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Wyżnik dzwonkowy z wzoru wuntemburskiego.png
Ober of Bells in a Württemberg pattern deck
Players2-4, 6
Age range10+
Cards2 x 24
DeckGerman (pattern)
Related games
Sechsundsechzig, Schnapsen, Bauernschnapsen

Gaigel is a card game from the Württemberg region of Germany and is traditionally played with Württemberg suited cards. It is a Swabian variant of Sechsundsechzig and may be played with 2, 3, 4 or 6 players. However, a significant difference from Sechsundsechzig and other related games like Bauernschnapsen is the use of a double card deck. The four-player game is usually called Kreuzgaigel. The game emerged in the early 19th century.


The game of Gaigeln is mentioned as early as 1844, along with Ramsen, Hopsen[a], Hundert und Eins, German Solo, Laubobern and Black Peter, as one of the usual card games played by the menfolk in Württemberg.[1] Specific Gaigel cards were being sold in 1845 in an advertisement in the Kempten Zeitung.[2] In 1846 it is described as a "new card game" that the author and language researcher, Raimund Jacob Wurst (1800-1845), had learned in Bad Ditzenbach in 1843.[3] In 1883, Gaigel is recorded as being played by election officials at a polling station in Württemberg.[4]


Suits of the Württemberg deck
Bells (Schellen) Hearts (Herz) Leaves (Blatt) Acorns (Eichel)
Schellen1.gif Herz1.gif Laub1.gif Eichel1.png
Suits of the French deck
Diamonds (Karo) Hearts (Herz) Spades (Pik) Clubs (Kreuz)
SuitDiamonds.svg SuitHearts.svg SuitSpades.svg SuitClubs.svg

For this game cards are used which in the trade are advertised as Gaigel/Binokel and contain a double set of 2×24 playing cards. The description of the suits varies regionally and is also dependent on whether Württemberg or French playing cards are used: in German they are typically called Eichel (Acorns), Schippen (Spades), Herz (Hearts) and Bollen (Bells).

Card precedence[edit]

Hierarchy of card values
Württemberg suit
Acorns Leaves Hearts Bells
Eichel1.pngA Eichel1.png10 Eichel1.pngK Eichel1.pngO Eichel1.pngU Eichel1.png7 Laub1.gifA Laub1.gif10 Laub1.gifK Laub1.gifO Laub1.gifU Laub1.gif7 Herz1.gifA Herz1.gif10 Herz1.gifK Herz1.gifO Herz1.gifU Herz1.gif7 Schellen1.gifA Schellen1.gif10 Schellen1.gifK Schellen1.gifO Schellen1.gifU Schellen1.gif7
French suit
Clubs Spades Hearts Diamonds
SuitClubs.svgA SuitClubs.svg10 SuitClubs.svgK SuitClubs.svgD SuitClubs.svgJ SuitClubs.svg7 SuitSpades.svgA SuitSpades.svg10 SuitSpades.svgK SuitSpades.svgD SuitSpades.svgJ SuitSpades.svg7 SuitHearts.svgA SuitHearts.svg10 SuitHearts.svgK SuitHearts.svgD SuitHearts.svgJ SuitHearts.svg7 SuitDiamonds.svgA SuitDiamonds.svg10 SuitDiamonds.svgK SuitDiamonds.svgD SuitDiamonds.svgJ SuitDiamonds.svg7

Within the four suits the precedence of cards is always the same: Deuce (Ace, Daus, Ass, Alte, Sau) → 10 → KingOber (Queen) → Unter (Jack) → 7 Because there are 2 of each playing card, if both are played in one trick, then the player who led wins the trick. For example, if both Aces of Acorns are played, the trick goes to the player who went first (under the assumption that no-one has trumped).

Card value[edit]

The following values (card points) are assigned to the individual cards:

Württemberg deck French deck
Card value Symbol Card value Symbol Points
Deuce (Daus or Sau) A (without) Ace (Ass) A 11
Ten (Zehner) 10 Ten (Zehner) 10 10
King (König) K King (König) K 4
Ober O Queen (Dame) Q 3
Unter U Jack (Bube) J 2
Seven (Siebener, Nixer, Dissle) 7 Seven (Siebener) 7 0


The aim of the game is to be the first player or team to score 101 card points or Augen.


The dealer offers the cut to the player on his left and then deals three cards to each player in anti-clockwise fashion (colloquially described as "rechtsherum haut man an die Backe"). The dealer then takes the next card, which is used to determine the trump suit, and places it face up in the centre of the table, before dealing two more cards to each player, so that everyone has a hand of five cards. The talon is then placed crosswise on top of the trump card in the middle of the table so that latter remains partly visible. Should forehand choose not to cut the deck (indicated by 'knocking' on it instead), then - by agreement - five cards may be dealt to each player in turn before the trump card is flipped.


The suit of Leaves in a Gaigel/Binokel pack

Players and partnerships[edit]

  • Games of two or three players are played singly; each player is on his own.
  • In games with four or six players, it is usual to play über Kreuz ("crosswise"): the players sitting opposite one another form teams of two whose tricks are counted together; in doing so they may, optionally, winken i.e. pass information to one another by secret signs. Partnerships are determined by a process calle the Umschlag , where each of the four players in turn is dealt a card, face-up. This continues until the first two (or, for six players, the first three) aces are dealt. The two players (or three in a game of six) with these aces sit opposite one another in the following match and form a party. The other two represent the opposing party. Because of their seating arrangement, a game of four players is a so-called "Kreuzgaigel" ("Cross Gaigel"). In Kreuzgaigel, the playing partners remain the same during a games night.


The player to the right of the dealer is the forehand (Vorhand) or eldest hand and leads to the first trick.

In opening the play, he has to choose one of several options and announce it to the other player(s). For the first trick, the rule is that there is no trump suit or that trumps may not be played:

  1. Andere Alte /Zweites Ass ("Other Old Man" / "Second Ace"): the forehand plays an ace (not from the trump suit) face down. When all the others have played their cards, also face down, the cards are turned over. If another player has played the same ace, he wins the trick. Otherwise the trick belongs to the forehand.
  2. Ge-Elfen: the forehand plays an ace face up, the others play a card of their choice. Forehand wins the trick in every case.
  3. Höher hat or Tauchen ("Higher wins" or "Diving"): the forehand plays a card of his choice, except that it must not be an ace or a trump card, face down. The others do the same. As soon as everyone has played their cards face down, the forehand turns his card over and then all the others do the same with their cards. If one of the other players has a higher card of the same suit, they win the trick; otherwise the forehand wins it.
  4. Auf Dissle: the forehand announces "auf Dissle". That means he will win if, at any time during the game, he has five 7s in his hand. As soon as he has to make a trick, he has lost. He has also lost if one of the opponents reaches the normal end of the game.

Playing with the talon[edit]

After the first round of tricks, the game continues using the talon. The player who won the last trick leads to the next (kommt heraus). Of his five cards he may discard one of his choice. The rest of the players follow in clockwise order without any compulsion to play a trump, follow suit or win the trick.

In determining who wins the trick: trumps beat plain suited cards; the higher card wins if cards are of the same suit; the playing going first wins if both cards are the same value and suit. The winner of the trick draws another card from the talon and the others follow in order. Thus all the players have a hand of five cards again.


Once a player (or his team in the partnership game) has won a trick, he may meld at any time in the game i.e. announce that he has a pair comprising a King and Ober/Queen of the same suit. A trump pair is worth 40 points, plain suit pairs are worth 20 points. To do this the player simply announces "Forty" or "Twenty". The matched pair is always presented and one of the two cards in the pair is played to the next trick.

A card already used in a meld may not be used a second time for by the same player. It follows that if a player wants to claim a pair of the same suit, he must show all four cards of the two pairs at once. If he has already played one (or both) card(s) of the first pair, he may not claim a meld of the same suit again.

So that a meld is not forgotten, the player claiming it may slide one of his trick cards of the same suite with the face up under his trick card pile.

Robbing (Rauben)[edit]

The player who has (or draws) a 7 of trumps and is the first to turn it over can exchange it for the trump card under the talon, provided that he already has a trick. The Diß robbery is usually announced by putting the Diß under the trump card and thus acquiring the right to steal the trump card. Thus, his partner is offered the opportunity to rob, in case he should get the second Diß. However, if the second Diß falls in a trick, the trump may be robbed without regard to the player's partner. However, as soon as a Diß has been placed under the trump card, it is no longer possible for the opposing party to rob the trump card in the current game.

Game after talon is used up[edit]

As soon as the talon is exhausted, players must follow suit if possible and try to win the trick.

Five 7s[edit]

If a player is dealt five 7s straight away, he may reveal them and he or his team win the hand. If a player only has four 7s after the deal and hopes to draw a fifth from the talon during the game, he can announce he is "on sevens" (Auf Siebener). During the game, he keeps the four sevens in his hand and discards the fifth card without taking a trick. If he draws a fifth 7 from the talon before his opponent reaches the target score of 101, his team wins the game.

End of the game[edit]

The aim of the game is to score 101 points or pips (101 Augen). As soon as this occurs, a player may call "out!" (Aus!). This is known as "going out" (Aussagen, lit. "saying 'out'"). If this is not possible due to the number of players and distribution of the tricks, then the winner is the player with the most points.

The end of the game must be announced immediately after the last trick; if the player allows another trick to be played, he loses because he has "over-gaigelled" (übergaigelt), and receives a double (minus) score known as a Gigackel (see below).

If a player calls "out!" and, on counting up the points, it is found that he or his team have fewer than 101 points, they have "under-gaigelled" (untergaigelt) and are given a Gigackel.

A player who has not taken any tricks and has not played auf Dissle, also gets Gigackel.

Otherwise the loser of the game is the player who has scored the fewest points.


Example of scoring in Gaigel

The players must agree, in advance, on the number of games to be played. To record the results, two horizontal lines are drawn on a sheet of paper or slate, one for each player or team, radiating from a circle. If more than two players or teams play, additional lines are drawn from the circle either vertically or at an appropriate angle.

Each player or team thus has a line on which, if he loses a game, he marks either a small dash at right angles to the line. If he loses double, he draws a Gigackel on the line: a 'V' that represents two dashes.

When the agreed number of games has been played, players may move into the 'cleaning' phase (Putzen), when further games are played.

In each of these games, the winner is allowed to strike off one of his dashes or one half of the two Gigackel marks.

In the end, the winner is the player who is able to 'clean off' his marks first.


For games with 4 or 6 players positioned über Kreuz a technique known as winken may be employed, whereby various signs and gestures are used to secretly communicate to one's playing partner which cards one has so that the partner can play an appropriate card. Examples are:

  • Placing one's tongue in one's cheek: Bells
  • Scratching the shoulder: Acorns
  • Placing the hand briefly on the heart: Hearts
  • Poking the tongue out briefly: Leaves
  • Blinking: Ace/Deuce of trumps


Gaigel zu dritt[edit]

By contrast with Kreuzgaigel with 4 or 6 players, in a game of 3 players no partnerships are formed. Each player plays for him/herself. Consequently there is no winken at all. Otherwise the same rules apply as for Kreuzgaigel.


  1. ^ Hopsen: Swabian name for the gambling game of Vingt un, also known as Rathen - see Schmid's Schwaebisches Woerterbuch.


  1. ^ Griesinger 1844, p. 84.
  2. ^ Kemptner Zeitung für das Jahr 1845, 62nd year, Dannheimer, Kempten, p. 656.
  3. ^ Hoegg1846, p. 43.
  4. ^ Böhm, F. (1883). Verhandlungen der Württembergischen Kammer der Abgeordneten..., Landtag. Kammer der Abgeordneten, Württemberg (Germany), p. 168.


  • Griesinger, Carl Thedor (1844). "Carl Theodor Griesinger's saemmtliche bellestristische Schriften" in Skizzenbuch. Griesinger, Stuttgart.
  • Claus D. Grupp: Doppelkopf – Schafkopf – Tarock. Original edition. Falken, Niedernhausen/Ts., 1997, ISBN 3-635-60223-X.
  • Claus D. Grupp: Kartenspiele im Familien und Freundeskreis. Revised and newly printed edition. Originalausgabe. Falken, Niedernhausen/Ts., 1996/1997, ISBN 3-635-60061-X.
  • Hugo Kastner, Gerald Kador Folkvord: Die große Humboldtenzyklopädie der Kartenspiele. Humboldt, Baden-Baden, 2005, ISBN 3-89994-058-X.
  • Matthias Mala: Das grosse Buch der Kartenspiele. Falken, Niedernhausen/Ts., 1997, ISBN 3-8068-7333-X.
  • Hoegg, Gebhardt Hil. (1846). Raimund Jacob Wurst: eine biographische Skizze. J.C. Maecken, Reutlingen.

External links[edit]