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"Watch out for your eyebrows if you use these to build a card castle."
— Description[src]

Exploding Snap was a wizarding card game in which the cards spontaneously exploded during games.[2] The game was popular with students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[1]


Students playing Exploding Snap in History of Magic

During the 1988–1989 school year and 1989–1990 school year, Jacob's sibling played Exploding Snap with Charlie Weasley, Ben Copper, Jae Kim and Wilfred Levi Kidd during a History of Magic class. Their games were interrupted by Nymphadora Tonks and Tulip Karasu, who challenged Jacob's sibling to a round of Bavarian Rules Snap.[3][4]

In 1992, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were held back from investigating why spiders were mysteriously fleeing Hogwarts Castle because the twins Fred and George Weasley delayed them with such a game.[1]

In 1993, Harry cheered Ginny Weasley up by offering her a game during the ride home on the Hogwarts Express.[5]

In 1994, Ron singed his eyebrows while building a card house with Exploding Snap cards.[6]

In 1995, following helping to thwart an attack on Harry, Ron and Hermione Granger, Fred Weasley casually suggested a game of Exploding Snap, pulling out of a pack of cards, and the group enjoyed several games when Harry decided in the middle of the fifth game to ask him and George who it was they had been blackmailing.[7]

During the 1995-1996 school year, there are two Exploding Snap challengers: one in the Clock Tower, other at the third floor.[2]

During the 1996–1997 school year, Nanette Desford could often be found in the Clock Tower playing Exploding Snap.[8]

Known Exploding Snap cards

A house of Exploding Snap cards

Different Exploding Snap cards


There were three variants of Exploding Snap. The first one, the "Classical" Game, was quite simple, however it required some reflex. The rules were simple: when you saw two identical pictures, hit the card with the top of your wand – one point was yours. The player with the most points won the game. The hard part was, the cards shuffled faster and faster. The second one, the "Patience" Game, was harder. You had twenty cards and you revealed them in pairs. You had to find two identical pictures. Cards exploded soon after you revealed them for the first time (of course, if you did not find a pair before). The third variant was Bavarian Rules Snap. In this variant, cards were dealt in a circle, with identical cards to those already dealt being placed in the centre. The identical cards had to be tapped in a limited time frame, or else all of the cards would exploded.[2]

Behind the scenes

  • In the video games, the game is played with Famous Witch and Wizard Cards, although it is believed that Self-Shuffling Cards are used to play this game.
  • For reasons currently unknown, in the German translations the game "Exploding Snap" is frequently translated with "Snape explodiert" (which would backtranslate as "Snape Explodes" or "Exploding Snape"), creating the image of a game somehow connected to Hogwarts Professor Severus Snape, as if in an attempt to make fun of him. This particular translated word is incorrect, but persistent, and causes uproar among some German fans. In recent editions, this translation error has been corrected. The game is now called "Zauberschnippschnapp" which roughly translates to “Magic snap”. (Schnippschnapp is the German translation for the Muggle game "Snap").
  • In the Hebrew transltions the game is called "טאקי מתפוצץ" (Exploding Taki). The reason for the translation is likely the same as the translation of Sherbet lemon to krembo, as Taki (a game similar to the game UNO) is one of the most common children's card games in Israel.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 15 (Aragog)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
  3. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 2 (Curses and Prophecies) - History of Magic Lesson "History of Wandlore"
  4. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 2 (More Questions Than Answers) - History of Magic Lesson "Emeric the Evil"
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 (The Unexpected Task)
  7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 37 (The Beginning)
  8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)