Nertz: The Greatest Card Game Ever

Nertz is like solitaire on steroids. If you can scrounge up a unique and complete deck of cards for everyone in the family, this is a game that will quickly become a family favorite.

Directions are pretty easy. Once you get the hang of it, the game is absolutely wild fun. Here’s a rundown:

  • Every person gets 1 deck of cards. The game starts at the lead’s shout of “Go!”
  • Every person lays down the following: A pile of 14 cards down, 1 card up on top, and five cards up to the right of the pile.
  • Player plays on the 5 cards up, off-color down (similar to regular solitaire), able to draw from their pile or move stacks from one to another. Blank slots are free to move any card to.
  • Player plays aces to the center of the playing table. Suits are counted up from the aces (A-2-3…K). Players who place the King on the pile are responsible for turning the pile over.
  • Players who remove all their cards from their pile may yell “Nertz!”
  • Sort the cards from the middle of the table for points.
  • Keep score: 1 point subtracted for every card left in an individual stack, 2 points added for every card played in the center of the table. The “Nertz!” winner gets 15 points extra.
  • Get ready for another round. First player to 200 points wins, and placings are figured out from there.

We have several little kids play, and we’ve developed these handicaps for them. Every once in a while, they win a round! Apply them to your family as needed:

  • Allow all those under a certain age to prepare their piles ahead of time. Older ones start at the “Go!”
  • Count the number of cards per year old. Example: Instead of 14-down-1-up, count 4-down-1-up for the 5 year old.
  • The little ones become “buddies” of the older ones. They help as scouts for the piles in the middle of the table.
  • Little ones aren’t required to subtract points from their deck.

Finding enough decks can be tough for a large family. We purchased used casino cards from eBay (144 decks) and have been utilizing them ever since. These are great for parties!

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • ~kjl

    Thanks for a new game idea! We’ve been playing a lot of Phase 10 and Skip-bo around here. Even the younger kids have fun. This will be a new fun thing for our next game night :)

  • Christine Wells

    There’s a lot of different versions of this game, and I think these rules are the most different I’ve seen from the way I usually play, but no matter what variation you use, this is my all-time favorite card game!