Go Lizards, Go Hogs, Go Illini; and the Army keeps rolling along!
I played my first real Skat last night. I've been learning from books and the web, and have played a few times against computer opponents at ISS. I finally got in touch with the local club to give it a real try. It was awesome! We were having one of the hardest rains I've seen in a while, so most everyone was running a bit late. A couple of folks apologized profusely to the new guy for not starting on time. I spent the evening apologizing profusely for both my German and for my Skat.
My addition did make for interesting conversation through the evening, for example:
She: "An American who plays Skat?" (Said with a tone of truly genuine puzzlement.)
I: "No, I've only learned from a book."
There's a reason social card games are social. Nobody learns these things from reading; they learn them from each other. I possibly picked up more in five hours than in the past several months.
I showcased my mediocrity throughout the evening. (And claiming mediocrity is probably being arrogant.) I revoked three times -- just not quite used to the Jack of Hearts being a Club. I almost did it a fourth time but realized it just as my card hit the table and corrected it, so at least I'm getting better, I guess. And I threw away big points at least twice, momentarily forgetting that the player's Ten beat my partner's King -- autsch. But just like in golf, where the two good strokes out of 127 bring you back next time, I will definitely return for more. I lost as many bids as I made during the evening (including going Schneider twice), but at one point I managed to win Diamonds without 4 and I scored a Schneider myself once.
With me, our group was clearly the slowest, finishing some 20 minutes or so behind the others, after 72 hands/games. I missed my last train by 15 minutes, and so slogged home through the still-pouring rain. Soaking wet, I scared the living daylights out of my wife. She was sitting in the dark living room in front of her computer with earphones on, so she she didn't see or hear me until I was something like eight inches from her face. I'm sure someday she'll appreciate the humor in this 1am incident. (It wasn't intentional; I promise! I was saying "I'm back" the whole way across the room.)
I think she was reading Maxim Gorky or something, trying to broaden her understanding of history. I told her to give up that nonsense and suggested a couple of Skat sites. I'm now gonna need someone to practice with between card nights, you know...
Skat is a wonderful, wonderful game. I'm glad you enjoyed it!