When it comes to card games, literally everybody knows how to play Uno. While Uno is a timeless classic that you can play over and over again, sometimes the same old formula can get a little stale. That’s why we think it’s appropriate to round up the best card games that aren’t Uno, so you can broaden your horizons.
Card games often serve as the perfect icebreakers when you’ve gathered a group of strangers in one room, especially when drinking is involved. It’s also a great way to find out your friends’ true nature and just how calculating they can be.
While the possibilities are endless when it comes to a deck of playing cards, its design can feel a little lacklustre. So how can you add a little pizazz if you want to make your next get-together all the more memorable? If you pick up a game with some exploding kittens, quirky comic characters or a fresh spin on Monopoly (the game we love to hate), then you’ve got a recipe for a party full of belly laughs and a handful of death threats.
Best kept between adults, here are seven card games every person needs to play in their lifetime.
While Exploding Kittens likes to advertise itself as a game for people who like cats, explosions and lasers (!?), we consider this card game to be a cross between Russian Roulette and Uno. It also happens to be the card game we gift to every person we know (and there have been no unhappy giftees yet).
Each player is handed seven random cards plus one Defuse card. The coveted Defuse card is the best way to stay in the game if you happen to pick up one of the Exploding Kitten cards that are hidden in the deck. You have two options each turn, you can either pass by playing no cards or play a card face up. Certain cards or combinations can allow you to peek at the deck, force other players to pick up multiple cards or prevent your opponents from playing a card against you.
You end your turn by picking up a card, but if you’re unlucky enough to pick up an Exploding Kitten card without a Defuse card in your arsenal, then boom, you’re out of the game.
Where to buy
We’re all well-aware that any game of Monopoly is sure to be a marathon. In fact, we’re not sure when was the last time we actually completed a game?
Monopoly Deal is a fast-paced card game that allows you to play a nostalgic round of Monopoly in just 15 minutes flat. The goal is to become the first player to complete three full property sets in different colours.
It’s also ridiculously cheap and travel-sized so you can play it at your stopover or off to the side of your family dinner party, if you wish.
Where to buy
This strategic card game allows you to role-play as one of six fantasy classes and build a heroic team to slay monsters. To win, you need to either kill three monsters, or assemble a full team of six heroes. Perhaps the best part is that you can sabotage your friends efforts by playing a challenge, where you must roll the higher number to prevent their action.
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This adorable card game lets you build a unicorn army, play strategically and wreak destruction on your friends.
Unstable Unicorns features three different types of unicorn cards: baby, basic and magical. Every player begins with a single baby unicorn card that does essentially nothing (because it’s a baby, duh). As you take turns, you’ll pick up basic and magical unicorn cards, which you can use to sabotage your friends’ abilities or take away any hard-earned unicorns out of their stable.
The aim of this two to eight-player card game is to be the first to collect seven unicorns in your stable. It’s very much an exhilarating, family-friendly game where there are plenty of “take that” opportunities to play on your opponents.
Where to buy
This is among one of the best card games you can play with adults. A drinking game staple, this card game is famous for exposing your dirtiest, darkest humour. Cards Against Humanity proudly proclaims itself as a game for horrible people, and rightly so. It’s important to take note that it’s designed for those between the ages of “216 months to 1800 months” — and no, we’re not going to do the math for you.
This simple icebreaker is easy-to-play and can go on for as long as the participants want. In case you’ve been living at the bottom of the ocean for the last ten years, let’s take you through it.
Each player is dealt a hand of seven white cards and one person is dubbed the “Card Czar” to start off (usually the last person who pooped). Then, the Card Czar reads from one of the black cards in the deck, which prompts all of the other players to submit one of their white cards. A key strategy here is to play to the current Card Czar’s sense of humour if you want to win that black card. The reader selects their favourite one and awards the black card, also known as an Awesome Point, to the winner. Play then continues around the group until you’re all sick of each other.
If you’re already familiar with the game, it’s worth picking one up for yourself, so you can stop relying on your mate’s beer-soaked deck.
Where to buy
Skipbo is a game for between two and six players, but it’s especially infuriating if you’re playing as a pair. This is because the idea of the game to get rid of a deck of cards in your pile before your opponent does. At the top of your deck, is a number that you can only put down if you can make it fit into the sequence of numbers currently on the table (hence the name of the game).
For instance, let’s pretend the number at the top of your deck is a 5. There are currently three building piles in the centre of the table with a 3, 6 and 11. Because you have a 5, you’ll want to place it down but the next numbers that can go on one of the building piles has to be either a 4, 6 or 11. If you check your hand or your stock pile, you’ve discovered. that you have a 4 available. By placing the 4, you get to also put down your 5 and flip over to the next card in your deck. Your turn continues until there’s nothing left for you to play, so you’ll have to wait to either draw more cards or hope that your opponent sets you up nicely when your next turn comes around.
Capiche? We always get mad when we know our opponent is withholding the number we need them to put down, which prevents us from playing the card at the top of our deck.
Where to buy
Who doesn’t love a little Cyanide & Happiness during their day? Joking Hazard is one of the best card games for adults and allows three or more “bad people” to build funny and terrible comics about all those taboo dinner conversation topics.
To play, you’ll all need to find a civilised way of deciding a judge to start off with, then draw seven cards from the deck. Flip over the top card on the deck to reveal your starting card. The judge will place one card down from their hand before the other players put down their cards, but face down. The judge then shuffles the cards (referred to as “the punchline”) and picks their favourite as the winner. The winning card goes back to the player who played it, and the title of judge moves to the next player in the circle.
This card game is awfully similar to Cards Against Humanity, but lets the zaniness of the little Cyanide & Happiness characters do all the talking.