Skitgubbe

15 Feb

Play with 2 to 6 players and a 52-card deck. To begin the first phase, place one card aside, face down, then deal three cards to each player. The suit order is A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K. Throughout the entire first phase, a player must immediately draw a card after removing one from his hand so that he always holds three cards. The winner of the last trick (or the loser of the last game in the case of the first trick) leads, after which each player plays a single card going clockwise. Any card may be played. At any time during a trick, or immediately afterwards, a player may slough a card of equal rank to a card that has been played to that trick (that is, put the card on the table, aside from the other cards). A sloughed card is not played in the sense that other cards are played; they count for nothing except that they are given to the player who wins the trick. Under no circumstances may a player slough a card of equal rank to the highest card played in a trick until he has played his card in that trick. The player who played the highest-ranked card (ignore suits) collects all the cards played and sloughed in that trick, places them into his collection of cards he has won, and begins the next trick. If two or more players tie for the highest card, they have a private trick, where only they play cards (although any player may slough to such a trick). A tie here leads to further private tricks between the tied players, until a final winner takes all the cards from the original tricks and all private tricks. When there are no cards left in the deck, the last trick is underway (if this occurs after the last card to a trick is played or during post-trick sloughing, begin a final trick; otherwise, finish the current trick). No sloughing may be done in this trick until after it has finished, and naturally no cards can be drawn either. Any cards remaining in players’ hands are added to their stack of collected cards.

Turn over the abandoned card to determine trumps. Each player’s set of accumulated cards becomes their hand. The suit order now changes for the second phase, so that aces are high rather than low and trump cards are higher than all else. Whoever took the last trick starts. Play moves clockwise, with each player either playing a card or a set of two or more consecutive cards of the same suit higher than the last. A set of 5-6-7 of spades will beat the 4 of spades, but will be bested by the 8 of spades which will, in turn, be beaten by the 2 of the trump suit. Only trump cards or cards of the suit led may be played to a trick in the second phase. If a player is unwilling or unable to beat the last card played, he must pick it up and play passes to the next person. A run of consecutive cards count as one card here, even if two runs that are placed together into one longer run were placed there by two different players. The next player will only have to beat the second-highest card, as the highest was already taken by the last player and is no longer on the table. This could theoretically continue for the rest of the game, with cards being placed down and taken into player’s hands. More typically, however, a trick in the second phase will end in one of two ways. If there are no cards left on the table as they were all taken by players, the player to the left of the last player to pick up cards starts the next trick. If the number of cards on the table is equal to the number of players who hadn’t run out of cards in their hand at the beginning of the trick, the trick ends, the cards discarded, and the last player to play a card starts the next trick. In the latter case, runs of cards do count as single cards, however two side-by-side runs played by two different players count as two distinct cards, even though they wouldn’t for the purposes of picking up cards (so if one player plays 5-6 and the next 7-8-9, they count as two cards in order to determine whether the trick has ended but a player who cannot or will not beat the 9 will need to pick up the cards from 5 to 9).

A player with no remaining cards takes no further part in the game. The last player to have cards in his hand is the loser and, by implication, a goat. The other players remark: “du luktar som en get” (Swedish for “you smell like a dirty goat”) and the goat is obliged to make the appropriate goat sounds in meek and ineffectual protest.

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