Dutch Blitz

Growing up, it was good being the eldest child. My sister, 19 months my junior, worked hard to keep up. My parents have this distinct memory, one that seems to have epitomized our sibling bond, of my sister gripping the step-plate of a tricycle as I drug her all over the yard in an attempt to shake her loose. It was like a scene out of an Indiana Jones movie (one of the good ones…) To say we were competitive would be an understatement, but I liked that in my sister. She put up a good fight, and so I could feel good about winning. And I always won.

That was until Dutch Blitz.

Dutch Blitz is a card game. A speed card game in which players have a deck of 40 cards: four suits (blue, yellow, red, green) numbered 1 – 10. The game was developed in Pennsylvania Dutch country by Werner Ernst George Muller in the late 1950s. It is especially popular in northern states that have extensive German, Dutch, and Amish communities.

Blitz (German for lightning) is the operative word. Each player has a “Blitz” pile of 10 cards. The goal is to get rid of these 10 cards by playing them on piles of cards that sprout up in the middle of the table. Players may start a pile in the middle of the table, the “Dutch” piles, with the number 1. Once a “Dutch” pile is started, the other players may play their cards sequentially on that pile (2 goes on a 1, 3 goes on a 2, etc…) It is important to remember that the goal is to get rid of the “Blitz” pile. The first player to play all the cards of this “Blitz” pile shouts BLITZ!! and the round stops. The other players count up how many cards are left in their Blitz pile and multiply by two. These are negative points. Cards played to the Dutch piles are sorted (each deck has a different picture on the back) and counted. These are positive points. Each round is scored and the game ends when a player reaches 100 points.

The game is incredibly fast and is one of those games that should come with a stroke warning for people with blood pressure related illnesses. Because the Dutch piles in the middle are shared, collisions are common as players desperately try to move cards from their Blitz pile or just get out a few more points. This is not a game for leisurely conversation. At family reunions and holiday gatherings the most common phrase during play is “Can’t talk. Go ask your (insert other parent here)”

Blue and Yellow cards have an image of a boy while in the upper corners while the Red and Green cards have the image of a girl. This allows for a further complication of the game as players can also play cards on three piles in front of them (like Solitaire) as long as they alternate boy and girl cards.

When the Major Fun tasters played the game, I sat out many of the rounds. Experience is a definite advantage in speed games, and sure enough, when I finally played a few hands I won easily. But the others learned quickly and once the learning curve smoothed out, we had several tense, exciting rounds. Brought back memories.

My sister destroyed me in Dutch Blitz. I might win a round or two but she would dominate the game. I never wanted to give up—I remained competitive—but I can’t remember many times in which I got to 100 before my sister. A humbling moment in the sibling dynamic. But Major Fun for nearly four decades.

William Bain, Games Taster

Although you cannot buy Dutch Blitz from the parent website, the company does provide a list of distributors that will sell via the inter-tubes. Their list of online distributors is here: http://www.dutchblitz.com/webdistributors.htm

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