Scat

OBJECTIVE OF SCAT: Collect cards of a single suit totaling 31(or as close to 31 as possible).

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-9 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: standard 52-card

TYPE OF GAME: Draw and Discard

AUDIENCE: All Ages


INTRODUCTION TO SCAT

Scat, also known as 31 or Blitz, shares names with other games and is not to be confused with:

  • The German game ‘Skat’
  • The banking game 31, which is played much like 21.
  • The German game 31 or Schwimmen
  • Dutch Blitz

THE PLAY

Dealing

Dealers may be chosen however players wish and pass clockwise with each hand. After the cards are shuffled, starting with their left, the dealer passes each player cards one at a time until everyone has three cards.

After each player has a full hand, the top card of the deck is flipped over, this will start the discard pile. Discards piles are kept ‘squared up,’ so that the top card is visible and free to be taken.

Playing

The player to the left of the dealer starts and play passes clockwise. A turn consists of:

  • Drawing a card from the top of the deck or discard
  • Discarding a single card

You are not permitted to draw the top card from the discard and then immediately discard it. Cards drawn from the top of the deck (or stock), however, may be discarded in the same turn.

Knocking

If on your turn you believe your hand to be high enough to beat at least one opponent you may knock. If you choose to knock your turn ends and you stick with your present hand. Once the player to the right of the knocker discards, players reveal their cards. Players decide which is their ‘point suit’ and totals up the value of their cards within that suit.

The player who has the lowest hand loses a life. If the knocker ties with another player(s) for lowest hand, the other player(s) loses a life and the knocker is saved. However, if the knocker has the lowest score they lose two lives. In the event there is a tie for the lowest score between two players (neither of which were the knocker), they both lose a life.

Declaring 31

If a player reaches 31, they immediately show their cards and claim their victory! All other players lose. A player can declare 31 even if another player has knocked. If you lose while you are out of money (“on the dole,” “on welfare,” “on the county”), you are out of the game. The game continues until one player remains.

SCORING

Ace = 11 points

King, Queen, Jack = 10 points

Number cards worth their pip value.

A hand consists of three cards, you may add up three cards of the same suit to determine your score.

Typically, Scat is played with each player having 3 pennies. If a player loses a life, they put a penny in the kitty (and if you lose two lives you put two pennies in the kitty).

If a player calls 31 all players puts a penny in the kitty (including the knocker).

If you run out of pennies you are out of the game. The game ends when one player remains.

VARIATIONS

Three of a Kind counts for 30 points.

Straight Flush counts for 30 points. Except for A-K-Q which is 31 points.

Minimum Knock Score, could be 17-21, for example.

“Throw Down,” is a common variant. Without looking at the cards a player can call a throw down and expose their hand. Other players must follow suit. Throwdowns are treated like knocks in respect to lives.

 

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32 thoughts on “Scat”

    • Hi Dorthy, you cannot knock and draw, as you have to decide to knock instead of drawing at the start of your turn. I hope this helps.

  1. We’ve always played that the “knocker” must have the HIGHEST hand at the end, and if they are tied, they lose a life, while the person tied with the knocker is “safe.”

  2. Here is a variation of 31 I’ve never heard of. Do people every play Scat where Ace of Hearts, plus (King, or Queen or Jack of Hearts) plus the 10 of Hearts is not considered Scat, but only 31. They do not considered the 10 of Hearts part of Scat. Only Face cards combined with an Ace can be Scat.

  3. I played with a friend that says “I have the A ,K of hearts and someone other than the player tp my right throws down the O ,J or 10 of hearts he can throw his hand down and claim SCAT ! Has anyone heard of this rule ?

    • Hi Dan, I have never heard of this variation. I would love to hear more though, or if anyone else has heard of this varient. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Dorothy. In a 2-player game, if both the knocker and other player tie, the knocker is saved and the other player loses a life. I hope this helps!

    • The player who declares 31 always wins even if another player knocks. All other players will pay except the player who declares 31.

  4. Question: Our group played Scat tonight. – About 8 of us. One player had scat and didn’t put down until the next round.(she didn”t realize she had Scat.) Who pays.?
    We all thought that once you get the card that gave you 31 you have to put down right away.

    • Hi Jackie, the player should have declared their 31 and victory. Since this player did not declare I would say you should resolve it as a standard round, with the lowest score player losing a life. However, this is not an official ruling, and would ultimately be up to the playgroup. I hope this helps.

    • Hi Sharon, you can absolutely do this. You would just need to draw from the top of the draw pile and discard that card each turn. You could also knock at the end of your turn if you wish to. This might be a good strategy as it prevents other players from having the time to get 31!

  5. My question is: do you have to have all three cards of the same suit in order to knock? Suppose you have A, K of hearts and 6 of spades, can you knock or do you have to wait for another heart before you can knock?

    • Hi Anita, you can knock at any time. For scoring, you just choose the suit you want to score. For your example, you would choose hearts and get to score the Ace and King together.

  6. I just recently started playing SCAT. The rules that we followed differ slightly. !. If the player draws a card, they can not discard that same card. 2. Only the lowest scoring hand looses a life. And, if the knocker has the lowest score, they loose 2.

    • Hi Jim, the rules you mentioned in your comment are both in the rules on the site. Maybe I did not understand your comment correctly. Do you play with different rules than the ones listed? if so I would love to hear about them!

  7. If someone knocks with a SCAT in their hand and doesn’t realize they have a SCAT – when cards are relieved don’t you think that SCAT should be voided and the player with the lower hand looses? Since the player that knocked didn’t take advantage of SCAT.

    • Hi Lindsay, yes in Scat when a player knocks instead of declaring 31 (or scat) the round resolves as a standard round with the lowest total player losing a life. Only when a player declares a 31 (or scat) does the round resolve with all other players losing a life. I hope this helps.

    • Hi Audrey, there is an optional variation that allows for three of a kind. 3 of a kind score 30 points, but your playgroup must decide before the start of the game to use this variation. I hope this helps.

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