Sorry its been so long to answer your questions.I have been busy with skat stars canada.
Well as you may have seen that this can be a very confussing game,that is why it is the hardest and best card game in the world.And that is why we created skatlink the game to teach other to play.most things you can learn off the net,but this game ,is one of those hands on type thing.so going out to one of the clubs and seeing it really helps.the language barrier is tough,most sites to learn are in german,and alot of the books only give you bits and pieces,and a lot are out dated.skatlink goes through the whole process and is right to date and Is the only one teaching the IPSA international skat players association rules.
the reason this site is all over the board is because we want to appeal to all types of players from the beginer to the novice and even the pro's.
The basics is the skat 101,this teaches the values of the cards ,how to make tricks and the consept of the game in reaching 61 to win.Playing this you'll understand the strengh of jacks and trumps.
Now your question about bidding. this is part of the real 3 handed game of skat,and can take years to master or even to just be good at.(some never learn to bid correctly) Jo a women we taught with skatlink has been playing for almost 3 years and still brings a bidding chart to every game she plays.(bidding chart included in the game ).Its simliar to a poker chart but more complex.what beats what,and what ranks higher. eg a club game or a diamond game with no jacks. with in time this will come natural, or can be calcullated,Jo just likes to look it up on the chart and screw the calculations . not everyone is good at multipying 4 x 24= 96,or 6 x 9= 54.And this is nessesary to be able to bid without a chart.one can use memory skills,like a clubs game with the 2 black jacks is worth 36,and I can bid to that .And then memorize the the bidding order 18,20,22,23,24,27,30,33,35,36,40,44,45,46,48,.... to 264.
So the steps you take are pick up your 10 cards,analize them,sort them and decide if you have a winnable or even playable hand (I recommend that you think you are able to make a min of 5 tricks before you bid).Now you have looked at your hand and you believe that you could make 5 or more tricks if you could make clubs trump just for an example. then you must calculate what your club game is worth,and that is determined by which jacks you have in your hand. so say you have clubs and spade jack,thats with 2 play 3.Play is an automatic multiplier,so with 2 automatic play 3.3x 12=36.(12 is the pre dertimed value of clubs as you are aware of in your question).so in the first minute you have sorted and viewed your cards,you believe you will make 5 or more tricks playing clubs and you have calculated your hand is worth up to 36.you may now start the bid at 18 and bid your way up to 36 in hopes to get the game at a bid of 36 or lower.If you are successfull at getting the bid at 36 or lower you have the game and the right to the skat( the 2 cards in the middle) and the right to declare the type of game to be played ,here you were hoping on a clubs game.the skat my have change your hand,and you may want play some thing eles,(re calculate)so long as it is worth more than what you bid you can play something else.thats why you try to get the game as low as possible so you can have more options to play various games.(after the bid and after the skat exchange) After you anounce the game that you'd like to play.Then you will go back to skat 101 and play out 10 tricks in hopes to get 61 in card tricks.(if you get 61 or more you win, if 60 or less you lose)
See not that hard.Buy the game and get the bidding chart, it will make things alot easier,or make you own to use for the first little while till the calculations become natural.