I made a return to Schnapsen — I had tried it once before, about five years ago. It’s an extremely tight two-handed trick-taker. It’s an ace-ten game, played with a 20-card pack with all the non-scoring cards removed. It seems to be a game of memory: you must remember your own points and it certainly helps to remember the cards played and your opponent’s points.
I can’t see how two-player trick-taking could be much better… Of course, Schnapsen isn’t the most friendliest game ever, even though it’s pretty easy to learn, as long as you’re familiar with the ace-ten point structure (and a serious gamer should be). My play sucked: I lost 3-7, giving Olli four points from failing to score 66 after closing the pack. That’s amateurish…
We also played four hands of WYSIWYG — we weren’t close to finishing the game, but I ran out of time. The game’s supposed to be played to 100 points, but after half an hour and four hands, I had eight points and Olli had 33. Scoring seems pretty hard in the game: with good cards, getting a decent score is tricky as your initial hand value is deducted from your points. Maybe with more doubling? Also, the penalties for failing are pretty high, so I suppose the player with the lower-valued hand should just drive up the bidding and then try to make the declarer fail.
Anyway, it’s a fun game and while it lacks the punch of Schnapsen, it’s certainly more relaxed and pleasant to play.