German Card Game

The German card game

The German deck of cards is one of the oldest on the European continent and allowed the later evolution towards other types of cards more popular in modern times, such as the French deck. It therefore has a great tradition and many different games. In For Cards Lovers we will show you all kinds of information and games about the German card game.

History of the German card game

The origin of the German bridge is unclear, but it is assumed that in the middle of the 14th century, with the appearance of the first Spanish bridges, which were brought from the East by the Arabs, some initial modifications were made to them, giving the German bridge a later origin.

Number of cards in the German card game

The German card deck originally consisted of 13 cards numbered one to ten and three digits; over time, the numbers 2 to 5 disappeared, leaving only the 6 to 10 and the three court cards; and one of them became a top card, similar to the Ace in the French card deck.

The numbers in the German deck of cards are: Unter (low serf), Ober (high serf) and König (king). The difference between the Unter and Ober cards is indicated by the position of the figure representing the suit; in the former, the suit is at the bottom of the figure, in the latter, at the top of the figure. Kings are recognized by their crowns.

The result was a deck of cards with thirty-six cards.

The German Card Game Signs

The German deck modifies the clovers of the Spanish deck with: bells, leaves, hearts and acorns.

As in the Spanish card game, they also represent society. In this case, the bells represented the nobility, the leaves represented the merchants, the hearts the clergy and the acorns the people.

To complete the symbolism, the four signs also represent the four seasons: hearts represent spring, bells represent summer, leaves represent autumn and acorns represent winter.

The main games in the German deck of cards

With the German card game, you can play a variety of fun games. Among them are card games to play alone, in pairs or in groups where the objectives of the game can be very different.

In this section, we present the most popular and fun games:

  • Skat

Skat is one of the most popular card games in Germany. You need 3 players to play it.

The purpose of skat is to commit to a certain contract in the game against the other two players and to fulfill this commitment. In each game, one of the three players plays to fulfil the declared contract and against the other two.

The contract is established through an auction in which the three actors can participate. The highest bidder wins the auction and becomes the declarer, who will play against the pair of opponents who will meet temporarily to defeat the declarer.

Ten cards are dealt to each player. The 2 remaining cards are left face down on the table and make up the skat that gives the game its name. The declaring player can take these two cards and join them with the cards in his hand, discarding two of them to balance the number of cards in hand, or he can leave them on the table.

Declarations are made after the cards have been removed from the skat and the declarant has discarded or after the declarant has indicated that he does not take the skat and leaves both cards in front of him. This is then called a hand game.

After the tenth round, the declarer counts the points earned. If he has made 61 or more, or 90 or more, he wins and scores his bid; if he has not managed to win these points, he loses the game and the points of his bid.

  • Reihe

El Reihe is a game for 2 to 15 players. The object of the game is to be the first player to discard at each turn, i.e. to be the first to run out of cards.

To play Reihe, all cards are dealt. The first player to play is the player to the right of the one who dealt, which places an eight (of any suit) face up on the table, if that player does not have an eight he will continue the next on his right.

Then the player on the right plays. He must place the seven or nine in the same suit next to the eight, or place another eight face up.

Players complete the eight suits by placing the cards up and down. When a player cannot place a card, they take their turn and play the next one. It is forbidden to pass when the player has a minimum chance.

  • Jass

Jass's goal is to accumulate 1,000 points from the combinations of cards and tricks he has obtained.
In its basic form, it can be played with two, three or four players, who play individually, although in the case of four players, they can form two pairs facing each other.
There is a special suit called Trump, whose cards beat other suits, regardless of their relative value. In Jass, this suit is determined by drawing lots, the uncovering of a card.
Each player draws his or her card in the order of the turns, which in Jass is from right to left. Players must play a card of the same colour as the starting card and higher than the previous player's card in order to win the round. If a player does not have a card of the starting suit, they must play a trump card.
If there is no turn in the round, the player who threw the highest card of the starting colour wins the round. If there are trumps, the player who played the highest trump card wins the round. The winner of one trick wins the next.

Bibliography consulted

Forcardslovers was created by a group of card game enthusiasts. is a website where we share the meaning and the interpretation of cartomancy, as well as our favourite games with the different cards that exist in the world and, moreover, you can play online the card games of the moment. Enter and discover also different magic tricks to surprise your family or friends!