While board games are great fun, sometimes you want something you can pick up and play quickly. Whether its your gaming night before the main event or between panels and events at your gaming convention, card games are great for that. All you need, in most cases, is a deck of cards and no game board. Many of these games are great for quick pick up games at lunch, at school or work, or as party games at your next shindig.
1 – Magic: the Gathering (get geeky and be proud of it)
One of the two main offerings by gaming giant Wizards of the Coast (the other being tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons), Magic has the distinction of being the world’s first trading card game. While very much a strategy game, and thus not exactly something one just learns, this is one of the most popular card games. In their 25th year, there are near a dozen formats of the game to fill your gaming needs. If you need multiplayer games for all your friends or if you want to focus more on the collectible cards of the game, Magic has it for you.
2 – Cards Against Humanity (the safest way to show your evil side)
The world of popular card games that can be played among any number of people in a party setting is ever growing. And that is not only because of this basic rules game. In the style of Apples to Apples but definitely not for kids, this irreverent fill in the blank party card game mixes pop culture references and black humor. This makes you laugh at how you and your friends might, in fact, be terrible people.
3 – Boss Monster (like constantly playing the final level of a video game)
Do you love side scrolling video games, especially in the 8-bit style like Super Mario Bros? Do you enjoy tile laying card games, or playing as the villains? If you answered yes to any or all those questions, then you’d love Boss Monster. It’s where you play video game bad guys building a side scrolling dungeon, hoping to draw in heroes to devour or defeat. It has all the nostalgia of classic media. So, if you like things like Ready Player One and Stranger Things, Boss Monster is a card game you’d love.
4 – Exploding Kittens (an $8M successful Kickstarter campaign)
Some games test the bonds of friendship in your gaming group, such as Monopoly, and can drive people to figure out strategies on how to win at board games. Exploding Kittens can and, depending on your friends, will be like that. Compared to other fun card games like UNO, Exploding Kittens is not unlike Russian Roulette in a card game. At any moment you can draw one of the titular exploding kittens and be knocked from the game. This game is filled with magical goats, laser beams, and enchiladas and much more. It gets more and more suspenseful as it goes on.
5 – Munchkin (kick down the door – have fun – repeat)
A perfect game to play when you can’t get your Dungeons and Dragons game group together. This ultra competitive card game gets all the smashing combat fun of a fantasy role playing game. And that, without the pen, paper, or dice rolling. Moreover, with all the various editions, if you are more of a fan of such media as Harry Potter or Star Trek, there is probably an edition of Munchkin for you.
6 – Legendary (a marvelous Marvel deck building game)
If you are a big superheroes comic book fan, or if you just enjoy the strategy involved in deck building games, Legendary is something you are going to want to check out. You can build teams of your favorite Marvel Comics characters, even those you might not find in the books or films, and throw them up against their infamous villains. But if you can’t get a gaming group together, you can play this alone as a solitaire game. Best of all, because of all the expansions and randomness of the deck building, you will have hours of re-playability. As one game might never be played the same way again.
7 – Fluxx (for the trouble maker, nonconformist, rule-breakers)
Who doesn’t love a puzzle? Fluxx, another game with myriad genre and IP-based editions, is a puzzle in the form of a card game. Each playing card either is an item you need to have to win the game, a new rule that could replace a former rule, or a new combination of items to win the game, changing the old one. It’s a maze of game, but a maze where the path of success changes every turn. Sounds confusing? Maybe. But it’s as confusing as it is fun.
8 – Gloom (Pennywise the Dancing Clown’s favorite game)
Most games want you to accrue the most victory points and win. If you are playing a character, you want the best things to happen to it. But not in this card game. In Gloom, you preside over the lives of a group of characters, and you tell the story of the terrible things that happen to them. Through transparent cards you play over them while playing story cards of how good things happen to your opponent’s characters, eventually killing them. Morbid? For sure, but if you like some black comedy in your card game, this could be the one for you.
9 – Android: Netrunner (prepare for the future)
Cyberpunk is super popular, from the film The Matrix to the tabletop game Shadowrun. Android: Netrunner is a 2 player card game, originally created by Richard Garfield, who also created Magic: the Gathering. It’s adapted by Fantasy Flight Games into a living card game system where all you need to play is the core set. But if you’d like to expand your options, expansions are released monthly. What makes this game amazing is that each player plays one side of the classic cyberpunk battle: mega-corporations versus hackers. Either side of that conflict has a completely different game play. If you want some cyberpunk in your card games, Android: Netrunner is the one for you.
10 – Sushi GO! (the most delicious of all card games)
This friendly family party game is best played on a full stomach, lest you make a trip to your local sushi restaurant afterwards. In this game, you need to draft cards based on Japanese food that will give you points. You need to focus the difference between the cards and strategy of each food card and when to pick them. It’s perfect for gamers both young and old.
There are tons of other tabletop card games out there, but we decided to stick to these as our top 10, as a mix from a wider range of them. If you feel some should not belong here or others are missing entirely, please feel free to comment down below or let us know. Dare us to change this top 10!