When Beth and Kim came for Christmas, we anticipated playing a raucous card game that Beth had introduced to us years ago. It became a family favorite, and helped fill Mom and Dad’s home with wild laughter the Christmas Mom passed away.
The game no doubt goes by many different names. We know it by the name by which Beth introduced it: Nertz!
My concern, as ever when we get together with Beth, is that she’d been playing Nertz! recently. She’s always been very good at it, and of course, practice improves. Imagine my surprise, then, when we sat down to play, and Beth couldn’t remember for sure how to lay out!
Here’s the game as we know it. Before long Beth was fairly confident about the lay out, but if you know a different way, let us know.
Find an old, beat up deck of cards for each player. Each person deals 11 cards face down in a pile, turning up a 12th card on top of the pile, then a line of 4 cards face up. The pile is each person’s “Nertz! pile.”
Once every player is set up, at an agreed start, everyone begins playing standard Klondike solitaire on their layout. Any aces that turn up go in the center of the table. The extra cards are turned up as in Klondike, 3 at a time, played on the open cards of each person’s lay out or on the aces as in Klondike. The trick is laying down your card on the aces first, in direct and violent competition with everyone else. Empty spaces in the layout are filled from the Nertz! pile.
When the last card in the Nertz! pile is put into play, one shouts “Nertz!” ending the round. Cards in the center are sorted by deck and returned to each player to be counted as points. Each Nertz! pile is counted, and subtracted from accumulated points.
It’s a fast, furious, funny game, great for playing with siblings! I wrote this out for the blog partly so that we’d have a record of the rules as we know them, so next time we gather for a friendly little blood bath by playing cards, we’ll be ready.