Special rules

Date: 04. Jun 2023

On a note beforehand:
One general rule I have not covered yet is that you are only allowed to look at the last played trick. So, you have to pay attention to and keep in mind which suits have already been played and which person won which trick.

Doppelkopf is a game of decisions not only within a round but already before the game even starts. As you've read in the last blog post, people start their first decision when choosing whether to include the 9s or to leave them out. Since there are lots of special rules and variants of them, I will leave a checkmark at the rules which I will be using by default further down the line for orientation.

Card-based bonus points

These bonus points can be obtained by winning tricks that have certain cards within. After such a trick is won, the player leaves the special card from the trick face up next to the stack of his won tricks to remember the bonus point.

Getting a Doppelkopf

When you win a trick and it has more than 40 points, it is called a Doppelkopf (just like the game's name) and results in you getting a bonus point at the end of the round. If you win the round, it is added on top to your team's overall points. If you still lose the round, it will be subtracted from the other team's overall points, so your team has a lower deficit. A Doppelkopf only can occur, if just 10s and/or aces appear in the trick (not common). Any of the cards in this trick can be used as the indicator for the bonus point.

Catch the fox

In the game, the ace of Diamonds is also called fox (Fuchs or Füchschen). You will get a bonus point if a player from the opposing team plays it, and you manage to get the trick - catch it. The fox will be left face up to indicate the bonus point. Since you may not know if the person from whom you have caught the fox is your teammate or not you may need to turn the card around when the teams are 100% clear.

Charly at the end

Charly or the German Karlchen are both expressions used for the jack of Clubs. You will get a bonus point if you win the last trick with it. However, there is a catch depending once more on the way your group is playing. To give the player who is keeping the Charly until the end a downside as well you can implement the first or both of the following rules:

  1. If the other team catches your Charly, they will get a bonus point ✅
  2. If your teammate did not pay attention and has a higher trump to get the last trick, it will also result in a bonus point for the opposing team

These are the possibilities to get additional bonus points based on special cards. As far as I know, the former two are in place always. The latter one is up to discussion with the people with whom you are playing. Next up follow two special rules that I personally do not play by usually. Nonetheless, they are worth mentioning because they bring more uncertainty into the game and are used among some or probably many people.

Special rules

Second Dulle catches the first one

As you know from most trick taking games, if the same trump is played twice in a trick, the player who played it first gets the trick if it is the highest trump. This special rule makes an exception for the 10 of Hearts.
It was introduced to decrease the power of the 10 of Hearts and to make the game less predictable. Discussions about including or excluding this rule when playing with a new group of people can become heated at times.

Piggies (Schweinchen)

If you have both foxes on your hand (ace of Diamonds for those who already forgot) they would be a big liability. Thus, this rule was invented to even it out more. The foxes will become the most powerful trumps respectively (according to the motto: power to the weak).

Usually, it has to be called at the start of the round, but to spice things up, some people play it in a way that you can also wait with the announcement until you put down the card. To go even one step further some people play that if you have the piggies and by chance also the two 10s of Diamonds on your hand, you can call the super sow. These two cards will then also be higher trumps than the Dulle (a bit ridiculous in my opinion).

In a round with Schweinchen the bonus rule of catching the fox does not work :)


In the last post, I wrote that you would need 120 points or above to win a round. Careful readers will have wondered about what happens if you have exactly this amount. Since the Re team automatically has two of the highest four trumps, the rules dictate that the Contra team wins at 120 points and the Re team needs 121 points. When you are the Contra team and you win, you will get an additional bonus point, because you have won against the high trumps (against the elderly). Now let's look at the cases that you are confident to win (even by a higher margin) and want to get bonus points for that:

Re / Contra

You can announce your team before the round starts or up to the point until you have played the second card from your hand. The announcement means that you belong to that team and that you will win the round. In some groups making the announcement before the round started results in +2 bonus points and calling it after the trick has been played in +1 (✅). Other groups play that these two cases make no difference, so both would be either one or two bonus points. Besides the bonus points, it also makes you visible to your teammate (and your opponents). In many groups of people, the forced announcement rule is in place which is defined as if the first trick in the game has 30 points or above, you have to call Re / Contra (✅). This rule is suspended when there was a wedding.

The wedding makes the announcement rule before the game starts obsolete (so there will be no bonus). The wedding also postpones the deadline for making the announcement, because you may not know which team you are in, after you have played the second card from the hand. Nothing changes if the first trick was the decider, but if the second (third) trick is the decider the number of cards played until you have to make the announcement increases by one (two).

Winning with a higher margin

When Re is called, the other team can respond by calling Contra until their card is played in the next trick. Re and Contra announcements have the meaning that your opposing team does not reach 120 points (or 121). If you feel even more confident you can extend that call further in steps of 30 points, meaning:

  • no 90
  • no 60
  • no 30
  • "Schwarz"

Schwarz means, that the opposing team will not get a single point this round. Each call can be made with one more card played from the hand provided that the previous call has been made too. Every one of these calls is an extra bonus point. Here, it doesn't matter if you make these calls at the start or during the games (except for being more of a badass). If you call for example no 60 and the other team reaches it, then you have lost and all those extra points, since you did not fulfill your announcement.

Fun fact: Even when you are playing regularly but not as a tournament player there is still sometimes confusion whether this or that announcement is still allowed.

Below you will find an example of the result of a round to illustrate the described theory a little better:

  • Team Contra called contra in advance of the round
  • Team Contra called up to no 60 further down the round
  • Re caught one fox
  • Re has made 27 / 60 / 95 points

This results in the following game points:

Re got 27 pointsRe got 60 pointsRe got 95 points
Contra won +1Re won +1Re won +1
Contra before the round +2Contra before the round +2Contra before the round +2
Against the elderly +1
Re < 30 points +3Re won +30 against no 60 call +1
Contra called no 60 +2Contra called no 60 +2Contra called no 60 +2
Re caught a fox -1Re caught a fox +1Re caught a fox +1
Total Re-8+6+7
Total Contra+8-6-7

For further reference I have linked the rules of the German Doppelkopf association (tournament rules). Unfortunately, they are only available in German.

This blog post is already somewhat long. Therefore, I will cover the case of playing alone next time.

Thanks for reading!