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Fingerkloppe facts for kids

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Fingerkloppe, also just Kloppe, sometimes Rot Händle ("Little Red Hand") or Folter Mau Mau ("Torture Mau Mau") is a card game, which is normally played with a Skat pack of 32 cards. Depending on the number of players, the number of cards may, however, be greater. The game is common in the German-speaking region among children and young people.


Card game

Each player is dealt four cards, except the player to the right of the dealer who is dealt five and starts the game. The aim is to collect four cards of the same value (a so-called quartet) in one's hand (e. g. four Unters or Bauern). This is achieved by passing the "fifth" card each time to the player on the right. He takes the card and gives another card, or the passed card, to his right in turn. If a card does the complete circuit it is out of the game and a new card is drawn from the top of the talon. When a player achieves the aim by having four cards of equal rank in his hand, he places them face up in front of him and calls "Fingerkloppe!". The other players must immediately place their cards down likewise. Whoever is the last to do this has lost. In a two-hand game, the loser is the one who has not managed to collect four cards of a kind in his or her hand.


After the card game follows the award of penalties to the loser. Two different penalty systems have established themselves:

In the original case the loser names a card (e. g. Ace of Hearts or Ober of Leaves) and the winner searches through the shuffled talon from the top until the chosen card appears and picks up the entire stack down to that card. The loser is then rapped on the fingertips with that stack of cards.

In the second case, the loser also names a card of his or her choice and also whether the talon is to be counted down from the top or up from the bottom. He then places one hand, palm downwards under the table. The winner now picks the top or bottom card at will. The suit of that card indicates what penalty the loser receives:

  • Hearts = the winner strokes the back of the loser's hand
  • Diamonds/Bells = the winner runs his knuckles firmly over the back of the loser's hand
  • Spades/Leaves = the winner punches the back of the loser's hand with his fist
  • Clubs/Acorns = the winner pinches the back of the loser's hand

This continues until the named card appears. Then a new game starts.


  • Each player, not just the winner, penalises the loser
  • Quartets of cards are removed from a pack corresponding to the number of players (for four players i.e. 16 cards). These cards are shuffled and dealt, the same number to each player. The game is then played as before, until someone has a set of four cards.
  • If the loser withdraws his hand when being punished, the entire stack is used as a penalty.
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