A different deck?

Living in Russia I see many remarkable and interesting things, but this one has me baffled. I bought a deck of hand painted cards ( The monarchs are replaced by famous Russian historical figures which is why I liked them) but later discovered that the deck has only 36 cards in total, and all the 2’s 3’s 4’s and 5’s are missing. Now before you say anything, the box wasn’t broken and I know I got the full set!! I am curious to know how these cards are supposed to be used.
Luckily they are beautiful in their own right even if I never discover what they’re for!

Sounds like a deck based on the German card game “Schafkopf”. I don’t know why the game is called “Sheep’s Head” (I thought that was the name of a knot!) but I hunted around and found a brief description here:


I think that the knot is the “sheepshank” rather than the sheep head. The knot is used to shorten the rope without having to loosen the ends - basically, you make three loops, and thread the ends of the middle loop through the two outer loops and pull tight.

You may want to throw out the 7’s – then you can play “Skat”, which is more fun than “Schafskopf”.

Privet, Keesa! Otlichno vidit’ Dopera ot Rossii. :slight_smile:
If I remember correctly, the deck you’ve got is set up for the game of “Durak” (meaning ‘fool’). I only played it a couple of times when I was in St. Pete’s back in 1995, so my memory could be completely failing me.

This site http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/~gurtov/durak/fool.html has a downloadable “Durak” game; the site tells me it’s playable either with a 36-card deck or the full 52 so it seems to me I’m on the right track here.

Where are you living, by the way? And what brought you over there? I miss St. Petersburg terribly; it’s a lovely city!

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

Also, there is a swiss card game called “jass” that is played with a 36-card deck (Ace through 6). The french-speaking swiss play with a deck that has the usual suits (clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds), but the kings, queens, and jacks are drawn a little bit differently than is usual with a bridge deck. The german-speaking swiss sometimes play jass with an old-fashioned deck where the suits are bells, acorns, and I forget the other two.

Jacques Kilchoer
Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.

“Skat” - isn’t that AKA “sheisskopf”?

Skat is related to Schafskopf a/k/a Sheepshead. Scheisskopf is something different altogether :slight_smile:

Correct, Manduck. And thank you for not making me have to explain THAT one.