Skitgubbe Rules

Posted in Feature on April 19, 2002

By Wizards of the Coast

Equipment: An ordinary deck of 52 playing cards.

Object: The last person to get rid of his or her cards in Phase 2 must make a goat noise. The object is to avoid being this person.

Setup: Shuffle the deck and set aside a single card face down. Deal 3 cards to each player and put the rest face down in the middle. The dealer is chosen randomly for the first round; for all other rounds, the dealer is the loser of the previous round.

Phase 1: Dealer leads. Other players play in turn to the trick, which ends when everyone has played a card to the trick. The highest card takes the trick (if there’s a tie for highest, see “War” below). Each player must play a card matching the highest card in the pile if possible; otherwise they may play any card they wish, including the top card of the face down pile.

If at any point you have a card that matches any card in the pile, you may slough it onto the pile if you’ve already played to the trick. If you haven’t played to the trick yet, you can still slough to match any card other than the highest. Players may slough immediately after the trick has been won, as well as during the play of the trick.

Whenever you play a card or slough a card, you immediately draw a new card.

The winner collects the cards in the trick and leads again.

Phase 1 continues until someone cannot play a card (because they have no cards in their hand). All cards in that trick return to the hands of the player who played them.

WAR: If there is a tie for highest card at the end of the trick, immediately begin a new trick involving only those who tied for highest (except that other players may still slough as above); leader of the trick is the tying person who played first in the original trick. Recurse as necessary, with the final winner collecting all the cards.

Interphase: Show the hidden card; it stays set aside, but its suit is declared the trump suit. Everyone’s hand is whatever they won in phase 1, except that all players who have fewer than 6 cards (counting cards they won in tricks and any cards in hand that they have left over) must split the DRECK: all cards 2-5 plus the 6 of trump (everyone takes the dreck out of their hands, it’s shuffled, and then it’s distributed among the dreck victims).

Phase 2: The leader is whoever took the last trick in phase 1. Cards may be played in runs of a single suit (e.g. 4-5-6 of spades); such runs count for all purposes as single cards. Play rotates around the table; if it’s your turn to play you must either beat whatever is on the table (following with a higher card or run of the same suit or playing a trump higher than any trump in the trick) or else you must pick up the lowest card or run. Play on a given trick continues until

  1. the last card in the trick is taken up into someone’s hand, in which case the next player to the left leads, or
  2. the trick is KILLED: n played cards in the trick are on the table, where n is the number of players who were active in the game when the trick was begun (remember a run counts as 1 card). In this case the last player to play to the trick leads (or the next active player to the last player’s left, if the last player has gone out). Set aside any cards in a killed trick.

Note: runs “melt together” for purposes of pickup, but not for purposes of counting number of cards played towards killing the trick; thus if 2-3 of spades is played, and then 4-5-6 of spades is played, there are still two tricks on the table, but if someone picks up they must pick up 2-3-4-5-6 of spades.

If a player empties his or her hand, they are said to have gone out, and they are no longer active in any way in the game.

The last player to go out must make a goat noise.

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