Done with Monopoly? Sick of Life? Here is a round up of ten new card games to try out tonight, and you’re bound to find a favorite!
By Lauren Tippetts
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good board game (you’re talking to the girl who owns the entire Disney Villainous game series), but there is a lot to be said for card games. A single deck of cards can be used in more ways than you can count on two hands! This round up can attest to that, because as I thought of family favorites, the list got a little out of hand. I pared it down, and these are the ten I landed on. Hopefully you will find some new card games, and a new favorite!
Deal out all the cards, but don’t look at them. Keep them in a pile in front of you. The goal is to be the first one out of cards. The first person turns over their top card. If it is an Ace, they play it in the middle and start a “building pile.” These piles are built up sequentially by suit. This player may then continue to draw and play cards from their pile until none are playable, either on someone else’s pile or on the building piles. To play on someone else’s pile, the card must be one value higher or lower than their face up card. Suit doesn’t matter in this case.
The next player draws a four from their face down pile. Player one has a three in their face up pile. Player two can now place the four on top of the three. Player two draws another card, it is a five. They can play this card on player one as well. They now draw a seven, and can’t play it anywhere, so they place it face up in front of them.
As players are drawing cards, they must play them in the center first if possible. Say player three draws a six of hearts. There is a building pile in the center left at a five of hearts. Even though player two has a five face up, player three must play the six in the center. In addition to playing in the center first, players must play off of their face up piles first. So if player four has a seven of hearts face up, they must play it in the center before drawing from their deck. If any of these rules are broken, players yell out “Panjandrum!” and they all give one card to the offending player.
When all your cards are in the face up stack, turn them back over and start your pile again. The games ends when one player is completely out of cards.
Steal the Pile
Ever played Cover Your Assets? This is basically that, but with an average deck of cards. Deal four cards to each player, and place four cards in the center, face up. Take turns matching a card in your hand with one in the middle, making a face-up pile in front of you. When people’s piles start to stack up, if you have a card that matches someone else’s top card, you can steal their pile. If you can’t take a card from the middle or steal a pile, take a card out of your hand and put it in the center of the table with the other cards. Once everyone runs out of cards, deal out four more to everyone. Continue until the deck is depleted. The person with the biggest pile wins!
Pro tip: if you have two of one card and can’t do anything else, put one of them in the middle as a red herring. Then, if someone else takes that card, you can steal their pile with the other one.
This game is like solitaire, but with more players and a faster pace. Or, if you’ve ever played Wackee Six, this will sound familiar. Every person will need their own deck of cards. Deal 12 cards face down, turning another face up on top (13 cards total). Deal four more cards face up in a row next to your pile. Your goal is to get rid of your stack of 13 cards first. Aces go in the center, and you build up those piles using the cards in your hand and in front of you. On go, put any Aces you have in front of you in the center, replace the spaces with the top card of your 13 card stack, and turn the next one one face up. If you can’t use the cards in front of you, start flipping the cards in your deck over three at a time. Keep your eye on the piles in the center, as they are your opportunity to get rid of cards.
This is where it gets competitive and fast. Everyone is building up the piles in the center all at once. If you have the same card to get rid of as someone else, you have to make sure you get there first! Or, you’ll have to wait for another pile to come around to that number. When you run out of cards in your hand, turn them over, put one underneath the pile, and start flipping again. That way you won’t get all the same cards.
Once your 13 cards are gone, yell “Nerts!” and you win!
*Note: You can play the cards from your pile on the four face up cards (like solitaire, descending number, alternating colors) as it helps you get rid of your stack. But, you run the risk of trapping cards.
This game goes through seven rounds (or 14, if you’re ambitious). The first round, you deal one card to each player, second round, two, and so on. Deal out the cards based on the round you are on, then turn the top card of the remaining pile over. That suit is trump for this round. Start by assessing your hand to determine how many tricks you think you could take. Then, on the count of three, everyone holds out on their fingers how many tricks they think they will take. The score keeper records this number.
The player to the left of the dealer starts, and whatever suit they play is the suit that has to be matched. If you don’t have that suit, you can slough off any card, or play a trump if you have one and want to play it. The highest card (or highest trump) takes the trick. At the end of the round, you get 10 points if you make your bid, and 10 points for each trick you took. If you don’t make your bid, you lose 10 points for each trick you took that you didn’t want/didn’t get.
This is also a game of trick taking (think Wizard, Bridge, the aforementioned Mormon Bridge), but with a crazy twist. Each round has different rules. Here’s the run down:
- No Tricks (each one taken is 10 points)
- No hearts (1o points per heart)
- No Queens (25 points per queen)
- No King of Spades or Clubs (75 points per king)
- No Last Trick (100 points)
- All the rules! (points same as above)
That won’t make sense yet, but here are the rules. You want the lowest score. Deal out all the cards, the person left of the dealer goes first. Whatever suit they play is the suit everyone else has to match. If you don’t have that suit, you can slough off any card. The highest card of the suit that was lead takes the trick. Then that person goes first for the next round.
*Notes: This game is built for four people. If you add or subtract players, just make sure everyone has the same number of cards. You may need to add a deck. There is no trump in this game.
Deal out 10 cards to each player and arrange them, face down, in two rows of five. Put the rest of the cards in the center of the table in a pile. Your goal is to get your cards in order, Ace through ten, by drawing cards. Jacks and Queens are wild, and Kings are garbage (hence the name). Take turns drawing the top card, or the first card on the discard pile. Say you draw a three. Replace your face down card in the third position with the three you drew. Then, say the card you picked up was a five. Replace the card in the fifth position with that card. You keep going until you can’t use the card you pick up, and discard it. Keep going until one person has all their cards face up and in order.
As the rounds go on, you decrease the number of cards dealt (from 10 to nine, eight, etc.), making more cards “garbage.” In the nine card round, for example, ten’s will be garbage, since there is no longer a tenth position, and so on through the rounds.
First, every player gets three “lives,” signified by something like pennies, candy, buttons, etc. We used M&M’s. Deal out three cards to each player. The goal is to get as close to 31 as possible. Here are the values:
- 2-10: face value
- Face cards: 10
- Aces: 11
The player to the left of the dealer starts by drawing a card. If it gets them closer to 31, they keep it, discarding one of their other cards, keeping only three in their hand. Play continues until a player knocks on the table. This means they think they have the highest set of cards. Everyone gets one more turn, and then reveals their cards. The person with the lowest total puts one of their “lives” in the middle. Rounds continue until only one person has a life/lives.
*Note: After a player loses their third life, they are on their “free ride.” They are still in the game until they lose that. If at any point you have 31 exactly, you reveal your cards. Everyone else puts a life in the center.
Here is an example of a round where someone got 31 exactly.
Here is an example of a regular round.
Kings in the Corner
This is a multiplayer version of solitaire. Deal seven cards to each player. Put the remaining stack in the center, and turn four cards face up, placed around the sides of the stack. Players stack cards in descending order, alternating colors on each of the face up cards. The first player plays cards until they have no more moves. They can play from their hand, or move cards on the table to other columns. For example, if there is a column that starts with a black nine, and a red ten is free on another side, the player can move that whole column, freeing up a space. They then play one of their cards in that space. End your turn by drawing a card. If a player has or draws a King, it is played in one of the corners of the set up. The game ends when one person is out of cards.
I’m sure there is another name for this, but we don’t know what it is, so we just call it Eights. Deal out eight cards to each player, and arrange them, face down, in two rows of four. Turn two cards face up, one on each row (these cards can’t be in the same column). Put the remaining stack in the center of the table. Your goal is to have the lowest score. Here are the point values:
- 2-10: face value
- Jack: -3
- Queen: 20
- King: 0
- Ace: 1
On your turn, draw a card from the center pile and decide if you want to keep it. If it’s a Queen, you’ll probably want to discard it. If it’s a Jack, you definitely want to keep it. Replace one of your face down cards with the new card, now placed face up. It is now locked in. The only way to get rid of your face up cards (like the two you turned up at the beginning, potentially) is to draw a card of the same value. Say you have an eight face up and you draw an eight. Place the eight you drew on top of the eight that is face up on the table in front of you, flip the card below them up, stack them all together and discard all three. Doing this with any number discards an entire column.
If your draw pile runs out of cards, reshuffle the discard pile and start again. When one player has all their cards face up the game is over. Calculate your score, and the lowest score wins.
Pro tips: If you are playing with a large group, you will probably want to add another deck of cards. Try not to place two cards face up in the same column unless you are totally sure you want to keep them both. Once two cards in a column are face up, you can’t get rid of either of them.
This game has a different name on the interwebs, but we just call it threes (we’re super creative with names around here…) Start by dealing out three cards face down to each player. Place them in a row and don’t look at them. Then, deal three more cards to each player face up. Place those cards on top of the face down ones. Then deal three more cards for each player’s hand. Place the remaining stack in the middle of the table. Your goal is to run out of all your cards. The player who was dealt the first three (see why we call it threes?) goes first. If no one has a three, go to the first four, or five, etc.
The first player plays any card from their hand. Play continues by each person stacking cards equal to or higher than the one played previously, replenishing your hand so you always have three. If you have multiples of one number, you can play them all if you want to. If you can’t play, you take the stack. Once the pile in the center is depleted and you run out of cards in your hand, use the face up cards in front of you to play. Once you’re out of those, you choose a face down card to play blindly. If it isn’t higher, you take the pile.
A few cards can help you in a pinch. Tens “blow up” the pile (not literally) and you discard the whole thing. The person who played the ten then starts a new pile. Twos reset the pile, and can be played on anything.
Find more of our favorite games here.
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