The other day I was excited to see that a small package had arrived in the mail. Had someone sent me a complimentary copy of another game to review? Oh goody!
I eagerly opened the package and inside I found Nertz, a "new" card game by a company of the same name out of Indian Springs, Ohio.
I'm always eager to see a new card game but as I leafed through the garish ad copy that accompanied the game my interest began to wane. It didn't take long for me to realize that this is really just a repackaged version of an old public domain card game. Well, OK. That's acceptable I suppose. If it's a good game and it's packaged well then it's no big deal. The documentation even mentioned that this was based on a public domain game so I can't accuse them of trying to put one over on their customers. Let's open up the tuck box and see what's inside.
Here is where the disappointment really set in. Inside the box were two decks of cards. The documentation indicated that there were supposed to be a red deck and a blue deck but someone messed up in quality control and both of my decks are identical (blue). Each deck is really nothing more than a standard deck of cards. The standard suits have been replaced with colors (white, yellow, red and blue) and instead of face cards the cards are all just numbered one to thirteen but when all is said and done it's just a standard deck of cards with a very ugly and rather dysfunctional graphic design. That would be acceptable if the quality weren't abysmal. The cards are printed on uncoated, thin cardstock. The cards had even become somewhat stuck together during manufacturing so when I first flexed the deck I could hear that uncomfortable sound of stuck cards being forced apart. I can't imagine that these cards would ever stand up to significant repeated use.
As for the game itself, unfortunately it's really nothing special. Nertz (also called Pounce) is a relatively simple and chaotic game that is kind of like a competitive version of the old Klondike Solitaire. Players typically play in two teams of two (although it can be played two player and in other combinations). Each team simultaneously plays to four private draw piles in front of them in solitaire fashion (dark cards on light cards in descending rank) and tries to empty the draw piles into eight common piles in the center of the table (this time in ascending rank and matched suit). Each team has a "nertz" deck of thirteen face up cards which they try and empty. The first team to empty their "nertz" deck wins the round and scores are tallied. Rounds continue until one team arrives at a predetermined score.
It's not a bad game per say and there are certainly a lot of people who have enjoyed this game over the years. But at the same time, it's certainly not a very good game either. It's certainly not worth wasting your money on.
If you're really interested in playing the game, go get yourself a couple of good bridge decks (I'm sure you have a few lying around), look up the rules on line and give it a try. Don't waste your money on these crappy cards.