OBJECTIVE OF SCHNAPSEN: The objective of Schnapsen is to be the first player to reach 0 points.


MATERIALS: Modified 52 card deck or a 20-card French deck, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Schnapsen is a trick-taking card game where two players try to score at least 66 points to win rounds of the game. Each player starts with 7 points and when a round is won, they will subtract the number of points earned from the round from that total. The first player to reach 0 points wins the game.

To win a round, players much win tricks and score points to reach at least 66 points. Then a player may call “Going Out”. This means the end of the round and tallying of points. 


The setup for Schnapsen involves using either a 20-card French deck or a modified 52 card deck. If modifying a deck remove all cards 2-9 from the deck leaving the 10s through Aces, and 20 cards in total. The dealer can be chosen any way but then each round this will trade-off. 

The dealer will then shuffle the deck of cards and deals each player 3 cards. Then a card will be flipped. This will determine the trump set for this round. Then 2 more cards are dealt to each player so that each player has 5 in total. The remaining cards are set on the trump suit so that it is at the bottom of the deck, but the suit is still visible to the players. The remaining 10 cards are the Talon and will be used to replenish hands after each trick. 

Card Point Values

The cards each hold point values. When won in tricks these cards are added together to determine your score. 

Ace- 11 points

Ten- 10 points

King- 4 points

Queen- 3 points

Jack- 2 points


The player who did not deal will lead the first trick. They may play any card from their hand. The trick will be won by the highest card of the first card played or by the highest trump if applicable. The second player has no obligation to follow suit or try to win the trick. After both cards are played the winner will collect the two cards and score their points. Then the winner will draw the top card of the talon followed by the loser of the trick. The winner will lead the next trick as well. 

Trump Jack

The player who has the lowest trump in their hand may exchange it for the trump at the bottom of the Talon, this player can only do this, however, if that player is leading the trick before they play their card. The talon cannot be closed either and the cards must remain in the talon to do so. 


When a player holds a king and queen of the same suit that is considered a marriage if they are of the trump suit it is considered a royal marriage. Marriages can be melded to score additional points. Regular marriage is worth 20 points and a royal marriage is worth 40. 

To meld a marriage a player must be leading the trick. The player will declare either 20 for a regular marriage or 40 for a royal one. Then they must play one of the cards involved in the marriage and reveal the other. Marriages can only be score once a player has won a trick though. 


The talon is the ten cards not dealt at the start of the game and includes the revealed card used to determine trump. As you play through the game you will pull from the talon. If the talon is not closed before players will eventually exhaust the talon by drawing all of its cards. Meaning the loser of the 5th trick will draw the face-up trump card.

After this happens the remaining tricks will be played with stricter rules. Players will have to follow suit and try to win each hand. Meaning players will always follow the first card played and attempt to play a higher card. If not possible a lower card of the same suit will be played. If that’s not possible the player will play a trump. If no trumps can be played any card is acceptable to play. 


A player may close the talon at any point it is their turn to lead. You do this by flipping the face-up trump and placing it on top of the talon. Players must then make the 66 points needed only using the cards in their hands. No more cards will be drawn from the talon for the rest of the round and the remainder of the game will be played as though the Talon was exhausted.

The talon can only be closed after the players have refreshed their hands and have 5 cards each though. And unlike other games, a marriage can still be melded after the talon is closed.  


The game is over once a player has declared they are “going out” basically a player will say this once they believe they have 66 points to win the game. You can only declare this once you have once a trick or melded a marriage. Once this is declared the game ends and players will determine if the going out player is correct. 

If the player was correct and they have collected 66 points they will score points according to the other player’s points. If the other player has 33 or more points only one point is scored. If the other player has less than 33 points and has one at least one trick two points are awarded. If the other player has won, no tricks then three points are rewarded. 

If the player was incorrect then the player who did not declare earns points. 2 points for an incorrect declaration or 3 points if they have not scored a trick yet. 

If no player declares going out and play continues till the last trick is won, the player with the highest score earns one point regardless of the other player’s points. 

Points earned are subtracted from the players starting totals of 7 points.


The game is won once a player reaches 0 points.

Nakoa Davis