The best card games are not only portable, but they’re fun and have great replayability. While everyone loves a round of Snap or Uno, these games can get old quickly. It can also take a long time and require a lot of space to set up a board game, so there are times where a card game is perfect for slapping down on the table (or floor). If you’re getting bored of matching numbers and colours, or are sick of getting slammed with draw four cards, there are other games you can pick up and play that are just as fun and easy.
There’s a wide variety of card games out there now, from the classic Cards Against Humanity, which is about making each other laugh with your darkest jokes, to You’ve Got Crabs, which is about collecting, you guessed it, crabs.
If you’re looking for a new card game to whip out during your next games night, party or road trip, our list of the best card games has you covered.
In this quick to learn and even quicker to play card game, you’re a customer in a sushi restaurant trying to find the best dishes to beat your opponents. Each card is a different kind of sushi and is assigned a point value. But you can’t just get a hand full of sushi with the highest points. Certain combinations of rolls, nigiri and sashimi score you more points, so you’ll need to play strategically to win and beat out the other hungry customers. It’s a great card game for both kids and adults.
You can buy Sushi Go! here:
You’ve Got Crabs
You’ve Got Crabs splits players to get into teams of two to collect four of the same kind of crab from a shuffled pile of crab cards. Once you’ve got your four crabs (varieties include taxi crab, crabernet sauvignon, and ab crab, amongst others), you need to signal to your teammate that you have crabs. It’s then up to them to notice the signal without alerting the opposing teams and shout “You’ve got crabs!” before anyone else notices. While it sounds relatively simple, this card game is pure, chaotic fun. You’ll need to have quick hands to catch these crabs.
You can buy You’ve Got Crabs here:
This game is all about becoming one with your fellow players. You’ll need to read each others’ minds to beat this silent but fun card game. In The Mind, players need to work together to put cards numbered one to 100 in ascending order. Except there’s one rule, you can’t communicate either verbally or non-verbally. No talking, no miming, no signals. Just mind reading.
The best thing about The Mind is that one game takes about 15 minutes to play, so you can have a quick game basically whenever you feel like it. This card game can be taught to kids and adults alike.
You can buy The Mind here:
Arboretum is perhaps one of the most unique (and wholesome) card games we’ve ever played. While most games force you to bluff or outsmart your opponents, Arboretum sets you the task of curating the most beautiful garden paths for imaginary visitors. This card game is the perfect gift for that one adult friend who has a green thumb.
Each card is beautifully detailed with trees such as cherry blossoms, dogwood and oak. To play, each participant will start with seven cards and place one down in their arboretum before discarding another as part of their turn. Play continues until the draw pile is finished.
Once the last player has completed their turn, you’ll assess the cards in each of your hands to determine who gets to be the assessor. When the assessor has been determined, they’ll get to score each of the other player’s paths depending on how many cards are in the path and how long it is, among other criteria. The winner is whoever scores the most points.
You can buy Arboretum here:
A card game doesn’t need to be silly to be fun. In Love Letter, everybody wants to win the hand of the beautiful princess, Annette, who will one day ascend the throne. As one of her many suitors, your mission is to compose a compelling love letter and use various intermediaries to ensure it reaches her.
The person who collects a select number of tokens from the princess will ultimately win the game (and a bride).
You can buy Love Letter here:
While Exploding Kittens likes to advertise itself as a game for people who like cats, explosions and lasers (!?), we consider this fun 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.
You can buy Exploding Kittens here:
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, it’s no surprise that both kids and adults enjoy it. 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.
You can buy Monopoly Deal here:
Here To Slay
Alright, if you’re an avid Dungeons & Dragons player, then you’ll definitely need to pick up Here To Slay.
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.
While the base game has your expected hero, bard, thief and wizards, you can also grab some expansion packs to play as druids and warriors or berserkers and necromancers. The card game is a little tricky, so we recommend playing with older children or adults.
You can buy Here To Slay here:
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.
You can buy Unstable Unicorns here:
Cards Against Humanity
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.
Here’s where you can buy Cards Against Humanity:
Skip-Bo 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.
You can buy Skip-Bo here:
Who doesn’t love a little Cyanide & Happiness during their day? Joking Hazard is one of the best (and most fun) 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.
You can buy Joking Hazard here:
The article has been updated since its original publication.
Lead Image Credit: Composite by Kotaku Australia