Blattla

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Blattla
Bavarian pack-Suit of Hearts.jpg
The trump suit in Blattla
OriginGermany
TypePoint-trick game
Players4
Cards32
DeckGerman
PlayClockwise
Card rank (highest first)A 10 K O U 9 8 7
Related games
Bierkopf, Mucken, Schafkopf

Blattla is a Bavarian card game for four players, who usually form two teams of two for each deal. It is a simplified version of Schafkopf and Bierkopf and is thus a point-trick game.[1] Unlike those two games, in Blattla the Obers and Unters are not permanent trumps. In order to learn the rules of Schafkopf, it can be an advantage to first become familiar with Blattla. The game is traditionally played with Bavarian pattern cards.

Cards[edit]

Blattla is a four-handed game played, in Bavaria, using a Bavarian pattern pack, a variant of the German suited deck, and, in Franconia, with the related Franconian pattern pack.[2] It is played with 32 cards with 8 cards being dealt to each player.

Suits[edit]

German packs have four suits: Eichel (Acorns = Clubs), Gras (Leaves = Spades), Herz (Hearts) and Schellen (Bells = Diamonds).

Suits of the Bavarian pattern pack
Acorns
(Eichel)
Leaves
(Grün/Gras)
Hearts
(Herz)
Bells
(Schellen)
Acorn symbol of Bavarian playing cards
Leaves symbol of Bavarian playing cards
Hearts symbol of Bavarian playing cards
Bells symbol of Bavarian playing cards

Trick-taking strength[edit]

The cards’ trick-taking power broadly corresponds to their card point value. Thus the Sow (Sau), marked with an "A", is the highest-ranking card. Then follow the: Ten > King > Ober > Unter > Nine > Eight > Seven > Six. This ranking is also valid within the trump suit as well as the plain suits. Hearts are permanent trumps.

Ranking of the cards
Permanent trump suit
Bay herz.pngA  Bay herz.png10  Bay herz.pngK Bay herz.pngO Bay herz.pngU  Bay herz.png9  Bay herz.png8 Bay herz.png7   Bay herz.png6
Plain suits
Acorns Leaves Bells
Bay eichel.pngA  Bay eichel.png10 Bay eichel.pngK  Bay eichel.pngO  Bay eichel.pngU  Bay eichel.png9  Bay eichel.png8  Bay eichel.png7  Bay eichel.png6 Bay gras.pngA  Bay gras.png10  Bay gras.pngK  Bay gras.pngO  Bay gras.pngU  Bay gras.png9  Bay gras.png8  Bay gras.png7  Bay gras.png6   Bay schelle.pngA  Bay schelle.png10  Bay schelle.pngK  Bay schelle.pngO  Bay schelle.pngU  Bay schelle.png9  Bay schelle.png8  Bay schelle.png7  Bay schelle.png6  

Card values[edit]

The card values are exactly the same as in Schafkopf or the related games of Dobbm, Bauerntarock and Bavarian Tarock. The ten, with 10 points, is just below the Daus (11 points) in value, but well above the King (4), Ober (3) and Unter (2). The so-called Spatzen ("sparrows" i.e. the Nines, Eights and Sevens), also variously called Nichtser(le) ("nothings" or "nixers"), Leere ("blanks") or Luschen ("duds"), only play a role during the game based on their trick-taking ability, but do not score points at the end of the hand. There are 120 card points in the deck.

Cards Symbol Value (points)
Sow (Sau) S 11
Ten 10 10
King K 4
Ober (Bauer) O 3
Unter (Wenz) U 2
Nine 9 0
Eight 8 0
Seven 7 0

Aim[edit]

The aim of Blattla, like Schafkopf, is to score a certain number of points by winning tricks. For the declaring team, a game is normally won with 61 points (Augen). If they score 91, they have won with schneider (mit Schneider gewonnen); and if they manage to win every trick they have won with schwarz (schwarz gewonnen). When they reach 31 points the declaring team is 'free of schneider' (Schneider frei). By contrast, the defending team wins the game if they reach just 60 points, they win with schneider on scoring 90 points and are schneider free with just 30 points. An exception are the Tout contracts, which are only won if all the tricks are taken; schneider and schwarz playing no part.

For the declaring team Declaring team score Defending team score For the defending team
won with schwarz won all tricks lost all tricks lost with schwarz
won with schneider 91–120 points 0–29 points lost with schneider
straight win 61–90 points 30–59 points straight loss
straight loss 31–60 points 60–89 points straight win
lost with schneider 0–30 points 90–120 points won with schneider
lost with schwarz lost all tricks won all tricks won with schwarz

Contracts[edit]

Fundamentally there are two main types of contract: the normal game (Normalspiel) and solo games (Solospiel). A normal game is also called a Sauspiel ("sow game"). Hearts are permanent trumps. A player who believes that, with the help of a partner, he can score at least 61 points, calls the Sow (sometimes called an Ace, albeit strictly a Deuce) of a suit, which is not a trump; for example: "I'll play with the Sow of Bells" ("Ich spiele mit der Schellen-Sau!") The owner of that card is now the partner of the caller (Rufer).

In solo games, the soloist must be able to win at least 61 points alone, because he or she is playing against the other three players who become the defenders. The various solo contracts are:

  • Heart Solo
  • Acorn Solo
  • Grass Solo
  • Bell Solo.

The trump suit in solo games is always nominated by the soloist. Other solo variants as in Schafkopf (Wenz, Geier, Habicht, Suit Wenz, Suit Geier and Suit Habicht) are not available in Blattla. All solo games may also be played as a "tout", whereby the soloist commits to capturing every trick.

Playing[edit]

Dealing[edit]

The dealer is determined by cutting the cards. The first dealer is the one who cuts the highest card. The dealer now shuffles the cards and offers the pack to the player on his right to cut. In cutting (Abheben) there must be at least 3 cards in each 'half' of the pack. The pack may also be cut up to three times. The cutter may opt to ‘knock’ instead of cutting and then instruct the dealer to deal the cards differently from usual; for example, by asking for the cards to be dealt in packets of all 8 instead of in two packets of 4, or dealing anti-clockwise instead of the usual clockwise. In the following the cards are dealt clockwise in two packets of 4, beginning with forehand, the player to the left of the dealer. Next each player checks his hand and, beginning with forehand again, each player announces whether he or she will 'play' or 'pass.'

Announcements[edit]

If a player announces he is ready to play, he must make it clear whether he intends to play with a partner or to go solo in order to win at least 61 points. The nearer a player sits to the dealer's left, the greater the priority he has to play. Thus if forehand announces "I’ll play", he has the right to play a normal game. The remaining players may only announce a higher-value contract, i.e. a solo game. The ranking of the different contracts is as follows (beginning with the highest value game): Heart Solo Tout > Acorn Solo Tout > Grass Solo Tout > Bell Solo Tout > Heart Solo > Acorn Solo > Grass Solo > Bell Solo > normal game (Sow).

Trick-taking[edit]

Players must follow suit if possible. If unable to do so, they may play a trump or discard a card of their choice. If any trumps are played to the trick, the highest trump wins; failing that, the highest card of the led suit.

Scoring[edit]

Available contracts
Contract Trumps Game type Game points for a win
Straight/schneider/schwarz
Rufer Hearts Partnership (2 x 2) 1/2/3
Bell Solo Bells Solo game 6/9/12
Grass Solo Leaves Solo game 6/9/12
Acorn Solo Acorns Solo game 6/9/12
Heart Solo Hearts Solo game 6/9/12
Tout Chosen suit Tout is one of the above solos
in which all tricks are taken
15

N.B. schneider and schwarz attract a bonus point except in Tout contracts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kartenspiele at www.wildenauer-werbeartikel-werbemittel-frankfurt.de. Retrieved 26 August 2018
  2. ^ IPCS of the Franconian pattern