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"A simpler and jollier version of Cassino"
A deck of Zwicker cards
Alternative namesZwickern, Zwickeln
TypeFishing game
DeckFrench + 6 jokers, Zwicker deck
Card rank (highest first)K, Q, J, A, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Playing time12 minutes/hand

Zwickern (also Zwicker or Zwickeln) is an old German fishing card game for two to eight players played in Schleswig-Holstein in North Germany. The rules vary slightly in their details depending on the region, but the basics are identical in each variation.[1] It has been described as "a simpler and jollier version of Cassino,[2] which is "exciting and entertaining" and easy to learn.[3]


Originally, it was played with just a standard 52-card deck[4] but now it is commonly played with 6 jokers.[2][5] 58-card decks have been in production since at least the 1950s.[6] One source recommends leaving out the jokers if there are more than 4 players.[3] The following rules are based on Danyliuk and Parlett.[3][2]

Card values[edit]

  • King: 14
  • Queen: 13
  • Jack: 12
  • Ace: 11
  • Pip cards: face value
  • Jokers: 2 to 14 (as desired)[2]


The Ten of Diamonds brings in the most points in Zwicker

The aim of Zwicker is to capture Aces, 'honour cards' (SuitDiamonds.svg7, SuitSpades.svg7, SuitDiamonds.svg10)[3] and to make 'sweeps' or zwicks.[2]


Each player receives four cards and four are dealt face up to the table, henceforth referred to as the tableau (Bild).[7] The rest form the stock which is placed face down on the table. The aim is to collect cards, especially the point-scoring ones, from the tableau in turn. Each player plays a card from his hand to the table and may (or may not) use it to capture cards from the tableau. A player make capture either by 'pairing', if the value of a card in his hand is equal to one in the tableau, or by 'summing' if the value of his card equals that of two or more cards in the tableau. For example, a King (card value 14) may capture a 9 and a 5 (together worth 14). A played card may make as many captures as possible. So a Queen can be used to take two Queens from the tableau and, if the two remaining cards together add up to 13 (the card value of the Queen), they may also be collected. If a player clears all the cards in the tableau, as in the last example, it is called a 'sweep'[2] or zwick[1][3] and counts more when it comes to scoring. When a player's hand cards are used up, he receives four new cards. If a player cannot capture a card or cards from the tableau, he must 'trail', by adding a hand card to the tableau, or 'build', by placing it half over one in the tableau. The values laid on top of each other must not exceed 14. Cards placed one on top of the other can be taken using their combined value.[2]


Once all the cards have been used up, the round ends. The winner is the player who has the most points or reached the previously agreed total of points. Points are awarded for the capture of certain cards or method of capture. Scoring is as follows:[2][3]

  • SuitDiamonds.svg10 = 10 points
  • Zwick = 3 points
  • Ace = 2 points
  • SuitDiamonds.svg7 = 1 point
  • SuitSpades.svg7 = 1 point
  • Most cards taken = 1 point


In the variant by McLeod, there are the following differences in matching values and scoring:[1]

Matching values
  • King - 4 or 14, Queen - 3 or 13, Jack - 2 or 12, Ace - 1 or 11.
  • Jokers: small jokers - 15, middle jokers - 20, large jokers - 25.
  • Large jokers - 7
  • Middle jokers - 6
  • Small jokers - 5
  • SuitDiamonds.svg10 - 3
  • Taking most tricks - 3
  • SuitSpades.svg10, SuitSpades.svg2, Aces and zwicks - 1.


  1. ^ a b c McLeod, John. Zwickern at Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Parlett, David (2008). The Penguin Book of Card Games (3rd ed.). London: Penguin Books. pp. 405–406.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Zwicker" in 1x1 der Kartenspiele by Rita Danyliuk. Retrieved 11 Jun 2018.
  4. ^ Zwicker at NSV. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  5. ^ Zwickern at NSV. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Playing Cards Currently in Popular Use in Germany". Chicago Playing Card Collectors, Inc. 7 (Christmas Special): 11. 1960.
  7. ^ calls it the "Picture", which is a literal translation of Bild, and Parlett simply calls them "table cards", but 'tableau' is the English card game term e.g. in Patience.