All About Sheepshead

Thanks to Larry Kruger for bringing Sheepshead to our attention. After the latest episode, he sent us a full version of the rules. I have gathered the rules into a file for your downloading pleasure.

For the complete rules to Sheepshead, click here.

Another listener, Martin in Germany, let us know that Sheepshead is one of the three most popular classic cards games in his part of the world. He writes:

"Sheephead is the translation from the classic German card game Schafskopf. This game is mainly played in Bavaria and is one of the three great German cardgames, which are Skat, Doppelkopf (double head) and Schafskopf (sheephead). I'm quite sure, that the fact that the listener playing this game is from Germantown is not a coincidence. All three games are similar, with sheephead being the simplest. But all three games are rather complex!

Doppelkopf is my personal favorite. Played by 4 players, two players are playing together (most the time, there are exceptions!), but at the start of the game, nobody knows how is his partner (played with two poker decks without 2-8, the two players with the Queens of Spades are playing against the other two).

Skat is played by three players (with 32 card, a poker deck without 2-6, called are skat deck, the original skat deck, which is widely used in East Germany, has its own design). Two players (the party) are playing versus one player (the player). Who is the player is decided by a complicated biting process (Reizen), which makes this game hard to learn for new players. Nevertheless, Skat is THE German game. Everybody and I mean everybody plays Skat here in Germany."

If you haven't checked out the link in the left column for card game rules, check out . It's an online encyclopedia of card games and has listings for SKat, Dopplekopf and tons of other classic card games, too.




Sheepshead as described in the above rules is hugely popular in the Milwaukee (WI) area. Almost always played five handed.