Fun Card Games

Schnauz! German Blackjack

Win by not losing! In this fun Blackjack predecessor, keep your lives to stay afloat.

Schnauz is played with a 32-card deck, using only the sevens through aces.

  • For added fun, you can use a German-face deck as pictured above, but an ordinary pack of cards will work just as well.
  • The game is played best with 3-7 players.
  • It’s also known as 31, Schwimmen, Blitz, Scat, Knock-Knock…


  • At the start of the game, each player is given three lives (matchsticks, coins, etc.).
  • Each player is dealt three cards.
    • The dealer inspects her cards, and has the option to keep them or put them in the center and take three new cards.
      • If the dealer keeps her cards, three additional cards from the deck are placed in the center.
  • The player to the left of the dealer is first to play.


The aim of Schnauz is to gather three cards of the same suit for the highest score.

  • Aces are worth 11, face cards 10, and all other cards are worth their number value.
  • Each turn, players may exchange one or all cards, but not two.
  • The round ends in one of three ways:
    1. A player reaches 31 points (“Schnauz!”)
    2. A player has three aces (“fire”)
    3. A player closes the round
      • Closing is denoted by knocking and is only possible after the first round.
      • If you choose to close, you may not exchange cards, and the game ends after every other player has one more chance to play.

End of Game

The player(s) with the lowest score loses one life. Once all a player’s lives are gone, she is “swimming” on one final life, after which she loses.

Additional Important Rules

  • If a player gets three aces, the game is immediately over, and every other player loses one life.
    • “Schnauz!” (pronounced Sh-now-ts)
  • Three-of-a-kind is worth exactly 30.5 points.
  • You can always pass instead of exchanging cards or closing.

Strategy Tips

  • The earlier you can get a high score, the earlier you can “knock” to jump the gun on opponents that haven’t had time to collect points.
  • Make sure you don’t accidentally create a good hand in the bank by exchanging cards.
    • Remember, the next player can take all three cards!

App Recommendation

There is a great Android/iOS app that lets you play with different types of cards (German suits, reguar suits):
31 App