Heading says it all. I play a lot of card games with 3 (with my dad and son) and I'm looking to add another game to the rotation. I was originally considering either Bottle Imp or Sticheln, but this game has caught my eye as well. The other two games are highly recommended for three, I was wondering if this game plays well at three as well or if it needs that fourth player to shine?
i played with 3 a couple weeks ago. it's good. you certainly get the "feel" of the game. you are much more aware of how the other players are doing ... and with the dog/stealing there will only be one player you can steal from - which is not ideal. i think it makes the dog a bit overpowered.
the game is certainly better with 4, but i would still pull it out with 3 especially if someone wanted to learn the game or especially like the mechanics
Pi mal Pflaumen really needs at least four. I initially learned it with three and I won't play it with less than four now.
Sticheln is the best of the games you mentioned, especially for three. Not sure if it matters to you but Sticheln and The Bottle Imp are both trick-taking games while Pi mal Pflaumen is something different that feels similar to a trick-taker.
If you have Parade, Rage, Battle Line, or any number of other card games then you can play Sticheln. I believe the rules are on the Sticheln page. I use a Rage deck myself.
Quite possibly this game is best with three in my view. With three there are 3 stealing cards and two dogs ( protect you from stealing ) and one pi card and 6 scoring cards. If you don't have the dog you are very likely to get stolen from. With 3 it's easy enough to remember the order for who gets which choice so you have less fiddle as you don't need to use the ranking cards each trick . So less fiddle, less bash the leader and more control.
With 4 their is a tiny bit too much bash the leader in the game so if you could do something that makes you a target for bashing you want to make sure you have the dog and or plenty if pi cards to protect yourself or get a secure enough lead you can focus on undermining your opponents. With 5 players plum cards take on extra significance as each round there is one card that is points for a set of plums rather than the standard aa abc aaabb etc. and whilst I haven't played with 5 it sounds great. Also less bash leader as more needing to focus on what is best for you and more choice of cards too.
I really like hanabi ( scales great 2-5) and haggis ( great 3 player also great with 2) if you are looking at other options for 3 player card games.