Playing-card review 3: Doppelkopf packs by ASS and Piatnik

This time I’m taking a look at some Doppelkopf packs. These packs have 48 cards, but they are actually made of two 24-card packs. Thus, the packs have A, K, Q, J, 10, 9 in each suit twice. Doppelkopf is a very good game, developed from Schafkopf. In Doppelkopf, or Doko as it’s also known, there are four players and usually the two players who have the club queens play together against the other two. It’s a complicated game, but for serious card players, Doko offers interesting challenges and is highly recommended.

You can also use the Doko pack to play Pinochle and of course, split it to make two packs for playing Schnapsen…

ASS Doko pack back

ASS Doppelkopf Deutsches Bild. This Doppelkopf pack from ASS (here’s a tip: if you search for their home page, search for Altenburger…) has German suits and pictures. That is, the four suits are hearts, acorns, leaves and bells. The court cards are king, ober and under. The obers and unders have the correct suit symbols: ober is marked with a suit symbol in the top corner and under in the bottom corner. However, all cards have indices as well (courts are K, O, U). The cards are also double-headed.

Highlights of the pack include the very beautiful aces. Shown below is the ace of hearts, but the others are just as decorative. The court cards are rather fancy as well. The theme is old-fashioned country-side style, as suits the symbols. Under of acorns is falconer, for example, while under of leaves brandishes a milk jug and a hoe. The bells are all very high-and-mighty figures, even the under wields a sword and a book. Very beautiful.

The pack also has six cards with the official rules of tournament Doppelkopf — in German, unfortunately. The cards come in a clear two-part plastic shell, which is fairly functional but needs a rubber band to stay shut. All in all, this is a handsome and useful pack, and a good choice if you wish to play Doppelkopf with the German pictures — which of course limits the potential users quite a bit outside Germany.

ASS Doko ace of hearts ASS Doko king ASS Doko nine

Piatnik Doko pack back

Piatnik Doppelkopf Franz. Bild, No. 182419. This Piatnik pack has French pictures, which means it has the standard suits: hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs. The indices are German, though: K, D, B, and actually, the pictures are German as well. You see, in the Anglo-American standard courts, king of clubs represents Charlemagne (see Ron Decker’s explanation) who holds the globe. In this pack and other German packs, it’s the king of hearts who holds the globe. Also, here king of spades can be recognized as David, as he has his harp. In the Anglo-American standard pattern, the harp is not always visible.

The art here is very elegant and pleasant. The cards are of high quality and packed in a simple cardboard tuck box. Given the French suits, this is easier to approach than the pack with German suits, so if you’re looking for a pack of Doppelkopf cards, here’s a good pick. Of course, if you don’t play Doppelkopf, this pack won’t have much use either and the value of the pack is in the art. If your collection doesn’t yet have a pack with the German-style courts with David as king of spades, that might be a reason enough to get this pack.

Piatnik Doko Queen of Clubs Piatnik Doko King of Hearts Piatnik Doko King of Spades

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4 responses to “Playing-card review 3: Doppelkopf packs by ASS and Piatnik”

  1. I have the ASS Skat Deutsches Bild decks (A-7). I bought two, to play Doppelkopf but also to play Shafkopf, Skat, and Schnapsen. There’s something that just feels better about using a regional deck to play a game from a particular region. So far, they have only been used once — to play Skat. I like the look of the cards, but I do find them slightly more difficult to play with as, unlike the standard french-suited decks here in North America, the suits are not repeated below the indices so you have to spread the cards out a bit more than usual in order to see what you’re holding. A minor, but noticeable, difference. Still, I’m glad to have them, and I’m hoping to get a chance to use them more often in the future.

  2. Indeed, I like the regional packs for the same reason (and that is why I have about 20 different packs even before the Piatnik boatload). Of course, not everybody agrees — learning both a new game and a new pack can be tough. Especially with the Italian regional packs, which are often rather difficult (the difference between swords and batons can be subtle and the lack of indices makes it harder).
    I haven’t really noticed the lack of suits in indices, so I suppose it’s not a big deal for me.

  3. I’d love to try some of these regional games, especially the German ones. I’d like to buy a deck of German style playing cards, but I haven’t been able to find a good supplier online or otherwise. Can anyone recommend one? I have a nice deck of Modiano Scopa cards that I bought when I was in Rome, only wish I’d bought some in Germany while I was there.