OBJECT OF FIPSEN: The object of Fipsen is to have the highest score at the end of the game.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players
MATERIALS: One modified 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game
OVERVIEW OF FIPSEN
Fipsen is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. Each player plays for themselves, but in each round one player will compete against the other three. These other three players will form a temporary alliance to prevent the single-player from scoring points.
The goal of the game is to have the highest score at the end of the game. Players accomplish this by making bids and winning tricks to achieve certain scores. Some modifiers can be achieved through the playing of the game to boost your score even more.
SETUP AND BIDDING
The decks will need to be modified removing all cards 6 and lower and all diamonds except the 7 of diamonds. This should leave you with a 25-card deck.
The first dealer is chosen randomly and passes to the left for each new deal. The dealer will shuffle the deck and allow the player to their right to cut the deck. Then hands of 5 are dealt to each player in batches of 3 and 2, clockwise. Two cards, called the skat, are dealt to the center of the table, and 3 cards, only used in a kieker deal, are discarded facedown to the side of the dealer.
Bidding begins after hands are dealt and starts with the player left of the dealer. The bids are used to determine who will play alone against the other players and how much the base value of the round will be worth. The lowest bid is 2 and the highest is 5. There are also modifiers that can be added to the deal to increase its rank.
The modifiers include a hand game, a ruten, and a durch. The hand game and ruten are ranked the same so they cannot increase a bid over the other. The durch is ranked higher than both. A hand game means a player will not view or use the skat. A ruten means the bidder will choose diamonds as the trump suit, and a durch means the bidder will need to win all 5 tricks.
An example of the ranking of bids is 2 (low), 2 hand game or 2 ruten (ranked the same), 2 durch, and 3. When a modifier is applied in the game, whether or not it was used in the bid, the score for the round is doubled. There is a special bid called kieker that ranks between 4 and 5. A player may only bid Kieker if they have no face cards in hand. If their bid wins the player to their left will verify and they may take the skat and the three cards set aside to exchange from with their hand. The bid includes winning all 5 tricks once cards are exchanged (see below for more information).
Bidding starts with the player to the left and is done in a nontraditional manner. First, the player to the dealers left, called the Vorhand, will bid against the player to their left. The Vorhand will make their opening bid or pass all together without making a bid. If a bid is made the player to their left may pass or make a higher bid. If they make a higher bid the Vorhand may call (make the same bid but take control), bid higher or pass. Once one of the players pass the same is done with the next player clockwise, who will bid higher or pass.
If all players pass, then cards are collected and the dealer redeals. Otherwise, the winner of the bid will continue with the setup. If not a hand game, the player may view and exchange cards from the skat, or a player may choose to not look at the skat to double the score at the end of the game. next trumps are called, and is diamonds are called the score will be doubled again for a Ruten game.
Cards are ranked Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, and 7 (low).
The Vorhand leads the first trick and all other players must follow suit if able. If not able to follow suit a player may play any card. The highest trump or if not applicable, the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. The winner will lead the next trick.
If the bidder wins the number of tricks they bid, they may end the round to score. If they have not lost trick yet they may choose to continue to play by calling a durch and now they must win all 5 tricks or lose the round.
If during the game a player holds all 4 7s and an Ace of any suit, they may call siebener fips. This player will reveal their cards, end the round and score 30 points.
Once the round has ended scoring will begin. If the bidder won their contracted bid, they will score the base game bid plus any doubles that apply. If the base game score was 4 and they played a hand game and ruten they will score 16 points for the round.
If the bidder loses and does not complete their contract, they score double negative points to what they would have scored if they would have won. So, in the above example they would have scored 16 points, with a loss they score negative 32.
For a successful kieker game, they score 20 points for a win and negative 40 for a loss.
Each player’s score is kept independent of each other and cumulative over several rounds.
END OF GAME
The game ends when a set number of rounds is met or when all players wish the game to end. The player with the highest score wins.