Sticheln (Prick)

Designed by Klaus Palesch
Published by AMIGO, 1993
Translation by Peter Wotruba
Minor editing and HTML conversion by Dan Blum

A game for 3-6 players.


90 Cards - 15 Red, 15 Orange, 15 Yellow, 15 Green, 15 Blue, and 15 Purple. Each suit has the values 0-14.


Every player is dealt 15 cards, and from those each person chooses one, and in that way, every player determines their own "misery" cards. The rest of the cards are collected by the players in a series of 14 tricks. Everybody tries to take as many cards as possible, while avoiding all cards in their misery color.

Before Playing

Depending on the number of players, some of the cards may need to be taken out of the deck and laid aside:

6 players90 cardsAll cards are used.
5 players75 cardsAll purple cards are removed.
4 players60 cardsAll purple cards, and all cards with the values 12, 13, and 14 are removed from the game.
3 players45 cardsAll purple cards, and all 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 cards are removed from the game.

Game Preparation

The cards are shuffled, and everybody chooses a random card. The player with the highest card is the dealer. The dealer shuffles the cards, and distributes them evenly to all players, so that everyone has 15 cards. Each player picks up his cards and chooses a personal "misery color" from the colors of the cards in his hand. A card from this color is placed face-down on the table in front of the player.

Why is the Chosen Color Called a Misery Color?

For a simple reason: every card of this color which you take in your tricks counts as negative points equal to the numerical value of the card. The misery begins with the selection of the misery card, because that card also counts as negative points. Every player therefore begins the game with negative points, unless of course, a misery card with a value of zero was chosen.

The Misery Cards are Revealed

After every player has chosen a misery card and placed it face-down in front of himself, each player's chosen card is turned face-up, so that everyone can see the misery cards of the other players. It can definitely happen that more than one player can chose the same color.

The Game Begins

The player to the dealer's left plays any one of his 14 cards from his hand. With this card, a trick begins, and it is called the start card. The color of this card is called the start color.

Every other color is called a trump color, and every card in a trump color besides a zero is called a trump card.

In turn, starting with the leader, and going clockwise, each player plays a card of his choice from his hand. You must either follow suit, or you must play a trump card.

How to Determine Who Wins a Trick

The player places the won trick face-down in front of himself, and leads to the next trick.

End of the Round

After the 14th trick, the round is over. Every player now has at least one card (namely the misery card), and maybe cards from won tricks. To determine the points received in a round, the negative points for the misery cards are added together, and subtracted from the positive points earned from the other cards.


Negative Points - Every card in a player's chosen misery color has negative points equal to the value of the card.

Positive Points - Every card in the other colors count as one point each, independent of their printed value.

The Next Round

After all points are written down for each player, the second round begins. There is a new dealer (the person to the left of the previous dealer). After the cards are dealt, the players again each choose their personal misery card and place it face-down on the table (as was described earlier).

Game End

You can play a set number of rounds, or until a player reaches a predetermined point total.

10 rounds are recommended, or 100 points.

Tips and Hints

About the decision for a misery color - you should neither take a color from which you have only 2-3 cards, nor from a color of which you have many cards, but choose a color somewhere in the middle. Naturally, the values of the colors you have play a role, because with only high cards in a suit, you may eventually take a trick in that suit.

Choosing a misery card - you should remember that the value of the card is the number of negative points you will have at the start. But you also need small cards in your misery suit in order to not take a trick in it.

As the starting player of a trick, you should avoid leading the higher cards of your misery suit. Near the end of a round, playing cards of your own misery suit is unpleasant, because often the other players do not have many more cards of that color, and therefore your cards will become trump cards, and are more likely to win a trick.

You must pay attention to trumping with your own misery color, because other players, who still have to play may also trump with lower cards of the same color, thus adding to your misery.

Every person determines their own misery color, which lasts for the entire round.

The start color is determined anew each time a trick is begun. The trump color is dependent upon the start color, and is likewise determined anew each trick.

Example of a Scoring Round

  1. Axel has chosen a red 4 as his misery card. He has taken a red 2 and 5 along with 114 cards of other colors in his tricks. Axel recieves 14 points for those 14 cards, and from that he subtracts his red cards' value (4+2+5=11). Therefore Axel has a total of three positive points.
  2. Lore has a blue 1 as her misery card. She took no tricks, so therefore she receives one negative point (corresponding to the blue 1).
  3. Ulli chose a red zero as his misery card. Among the cards he took, he has three red cards - a 1, 3, and 14 - along with 5 other cards. His total equals his positive points (5) minus his negative points (0+1+3+14=18), giving him negative 13 points.
  4. Doris has chosen a green 4, and has taken one trick, none of the four cards in which which are of her misery color. Therefore her point total is zero (4-4= 0) but that is always better than getting negative points.

Example of a Trick

For all the following examples:

The declaration of the current point totals serves as an assessment of each person's performance in the example. In a real game points are not totaled after every trick, instead they are totaled at the end of a round.

  1. Axel: yellow 6 (start color)
    Lore: yellow 5 ( " " )
    Ulli: yellow 2 ( " " )
    Doris: yellow 14 ( " " )
    Doris takes the trick, and scores four positive points.
  2. Doris: red 3 (start color)
    Axel: red 2 (start color)
    Lore: blue 0 (a zero card)
    Ulli: red 4 (start color)
    Ulli takes the trick (blue zero does not count). He recieves 8 negative points (3+2+4=9 negative points added to the 1 positive point for the blue card).
  3. Ulli: blue 14 (start color)
    Doris: violet 6 (trump color)
    Axel: green 6 (trump color)
    Lore: green 4 (trump color)
    Doris recieves the trick. The card she played was a different color than blue, and was not a zero. It counts as the highest trump card. The green six is counted as lower as it was played later. In any case, this trick counts as 8 negative points.
  4. Doris: green 3 (start color)
    Axel: green 0 (start color)
    Lore: green 2 (start color)
    Ulli: orange 0 (trump color, but not a trump card)
    Doris also takes this trick, and recieves 4 negative points (3+2=5 negative points added to the one positive point for the orange card).

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell