Designed by Jens Alfke and Ricci Adams
Players 2-?
Length 5-10 minutes
Extra Material None

a Decktet game for 2 or more players, inspired by Crazy Eights

Quäsenbö was a popular game at the court of the badger Charlemagne. Its name means "too many." The theme is thought to reflect political issues of royal succession in the many small kingdoms of the Empire; although some feminist historians believe it instead derives from the quäsenbö pan, a cast-iron skillet capable of turning out vast numbers of spätzle at a time.

Pronunciation: Most English speakers pronounce it "QUAY-zen-bow", but the correct Germanic pronunciation is more like "KVEH-zen-ber".

Object of the game: To end your turn with no cards in your hand.


Shuffle the Decktet. Deal each player seven cards, and turn up the top card of the deck to start the play pile.

Game play

On your turn, you must play a card that has either a suit or a rank in common with the top card of the play pile. Put the card on top of the play pile, but slightly offset, so the previous two cards can still be seen.

If you cannot play any card, you must draw cards from the deck, one by one, until you draw one you can play. (If the deck runs out, take all but the top two cards of the play pile, shuffle them, and use them as the new deck.)

If the card you played has a suit in common with the previous two cards of the play pile (that is, if it causes the same suit to appear three times in a row), you have committed a quäsenbö, and must draw a card as a penalty. In the spirit of the game, you and/or the other player(s) should call out "Quäsenbö!" when this happens. Repeated ranks do not cause a quäsenbö, however.

It may happen that in playing your final card, you commit a quäsenbö and have to draw another one. This means you have not won the game, since you did not end your turn with zero cards!


Aces and Crowns, having a single suit, are valuable because they form a bottleneck that limits what cards can be played next. Moreover, if you play an Ace by following suit, then the next player will commit a quäsenbö unless she can play a different Ace. And similarly for a Crown.

The quäsenbö rule makes it hard to get rid of multiple cards of the same suit, which balances out the way that multi-suited cards make it easier to play a matching card.

The extended deck

If you want to spice up the game, you can add in the Excuse, the Pawns, or both. Just shuffle them in at the beginning of the game.

The Excuse: The Excuse can be played at any time. When you play it, you get to decree which (single) suit it has. The next player must follow the decreed suit.

Pawns: Pawns can be used according to the usual rules. Because Pawns have more suits than other ranks, it is possible to follow rank by playing a Pawn on a Pawn but still commit a quäsenbö for following suit too many times.

Hardcore Variants

Double Quäsenbö: Increase the penalty to two cards if a suit repeats four times in a row (and three cards for five times, etc.)

For historical verisimilitude: Throw spätzle at a player who commits a quäsenbö. A player committing a double quäsenbö (if you play with that variant) should be dragged from the room and thrown headfirst into the moat.


Game design: Jens Alfke and Ricci Adams

Rules text: Jens Alfke, with some modifications by P.D. Magnus

The original version is at Jens Alfke's blog.



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