Sometimes, a deck of cards is all you need to turn a mundane night into complete chaos. There’s nothing like the rush of playing an intense card game with your roommates or loved ones, especially when there are stakes. At the very least, it beats a night of looking up youtube to mp3 converters or listening to Joni Mitchell Blue in a dark room by yourself…
The problem is, there are thousands of card games to choose from. We’ve been spoiled for choice, which means knowing the right games to suggest can be daunting. You want a game that’s easy to learn, but still complex enough to be enjoyable. We believe these 5 card games hit that sweet spot and ensure some friendly competition of the highest calibre. Check out these 5 options and see if there’s a game for your needs.
Are you good at lying? If so, cheat is the game for you. The goal is simple. Be the first player to have no cards in your hand. You get there by playing cards on each of your turns, but sometimes you legally can’t. This means you have to cheat, and lie about what card you’re playing.
From my experience, Cheat is an absolute winner for those rowdy nights where you want to call out your mates trickery. Suddenly, the whole table will be arguing over someone’s hand and you’ll forget that you’re actually playing a card game, not investigating a crime. Cheat = wild times, guaranteed.
Poker (Texas Hold Em)
Poker is one of the longest running, most famous card games in existence, and for good reason. Like Cheat, poker isn’t about the cards. It’s about the players. To win poker, you need to be able to read the room like Sherlock Holmes and take some serious risks. The thrill of pooling all your money into the middle of the table and saying, “All In” has kept Casinos in business for centuries, and that adrenaline hit remains unrivaled. Enjoy Poker when you can, but remember not to be rash with your money, or you’ll leave the game in a worse state than when you arrived.
Emperor Scum / President
Emperor Scum brings politics into the mix, making for hilarious exchanges during games. Emperor Scum divides its players into classes, with the poorest giving up their best cards to the richest, and the richest giving their worst cards to the poorest. If that sounds incredibly unfair, that’s because it is!
However, here’s the genius part. If you somehow manage to win a game as a lower class, you’ll move up the ranks and the Emperor will fall. This game mechanic ensures that revenge and redemption is always just round the corner. May the best man win!
Solitaire is the magnum opus of solo card games. Like Mahjong, Solitaire only allows players to access the top layer before moving down and unlocking new cards. The aim is to collect all the cards in order, from Ace to King, but you’ll need to be careful. One wrong move and you’ll block your access to new cards, resulting in a do-over. I’ve found solitaire to be incredibly therapeutic during downtime, and an excellent way to keep your mathematical brain active.
Yes, it’s a little slow. Yes, it’s a simple choice. Yes, it’s probably overrated. However, Go Fish is an indisputable classic of card game history, and it would be sinful to leave it off this list. If you haven’t already played it, Go Fish is all about making pairs and using your opponent’s hand against them.
The game normally runs for about 10 minutes, so it’s a perfect choice if you only have a few minutes to spare. It’s also a great option if you have kids that want to join in on the fun. Go Fish is an ideal entry-level card game, and it will stay in our collective memories for years to come.