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Official Nertz Card Game Rules

Nertz is a fast-paced, multiplayer card game that combines elements of solitaire and competitive play. It's known for its frantic pace and requires quick thinking and swift card handling. Here's a comprehensive guide to the rules of Nertz:


The objective of Nertz is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your Nertz pile while scoring as many points as possible by playing cards to the communal foundation piles.


1. Deck Preparation: Each player uses their own deck of cards. Shuffle thoroughly.

2. Nertz Pile: Each player deals a stack of 13 cards face down to their right. The top card is turned face up; this is the Nertz pile.

3. Work Piles: Each player deals four cards face up in a row to the left of their Nertz pile, creating four work piles.

4. Stock Pile: The remaining cards form the stock pile, placed face down near the Nertz pile.

5. Foundation Piles: The center of the playing area is reserved for foundation piles. These will be built up during play.


  1. Starting the Game: A player says "Go!" to begin. All players simultaneously start playing cards.

  2. Playing Cards:

    • Foundation Piles: Any player can start a foundation pile in the center with an Ace. Foundation piles are built up in ascending order by suit (e.g., A, 2, 3, ... K).

    • Work Piles: Cards in work piles can be played on other work piles in descending order and alternating colors (e.g., a red 7 on a black 8).

    • Nertz Pile: The top card of the Nertz pile can be played to a foundation pile or a work pile. When the top card is played, turn the next card in the Nertz pile face up.

    • Stock Pile: Players use their stock pile by flipping three cards at a time into a waste pile. The top card of the waste pile can be played to the work piles or foundation piles.

  3. Continuing Play: Players continue to play as quickly as possible, moving cards from their Nertz pile, work piles, and stock pile to the foundation piles.

  4. Calling "Nertz": The first player to empty their Nertz pile calls out "Nertz!" and the round ends immediately.

Winning the Game

  1. Counting Cards:

    • Foundation Piles: Each player counts the number of cards they have placed in the foundation piles.

    • Nertz Pile: Each remaining card in a player's Nertz pile counts against them.

  2. Calculating Points:

    • Players earn 1 point for each card they placed in the foundation piles.

    • Players lose 2 points for each card remaining in their Nertz pile.

    • For example, if a player placed 20 cards in the foundation piles and has 5 cards left in their Nertz pile, their score for the round would be 20 - (5 x 2) = 10 points.

  3. Winning the Game: The game continues for multiple rounds. The first player to reach a predetermined score (e.g., 100 points) wins the game.


Additional Rules:

  • Multiple Decks: Ensure each player's deck has a distinctive back design to avoid mixing cards.

  • Stock Pile Cycling: When the stock pile is exhausted, pick up the waste pile, shuffle, and use it as the new stock pile.

  • Tie-Breaking: If two players call "Nertz" at the same time, the player with the fewest cards in their Nertz pile wins the tie. If still tied, the player with the most cards in the foundation piles wins.


  • Speed: Play quickly and efficiently, but avoid mistakes.

  • Foundation Piles: Prioritize playing cards to the foundation piles to maximize points.

  • Work Piles: Keep work piles organized and create opportunities to move cards from the Nertz pile.

Nertz is an exciting and dynamic card game that challenges players' speed, strategy, and card-handling skills. Its fast-paced nature makes it a favorite for competitive card players.

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