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Traditional card game


Watten is a traditional card game deeply rooted in the culture of South Tyrol. It is an important part of South Tyrolean tavern culture and is often played in social gatherings. Just as every tavern has its specialty and every valley its dialect, almost every place has its own rules for Watten. Whether the card game has French or Italian roots is debated. However, it is clear that Watten is part of everyday life and culture in South Tyrol.

For the most popular variant of Watten in South Tyrol, the so called Blindwatten, precise observation and quick combination skills are essential. Additionally, a certain degree of risk-taking and a good memory are required. Watten is not only a social pastime but also a playful competition that provides entertainment in a group.



Rules of Watten
Watten can be played either by two or four players. When played by four players, two teams of two are formed, with partners sitting opposite each other. The game is played with 33 cards in four suits (Schell, Laub, Herz, and Eichel) and eight ranks (7, 8, 9, 10, Unter, Ober, König, Ass), plus the special card Weli.


  • Dealing the cards: Each player receives five cards, and the remaining cards are placed face down on the table.
  • Announcements: The dealer (Player A) and the player to their left (Player B) determine the trump suit Trumpf (color) and the Schlag (value). Player B announces the value, and Player A announces the trump. These determine the best (Guate - the best card in the game, which increases the announced value by one and carries the announced color) and second-best card (Rechte - the card that carries the announced value and color) in the game. In Blindwatten, Players A and B show their cards to each other without the other two players knowing the announcement (in open play, color and value are are announced aloud).
  • Starting the game: The player who announced the Schlag (Player B) begins by playing the first card. In the determined playing direction (clockwise or counterclockwise), the other players follow and play their cards. After all players have played their cards, the player with the best card wins the round and earns a trick.
  • Continuing the game: The winner of the trick collects the played cards, sets them aside, and plays the next card. This repeats until one team wins three tricks, ending the round. The winning team usually receives 2 points unless a higher point value was bid.
  • The game becomes exciting by bidding (bieten). Normally, the winning team receives two points, but both teams have the option to 'bid three' during the round. If the opposing team decides to 'hold the three', the game continues, and the winner of the round receives three points instead of two (higher bids are possible). If the opposing team decides to 'go' (leave the round), the bidding team automatically wins the round and receives two points.
  • New round: After a round, the player who announced the last Schlag shuffles the cards and a new round begins with new announcements for Trumpf and Schlag.
  • Ending the game: The game continues until one team reaches the predetermined endpoint of 11, 15, or 18 points.
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