Zwickern Card Game History and Tactics

Zwickern, also called  Pinch is a fishing card game that is popularly played in Northern Germany. It is a type of card game where players take all the cards from the table and score points. It is an entertaining card game that is originally played with a standard pack of 52 cards, just like in poker

Today, there is a special deck manufactured by Dietrich Jensen's that includes jokers to make it more interesting. In general, three Jokers are used in the game and therefore the total number of cards used is 55.

Prior to beginning the game, the players decide which is the large Joker, the middle Joker, and the small Joker. Each Joker comes with a value of 25, 20 and 15 respectively. If necessary, the gamers note down the value on the card itself to make things easier.

This game is usually played with 4 players in teams of two. The partners sit opposite each other during the gameplay. The best thing is that this card game can be modified according to the number of players playing, whether it is 2 or 8.

Ranking of the Cards

The ranking of the cards is as follows:  

  • King: 14 Points
  • Queen: 13 Points 
  • Jack: 12 Points
  • Ace: 11 Points 
  • Ten: 10 Points 
  • Nine: 9 Points 
  • Eight: 8 Points 
  • Seven: 7 Points 
  • Six: 6 Points
  • Five: 5 Points 
  • Four: 4 Points 
  • Three: 3 Points 
  • Two: 2 Points

The Scoring Values

When the game is over, the teams count the cards they have won. The team that earns the maximum number of cards is offered three points more. In addition, there is an individual score value for each card.

These scoring values differ from card to card. Read them below:

  • Maximum Number of Cards: Three Points
  • Each Ace: One Point
  • Two of Spades: One Point
  • Ten of Diamonds: Three Points
  • Ten of Spades: One Point
  • Each Zwick: One Point
  • Large Joker:  Seven Points
  • Middle Joker: Six Points
  • Small Joker: Five Points

How to Play

The cards are dealt in a clockwise direction and one of the players is randomly declared dealer. The dealer takes a pack of cards, shuffles it and lets the players sitting on the right cut it.

There are three stages that need to be played in each hand. In the first stage, each player gets four cards in total, receiving one at a time. One card is dealt face down while the rest are distributed with their face up. These cards are referred to as the Picture or das Bild.

The game begins with the player sitting on the left of the dealer and moves in a clockwise direction. After each player has had their turn and they have used all four cards, they receive four more cards from the dealer.

The game starts like before until the gamers have used all their cards. Now, the dealer deals five cards to each player and the game begins again. Once the players have played all their cards, the game ends and the dealer does the scoring. 

What Can Players Do in Their Turn?

During each player’s turn, they have the following options:

  • Play one card face up on the table to make them available for future turns;
  • Play a card that captures a few more cards;
  • Play a card to build a pile of cards. This is done by adding or withdrawing the card played with a card or pile already on the table. 

If you are in doubt, you can play your card from your hand face up and let it lie on the table. This card can be taken by another player.

What You Should Know About Capturing, Zwick, and Building

Zwickern is an interesting card game that includes several ways to play the cards. These are capturing, Zwick and building. Go through the next section and learn more about these strategies in detail so that you can use them to your advantage when you play this card game with your friends.


 When a player throws a card and it matches a card on the table, they can capture the card on the table. When capturing the card, the player takes the card from the table and keeps it face down along with the cards already played and stacks it in the heap of cards earned by their team.

When there are cards placed on the table and their matching value adds up to the matching value of the card you have played, you can capture that group of cards. For instance, a card with a matching value of 8 can capture cards of 3 and 5.

You can also consider playing a small joker card of value 15 and capturing two or three cards that add up to this value. You just need to check the cards on the table and find the cards you can capture.


If you’re able to capture all the cards that were present on the table, you stand a chance to win a Zwick, which is one point. In order to make it easy for the dealer to count the total number of Zwicks in the end, you can place any one of the capture cards, face up, on the stack of cards you have earned.

Once you have earned a Zwick point, the following player will not have a chance to capture cards. Thus, he can only play a card face up on the table.


The other option for players is to create a build of cards that have a value. In order to create a build, the player should have a card that is equivalent to the total value of the pile of cards.

Generally, the players create a pile for themselves but they can also make it for their partner.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no haste to capture the pile of cards at your next chance since you can create a new pile, make changes to the pile you already have, create a different capture or simply play the card on the table.

How is Scoring Done?

If there are any cards on the table that aren’t captured during the first or second stage, they stay there as they are to be used in the next stage. However, the cards that are left after the third and fourth stage are taken by the team that did the last capture.

Each team counts the points they have won along with their Zwicks. The team with the highest score is declared the winner.

Twelves Card Game

This is a short and simple card game that is played between three to six players. It constitutes four hands and just takes about five to ten minutes.

This game includes a card pack of 52 cards excluding jokers. Suits are also not played in this card game.

Ranking of Cards

The ranking of each card is as follows:

  • Ace is 1; 
  • Number cards are equivalent to their face value;
  • King is 11;
  • Queen is 11
  • Jack is 11

The Interesting Gameplay

Twelves is an exciting card game that is best for players looking for short and simple gameplay.

The dealer deals five cards to each player and keeps the remaining pack of cards face down in the centre of the table. The player sitting to the right of the dealer gets the first chance to play the game.

To begin the game, the dealer flips the card from the stacked pile and places it facing up for all players to see. This starts the ‘play pile’.

The player who has a turn plays a card (face up) on the stack of the ‘play pile.’ If the added card creates a total of 12 (a combination of 11 and 1) or ‘doubles’ (cards with similar value), the player stands a chance to grab the pile of cards.

Take, for instance, the face-up card on the pile is a 4, the player will have the opportunity to claim the pile only if they play a card value of 8 or 4.

If the player is unable to create a 12 or a double, they need to play another card of any value and then take a card. Therefore, players can only reduce cards in their hand by making 12 or doubles and take away the stack of piles. If the player did not succeed in making a 12, the next player starts their turn.

For the next and the rest of the players, the card placed face up on the pile of the cards is considered. However, if any of the players make a 12, they take the whole pile.

If any players lose all their cards in a hand, the game ends.

How is the Scoring Conducted?

The scoring is done after each round. The score of each player is calculated in this manner: The total number of cards they have taken from the pile is subtracted from the number of cards they have in their hand when the game was over. It is worth noting that you need to count the number of cards and not their values.

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