OBJECT OF DOPPELKOPF: The object of Doppelkopf is to score enough points in a round to earn game points. 


MATERIALS: Two modified 52-card decks, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Doppelkopf is a 4-player trick-taking card game. It is played over a series of rounds that should be determined before the game begins. Players will play in different partnerships determined through the bidding of each round. 

The goal of the game is to score game points, but to do this players must first score enough points in a round to earn them. Points in the round are scored by winning tricks and scoring them based on the cards in them. Certain thresholds will need to be met to score game points and these differ depending on the partnership you are apart of and the announcements and bidding made during the game. 


First, the decks must be modified. Each deck will have the 8 and lower cards removed. This leaves in total for the whole deck, two of each card of suit and rank for the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10, and 9s. 

The first dealer is chosen at random. The dealer will pass to the left for each new round. The dealer shuffles the cards and the player to their right should cut the deck. Then each player receives three cards at a time, clockwise, until all cards are dealt out.  

Cards Ranking and Values

For most rounds played the deck follows the following rankings. The cards rank separately for each suit and the suits also have a ranking. The trump suit is the highest-ranked suit and is ranked 10 of hearts (high), Queen of clubs, Queen of spades, Queen of hearts, queen of diamonds, jack of clubs, Jack of spades, Jack of hearts, Jack of diamonds, Ace of diamonds, 10 of diamonds, King of diamonds, and 9 of diamonds (low). The next ranked suit is the clubs and it contains the Ace of clubs (high), 10 of clubs, King of clubs and 9 of clubs (low). The next ranked suit is spades and contains the Ace of spades (high), 10 of spades, King of spades, and 9 of spades (low). The lowest-ranked suit is hearts and contains the Ace of hearts (high), King of hearts, and 9 of hearts (low). 

The cards also have values attached to them. All aces are worth 11 points. 10s are worth 10 points. Kings are worth 4 points. Queens are worth 3 points. Jacks are worth 2 points, and all other cards hold no point values. This means there are 240 points obtainable each round. 


Once hands are dealt players enter a round of bidding. It starts with the player to the dealers left. Each player may either bid for a normal (“healthy”) game or a modified (“reservation”) game. if all players say normal then a traditional round of Doppelkopf is played.

If, however, one or more players call for a modified game each player gets another turn to declare which kind of game they wish to play. They are ranked Marriage, Poverty, and solo from lowest to highest. The player who bids for the highest game type first wins the bid. 


There are four different types of games: Normal, Marriage, Poverty, and solo. They all have differences and determine partnerships differently.


For normal games, the partners are determined by the players who hold the two queens of clubs. These two, or one, players are on a team and the remaining players are against them. Players do not share this information and players may not know who is on their team till later in the round if at all. When a single player has the two queens of clubs then this is also called a silent solo. 


Usually, if a player holds both the Queens of clubs, they will try to get a marriage called. In this type of game, it is played nearly identically to a normal game except the partner of the winning bidder is the first player, other than the bidder to win one of the first three tricks. if no other player wins one of the first three tricks, the bidder plays alone.


A player with fewer than three trumps can call for a game of poverty. If successful, this bidder will place three cards on the table. Then each player will go around, clockwise, from the bidder and either take the three cards or pass. taking the three cards makes you the bidder’s partner. You take the three cards into hand and pass back three cards from your hand, which may be anything, including the originally passed cards. 

If no one accepts the three cards, all cards are returned to the dealer and redealt. 


In a solo game, the bidder plays alone against the other players. There are four types of solo games that can be played. There is the trumps solo, queen solo, jack solo, and ace solo.

For the trump solo, the bidder names a new trump suit. If it’s diamonds, then the ranking remains the same as described above. If not diamonds, then the ranking changes. The Aces, 10, King, and 9 of diamonds become a regular suit in that order. They switch rank with the new trump suit, with its cards replacing those of the diamonds described above. The only exception is hearts, where, when they become trumps the 10 of hearts remains the highest trump. 

For the queen solo, only the queens are in the trumps suit for the round. The rank clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds. All other suits rank Ace (high), 10, King, Jack, and 9 (low). 

For the jack solo, it’s the same as a queen solo except jacks are trumps instead of queens. 

For an Ace solo, there are no trumps. All suits rank Ace (hiGH0, 10, King, Queen, Jack, and 9 (low). 


Once the type of round being played is determined the game can begin. The player to the left of the dealer starts. They may play any card to lead. The following player must follow suit if able, but if they cannot they may play any card tot eh trick. The highest-ranked trump, if applicable, wins the trick. Otherwise, the highest-ranked card of the suit lead wins the trick. If two cards of the same rank would win, the first played card wins the trick. Remember some cards belong to the trump suit and not to the suit printed on them. 

The winner of the trick takes the cards into a scoring pile near them and leads the next trick. 


During the game, announcements can be made to affect the scoring later. These usually have restrictions on them. 

There are two teams in the game the Re team and the Kontra team. The Re team is the winning bidder’s team, or in the case of a normal game, the team with the queens of clubs.  Their goal of the round is to score at least 121 points. The Kontra team only needs 120. 

The Re team can call Re and the Kontra team can call Kontra anytime they have 11 or more cards in hand. This increased the scores. If one team calls it then the other team only needs 10 or more cards to call their announcement. If Kontra is called and Re is never called, then the Re team will only need to score 120 points now to win the round. 

There are extra announcements that can be made. To make the next highest announcement, you will have needed to call the previous one. The advanced announcements include No 90, No 60, No 30, and Schwarz. For a No 90 you need at least 10 cards in hand and your team must have called either Re or Kontra. For No 60 you need 9 cards and must have called the previously needed announcements. For No 30 you need 8 cards and must have called the previously needed announcements. For Schwarz, you need 7 cards and must have called the previously needed announcements. Also, for each announcement your team makes, if the other team has not called their first announcement, whether its Re or Kontra, the number of cards needed to call it decreases by one. 

The advanced announcements mean if the players do not meet the required scores of 90, 60, or 30 the other team scores bonuses. For Schwarz, the announcing team must win all tricks to score that bonus. 

No announcement can be made during a marriage until the partnerships are determined. The number of cards needed is decreased by the number of tricks it took to determine partners. Also, in needed situations where it is not clear when a player makes an announcement, they may need to declare which team they are making it for. For instance, if a player is making the no 90 declaration, but has yet to have their partnership known they would either state Re or Kontra depending on which team they are from. 


Once all tricks have been played in a round the scoring can begin. The round score will always equal zero, meaning, for as many points one team gains the other team will lose the same number of points. Score piles are tallied up for each team to determine their scores for the round. 

The game can be played as a payout game, meaning or each game point won in a round they many payouts are made by the losing team members. Otherwise, scores are kept.

The most basic score is 1 point. This is the Re team for reaching their most basic goal. For the Re team, this is either 120 or 121 points (as described above in announcements). For the Kontra team, they need 120 points. This gets them 2 points, one for completing their goal and one for beating the other team. 

Calls of Re or Kontra add 2 extra points to the team who wins the round. This means a total of 4 ectara points if both are called. 

For advanced announcements, they are worth 1 point for each completed, but if not completed then the team automatically loses the round, and all points they would have scored, are scored by their opposing team. 

There are three additional scoring situations. These are scored independent of the game and count only towards the game score. If scored, they are scored by all members of a team. 

The first one is called capturing a fox. If you win a trick containing the other teams ace of diamonds, you score one point. To show this it remains faceup in the score pile. If not clear yet who is partnered the ace is kept faceup until it is determined if it came from your team. 

The second is called a Charlie Miller. If you win the last trick with a Jack of clubs you earn a point, but you can also lose a point if the trick is lost with a jack of clubs to an opponent. 

The final is called a Doppelkopf. This is when you win a trick containing only 10s or aces, or a combination of both. You win a point for this and is made clear by keeping all the trick cards faceup in your score pile. 

Foxes and Charlies cannot be won in Solo rounds. 


The game ends after a targeted score, a number of rounds or time is reached. There is also the possibility of all players calling for the game to end. The game is won by the player with the highest score, or who has won the most money. 

Amber Crook
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