How to Play: Dutch Blitz (aka "Nerts")

Introduction: How to Play: Dutch Blitz (aka "Nerts")

Dutch Blitz is a face-paced card game that is easy to learn and fun to play. My mother taught my sister and I when we were young and we still play it when we all get together. This game can also be played with regular decks of cards, which I'll explain simultaneously (I believe the regular playing card version is called "Nerts"). The aim of the game is to get rid of your pile of 10 cards and have the most points at the end of a set number of rounds. The original Dutch Blitz decks are a little hard to come by in a regular store, but there's plenty out there on the interwebs! Hope you enjoy!

Step 1: The Setup

You will need a fairly large table (depending on the number of players) and keep an open area in the middle for everyone to play on. Everyone should be able to reach just about anywhere in that open area of the table.

Dutch Blitz Setup:
A regular game of Dutch Blitz only allows up to 4 people to play. There are 4 different decks, each with a different picture on the back of the cards. These are to help keep the cards separate for score keeping (more on that later).

As you can see in the picture, each player has a basic setup. You have a pile of 10 cards, called a blitz pile, and 3 cards out to the side of it. The rest of your cards go in a separate stack, in the picture it's the "wood pile". Your wood pile should be face down in your hand. The 3 cards out to the side will be face up. Your wood pile functions kind of like your "hand" in solitaire. In solitaire, you have a pile of cards that you draw either 1 or 3 cards from and then use those cards on the field. Your wood pile functions the same way.

The "dutch piles" in the top of the picture is what everyone plays on out in the field. I'll explain more about this in the next step, but just know that this is not part of your initial setup. All you need to do is get your wood pile, 3 cards, and blitz pile.

Nerts Setup:
Basically the same, except:
  • you can have as many players as you want (as long as the players can tell apart their decks)
  • the pictures will be different (of course) but still plays the same
Moving along...

Step 2: Basic Play

There are no "turns" in Dutch Blitz or "Nerts". Everyone plays what they can, when they can.

As you can see from the pictures, there are numbers on the card. They range from 1 to 10. The cards also have a boy or girl beside the number, which I'll explain later. If you recall the "dutch piles" from earlier, these are where most of your cards will be played. These piles are out in the middle of the table.

Play starts when everyone is all setup and ready to go. You have several options to choose from when playing a card:
  • Draw 3 cards(or 1 depending on how you play) from your wood pile and flip them over all at once, so you can only play the top card (just like solitaire). You keep drawing cards this way until you run out, then you simply flip them all back over and start again.
  • Play the top card of your blitz pile
  • Play one of the 3 cards out to the side of the blitz pile ("post piles"). Once you play one of these cards, you can fill in the empty spot with a card from your blitz pile.

Any player who has a "1" can lay it out in the field at any time. There are no limits on how many ones can be on the field. There could be 10 piles going at once! After that, any player (including the same one who laid down the 1), can play on that card. The only rules are that it must be the same color, and the cards must go in ascending order. Once the pile gets up to 10, that pile is finished and can either be left on the field, or be moved off to the side so no one gets confused. You can also turn over the top card of the pile to indicate that pile is finished.

You do not have to wait for your "turn" to play a card. If you have a card that can be played, you can play it whenever you want. Although, someone else may want to play the same number as you, so you better be quick!

To get rid of your blitz pile, you play cards from the top of it. You keep going until you're out of cards in your blitz pile. Simple, right? So you must constantly keep an eye out on the field, your blitz pile, those 3 cards, and your wood pile that you are constantly drawing from.

Oh, one more thing...Some people tend to "two-hand" their cards when playing. This is strictly up to you when you play the game, but I don't usually like to allow this during a game. When I say "two-hand", I mean that instead of taking a single card at a time and placing it on the field as quickly as you can, some people like to pick up a card in each hand when they want to play them at the same time. For instance, if you had a blue 8 and a blue 9, you want to play both as fast as possible so no one else lays down a 9 before you. So, you take the 8 in your left and the 9 in your right and BAM BAM! You got em both. As I said, this is up to the player, but I don't think this is very fair.

Nerts plays basically the same way. The only difference here, since you'd be using regular decks of cards, is that you don't have boys and girls on the cards. You still play stacks on the field according to "color". In this case, of course, the colors would be suits. A complete stack in Nerts would be Ace to King instead of 1 to 10. Everything else still plays the same. Everyone plays at the same time, you're still drawing cards from your wood pile 3 at a time, and you're still trying to get rid of your blitz pile (or whatever it's called in Nerts).

Step 3: Advanced Play (Dutch Blitz Only)

This picture should give you a slightly better idea of what's going on during play. As you can see, there are multiple "1" out on the field. That's ok! You can throw out as many ones out there as you want, that just gives you more cards to play on! But, what if you were just about to slap down a green 3 on that green 2 and someone beat ya to it? Well, you have a few other tricks you can do using those 3 little cards beside your blitz pile.

See those boys and girls on the cards? Here's where they come in handy. You can stack your cards on those 3 cards you have! You can only do this in descending order and they also have to go boy, girl, boy, girl, etc. You can see in the picture there is a 9 on top of the 10. This helps you to play a few more cards from your hand or your blitz pile that maybe you couldn't have played out in the field! The downside? You don't get any points for stacking on those cards. Only cards you play out in the field give you any points.

I'm not sure whether you can do stacking in Nerts. I've only played Nerts a few times, but we didn't usually bother with stacking. I'm sure you could still add this into a Nerts game, you'd just have to go red, black, red, black, etc. on the stacks.

Step 4: Scoring

Now it's time to find out who the sore losers are!

Whether you're playing Dutch Blitz or Nertz, the scoring is the same. After someone gets rid of their blitz pile, the game stops. Put aside any cards you still have left, except your blitz pile. These cards aren't included in the score. Now, collect all the cards that are out on the field. Separate them by the different decks and give them to the appropriate player. You earn 1 point for each card you had out on the field. If you are not the player that "blitz"-ed out, you must count the cards you have left in your blitz pile. Each card you have left in your blitz pile counts as -2.

That's basically all you need to know!

You can keep playing until you reach a set number of rounds, or until you reach a certain score.

If you have any questions or comments, let me know! I'll be glad to help out!

Have fun!

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    A few things to note here. First, it is technically not legal to play with both hands. Many people pick up one card with one hand, play it, and have another one in their other hand to play as soon as the first hand comes back.

    Second, do not underestimate the power of stacking. It is incredibly useful for moving high numbers off of your Blitz pile. It is almost more useful when playing two-person teams. When playing your deck by yourself, it's hard to get the time to evaluate whether stacking is an option. I would not recommend stacking numbers lower than a 5 or 6 unless the next card in the Blitz pile is one you have a spot for.

    Finally, I wrote a free web app that makes keeping track of the score easier. Please use it and let me know what you think. It's available here:


    6 years ago

    Fun, fast paced and addicting


    Reply 3 years ago

    no no "Face-paced" ;-)


    6 years ago

    Great game! Several stores in our area sell this game. very addicting.