Life So Short, the Craft So Long to Learn

Schnapsen in the Browser

Schnapsen is an excellent card game for two players, in the family of games where the ten ranks just below the ace. There’s a very good Wikipedia page on Schnapsen from which I have taken several of the best lines here.

One of the downsides of Schnapsen is that few people have heard of it outside the territories of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. We at Psellos set out to remedy this around ten years ago. It’s too good a game to remain obscure.

We didn’t succeed in sparking a worldwide craze of Schnapsen playing, but we did cause something of a local stir here in Seattle with our iOS app and a Schnapsen Club at the University of Washington.

To continue the campaign, I recently revamped our iOS app to run directly in the browser. There are no commercial complexities involved, i.e., it’s an app that you can just play as much as you want for free.

You can try it out by clicking on the Schnapsen image at the left or below. To make it easier to get started, we offer this page of information about the new webapp and the game.

Play Schnapsen (Free)

How to Use the Schnapsen App

All of the actions in the game are performed by dragging and dropping cards.

  • To play a card, drag it from your hand and drop it in the center of the table.

  • To exchange trump, drag the low trump from your hand and drop it onto the face-up trump on the table.

  • To close the stock, drag the face-up trump from the table and drop it onto the stock.

There’s no need to declare a marriage explicitly. Leading a king or queen from a marriage will score the points immediately.

If you’re one of the lucky few who played the iOS app in its heyday, note that I’ve added a few ways to track the state of the game that weren’t present in the iOS version. For example, you can ask to see the cards you’ve captured so far, as is allowed in most tournaments and virtually all friendly games. To do this, click on (or touch) your own current score (44 in the above image).

Full Description of the Schnapsen App

Rules of Schnapsen

There are quite a few small variations in the rules as the game is played around the world. Here we describe the exact rules used by our app. The app also plays a very similar game called Sixty-Six, whose rules we also describe.

Rules of Schnapsen and Sixty-Six

Strategy for Schnapsen

The app is an excellent Schnapsen player, but you can beat it if you remember what has been played and use a good strategy. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds—there just aren’t that many cards in the Schnapsen deck!

How to Win More Often

The Schnapsen Log

The Schnapsen Log is a series of columns about the card game Schnapsen, and how to play it like a master. Each column contains an illustrative deal that you can solve like a puzzle, and then add to your arsenal of advanced strategies.

Here are some recent columns:

Sidestep a Few Landmines, Sep 2
Two Last-Trick Problems, Jun 27
More Extremes of Luck, May 21
Grasping at Straws, Apr 4
A New Scheme for Remembering Cards, Mar 23
As Luck Would Have It, Sep 9
Visit the Schnapsen Log