"Watch out for your eyebrows if you use these to build a card castle."

Exploding Snap is a wizarding card game in which the cards spontaneously explode during games. The game is popular with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry students.


In the 1988–1989 school year, Jacob's sibling played Exploding Snap with Charlie Weasley, Ben Copper, Jae Kim and a fourth Gryffindor boy during a History of Magic class. The game was interrupted by Nymphadora Tonks and Tulip Karasu, who challenged Jacob's sibling to a round of Bavarian Rules Snap.[1]

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.[2]

In 1993, Harry cheered Ginny Weasley up by offering her a game during the ride home on the Hogwarts Express.[3]

In 1994, Ron singed his eyebrows while building a card house with Exploding Snap cards.[4]

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.[5]

During the 1995-1996 school year, there are two Exploding Snap challengers: one in the Clock Tower, other at the third floor.[6]

During the 1996–1997 school year, Nanette Desford could often be found in the Clock Tower playing Exploding Snap.[7]

Exploding Snap cup

Known Exploding Snap cards


A house of Exploding Snap cards

There are three variants of Exploding Snap. The first one, the "Classical" Game, is quite simple, however it requires some reflex. The rules are simple: when you see two identical pictures, hit the card with the top of your wand – one point is yours. The player with the most points wins the game. The hard part is, the cards shuffle faster and faster. The second one, the "Patience" Game, is a bit harder. You have twenty cards and you reveal them in pairs. You have to find two identical pictures. Cards explode soon after you reveal them for the first time (of course, if you don’t find a pair before). The third variant is Bavarian Rules Snap. In this variant, cards are dealt in a circle, with identical cards to those already dealt being placed in the centre. The identical cards must be tapped in a limited time frame, or else all of the cards will explode.

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" (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

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