Réunion (card game)
|An historical German card game.|
♦J and ♥J as Right Bower and Left Bower when Diamonds are trumps
|Deck||Piquet or Skat pack|
|Card rank (highest first)||RB LB A K Q 10 – 7|
A K Q (J) 10 – 7
|Playing time||20 min/round|
|Bester Bube, Euchre, Skat|
|Features: Left and Right Bowers, skat|
Réunion, Reunion or Vereinigungsspiel is an historical German point-trick game for three players which, despite its French name, appears to have originated in the Rhineland. It is a 10-card game of the Ace-Ten family and uses a 32-card French-suited piquet pack or 32-card Skat pack. Players who cannot follow suit must trump. Otherwise the game can be described as a simplified version of Skat, but is also reminiscent of Euchre with its two permanent top trumps, the Right and Left Bowers.
The game occurs in 19th century German game anthologies, where it was said to be popular in the western parts of Germany, and more specifically the area of the rivers Rhine, Main, Lahn and Neckar. Due to the Napoleonic Wars, this area was under a strong French cultural influence in the early years of the century. Despite the game's French name, it does not appear in the French game anthologies of the time, and the card-point schedule is more similar to German or Dutch games than to French games. Parlett calls it an "18th-century Rhenish game".
More recently the rules of Reunion have appeared in the book of card game rules by card manufacturers, ASS Altenburger, and in Parlett's Penguin Book of Card Games, which points out that a variant, Harjan, is still played in Norway.
Aces are high. The Jack (or Unter) of trumps is elevated to the highest rank and known as the Right Bower. The Jack (or Unter) of the other suit that is the same colour as the trump suit is also considered a member of the trump suit. It is the second highest trump and known as the Left Bower. The Right and Left Bowers are worth 12 card-points each. The two Jacks of the opposite colour rank in their normal suit and retain their normal ranks and card-point values. The last trick is worth another 10 points, resulting in a total 150 points in the deal.
|Hierarchy and card-points|
Dealing and play
Dealing and play are anticlockwise. After shuffling and cutting, the dealer turns up the bottom card to determine the trump suit. Each player receives 10 cards in batches of 3–4–3. The dealer also takes up the remaining two cards including the turn-up card, then discards two cards face-down. The dealer must not discard any Aces or Bowers and must not discard more than one Ten.
Forehand (aka eldest hand) leads any card to the first trick. Players must follow suit if possible. A player who cannot follow suit must play a trump if possible. The trick is won with the highest trump, or the highest card of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads to the next trick.
Side payments occur in two cases. A player who loses the Left Bower in a trick pays one unit to the player who won the trick with the Right Bower. A player who does not win a single trick pays one unit each to the opponents, his score being recorded as a Stange i.e. a diagonal slash (/) if he scored no points or an underline (e.g. 14) if he was the dealer but only scored points in the discards.
Game and scoring
A game consists of three successive deals, each player dealing once. Any player who scores (strictly) less than 150 points pays one unit to the winner, or two units if matsch ("in the mud") i.e. scores less than 100 points, or three if less than 50, or four if a player scored no points at all. (The latter case is very unlikely since every player once has the chance to discard a scoring card as a dealer.)
- _ (1834). Neuestes Spielbuch. C. Haas’schen, Vienna - rules identical to Müller (1830) except for addition of where the game is popular.
- _ (1983) Erweitertes Spielregelbüchlein aus Altenburg, Verlag Altenburger Spielkartenfabrik, Leipzig.
- Alvensleben, Ludwig von (1853), Encyklopädie der Spiele (in German), Leipzig: Otto Wigand, pp. 416–418 - rules identical to Neueste Spielbuch of 1834.
- Georgens, Jan Daniel (1882), Spiel und Sport. I. Illustriertes Allgemeines Familien-Spielbuch, Leipzig, Berlin: Spamer, pp. 550–552.
- Grimm, Georg (1840). Neuestes Spielbuch. Otto Wigand, Leipzig.
- Krünitz, Johann Georg (1833). Dr. Johann Georg Krünitz’s ökonomisch-technologische Encyclopädie, oder allgemeines System der Staats-, Stadt-, Haus- und Landwirtschaft, Volume 157. Paulische Buchhandlung, Berlin.
- Müller, J. F. (1830). Neuestes Spiel-Taschenbuch, oder gründlicher Unterricht zur praktischen Erlernung der Karten-, Billard-, Schach- und anderer Spiele. F. Ebnerschen Buchhandlung, Ulm.
- Parlett, David (2004), The A–Z of card games (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 303f, ISBN 978-0-19-860870-7.
- Parlett, David (2008). The Penguin Book of Card Games, Penguin, London. ISBN 978-0-141-03787-5
- Tendler, F. (1830). Verstand und Glück im Bunde. Ein theoretisch-practisches Spielbuch aller bis jetzt bekannten, älteren und neuesten, ihrer Solidarität wegen beliebten und erlaubten Kartenunterhaltungen. F. J. P. Sollinger, Vienna - reorganised rules but substantially the same as Müller (1830).