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The four highest trumps in a Cego deck by F.X. Schmid.
|Skills required||Tactics, Strategy|
|Card rank (highest to lowest)||Trump suit: Stieß, 21-1
Black suits: K Q C J 10 9 8 7
Red suits: K Q C J 1 2 3 4
|Playing time||30 min.|
Cego (Badishes Tarock), also called Ceco (from Latin: caecus, meaning blind), is a trick-taking card game played mainly in Baden, Schwarzwald and around Lake Constance in Switzerland and Austria. The game is similar to French tarot and Austrian Tarock. It is distinguished by a large Skat, or Talon, called "the Blind".
Cego decks come in two patterns.
The F.X. Schmid Cego deck is a cross between the Industrie und Glück and Tarot Nouveau decks. The 54 cards in Cego consist of 22 trumps, 16 face cards (images) and 16 (pip cards) empty cards. 21 of the trumps cards are numbered from one to twenty-one in Arabic numerals found in centered indices. The highest trump is not numbered. It shows a gleeman and is called the Stieß or G'stieß (Fool). Trumps depict genre scenes by Adrian Ludwig Richter; a concept similar to Tarot Nouveau trumps.
The ASS Altenburger Cego deck is an animal tarot deck called Adler-Cego (Eagle Cego). Trumps 2 to 21 depict real and fictional animals with a pink box on the top of the cards depicting its rank. Despite the name, eagles do not appear in any of the cards. The face cards are similar to the local German-suited Württemberg pattern. When ASS Altenburger bought F.X. Schmid, they discontinued the Schmid deck. The only company that still produce the Schmid pattern is Ganter Brewery.
All other cards (face and pip cards) are of the plain suits: clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds. In addition to the King, Queen, and Jack there is also the Knight. Face cards cannot win over the trumps, but are important because of their card value with respect to the total of points. Pip cards have neither high card value nor are they very useful in winning tricks. Like the Industrie und Glück deck, the red pip cards are numbered from one to four (one being the highest card) and the black pip cards are numbered from seven to ten with no corner indices.
Card point values
|Stieß/Gstieß (Fool)||5 points|
|21 or Mund (mouth) or Gack (rooster)||5 points|
|1 or Kleiner Mann (small man) or Geiß or Babber||5 points|
Cego can be played by three or four players. Play proceeds counter-clockwise. Normally, one player plays against the rest. By winning tricks he tries to accumulate more card points than the rest of the players together - just as in Skat, a popular German card game. There are some special games called "Räuber" (robber), "Drescher" (thresher), in which every player plays for himself.
Unlike Skat and other major card games, Cego has no official set of rules. Thus, every region has established their own set of traditional rules. Sometimes, the rules differ even within a village. The following description is therefore to be seen as a general guideline only.
4 players: The dealer deals 11 cards per player and 10 cards separately on the table. Those ten cards are called the blind (Der Blinde).
3 players: Every player gets 13 cards, 12 go into the blind.
With three players, the seven of spades, the seven of clubs, and the four of diamonds are taken out of the game; it is played with 51 cards only. In either case, there is no special order of dealing (unlike Skat).
After the dealing
After the dealing the players have to check if they can play a Solo: If a player has more than 8 trumps (truck), or 8 trumps + only 2 colors + 2 trumps with a card value higher than 17 he should call a Solo. If no one goes against it this player will play a hand game. He may not look at the blind but it counts for him during scoring.
The solo can be played as ultimo, if one has strong trump and additionally the small man (trump number 1). At the ultimo the last trick has to be taken with the small man. In some regions ultimos are also played with the 2- or 3-trump or with specific combinations of 1-, 2-, and 3-trumps. Playing solo one can call beforehand that he will not lose any tricks (called Durchmarsch - walkover).
If a player meets the requirements for a solo but doesn't say it, it's possible for the player who takes the blind to demand that all cards are put on the table. If a player is then caught copping-out the Solo, he has to pay the game (8 times the last bidded game value). This process called Schinden is not cheating, but a legal way of conduct bearing the risk of being caught.
If a player wants to play a solo the other players can be against it and can play a Gegensolo. The player on the right hand side from the player who announced a solo has to decide first if a solo is okay or not. If everyone is okay with a solo then the player who announced it is allowed to play it.
If nobody wanted to play a solo the player besides the dealer (to the right) hast to announce a Cego. The others are now allowed to bid in this order:
The player has to put 2 cards from his hand (best would be 2 trunks) onto the blind. The other cards on his hand change into points. The 12 cards (4 player) / 14 cards (3 player) are the cards the player has to play with now. One card though has to be put down onto the cards which count as points that everybody has the same number of cards on the hands. The player of the cego is allowed to look at his points in the first three rounds. If the player forgot to put down a card and has one card to much in the end he loses the game.
2. Halbe (half)
The player has to put one card onto the blind. The player also has to play a pip card face up. Then the blind changes into the cards he has to play with. The others change into points. One card has to be put onto the pile that the cards on his hand are 10. If the player want he can change the pip card into a face card he has on his hand.
3. Eine (one)
The player has to put one card onto the blind and has to play with them. The rest of the cards change into points.
4. Eine leere (one blank)
The player has to play a pip card face up. He has to play with the blind and the other cards turn into points.
5. Two blanks (same colour)
The player has to play two blank cards (same colour). One for the first round one for the second round. Then he plays with the blind and his cards from earlier change into points.
6.Two different blanks
The player has to play 2 pip cards. One for the first round and another one for the second round. Then his cards change into points and he has to continue playing with the blind.
7. Kleiner Mann / Babber (small man)
This is the last bid. If some of the bidding players has the small mann (first trump) he can play a Kleiner Mann. He has to play the small man in the first round and plays then with the blind. The other cards he had on his hand change into points.
Bidding is very good if the player has a lot of pictures / points on his hand. Because the cards the player has on his hand turn into his points. When a player wants to play a 'halbe' (half) the player who announced cego has to be okay with it before the other players can bid. If he is okay with it the others can announce Eine (one). All the other players have to be okay with it before the player who announced the game is allowed to play it.
In the bidding round can also be played some special games.
It does not matter if anybody wants to play a halbe or anything else. Piccolo has priority. The player has to try to win one round. So he is not allowed to win with two cards and not less either.
Same as Piccolo but this time the player is not allowed to win anything at all with his cards.
If nobody wants to bid anything the player who announced cego can announce a Räuber. That means that all players play for their own. There is only a loser and thats the person who gets most of the points. In the first round the player who has the Gstieß has to play it. Second round the Mund (21) and third Geiß (1).