Whether you’re on a long winding road trip, on a sunny afternoon picnic with friends or even when you’re snowed in and stuck at home, card games are probably one of the best ways to spend time with someone.
Card games are something that everyone enjoy, regardless of their age and their background, because they force us to think, innovate and exercise the muscles of our mind.
Also, they are an easy and inexpensive way to have a lot of fun with friends and family - and this can be priceless, especially now that the holiday season is just around the corner.
So, get your deck of cards ready - as to help you to find some new games to play with your friends, we have prepared a quick guide to the best card games!
Fun card games for 2 people
You don’t always need a lot of people to have fun with card games.
If two people are stuck in the middle of nowhere, and they happen to have a deck of cards, there’s a bunch of games for them to enjoy.
The most popular of these card games is ‘Gin’.
This game is also referred to as Gin Rummy in some parts of the world.
The game uses a standard 52-card deck with the king being denominated the highest card and the Ace being the lowest.
This is a fast paced fun card game for 2, where your goal is to score as many points as possible by building card sets (e.g. 3 of a kind) and runs.
The game develops as follows: each player is dealt ten cards, while the rest of them are put in a stock pile in the centre and the topmost card is turned over.
The non dealing player can choose to take it; if he doesn’t, the choice moves to the dealer and so on.
There are plenty of multiple variations of runs & sets that can be made in the game, and there’s a lot of room for players to innovate and make interesting combinations.
If all your cards are in different sequences then you can ‘go Gin’ which is pretty much the most rewarding way to win at this game.
The game is played out quickly and thus is ideal for two players. The best part is that even if your partner isn’t familiar with the rules of this game, it will only take them minutes to get a grasp on it and get going.
Another simple yet intriguing game to play is the ‘Crazy Eights’.
The rules of Crazy Eight are very simple. Each player gets seven cards, while the rest of them are placed in a stock pile. Just like in Rummy, the dealer takes the first card on top of the pile and puts it in the middle, face up.
The idea of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your hand - and the one to do it first, is the one who wins.
A player can get rid of a card from his or her deck if one of the cards they are holding matches the number or the suit of the card that is face up in the pile.
For instance, if there is a seven of hearts on top of the discard pile, then you can get rid of any cards in your hand that have the number 7 or are from the hearts suit.
The game is a perennial favourite among people of all ages and is perfect if you are looking for something to play during a lazy afternoon.
Fun card games for 3 people
Baccarat, meaning zero, is one of the most popular card games for 3 or more players.
The aim of the game is simple: each player is dealt two cards and the total of your cards should be as close to nine as possible.
Like in blackjack, one of the players in your party can act as the dealer - or the bank as most people refer to it. The system of counting points at Baccarat is pretty simple - the jack, queen and king are worth ten points each, while the ace is worth one point.
Cards in the two to nine range are worth exactly the same as their face value. Once the first two cards are dealt, you take the total of your cards and subtract ten from it.
So if you’re dealt a 10 and a 9 then you win ‘naturally’ (19-10=9). On the contrary, if you’re not lucky and you get a six and a four (10-10=0), you get Baccarat and lose the game.
It’s easy to see why this game has been played around the world since 1200 AD and is a great pastime when you have a few friends over.
Another very popular game for 3 to 5 people is ‘Go Fish’.
Don’t let the simplicity of this card game fool you, the fact that you have to ask other players for cards makes it highly interactive and fun.
When three people are playing, seven cards are dealt to each of them and the rest of the deck is put in the middle as a stock pile.
In this game the suits are not important, and only the face value of the card is counted. In Go Fish the Ace is the highest card, while the two is the lowest one.
The aim of the game is to match and pair cards in order to create the as many ‘books’ as you can. A ‘book’ is the sequence of four of a kind, for e.g. four 7’s or four kings etc.
The player who takes the first go is selected at random, and his or her job is to ask one of the other players for one of the cards in already in their possession.
E.g.You have a three in your hand and you ask the player next to you to give you a three. If they have one or more threes, then they have to give it to you.
You then get another turn and are allowed ask any other player for another card. If they have it, then they give it to you - and your turn continues until another player doesn’t have the card that you ask for.
In that case they tell you to ‘go fish’, and you will have to dive into the stockpile and pick up a card that is added to your hand.
When a player gets 4 cards of the same value, he places the cards face up and the game continues. The game ends when all the thirteen books have been won by players. The one with the largest number of books wins the game.
Fun card games for 4 people
’Go Boom’ is a fun and simple game that is ideal for groups of 4 people or more.
This game is usually played with a deck of 52 cards - even if you will need two decks if five (or more) people will join.
In Go Boom the cards are ranked from Aces (highest) to two (lowest). Aces count as one, all the face cards count as ten and the rest of the pip cards carry their face value. The goal of the game is simple - the first player to get rid of all his cards wins.
When the game starts, a deck of cards is shuffled and put face down on the table. Each player draws a card and the person who draws the lowest card becomes the dealer.
The dealer shuffles the cards and the player to his right, cuts the deck. After the cut, the dealer deals seven cards to every player in a clockwise manner and then places all the remaining cards in the centre of the table.
Players arrange their cards from the highest to the lowest and the player who’s on the left of the dealer starts the game by placing any card from his hand in the middle (face up) next to the stock pile.
The next player then plays a card that must match the previous player’s card in rank or in suit. For example, if player one played seven of diamonds then the next player in line must put down a seven or a diamond and so on.
If a player does not have a card that matches the previous one in the face up pile, he draws a new card from the face down stock pile, and keeps doing so until he finds one that matches either the suit or the value of the one discarded by the player who acted before him.
If he end up going through the whole stock pile, then his turn is over and the player next to him continues the game. A round of play is completed once all the players have had their turns.
After every round, the dealer collects the cards from the face up pile and puts them aside. The player who placed the highest card in the previous round is the one who starts the next round by again placing one of his card in the middle.
The games is played in different rounds until one player manages to get of all this heir cards and shouts ‘Boom’.
This game can be made more interesting by counting each deal as a part of a larger game, where every winning players collects the pip value of the cards that are still with the losing players. In this way, the one who first collects a set number of points (say 200 or 400) wins the overall game.
Go Boom requires quick thinking and is ideal for children who are just getting started with card games.
Fun card games for 5 people or more
One of the best card games you could possibly play with a large group of people is known by many different names.
Depending on which part of the world you are in, it can be called Cheat, I doubt it, B.S, 420 or Bullshit. In this article, however, we’ll refer to it as Bluff.
Unlike many other card games - with Bluff, the more people join the game, the better it gets.
Like many other card games, the final goal of this game is to get rid of all your cards. However, there are no stringent rules or crazy strategies to follow to do so.
As the name suggests, if you can bu**shit your way to success, you can win the game without even the need to follow any of the rules, so to say.
Usually, Bluff requires a standard deck of 52 cards for a game of five people. You should consider using two decks if you game is going to involve six or more players. Wildcards or jokers are included as well, and it’s important to deal the cards well before shuffling.
All the cards in the deck are dealt out as evenly as possible, and even if some players receive a card more than others, that’s fine as this is not going to influence the outcome of the game.
When a game of Bluff begins, the first player takes an x number of cards from his hand and places them face down in the middle, thereby starting a discard pile.
The key here is that each player has to announce what cards he has put down in the pile without turning them over.
For instance, player one takes out three cards from his hand and says that he has just discarded three Jacks. The second player can then take two cards from his hand, put them face down and say that he has discarded two tens.
Often, players will put down cards that are not exactly what they declare - for instance, a player might say ‘three Kings’, which in reality could turn out to be one four and two nines.
Here’s where the game gets interesting: after every discard from a particular player, the player next to them can claim a bluff and say that he doesn’t trust his his word.
In this case, the cards that were discarded in the last turn are turned face up. If they are exactly what the last player said they were, then the entire discard pile is added to the ‘doubting’ player’s hand. If the last player was bluffing then he will be “punished” and obliged to add all the cards in the discard pile to his hand.
There are virtually countless number of strategies that can be build around this game. For example, when playing with one deck, if you have all the four cards of a particular value, then you know that nobody else has them and can easily call bluff on someone who claims to have discarded them.
A deck of cards, a large bowl of chips and a group of friends are really all you need to spend a whole Sunday evening immersed in this beautiful game of deception.
Fun card games for adults
Across the Bridge
If you’re throwing a party for a bunch of grown ups who are not all men, then it’s always a good idea to ask everyone to play a card game that include some drinking.
’Across the Bridge’ is perhaps one of the most popular ones.
In this game ten cards are laid out face down in a line and the players pull one card each from the remaining deck.
The player with the lowest card starts the game by flipping one card from the line of ten face down cards. If the card that is flipped is a number, then the player moves down to the next card until he gets face card - which obliges the player to get a drink.
Usually, a Jack means one drink, a Queen means two, a King calls for three and an Ace calls for four. Of course these rules can be amended to suit the drinking capacity of the players.
Another great drinking game is ‘Kings’ - a card game you can play at home or even in a bar.
The unpredictability of the game is what makes it super fun to play - just, make sure you never play it with beer.
In the beginning of the game, each player is dealt one card. The first person to get a King is the one who selects a liquor or a spirit.
The second person that gets a King, is the one who gets to choose what to mix this liquor with. The third person to get a King, is the one who has to pay for the drink and, well, the fourth player to get a King is the lucky one who gets to drink it.
While initially some people like to play this game to oblige their friends to drink some unthinkable alcoholic combinations - the unpredictability of the game is what makes it really funny.
After all, who can ever be sure that the same person will not be ‘blessed’ with more than just one King?
Kings is the perfect game to play when you’re out with friends, as it not only makes the mundane process of drinking more exciting, it also provides you with a lot of laughs.