OBJECTIVE OF HASENPFEFFER: Be the first team to reach 10 points or more
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players, teams of two
NUMBER OF CARDS: 25 card deck
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 9 – Ace, trump suited 9,10,Q,K,A,J,J,Joker (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF HASENPFEFFER
Hasenpfeffer, known to many as a delicious German rabbit stew, is also a variation of Euchre said to be created by the Pennsylvania Dutch. This game is played in teams with a deck of twenty four cards and a Joker. It incorporates bidding and is only played to ten points.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
To prepare the deck for Hasenpfeffer, start with a standard 52 card French deck. Remove the 2’s through 8’s from each suit. Add one Joker. The Joker is the very highest ranked card and is always considered trump suited. This will leave you with a 25 card deck.
To determine teams, the first dealer, and scorekeeper, each player should take a card from the deck. Players are paired according to the card they drew with the two lowest together and the two highest together. Partners sit across from each other. The player with the very lowest card deals first and must keep score the entire game. Deal passes to the left each round.
Dealer collects all of the cards, shuffles them thoroughly, and deals 6 to each player three at a time. The last remaining card is placed face down and is not used.
Beginning with the player on the dealer’s left, that player can either bid or pass. The bid is how many tricks they think they can take with their partner’s help after determining the trump suit. Each consecutive bid placed must be higher than the previous. For example, if a player bids three, the next player must bid at least four. If the player does not believe they can take any tricks, they say pass.
If everyone at the table passes, the player who has the Joker in their hand must announce it to the table and bid three. If no one has the Joker in their hand at this point because it is the leftover card, the hand is considered a misdeal. The cards are collected and dealt again by the same person.
The player with the highest bid determines the trump suit and leads the first card. They choose any card they wish from their hand and play it to the table face up. This begins the trick. Following players do the same, but they must follow suit if they are able. If they cannot follow suit, they may play any other card they wish. The player who played the highest card in the suit that was led or the highest trump card wins the trick. That player collects the trick and leads.
Play like this continues until all of the tricks have been played.
The team with the highest bidding player must take at least as many tricks as they bid in order to score points. For example, if the bid was four, that team must take four or more tricks in order to earn points. If they meet or surpass their bid, they earn one point for each trick they take. If that team fails to meet their bid, they lose points from their score equal to the amount of their bid.
The opposite team also earns one point for each trick they take.
The first team to reach 10 points or more wins the game. In the event that both teams reach the same winning score in the same round, the team who made the highest bid and determined trump wins the game.