Game by Karl-Heinz Schmiel.
Published by Moskito Games.
Translated by John Webley.
Was Sticht (What trumps? or, What stings?) is a card game for 3 or 4 players from 12 years old. The following rules apply to the game with 4 players, you will find the special rules for a game with 3 players at the end of these rules.
There are also 4 blank cards, necessary as part of the manufacturing process, these are not used in the game.
Was Sticht is, as the title says, a card game with trumps and trick taking, using both trump suits and trump numbers. Players attempt to win tricks in the same way as in Skat or Bridge. But that's only half of the game. You can win the game without taking a single trick, or by making exactly one trick, or by not winning any trick with a blue card in it. It all depends on which task you have set yourself. But that still isn't the whole game. In order to be able to carry out your task to perfection, you can choose your own cards. So there's nothing stopping you winning, execpt that there are other players, and they will be doing their best to stop you because the first player to complete all their tasks is the winner.
A Dealer is chosen, using whatever method you prefer. The task chips are laid out face upwards on the table and the Dealer chooses one. Players follow in a clockwise direction until each player has 5 chips. The remaining chips are replaced in the box. The task chips determine what task a player must carry out in that round. The exact meaning of each chip is given on the last page of these rules. In the corner of each chip is a number. These give an idea of the relative difficulty of the various tasks. The higher the number, the harder the task is to complete. The numbers also act as a tie-splitting device should several players go out in the same round.
The game consists of several separate rounds. The game continues until a player has completed all his tasks. Each round consists of the following phases.
As we have already said, the players are allowed to choose their own cards. But watch out! Only the Dealer knows what trumps are in this round. The other players must first deduce which suit and number are trumps.
The Dealer takes the 36 playing cards, the 5 trump colour cards, and the 10 trump number cards and shuffles the three decks seperately. The Dealer then looks secretly at the bottom card of the trump colour and trump number decks. These two cards determine the trumps for the next round. The trump numbers rank higher than the trump suit. If the bottom card is "no trump suit" (keine Trumpffarbe) or "no trump number" (kein Trumpfnummer) then there is no trump suit and/or trump number in that round. An example of the trump order is given in section 3, The Trick Game).
Now the Dealer lays out the cards in 4 rows each of nine cards, see illustration).
The player to the left of the Dealer takes the wooden place marker. They then choose one card from the leftmost column of four cards. The other players in turn each choose a card from this column. Once the cards from the first column have been taken, the Dealer gives a clue as to trumps. The four cards are treated as if they made up one trick, and the Dealer must say which player would have won this "trick". Naturally he must take into consideration which cards, if any, in the trick are trumps. The other players must use these clues to discover as quickly as possible, what the trumps are for the round. Then the wooden place marker is passed to the next player in clockwise order and they choose a card from the second column, followed by the other three players. Once again the Dealer must say who would have won the trick. These actions are repeated until all the cards have been taken.
The trump suit is Red and the Trump number 2: Player A has the wooden marker, Player C is the Dealer in this round and so knows what trumps are:
The cards are Red 3, Blue 7, Red 6, Yellow 2
Player C now announces that Player A led and that he (Player C), would have taken the trick. He does not need to say anything more. In particular he should avoid comments like "I won because it was the trump number". The longer that the Dealer can keep the other players in the dark about the trump suit and number, the better it is for him.
Once all the cards have been taken the Dealer turns over the trump suit and trump number decks, to show all players which suit and number cards are trumps.
Each player, with the exception of the Dealer now chooses one of their task chips, the one that they think that they are most likely to manage in this round. They keep this secret until all three players have chosen. Then, all chips are turned face upwards. Chips may only be discarded if the tasks are correctly carried out.
The Dealer doesn't choose a chip. Instead they must attempt to succeed in carrying out one of the three tasks chosen by the other players. If they manage this, then they may discard any of their own chips. However, they may only do this if the player whose task they have chosen fails to carry it out. If both Dealer and the player manage the task, then the player may discard the chip but the Dealer may not.
The Dealer therefore decides, which of the three tasks available they will choose, but they need not declare this, and it may be that they will need to change their objective during the course of the round.
Now you can get trumping. The rules are the same as most trick taking games, for example Skat. The exact rules are as follows.
The player to Dealer's left leads to the first trick.
Each player plays a card in turn, in clockwise order.
Players must follow the suit lead where possible.
The suit led is high, it can only be beaten by a higher card in the same suit or by a trump.
If a trump is led, then other players must follow where possible. This is true both for the trump suit and for the trump number. If the trumps are red 3 for example, a lead of a red card means that the following players must, if possible, play either a red card, or a 3. If a 3 is lead in another suit, it still counts as a trump, and the following players must again, if they have one, play either a red card or a 3.
Where a player cannot follow suit, they need not play a trump if they choose not to.
The player who wins the trick leads to the next trick.
Trumps are cards of the trump suit and number trumps. Number trumps outrank suit trumps. The highest number trump is the number trump of the trump suit. This "supertrump" outranks all other cards. The other number trumps are all of equal velue. If two or more are played in one trick, the first played wins the trick.
The ranking of the Trumps: Trump suit Red, Trump Number 5.
If the trumps were Trump Number 5, No Trump Suit; then the 4 number 5 cards would be the only trumps. If the trumps were Trump Suit Red, No Trump Number; then the only trumps would be the red cards from 9 down to 1.
At the end of each round, players who have correctly carried out their task discard their chip. The discarded chips should be put somewhere visible, so that the players can see how well each is doing. The Dealer may only discard a chip if they have succeeded in carrying out a task that the player who played the chip has failed in, (see point 2) Determining Tasks).
After each round the post of Dealer passes one player to the left so that all the players can enjoy the power of knowing what trumps are in turn. All other positions change along with the Dealer, ie the player to the left of the new Dealer leads to the first trick.
The game ends as soon as one player has carried out all his tasks and so discards his last chip. This player wins. If two or more players discard their last chip in the same round, the winner is the player who has discarded chips of the highest value, (the point values in the corner of each chip are added together for each player). In this case, positions are decided purely by the value of the discarded chips. The number of discarded tiles is irrelevant to these positions.
The rules for 3 player games are largely the same as for 4 Players. Only in the section 1) Choosing cards do they differ slightly. In this case the "Table" plays as a dummy player.
The cards are laid out in 4 rows of 9 cards as usual. The 3 players each choose a card from the first column as usual. The fourth card is then laid to one side. This is repeated for each column until all cards have been taken. The 9 cards that the "Table" has taken are then put away, and play no further part in the round.
In the 3 player game, the given point values for the various tasks are not quite accurate. Some tasks are easier than in a 4 player game, some more difficult. Players shoud bear this in mind when choosing their tasks.
Distributed by Mike Siggins from The Sumo Rules Bank
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell