- Deal 10 cards each, in ones, from a 52-card pack ranking AKQJ1098765432 in each suit. Deal the last two cards face down to the table. These two constitute the "squint". (Any resemblance to a "skat" is purely fortuitous.)
Examine your hand, decide on a bid, pick a card to represent it, and hold it face
down on the table. The possible bids and the cards used to represent them are:
To bid this Show this Win 6+ tricks at no trump (solo) Any Ace Win 6+ tricks with trumps (solo) K, Q or J of your proposed trump Misère: win 0 tricks at no trump (solo) Any Deuce None of the above Any numeral from 3 to 10 of your preferred trump suit
1. If anyone puts out an Ace, the contract is an Ace solo. There is no trump, and the Ace-bidder aims to win 6 or more tricks. If there are two Ace-bidders they both play as individuals. (But at least one of them will lose!)
2. If anyone puts out a Deuce they play a Misère. There is no trump and they aim to lose every trick. If there are both Ace and Deuce bidders, they all play their contracts simultaneously and as individuals.
3. If anyone puts out a court card, and there are no Aces or Deuces showing, the contract is a Grand Solo in the suit of the bid-card and the soloist aims to win 6 or more tricks. If two or more bid a court solo, the soloist is the one who bid with the highest-ranking court (K beats Q beats J). If still equal, it is the eldest hand (i.e. the bidder nearest the dealer's left).
4. If the bid-cards do not include any Ace, Deuce or court card, the contract depends on the combination of suits shown on the five bid-cards as follows:
2-2-1Whoever called the odd suit (in this case ) plays solo with that suit as trump, and aims to win more tricks than any single opponent. It is therefore just possible to win with three tricks if the others divide 2-2-2-1.2-1-1-1The two calling the same suit (in this case ) make their joint suit trump and play as partners against the other three with the aim of winning at least six tricks.3-2The two calling the same suit (in this case ) make their joint suit trump and play as partners against the other three with the aim of winning at least six tricks.3-1-1NEMO: no partners, no trumps: everyone individually aims to avoid taking cards of the majority suit (here ) in tricks.4-1SOLO if the odd-suit bidder calls it ( trump), otherwise NEMO (no trump, avoid taking spades)5-0NEMO: as 3-1-1
- The squint
Before play begins it is possible for one or more players to make
use of the squint. Who and how depend on the contract, as follows:
Solo The soloist may take the squint into hand and make any two discards in its place. Electing not to do so, and playing "from the hand" instead, doubles the score, whether won or lost.
[Recent revision.] There may be two soloists, or even more, it being theoretically possible for two to bid an Ace solo and two or three a Deuce solo. In this case each soloist in turn, starting with the first to the dealer's left and proceeding leftwards, takes the squint, then from his enlarged hand passes two cards face down to the next left soloist. This continues up to the last soloist, who concludes by making two discards face up (for information) in place of the squint. Any soloist may decline to take the two proffered cards by simply passing them on, thereby doubling his or her potential score.
Duo Each member of the partnership may take one card of the squint into hand and make one discard in its place. Electing to play "from the hand" instead doubles the score. However, they may only play from the hand if both agree to do so.
Nemo The player at dealer's left takes the squint into hand and passes two unwanted cards to their left-hand neighbour. That player, and each in turn thereafter, passes any two cards to the left until the dealer is reached, who concludes by making two discards face up (for information) in place of the squint.
- The opening lead is now always made by the player at dealer's left [under revised rules dated 2010]. You must follow suit if you can, but may play any card if you can't. The trick is taken by the highest card of the suit led, or by the highest trump if any are played, and the winner of each trick leads to the next.
Scores are kept individually and cumulatively, and can fall below zero.
Each soloist (in a solo) or partner (in a duo) or individual (in a nemo)
scores as follows:
Contract Target Score if win Deduct if lose Ace solo 6+ no trump 20 per trick taken over 5 20 per trick taken under 6 Deuce solo 0 no trump 25 25 Grand Solo 6+ in suit 15 per trick taken over 5 15 per trick taken under 6 Duo 6+ in suit 10 per trick taken over 5 10 per trick taken under 6 Solo most in suit 10 per trick taken over 2 5 per trick taken by
whichever opponent took most
Nemo clean tricks 10 per trick containing no card of the specified suit, or 20 per trick for taking none at all of that suit. There is no score for winning no trick. (You should have bid misère!) NOTE: These scores are doubled in games played from the hand
- Play up to 150 points, or to any other agreed target score, or for a previously agreed number of deals. Or, to put it another way, keep playing till you're fed up with it.