them you have missing until you encounter one you have (a "without" count). A few examples - in each case, we assume you want to play hearts and hold the ace, 9, 8 and 7 in the suit.

Jack of clubs, jack of spades, jack of diamonds: With 2. You are missing the jack of hearts which would be the third in line, so the diamonds one does not count for your sequence.
Jack of diamonds: Without 3. You are short the three best trumps (this is still a winnable game if your remaining hand is good enough)
No jacks at all: Without 4. Your best trump is the ace of hearts, which is the fifth highest trump. This would likely be a lost cause however.
All four jacks: With 5. With this holding, you have five from the top - not only the jacks, but the ace as well.

Of course, in a Grand, you can have a maximum of with or without 4 - there are only four trumps.

Got that? Great, now add one to that number (the "game" point) and then multiply by your base value. So

Diamonds (9), with 1, game 2 = 18 (the lowest possible game).
Spades (11), without 3, game 4 = 44
Grand (24), with 4, game 5 = 120.

That number is how high you can bid.
5. Bidding in Skat is called "reizen" in German. Which of the following represents some possible bids by a player?

Answer: 18, 23, 36, 40 and 59

Skat uses a numeric auction in which players bid possible game values or pass. The player bidding for the highest valued game will play alone against the two others. Unlike in Bridge, passing even once removes a player from the auction.

1 hearts, 3 spades, 4 no trump, 5 diamonds and double are bridge calls while Normal, Marriage, Geier, Wenz and Solo are game types and calls for Doppelkopf.

Spiel, Hand, Schneider, Schwarz and Ouvert are modifiers applied to Skat games that will affect your final game value, but they are not announced during bidding.

Unlike in Bridge, you are not bound to your exact last bid for your game. You can play any game that has at least the value of your last bid. So, if you plan to play hearts, with 2, you can bid up to 30 - but you can still play that game, even if you become the high bidder earlier in the process.
6. Apart from the jacks being trumps, you also need to remember the order of precedence of cards taking tricks. Which is the correct order, assuming a non-Null game?

Answer: Ace, ten, king, queen, nine, eight, seven

If you're used to Spades or Bridge, having the ten as the second highest card takes getting used to. This ranking exists because of the trick point values of the cards - aces are worth 11, tens 10, kings 4, queens 3 and jacks 2 while the other cards count nothing, for a total of 30 points per suit and 120 overall. If the ten were below the queen, it would depend too much on luck who winds up with it.

Null games, which have no trumps (not even the jacks) and don't count points, do rank the jack and ten normally, so in a Null, it's ace, king, queen, jack, ten, nine, eight, seven. Don't worry, it becomes second nature really quickly. In fact, the jacks and tens being lower ranked in Null can sometimes mean that you can save a game where you found two unwanted low cards in the Skat by declaring Null.
7. Once the solo player has decided on the game to play, who will lead for the first trick?

Answer: The player to the left of the dealer

Unlike in Bridge where the first lead always goes to the defending side, in Skat, the initial lead is determined by dealer position, and this has major implications on the winning chances of the solo player. In non-Null games, the solo player has the best chances as the lead, weaker chances if going third (left hand opponent leads) and the worst ones if in the middle (right hand opponent leads) - if the defense can both choose the lead and react to the solo player's card, they have a major advantage. Many hands that are easy Grand games in the lead are at best suit games, sometimes even unplayable when in the middle.

Once again, Null games are different - there are quite a few Null hands that are guaranteed wins when in either non-lead position but can easily lose from the lead. The reason is that a combination like seven-nine is always safe when responding (play the seven if the eight was played, otherwise the nine), but if you lead from it, it falls to an eight opposed by a void.
8. Like in most trick-taking games, Skat requires players to follow suit (trumps being considered one suit - jacks included). If you are void in the suit played, however, what cards can you play?

Answer: You can play any card you want

Apart from having to follow suit if possible, there are no restrictions on what cards you can play to a trick. If you must follow, you can do so both with a high or low card and if you are void, you can play whatever you want, although, of course, a non-trump card outside the suit led will never win the trick.

For the defending side, this is a very powerful tool, because it allows a player to try and dump a vulnerable high value card (most often a ten) on a trick won by his partner. Setting up opportunities for your partner to secure otherwise lost points this way is the most important defense tactic in the game.

As declarer, you will most often want to trump a void suit, but sometimes it can be advantageous to dump a lower ranked card that would probably lose its trick anyway, ideally creating a new void suit.
9. Once all ten tricks are played, it's time to see who won the hand. In Null, this is easy - if the solo player takes a trick, they lose, if they take none, they win. How do you determine the winner in a suit or Grand game (with no special announcements)?

Answer: The solo player must have at least 61 trick points

To win a hand, you first need to score more than half of the trick points - ties go to the defenders. As there are 120 points available, the solo player thus needs to have at least 61 of them, but remember that the Skat counts towards those, even in a Hand game. So if you originally tucked away a ten and a king, you only need to make 47 more points from the actual tricks. Next to creating voids, storing away a few safe points this way is one of the main ways to improve your hand with the Skat.

But - before you now gloat and write down your winning game value, be sure you actually have fulfilled your bid. Let's say you have planned on playing clubs, without 3, and bid 40. Then you pick up the Skat and there's the jack of clubs. Now the game is only worth 24 (with 1) instead of 48 (without 3), so you've lost unless you can get some extra multipliers - or, of course, you could reevaluate your hand before declaring and decide a Grand is a possibility - the extra jack certainly comes in handy for that!
10. If you have a really good hand, there are several modifiers you could apply to your game to make it score more. Which is NOT one of them?

Answer: Kontra

Schneider and Schwarz are modifiers based on taking more than the minimum of trick points - Schneider requires 90 points on the winning side and Schwarz is the equivalent of a grand slam: taking all ten tricks (merely 120 points while conceding a 0-point trick is not enough). Each of them is worth an extra multiplier, so if you play spades (11), with 3, and take all tricks, you'd count with 3, game 4, Schneider 5, Schwarz 6 for a total of 66.

It gets even better when you play Hand though - in that case, you can announce Schneider and/or Schwarz. Once you do so, you must make that level or you lose, but the announcements add one more multiplier. So if you play diamonds (9) Hand, without 1, Schneider announced and make it, you count without 1, game 2, Hand 3, Schneider 4, Schneider announced 5, for a nice 45 instead of a paltry 27.

Ouvert is the ultimate declaration. If you want to declare ouvert on a Grand or suit game, you must play Hand, announce Schwarz, and expose your entire hand before the first lead so the opponents can do everything to take a trick with full information. If you get the hand of the century - four jacks, four aces, and two tens, for example and then declare a Grand (24) ouvert, you score yourself with 4, game 5, Hand 6, Schneider 7, Schneider announced 8, Schwarz 9, Schwarz announced 10, Ouvert 11 for a whopping 264 score - but the bragging rights and the feeling of actually having played this game are worth far more. If you're keen on experiencing this, you should better find a regular group and play every week, however - these games are about as rare as a hole in one in golf, if not rarer.

Kontra, by the way, is a popular but unofficial variant rule that allows the opponents to double a game's value if they think the solo player will lose. It's essentially the same as a double in Bridge, and just like in that game, the solo player can redouble ("Re"). Tournaments do not allow these doubles - tournament scoring is designed to reward consistent winning of hands over single spectacular score swings.
Source: Author WesleyCrusher

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Bruyere before going online.
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