Contributions for the The Playing Card (TPC), journal of the International Playing Card Society. [IPCS] Here you can download my articles.
While Grosstarock is a game where players can try to achieve different objects, it turns out that throughout its history it was most popular with the ultimo element, a high score for winning the last trick with a card that is at the same time valuable and vulnerable. [TPC 44/2 (2015), modern Danish rules]
Skat, which used to be the “national card game” of Germany, was invented in Altenburg in 1810. The inventors turned the 4-player folk game Schafkopf into a 3-player game “mit Skat” (with discard) by adapting the mode of play of the immensly popular Tarock Hombre. [TPC 44/3 (2016)]
A previously unknown handwritten rule sheet for Tarock Hombre was discovered in the collection of Gerd Matthes (Altenburg). [Spielkartensammmler] “Regeln des Tarock-spiels à l’hombre in Beziehung auf die dabei festgesetzten Strafen,” Prague and Vienna. There is not date but the handwriting appears to be pre-1800. The document was commissioned by a “Compagnie” but is not clear who that was. [Transcript and scan]
Tarock Hombre vanished from the scene in Berlin after the Napoleonic wars. The investigation of the reasons brings forth a copyright case and explains much of the German game book history of the 19th century. [TPC 45/4 (2017)]
Schafkopf (sheepshead) is still a very popular game in Germany, mostly in its double-deck form Doppelkopf and as Bayerischer Schafkopf. Both variants feature variable partnerships from deal to deal. The old form with fixed partnerships is played only in a few places. One of them is in Erfweiler in the Platinate forest as “Bauernstoss.” [TPC 47/3 (2019), rules] (Together with John McLeod) The more popular variant of Schafkopf in the Palatinate resembles Bavarian Schafkopf. [Rules] There is also a negative variant of Schieberamsch. [Rules]
This is a form of Tapp Tarock played in Central Baden, around Rastatt, which feels like the ancestor of the format. The article has a little speculation about the evolution of the games. [TPC 47/2 (2018), rules]
weltexperiment.com・document 19100 (2020-11-13) ・revision 20830 (2020-11-13)・Ulf Martin Mail Telegram