A player may also declare that they have certain cards at the start of a hand, both to indicate to their partner which cards they have and to score points. It is important to remember these declarations; they can be very useful in determining which card to play in a hand (see Strategies).
If a player's 9 cards have any sequences of 3 or more cards in the same suit, or have 4 of a kind (only certain kinds), they may declare this when they play their card during the first hand. The player can only say what kind of combination he/she has*, not which cards it entails. When all 4 cards in the first hand have been played, the players with combinations must declare the strongest card in that combination, starting with the player who started the hand and proceeding to the right. If an opposing player has already declared a stronger combination, a player cannot make their declaration.
Upon winning the declaration, the player with the strongest combination must specify the suit and strength of each combination and may write down points for it. The partner of the player that has the strongest combination also may declare and score any and all combinations, even if a player on the opposing team had a stronger combination.
Only certain 4 of a kinds are valid. Which ones are valid also depends on the trump. From strongest to weakest, the 4 of a kinds are:
Normal trump: Jack, Ace,
King, Queen, 10.
No trump (oben-abe): Jack, Ace, King, Queen, 10.
No trump, reversed (unen-uffe): Jack, 6, 10, Queen, King.
- A player may only declare a combination after the player to their left has played and before the player to their right has played. Declaring at any other time doesn't count.
- A player may declare as many combinations as they have, but each one must be unique (they cannot share cards). For example, if a player has 4 10s and a 10 + 9 + 8 sequence, they may only declare and score one of the combinations.
*You may also announce the combination by saying its point value (see Card point values).
Note: You do not have to declare a combination if you do not wish to. The number of points you gain, however, will almost always outweigh any strategic gain from withholding the information from the other team. Likewise, you are not penalized for forgetting to declare a combination.
- 4 of a kind is stronger than any sequence (see above for ordering rules on 4 of a kinds).
- The longer a sequence, the stronger a sequence.
- If two sequences are of equal length, then the sequence with stronger cards for that trump wins.
- If players on opposing teams have the same strength combination, then the player that declared it first (closest to the dealer, going clock-wise) wins.
There is one more special declaration a player can make. If a player has both the King and Queen of the trump suit, they may declare it after they have played both the King and Queen. This combination, called 'stöck', is purely a point-scoring declaration and cannot be contested. Nor does it impart strategic information, since it is declared after being played. A player may only declare it early if they have a sequence in which the combination is implicit (e.g. if they have King, Queen, Jack of trump) and their team won the combination declaration.
After the second card is played, the team may still declare Stöck at any point until the score is written (if they forget to declare when the card is played).
Note: in Swiss German, a declaration is called a 'Wies' (pronounced 'Vees'). Sequences are named after the number of cards, followed by 'blatt' (e.g. 'Dreiblatt', 'Vierblatt', 'Funfblatt').