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It became the umbrella for all public Königrufen tournaments in Vienna and Lower Austria, with occasional tournaments in Carinthia and Hungary.
Since , there has been an annual Austria Final Österreich-Finale in April in the Casino Linz, in which over of the best players from the various cup competitions compete for the title of Austrian Tarock Champion Österreichischer Tarockmeister.
The top three to date have been: The most famous player in the history of Königrufen was Sigmund Freud. In responding to a friend's criticism of his worn Tarock cards, he jokingly replied "let us have a little pleasure in 'unculture'" — an allusion to his work Civilization and Its Discontents , whose original title was Das Unbehagen in der Kultur.
In Vienna, Königrufen is also popular with politicians, journalists and the advertising industry. After his political career, Schüssel even designed his own set of Tarock cards, the proceeds of which were donated to charity.
He hosts a charity tournament every year just before Christmas in Graz. In Friedrich Torberg 's collection of anecdotes, Die Tante Jolesch , about the interwar Austria, the game of Tarock surfaces again and again.
A complete paragraph of the book is dedicated to a type of Königrufen:. In addition to the "Pagat Ultimo" - the announced obligation to take the last trick with the lowest tarock - there was also an "Eagle Owl Pre-ultimo", namely the announcement that one would take the penultimate trick with the second lowest tarock, which, if successful, earned a high scoring bonus.
That wasn't to be announced in advance, but only when the first card was played with "Ross! According to Robert Sedlaczek, Torberg, a non-tarocquist, was probably mistaken in thinking that the name of the bonus Rostopschin was used for the whole game.
The game gave its name to the novel Königrufen by Peter Marginter. Although this is not about the game itself, the plot is reminiscent of a Rufer game in which the partnerships are also unknown at the beginning.
In , four adolescents learn the game from a Jewish refugee in the last days of the war. After another quarter of a century there is the last meeting where the now eighty-year-olds are informed by a witness about a dramatic event a long time ago.
Königrufen uses the basic Tarock deck with a reduced number of cards - the full Tarock deck contains 78 cards. The card deck is divided into two groups: The card design is that of the Industrie und Glück series, which, conceived in , developed into the standard design for Austrian tarock cards in the 19th century.
Some of the motifs are from older tarock series, such as the Pagat and Sküs from the Chinese Tarock Chineseentarock deck, others from the Nationality Tarock Nationalitätentarock series, which portray Austrian folk in their traditional costumes, or from an Occupations Tarock Berufetarock deck.
Of the 22 tarocks, numbers I to XXI are sequentially numbered with Roman numerals ; only the highest, the Sküs , is unmarked.
They assume the role of permanent trumps or atouts: Six tarocks play a special role and are thus given names. According to the classification devised by Tarock card game expert, Michael Dummett , Königrufen belongs to the Type 3 Tarock games - i.
The 32 suit cards consist of eight cards each in the four French suits of Hearts , Diamonds , Spades , and Clubs , all suits being of equal rank.
Four cards in each suit form are the court cards or "figures" Figuren. The Cavalier, also called the Knight Reiter , is unusual for Tarock beginners who are only familiar with games using the standard French deck.
It is often confused with the Jack or King. The Cavalier Italian cavallo is recognizable by being depicted on horseback, and unlike the King, wears neither a crown nor carries a sceptre.
The other half of each suit is made up of the four pip cards variously known in German as the Skartindeln , Skatindeln , Glatzen or Blätter. The difference in rank between the red and black pip cards reminds us that, in earlier Tarock variants, all the cards from Ace to 10 were used.
Even then, the ranking in the red suits was different from the black ones. When reducing the hand, the six lowest suit cards were removed: There are no unified rules for Königrufen; indeed there is an "unbelievable variety of rules" in this variant of the Tarock game.
This is seen as an attraction by many, but as a problem by others. Tournaments, of course, do publish strict rules which tend to vary little over time and offer some consistency.
Except where stated, the following description of the rules is based on Mayr and Sedlaczek who, in turn, have drawn from the rules of the Austrian tournament series.
Königrufen is a game for four players and play is anti-clockwise. Exceptions are the contracts of Valat, where the aim is to take all the tricks, and Bettel and Bettel Ouvert, where the aim is to take exactly one trick.
There are no 'draws' in Königrufen - if the declarer does not score at least one point more than his opponents, he has lost.
Each player receives a hand of twelve cards in two packets of six; and two packets of three cards are dealt face down in the middle as the talon.
After determining which announcement will be played and by whom , a specific player depending on the contract leads a card to the first trick on the table after possibly drawing from the talon.
From now on - as in most similar card games - the winner of the last trick always leads to the next one, until either all twelve tricks have been played or the declarer has clearly failed to achieve his goal.
As in most other Tarock games, two irrevocable rules apply in Königrufen to following to a trick: An additional rule exists in Negative Contracts.
Here, while players must follow suit, they must also take the trick if they can Stichzwang. Each player must overcall the highest card, if possible, whilst still following suit.
Players are largely free to lead a card of their choice to a trick. However, there are exceptions. A higher-ranked suit card beats a lower card of the same suit; a higher tarock beats a lower tarock.
The trick is won by the player who has the highest card in the led suit, if no tarock is played. Otherwise the highest tarock wins.
An often-used special rule is that if all three Trull cards are played to the same trick, the Pagat wins. This special rule is usually called the Emperor's Trick Kaiserstich or Fairy Tale Trick Märchenstich and may or may not be tied to a certain sequence of Trull cards.
There is also no hard and fast rule about whether it also applies in Negative and Suit contracts - in the latter however only if the tarocks have been played out.
The dealer's role is to shuffle the cards and deal them counterclockwise to all the players. Beginning with forehand ,he deals 6 cards to each player, sets the talon down in the middle of the table and deals another 6 cards to each player.
The cutter is the player to the left of, or opposite, the dealer who cuts the shuffled deck into two packets, which are then reassembled by the dealer in reverse order.
This gives the cards an additional shuffle and ensures the dealer does not cheat. The cutter is usually given the option of "knocking" instead of cutting.
In this case, the talon is placed down first and then four stacks of twelve cards are counted out next to the talon.
The players - starting at the right of the dealer - choose any stack as their hand. Forehand Vorhand sits to the right of the dealer, middlehand Mittelhand to his right and rearhand Hinterhand is to the left of the dealer.
Forehand starts the auction Lizitation , usually simply with the announcement "forehand" Vorhand or "my game!
He also usually leads to the first trick, except in Negative Contracts Negativspiele. In addition, forehand has the right to make certain special announcements reserved only for him — the Forehand contracts Vorhandspiele.
In the following game, forehand becomes the dealer. The player who announces the highest-value bid during the auction earns the right to play his chosen contract and becomes the declarer or soloist Spielersteher or Spielersteiger.
Only then does he select one half of the talon again depending on the current game and select his bonuses Prämien. In a Negative Contract, he leads to the first trick himself, otherwise forehand leads.
Who partners with whom, depends on the contract. In Negative Contracts or a Dreier "Threesome" game, one player plays against all the others.
In Trischaken everybody plays everybody else; in Rufer usually two play against two. In the narrower sense, a partner is the partner of the declarer, in a broader sense it can mean all players playing in the current game.
The auction Lizitation is where players bid for contracts "games" , and it takes place, like the dealing of cards, in an anti-clockwise direction.
Forehand usually starts the bidding by announcing "forehand! The player who bids a contract with the highest game value may play it. If a player does not wish to bid, he just says "pass" or "next!
A typical auction could look like this:. As a result, Player 3 secures a Dreier contract, and Player 1 forehand leads to the first trick.
The six cards that are dealt face down in two groups of three cards each in the middle of the table are called the talon. Most game announcements result in the player exposing the talon visibly to all players and selecting one of its two halves for his hand.
He picks them up and places three cards face down, which belong to his tricks. This is called 'discarding' verlegen.
Only suit cards ranking below a King may be laid. Only if a player has fewer than three such cards in his hand, may he lay a tarock - but then it has to be face up.
Kings and Trull cards may not be laid off. The remaining half of the talon becomes one of the opponents' tricks. Unlike many other card games, there are no fixed partners in Königrufen.
The cards and the bid-for contract decide who plays with whom. If, during the auction, a Rufer contract is called, which is one of the "positive contracts", has won the auction, the successful declarer announces a King of his choice.
The player who has the King of the chosen suit in his hand becomes the player's partner, the other two players play as the opposing team or "defenders".
If the player has three Kings, he can call "the fourth" without naming its suit. If an opponent does not believe that the declare contract "game" or bonus will be won, he can say "Kontra!
This doubles the value of the game or bonus. Games and bonuses can be kontra'd independently of one another. If the player thinks he can still win, he can double the value again with a "Rekontra!
Depending on the rules agreed, the opponent can counter with a "Subcontra! Some rounds play with even more levels, such as Mordkontra which is worth x In positive matches, one Kontra always counts for the whole team, but in negative matches everyone can Kontra individually contra ad personam.
In Trischaken, because everyone plays against everyone, there is no Kontra. In addition to winning a positive game by scoring the majority of points, other goals, the so-called 'bonuses' Prämien , may also be involved.
The most obvious - similar to other card games - is to win all the tricks. In Königrufen this is called Valat.
A Valat either multiplies the basic game value or has a constant, high, value, depending on the rules agreed.
The other bonuses are divided into two fundamentally different groups, the first of which, however, is rarely played today:.
Hand bonuses may usually either be played 'quietly' or 'announced' without prior notice, usually counting double when announced.
If they are announced, they can be Kontra'd in any case. Hand bonuses are statements of fact about the constellations in a player's hand before the game that are only awarded if announced.
The gamble is that part of the player's hand will be revealed to the others in exchange for a bonus or as information for the partner.
Since the announcement automatically results in a bonus, it cannot be Kontra'd. Adopted from older Tarock variants, they are no longer played in today's tournaments and are therefore only mentioned below among the rarely played variants.
This distinction is useful because the two groups are sometimes treated differently in the case of Valat: Material bonuses are achieved almost automatically with the Valat the opponents only have 0, 3 or 6 talon cards and are therefore not valid.
However, this is not a standard. In the different player communities, different variants occur such as "No bonus counts with Valat" up to the co-multiplication of some bonuses.
The Pagat is a special "Bird" as it also belongs to the Trull. The birds count as bonuses, if they win the appropriate trick.
The Pagat must be won in the last trick, the Uhu in the penultimate, the Kakadu in the third to the last, and the Marabu in the fourth to the last.
In the variant of the rules played in Cheltenham , the Marabu bonus trick is not played. They must win the trick if they are to count as bonuses.
Even if the taker's partner captures a bird Tarock, the bonus is lost and counts as negative. They are also lost if they are announced and not successfully achieved.
The King Ultimo bonus is scored, if the called king wins the last trick. The bonus is also scored if the taker's partner takes the called king in the last trick.
Positive games or positive contracts Positivspiele is the collective term for those games in which the aim possibly among others is to win a majority of points.
The positive games are the various types of Rufer and Dreier, including their Solo contracts. In a Rufer "Caller" , a partner is called. The Rufer contracts include: A Dreier contract Dreierspiel is a positive game in which a soloist plays the other three players.
Solo is a qualifier that indicates that the player is offering to play without inspecting the talon or may be short for Solo Rufer. It does not carry the same meaning as in other card games — a contract where a soloist offers to play against all the rest is called Dreier or Dreierspiel in Königrufen.
At the end of the game the talon counts among the tricks of the opponents, except if, in a Solo Rufer, the called King is in the talon — then that half of the talong belongs to the declarer.
Solo contracts count double the corresponding game with the talon; also all bonuses usually excepting the Valat count double in a Solo contract.
Suit games Farbenspiele are a special form of positive contract with several special rules: Occasionally a Suit Rufer Farbenrufer is played possibly only as a Forehand contract , in which a partner is called as with the normal Rufer contract.
Negative contracts or negative games Negativspiele are games in which the normal aim of winning the majority of points is no longer valid.
Instead there is an alternative goal where the player has do the minimum — either to score the least number of points, or to take a specified, low number of tricks.
Several special rules apply: There are the following negative contracts: There are also semi-ouvert half-open variations where only the player or only the opponents place their hands on the table.
In any case, it is not permitted to discuss the strategy in half-open negative games. In contrast to the positive games, negative games are subject to Stichzwang i.
All negative games except Trischaken and half- open games can be played "with" Bei- or Mit- , i. This is not permitted in tournaments.
Forehand games Vorhandspiele are contracts that only forehand may announce, if all other players have said "pass!
An exception is Sechserdreier mentioned below where it has become generally accepted that forehand must announce it immediately and that it may then be overbid by a higher-value contract.
An important feature of Königrufen is the way in which the cards are scored. The individual values of the cards are: Since it is cumbersome to add up the values including the third points individually, the value of each card for counting is rounded up or down instead.
The rounded-up values correspond to those of other Tarock games, such as Zwanzigerrufen and Hungarian Tarock.
The rounded ones were the original ones; a point was added to them for each trick in the old Dreiertarock card game.
To simplify the calculation of scores the cards are grouped in threes, their rounded-up values above are totalled and 2 points deducted.
If one wishes to keep score during the game one has to subtract as one goes along: Now take the value of three cards and add 1. If a player breaches one of the rules a Renonce , he not only loses the game in play and any winnings, he must pay all other players including his partner as if they had won the game and the announced bonuses.
Examples of rule violations: Local rules vary very markedly from one another. The common guidelines are that announced bonuses count twice as much as silent or unannounced games, and Solo games count twice as much as their basic games.
The Solo Dreier is always the highest game. As an example, the rules of the Hausruckviertl Tarock Cup are given here, which are also used for the Austrian Final.
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