Guide for NERTS! Online – How to Play “NERTS! online”, IRL/Physically!!!
How to Play NERTS/Racing Demon Physically with Playing Cards
NERTS/Racing Demon is a fast paced card game, where the objective is to get rid of your Demon.
It requires a deck of playing cards per player, and some pen and paper. A table is recommended.
This can be played with 3 players and up, 3 players can be slow, 4 is good pace, 5 and beyond becomes increasingly chaotic.
[If playing as 3 players, consider changing the set of 4 to a set of 5, see below]
Starting a Round
Before the round starts, All the players,1 player being the coordinator will shuffle a deck of cards and then pass them to the player on their left, the coordinator will tell each player how many cards they have in their demon. (For example 13).
The coordinator will then start the game by saying, “3, 2, 1, Go!” The players then count and place the cards of their demon face down in a pile, with the last card face up. (12 cards face down, with the top 13th card face up). The players will then deal 4 face up seperated cards to the right of their demon.
The players can now play cards from the top of their demon and set of 4. If a player has an ace (e.g. Ace of Clubs) as the top card of their demon, or in their set of 4 cards, they can play the ace into the middle of the table, If the card came from the set of 4, the player can maintain their set of 4 by moving the top demon card to where the played card came from, and flipping face up the new demon top card. If played from the top of the demon, just flip the new demon top card face up.
All players can now play cards in ascending order of the ace’s suit, by placing the cards played on top of the last card played of that suit. (e.g. 2 of Clubs, 3 of Clubs, … , Queen of Clubs, King of Clubs). When a King is played, it is the player’s (who played the King) responsibility to remove it from the middle of the table.
Dealing in 3s
There is another way to play cards, by holding the remaining deck in one hand face down thumb/deal 3 cards face up, so only the 3rd card is visible. This 3rd face up card can be played, if it is not playable at the moment then deal another 3 cards on top. If the top card is playable, and is played, the card underneath now is available to be played.
When the remaining deck has been fully dealt in 3s (or if there is an extra 1 or 2 cards deal them in the same way), take the deck and flip it face down, do not shuffle it, and start dealing in 3s again.
Building (Playing Solitaire)
A player can build descending, alternating the colour of suit within their set of 4.
If a player had a Black King and a Red Queen in there set of 4, the player could build the Red Queen below Black King, freeing up a space in the set of 4, and moving the top demon card here to occupy the space. This now means the Black King is no longer available to play, it is locked by the Red Queen. The Red Queen will have to be played to allow the Black Queen to be available to play.
Building can be done from the set of 4, top demon card and remaining deck dealt 3s. Building can only be done to the set of 4, not the top demon card.
|This Image shows that the player can build a further Black Jack onto the Red Queen – Black King.|
The red 6 cannot be built on the black 7, as the black 6 is the top of the demon.
- When playing or moving cards a player can only use 1 hand to do so, this can be self enforced by permanently having the other hand holding the remaining deck, to deal in 3s.
- A player can only move 1, not 2 or more, cards at a time, with 1 hand.
- In the extremely unlikely event that no cards can be played, and all the players have dealt their remaining deck in 3s twice, then at an agreed upon point each player will move 1 card from the top of their remaining deck to the bottom, and play will resume.
Calling NERTS/Going Out
When a player runs out of cards in their demon, including the last face up card, so that they only have the set of 4, and dealt 3s in front of them. At this point the player can say/shout, “NERTS” or “Out!” At this point play is stopped and the round is over.
A player does not have to say “NERTS” or “Out!” immediately, they can continue to play from their set of 4, and deal 3s.
|This Image shows that the player has got rid of their demon, and can call “NERTS” or “Out!”|
End of Round
At the end of the round, make sure all of the players count and tell the number of cards remaining in their demon (including the face up card on top) to the coordinator who will write it down. The set of 4, remaining deck and remaining demon can be put together.
The players should then put any claimed king piles, stating to the coordinator if they played any kings, into the middle of the table and then sort all the played cards into their respective decks, and hand them back to their respective player.
Make sure the players then count the cards they played and tell the number of cards they played to the coordinator.
The coordinator will then score each of the players:
- each card remaining in their demon is -1
- for saying “Out!” is +10
- each King played is +5
- each card played is +1
The coordinator will then adjust each player’s demon with respect to how they scored, keeping an average of 13.
|This is a sample score card. The demons are marked as a number within a circle, ⑬, for a demon of 13. The numbers with arrows, above a players new demon, indicates how the players demon has changed.|
Changing the Demons
|This table shows how much the coordinator should adjust the demons of the players.|
Additional Scoring Guidlines
If 2 or more players score the method of changing the players demon is slightly different.
The Golden rule is to make sure that the players’ demons adjusted (or not adjusted) by the same amount, whilst trying to keep an average demon of 13, the adjustment of their demon is completely dependent on where in the ranking, the same scoring players come.
If this circumstance happens multiple times, and the average demon becomes or gets close to 12 or 14 then the coordinator may increase or decrease each players demon by 1 respectively.
[An alternative scoring system scores -2 for each card in the demon, +1 for each card played and no extra score for going out or for getting a king. ]
|Here is an example of this circumstance. Both player B and E are joint last place so they could both go down by 1 or both go down by 2, generally stick to the extreme.|
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