Winter                                                                    New (Valentine) Moon

Sheepshead is a very culturally specific card game, favored by German descended or influenced persons who have spent time in eastern Wisconsin.  It’s a German game,  Schafkopf in the mother tongue.  My brush with it came during a year or so residence in Appleton, Wisconsin where I played with my father-in-law, my wife, Judy, and her brothers.  We would buy a case of cheap beer and sit in Judy and mine’s living room.

(the perfect hand)

Picking it up again almost 40 years later meant relearning most of its rules, though some of its quirky nature had stuck with me.  Queens are the high cards:  clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds followed by the jacks in the same order and after them kings.  These cards are all trump as are the remaining diamonds:  ace, 10, 9, 8, 7. (the ace of diamonds is higher than the king of diamonds).  And, all tens are higher than the kings of their respective suits.  Must have been a matriarchal bias in here somewhere.

If nobody chooses to play their hand with a partner, the dealer has the option of calling a leaster.  In a leaster each player competes for a trick with the least number of points. The dealer can also call a doubler which means everybody throws in their hands and the next hand is worth double.

As I said, quirky.

Tonight my cards were bad in the first half of the evening, as they’ve been for a couple of months, then picked up in the last half although not well enough to lift me very far out of the point deficit I created in the first half.

As usual, the company is the point, but the cards are fun.

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