Kein Stich

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Kein Stich
Krol Kier z Wzoru Berlinskiego.png
The card to avoid in "No Max!"
Origin Germany
Type Compendium game
Players4 (3-6)
Deck German or French pack
Card rank (highest first)A K O U 10 9 8 7
Playing time25 minutes
Related games
Barbu, Lorum, Herzeln, Quodlibet, Rosbiratschka, Rumpel
5 deals x 1 round = 5 games

Kein Stich ("No Tricks") is a card game, which is well known in the German-speaking parts of the world under various regional names such as Herzeln (not to be confused with Herzeln or Herzla), King Louis, Kunterbunt ("Multicoloured"), Schwarze Sau ("Black Pig"), Fritz, Brumseln, Fünferspiel ("Fives"), Lieschen, Lizzy or Pensionisteln ("Pensioners"). [1]

Card game game using playing cards as the primary device

A card game is any game using playing cards as the primary device with which the game is played, be they traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games. A small number of card games played with traditional decks have formally standardized rules, but most are folk games whose rules vary by region, culture, and person. Games using playing cards exploit the fact that cards are individually identifiable from one side only, so that each player knows only the cards he holds and not those held by anyone else. For this reason card games are often characterized as games of chance or “imperfect information”—as distinct from games of strategy or “perfect information,” where the current position is fully visible to all players throughout the game.

Herzeln card game

Herzeln is a compendium card game for three or four players in a partie of eight deals. As its name suggests, it is an Austrian game. It should not be confused with other games sometimes called Herzeln, including Barbu and Kein Stich.


Herzla or Herzl'n is a Bavarian, trick-taking, card game for 4 players in which the aim is to avoid taking any Hearts. There is a simpler variant for children and adults that may be played by 3-8 players.


The special feature of this game is that it consists of a compendium of five different deals. In the first four it is a trick-taking game; the fifth contract is a melding game, rather like Elfer Raus ("Eleven Out"). If it is played for money, small stakes (e.g. 5 cents) are paid into a pot during the trick-taking games and the money is paid out in the last game. The word "pfennig" is used here to mean the stake.

Trick-taking game type of card game

A trick-taking game is a card or tile-based game in which play of a hand centers on a series of finite rounds or units of play, called tricks, which are each evaluated to determine a winner or taker of that trick. The object of such games then may be closely tied to the number of tricks taken, as in plain-trick games such as Whist, Contract bridge, Spades, Napoleon, Euchre, Rowboat, Clubs and Spoil Five, or to the value of the cards contained in taken tricks, as in point-trick games such as Pinochle, the Tarot family, Mariage, Rook, All Fours, Manille, Briscola, and most evasion games like Hearts. The domino game Texas 42 is an example of a trick-taking game that is not a card game. Trick-and-draw games are trick-taking games in which the players can fill up their hands after each trick. In most variants, players are free to play any card into a trick in the first phase of the game, but must follow suit as soon as the stock is depleted. Trick-avoidance games like Reversis or Polignac are those in which the aim is to is avoid taking some or all tricks.


Kein Stich is normally played with a pack of 32 German-suited cards. French playing cards may also be used. The cards rank as follows: Ace/Deuce, King, Ober/Queen, Unter/Jack, Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven.

French playing cards card deck using suits of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades

French playing cards are cards that use the French suits of trèfles, carreaux, cœurs, and piques. Each suit contains three face cards; the valet, the dame, and the roi (king). Aside from these aspects, decks can include a wide variety of regional and national patterns which often have different deck sizes. In comparison to Spanish, Italian, German, and Swiss playing cards, French cards are the most widespread due to the geopolitical, commercial, and cultural influence of France and the United Kingdom in the past two centuries. Other reasons for their popularity were the simplicity of the suit insignia, which simplifies mass production, and the popularity of whist and contract bridge.

Ace playing card

An ace is a playing card, die or domino with a single pip. In the standard French deck, an ace has a single suit symbol located in the middle of the card, sometimes large and decorated, especially in the case of the ace of spades. This embellishment on the ace of spades started when King James VI of Scotland and I of England required an insignia of the printing house to be printed on the ace of spades. This insignia was necessary for identifying the printing house and stamping it as having paid the new stamp tax. Although this requirement was abolished in 1960, the tradition has been kept by many card makers. In other countries the stamp and embellishments are usually found on ace cards; clubs in France, diamonds in Russia, and hearts in Genoa because they have the most blank space.

<i>Deuce</i> (playing card) playing card

The Deuce is the playing card with the highest value in German card games. It may have derived its name from dice games in which the face of the die with two pips is also called a Daus in German.


The following describes the most common variant, which is for 4 players who are dealt 8 cards each. There are four trick-taking deals during which players contribute 160 pfennigs to the pot, followed by a lay-off deal in which they compete to win the contents of the pot.

The player to the left of the dealer leads to the first trick. Thereafter, the winner of a trick leads to the next one. The fundamental rule is that players must follow suit (this is known as Farbzwang ); there are no trumps. That means that if a player has at least one card of the led suit, it must be played. Tricks are won by the highest card of the led suit. The four trick-taking deals are:

A trump is a playing card which is elevated above its usual rank in trick-taking games. Typically, an entire suit is nominated as a trump suit; these cards then outrank all cards of plain (non-trump) suits. In other contexts, the term trump card can refer to any sort of action, authority, or policy which automatically prevails over all others.

Cards after melding in the fifth deal Schafkopf Tarock bayerisches Bild.jpg
Cards after melding in the fifth deal
  1. No Tricks (Kein Stich): In the first deal, players aim to take as few tricks as possible. Each trick taken costs 5 pfennigs.
  2. No Hearts (Kein Herz): In the second deal, players pay a penalty of 5 pfennigs for each Heart card they take. The number of tricks taken is irrelevant. But Hearts are not trumps, so Heart cards may be discarded to a trick led by another suit, if the player cannot follow suit.
  3. No Obers (Kein Ober): In the third deal, the Hearts and the number of tricks won are unimportant. This time, each Ober captured costs 10 pfennigs.
  4. No Max (Kein Herz-König): In the fourth deal it is now important not to capture "Max", the King of Hearts, well known from the card game, Watten. He costs 40 pfennigs.
  5. Domino (Legerunde). In the fifth and last deal, which is basically the Domino-type game of Unteransetzen, the player who is dealt the Unter of Acorns (or in a French pack, the Jack of Clubs) leads, by playing it to the table. Each player in turn must either lay off a card to the Unter of Acorns or play another Unter. If neither is possible, they pass. Whoever, is the first out, wins 100 pfennigs; the second out wins 50; the third, 10, and the last out gets nothing. The stakes and the winnings, etc., should be agreed by the players beforehand.

In other variants, the player with the Unter of Hearts leads off. Depending on which Unter is selected to be first the contract may be known locally as Eichelunteranlegen (Unter of Acorns leads) or Herzunteranlegen (Unter of Hearts leads).


Alternative deals

Hearts (card game) card game

Hearts is an "evasion-type" trick-taking playing card game for four players, although variations can accommodate between three and six players. The game is also known as Black Lady, Black Maria, Black Widow, and Slippery Bitch, though any of these may refer to the similar but differently-scored game Black Lady. The game is a member of the Whist family of trick-taking games, but the game is unique among Whist variants in that it is an evasion-type game; players avoid winning certain penalty cards in tricks, usually by avoiding winning tricks altogether.

Four deals

Six deals

In six-deal versions, the number of points or pfennigs won in the final lay-off deal rises to 200.

Two deals

Additional rules


Variants exist for 3 to 6 players and for playing with 24 or 52 cards.

Related Research Articles

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Lorum or Lórum is an old, Hungarian, compendium card game for 4 players. Although it is the ancestor of the French game, Barbu, it is still played today. It uses a German-suited pack of 32 cards and comprises 8 individual contracts, each with different rules, each of which is played four times so that a session consists of a total of 32 individual games and lasts about 1½ hours.


  1. Fünferspiel in Kartenspiele, Buch&Zeit-Verlag, Cologne, 1973, p. 108. With a slight variation in the 5th contract.
  2. In Kartenspiele für jung und alt, Buch und Zeit-Verlagsgesellschaft, Cologne, 1973, called "Böse Dame" on p. 116.