Dutch Blitz was created by Werner Ernst George Muller, from Pennsylvania, in the United States, in 1959. It is similar to the game Nertz, which is played with standard playing cards. Nertz had been around since the 1940s. It isn’t totally clear to what extent Mr Muller was influenced by the game of Nertz. He was an optometrist and it is said that he thought the game might help his children learn about colors and numbers.
The game has a theme that originates with the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, which was formed by early German immigrants to eastern Pennsylvania in the United States. The symbols used on the cards are representative of that culture, which tended to be agricultural and of a conservative protestant Christian faith.
Each player has their own deck of cards. The standard set has 4 decks, so it can accommodate 2-4 players. There is an extension pack that adds 4 more decks, supporting 4 more players. Each deck has 40 cards made up of number cards from 1 through 10 in four different colors (suits): red, blue, green, and yellow. Additionally, the red and blue cards have a picture of a boy and the green and yellow cards have a picture of a girl. The decks are differentiated from each other by a symbol on the back side of each card. The four standard decks have the following symbols: pump, buggy, plow, and bucket.
Blitz Pile - A pile of 10 cards that are dealt by each player before game play starts. One of the goals is for the player to get rid of their Blitz pile. When one player clears their Blitz pile, the round is over.
Post Piles - Three piles of cards to the left of the Blitz pile that are used by the player to help sort through cards during the game play. These piles begin as 3 cards dealt out by the player before game play. Cards can then be added to these piles in descending order and alternating “gender”. If one of the Post piles is cleared, the player may take a card off of their Blitz pile to start a new one.
Wood Pile - During game play, the player rotates through their deck by taking 3 cards, face down, and turning them face up and placing them on the Wood pile. The top most card is available to be played.
Dutch Piles - During game play, players can start a Dutch pile when they have a playable card with the number 1 on it. These piles are placed in the middle of the table. The piles can then be built up, in sequential order and of matching color. Any player can play a card on any Dutch pile.
The game is played in rounds. The players do not take turns. When play starts, all players begin playing at the same time as fast as they can. When a player is able to clear their Blitz pile, they shout the word “Blitz” and all play must then stop. That is the end of the round.
When the round ends all of the cards that have been played on the Dutch piles are sorted into their representative decks. Each player counts the number of cards that they have played and then subtracts two times the number of cards left on their Blitz pile. That is their score for the round.
In order to maximize one’s points for a round, the objectives are two-fold. You want to play as many cards as possible on the Dutch piles, but you also want to get rid of as many cards on your Blitz pile as possible.