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July 12, 2008

scrunch rules!

On my list of things I never thought I'd be blogging about, revealing the inside of my refrigerator and now, blogging about the rules of the card game scrunch are right at the top. I have a feeling you'll hear the rules and say "I know this game. It's called                 !"

So here we go.

To play, you need at least two players. (The more players the better—it gets exponentially crazier and fun with each additional player.)

Each player needs his / her own standard deck of cards. Jokers aren't needed.

To set up the game, each player counts 13 cards and places them face up in a stack. This is known as the scrunch pile. Four additional cards are laid out next to the scrunch pile, face up. The start of the game looks like this:


In this photo, the 10 of clubs is my scrunch pile.

The game is played similar to double solitaire. In the middle of the table you play cards up, by suit, starting with the Ace and ending with the King. On the four cards next to your Scrunch pile you play down, alternating colors.


This photo above is very early in the game. You can see that I played the Ace of spades in the middle, and moved the 10 of clubs off my scrunch pile. I also played the 8 of diamonds on the nine of spades.

The object of the game is to be the first one to "scrunch" by playing all the cards in your scrunch pile, and play the most cards in the center. You do this by moving cards off of your scrunch pile and by flipping through your remaining cards by threes, playing the card on top.


To keep score, you count the number of cards each player gets out into the center. If you were not the player to scrunch, you double the number of cards in your scrunch pile and subtract this from the total number of cards you got out. When I play with my sister we keep a running total, but with the kids we count the winner as the person who scrunches. (This keeps it more interesting for the kids...because each game is a fresh start.) guess what Jay just found? He found that there is a game called "Pounce" that seems to be the same game that we call Scrunch. Have you heard of that one?  Here's a website that does a great job explaining the rules of the game...just in case I missed any fine details.

By the way, there are a couple of differences in how we play and how Pounce is described. The first was mentioned above...we subtract two times the number of cards remaining in the scrunch pile from the number of cards played. This makes it interesting...and can sometimes lead to some hefty negative scores. The other difference is when you get stuck (when all players can't make a move) we take a card from the top of our pile and move it to the mix things up a bit.



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Yep, we call it Peanuts. We have a few extra rules though because it can get a little violent. No rings allowed because everyone is diving for the same play. The second rule is when you have a "double play" such as you want to play the 2 of hearts and 3 you can only have one hand out at a time. That way someone else has a chance and you aren't just piling cards on. I have played this for 25+ years and I am only 34! It is more fun if you use your deck that is all broken in. New decks make it very slippery and hard to get the cards apart. I have also heard it called Nerts and Bluey


I played it as a kid too and we called it Snarf.


Nertz!!! That's what we call it too! I have my ex-husband to thank for introducing me and my kids to the game and we love it! It is totally intense and I am afraid that I do end up coming out with some colorful words! But love it love it love it!


We played this when I was college-aged with my family during holiday gatherings and called it Nertz. When one of our babysitters brought over a new game to introduce to the kids, I realized it was the same thing with a different style of cards, and it was Dutch Blitz. It was a little easier for them since it just goes up to 10's and there are no "face cards." I bought Solitaire Frenzy for our family of six since there are six sets of cards, but we ended up not using the board that came with it. Nobody wants to take the time to figure out where to put their ace.

Also, when nobody has a play, we start sorting by two's instead of three's.


It is great to hear that ya'll play Nertz. The National Nertz Association is trying to unite as many Nertz players as possible at You guys should check it out!


Crazy - I was wondering who else knew about this and found your link. We did everything exactly as you described, except we always started with five cards next to our scrunge pile. My big question is where this game, and the name for it, originated... any insights?


I don't know about the origin of the game...or where it originated. Do you call it Scrunch, too? If so, where are you from?

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