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Do you get annoyed when you're playing Skat and your opponents always get better cards? It's a vicious circle: No cards -- no plays -- no fun.
With Was Sticht everything is different:
Mr. Tullis' review below is accurate with one important omission... though the trump suit and number are chosen randomly each round, only one player is privy to this knowledge. The 'start player' doesn't attempt to fulfill a contract on his turn. His goal is to keep others from doing so. So, he knows the trumps and everyone sees the groups of four cards on the table. Then, each player, in turn, selects one of the four cards. After each set of four cards is selected, the 'start player' tells who would have won the trick had the same cards been played in the same sequence. Thus, during the procurement stage, players are not only building their hands, but they're attempting to decipher what the trump color and number are. This is a truly devious way to make people build their hands.
So, what we have is a game where everyone publicly builds their hands, while attempting to deduce trump. Afterwards, trump is officially revealed and three of the four players select a contract tile they wish to fulfill this round (e.g. 'take the least tricks'). At that point it becomes a standard trick-taking card game, if you can use the word 'standard' when everyone knows what everyone else is holding and what their quest is.
All in all, this game held the title of 'best trump-taking card game ever' for a while, until Mu came along. The only possible pitfall in this game is that it can take a while if you play until someone has fulfilled all five (or even 4 of the 5) tiles. Playing to 3 is quite enough.
'What Bit Me?' is the translation for 'Was Sticht?' (or so I am told). The name fits!
The card deck consists of four suits each numbered from 1 through 9. The cards are all divided between 3 or 4 players for each hand. Before the game starts, each player selects 5 'task-taking' tiles. These tiles describe your mission. Examples are 'take no red cards' and 'take exactly 2 tricks'. The tiles come in 4 or 5 categories and are rated as to difficulty. A suit trump (red, blue, yellow, green, or no trump) and a number trump (1 thru 9 or no trump) is chosen at random for each hand.
Instead of dealing the cards, they are selected a card at a time from groups of 4 displayed cards by the players. Cards are selected with the intention of fulfilling the task-tiles selected at the beginning of the game (good luck!). The card play is pretty straightforward. Cards must be played as led - if you are out of that suit, a trump card can be played (if desired). As soon as a task-tile is fulfilled, it is discarded. The object is to achieve all task-tiles and win the game.
One interesting thing about the game is that some players do not want to take tricks (if a task-tile says 'take no tricks' for example). Other players want to take lots of tricks (one task-tile says 'max' - take the most tricks.)
I have probably made it sound more complicated than it really is. 'Was Sticht' is a pretty straightforward trick taking card game - one of my favorites!