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Play Schnapsen

Schnapsen is a fun trick-taking card game for 2 players, the national card game in Austria.

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Schnapsen game info

Schnapsen is a trick-taking card game from Austria. Schnapsen is so popular in Austria that it is often referred to as the national card game in Austria. Besides in Austria, Schnapsen is also played in Bavaria and in regions of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Schnapsen is played with 2 players, using 20 cards from a German-suited deck. The game is played in alternate direction (clockwise and counter-clockwise). A game takes between 5 and 10 minutes. The most closely related card game is 66 (Sechsundsechzig).

How to play Schnapsen

Cards used

Schnapsen is played with 20 cards from a German-suited deck. You can use the following correspondence between German-suited and French-suited cards:

Five cards from each of the four suits are used. In case of German-suited cards these five cards are the Deuce, 10, King, Ober, and Unter. In case of French-suited cards these five cards are the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and 10. Their ranking from highest to lowest and card points are as follows:

Deal

The dealer first shuffles the cards, and then deals the cards. First three cards to the other player (Forehand) and to himself, then a card face-up in the middle, then two more cards to each player. The rest of the cards form the stock and are placed face-down on top of the face-up card in the middle, covering half of it. The face-up card in the middle determines the trump suit. For the next hand, the other player will become the dealer.

Objective

The objective of Schnapsen is to win tricks, and reach 66 card points or more with the collected trick cards. If neither player reaches 66 points, the winner of the last trick is the winner of the hand.

Gameplay

The Forehand starts with the first trick. It is not yet required to follow suit at the start of the game. The card ranking is Deuce - 10 - King - Ober - Unter. A trump card wins from any other card from a non-trump suit. The winner of the trick takes the cards with him, and draws a new card from the stock. The other player also draws a card from the stock so both players have 5 cards again. The winner of the trick can start the next trick.

Two events can change these rules and make following suit mandatory:

When a player has the trump Unter (trump Jack) he can exchange it for the face-up card in the middle, before playing a card in the trick.

When a player has 66 points or more after winning a trick or announcing a marriage, he can go out (ausmelden). The game ends immediately.

When a player has a King and Ober (King and Queen) of the same suit in his hand, he can announce them in his turn. One of the two cards must be played in the next trick. A trump pair counts for 40 points (royal marriage). A pair of non-trump cards counts as 20 points. Note that a player needs to win at least 1 trick before these points actually count.

Scoring

Going out

If a player goes out, he receives 3, 2 or 1 game point:

If a player went out but it turns out he actually didn’t have 66 card points or more, the opponent wins the amount of points the player would have got if he had been right.

Last trick

If none of the players reaches 66 card points, the last trick decides who wins. The winner gets 1 game point.

Closed stock

If the stock was closed and the player achieves 66 card points or more, the score is based on the card points at the moment the stock is closed:

If the player doesn’t reach 66 points or the opponent reaches 66 card points first, the opponent gets 2 game points, or 3 game points if the opponent didn’t have any tricks yet at the moment the stock was closed.

Game end

Both players start with 7 game point, and subtract the game points they win. The first player to reach zero or lower wins.