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Gaigel is a popular German trick taking game that is best played by four players in two fixed-partnerships, but also works well with two.

The Cards

48 cards. Take two decks of cards, and strip out all the 8s and down.

Card rank and value is as shown:

A T K Q J 9
11 10 4 3 2 -

The Deal

Deal 5 cards to each player in batches of two and three, and place the remainder face down to form the stack. Turn the top card face up to establish trumps.


To be the first side to reach 101 points. To score you will capture certain valuable cards in tricks. And, you will make declarations of certain combinations. Winning the last trick additionally scores 10 points.

The Play

Left of the dealer leads first, and thereafter the winner of the trick leads to the next.

There is no compulsion to follow suit. A player may discard as he/she so chooses. The trick is won by the highest trump played to it. If no trumps are played, the trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.

If the cards are equal, as they often can be, the tricks goes to the earliest one played.

Upon winning a trick, but before drawing from the stack, a player may declare or pass the privilege onto their partner, any one of the following combinations and score its point value immediately.

Common Marraige
King & Queen in Suit
20 pts
Royal Marriage
K & Q in Trumps
40 pts
Double Common Marriage
2 marriages in same suit
40 pts
Double Royal Marriage
K, Q, K, Q in Trumps
80 pts
Any five 9s in hand111 pts

Only one combination may be declared in turn. If the winner of the trick has nothing to meld, they may pass the privilege onto their partner.

At the end of the trick, or after any declaration has been made, each in turn, starting with the winner, draws a card from the top of the stack.

The End Game

When all the cards have been exhausted from the stack, and each player is now left with five cards in their hands, the rules change and follow these strict lines.

  • You must follow suit, and you must try to win the trick by playing a higher card if you can.
  • If you can’t follow suit then you must play a trump, and play a higher trump than any previously played.

In other words, you’ve got to try and win the trick. If you can’t win the trick, you can throw your lowest card, but you still have to follow suit, or trump as per the rules above.


As you can see from the table above, there are 240 points on offer, just in valuable cards alone. Once you add ‘declarations’, you can see that 101 points is going to come up pretty fast. In fact, before the end of the hand.

So, you don’t keep a written record in Gaigel, as you would in say in Bridge or Five Hundred. The idea is to keep tally mentally, as you make your declarations, and as you win your tricks.

A player who thinks their side has tallied now 101 points, knocks on the table and the game ends. You are permitted, before knocking, to look back at your previous trick, but not more.

If everything is in order, the side that knocks wins and counts a single game.

In other circumstances, however, a double-game or gaigel is counted. A gaigel is counted for:

  • Counting 101 or more before your opponents have scored. That means you knock on the table, and show your score before they’ve scored anything.
  • To the other side for counting 101 but turns out you were wrong. You’ve knocked on the table, but I’m afraid your points just don’t tally. (You can check by going through your tricks and recalling your declarations)
  • To the other side if they knock on the table and it turns out your tally is 101 or more. That means, you’ve run over the line, not yet declared it, and they knock on the table and call you out.
  • And of course, if they’re wrong, then you get the double-game.

Naturally, then, Gaigel is played over a number of hands with players scoring for game.

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