Card games not only come in many shapes and sizes, but also with varying mechanics. There are the simple classics like Uno, and those that require a lot of time, effort, and money, like Magic: The Gathering. But, as a host, you'll need to gauge the occasion, the number of players, and sometimes even their age, before suggesting a card game.

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Lucky for you, we've picked out some card games that will be perfect for a number of occasions. Whether you're having a family games night, drinks with some friend, or going all-in with your guild, this lineup of card games is sure to liven up any kind of gathering.

Updated on August 28, 2023 by Vaspaan Dastoor: The festive season will soon be upon us, and that means a lot of parties. We've updated this list with some great card games to bring out to your parties and have a blast. Codenames is an all-time classic, and Unstable Unicorns is a fun deck builder.


Recognize this face?

Codenames is an all-time great when it comes to party games. Almost everybody knows the rules, and it can be played in teams, meaning all your guests can be involved. You can go a step ahead and even get a special edition if all your guests are fans of a particular IP.

  • Engaging gameplay formula.
  • Can be played in teams.
  • Has multiple editions.

Codename is a card game you can whip out at almost any gathering to make it livelier. The fact that the rules are pretty easy and that most people already know them is an added bonus. The game also features a number of editions with famous IPs like Disney, Marvel, and Harry Potter.

Unstable Unicorns Card Game

Best Artwork

Deck building is always a good time. However, things get serious when you're putting together an army of unicorns. Don't be fooled by the adorable artwork; not everyone has what it takes to assemble such a fierce and powerful army. It has a pretty wide player count, so all your guests will be abler to participate.

  • Great artwork.
  • Introduction to deck building.

Building a powerful army of unicorns is something that everyone has dreamt of doing at least once. Unstable Unicorns is the closest you'll ever come to acheiving this dream, as you try and see which unicorn suits your army in the best manner.

Exploding Kittens
Best Family Game

Boom goes the kitty!

While it may not sound like it, Exploding kittens is a beloved, family-friendly card game. The aim is pretty simple - just avoid the Exploding Kitten until you're the last one standing.The rules are very simple too, with each card's action written on it, so you don't have to remember too much either.

  • Easy to play.
  • Fun art for kids.
  • Multiple expansions.
  • Relatively small player size.
  • Becomes a bit predictable after a few games.
  • May not be enjoyable for those who prefer skill-based games.

Exploding Kittens is perfect for those family game nights. The rules are pretty simple and the art on the cards will probably make your kids chuckle. However, if it's too vanilla for you, the card game has a number of expansions that could add an NSFW element to it.

Fox in the Forest
Best Trick-Taking Game

For those who want to get foxy

The Fox In the Forest is a great way to level up your card game skills. While relatively simple to play, the inclusion of trick-taking elements and a unique points system adds that little extra for players who want more of a challenge.

  • An easy introduction to complex card game mechanics.
  • Beautiful art.
  • Colourful backstory.
  • Can't be played with more than two players.
  • Complicated points system.
  • Very short play-time.

The Fox in the Forest is a two-player game that has slightly more advanced rules than casual party games. It teaches you mechanics like trick-taking and adds an extra strategic challenge with its points system. It's also pretty quick, so you and your partner can polish off a few games if you have a couple of hours to kill but also want a challenge.

Monopoly Deal Card Game
Best Short Game

Let's deal

While it's a twist on a classic board game, Monopoly Deal is by no means under the shadow of the original. It challenges players to use each card in the most beneficial way, as each one has multiple ways of being played.The aim of the game is to make three sets of properties, each of the same colour. Monopoly Deal Games are much quicker than the original, so you don't need to carve out a full day.

  • New way to play a classic.
  • No board required.
  • Games are much quicker.
  • Lesser room for making side-deals.
  • No iconic figurines.
  • Rules are a little more advanced than the original.

Monopoly Deal is a great alternative if you have a hankering for making deals, but don't have hours to spend on it. The game cleverly gives each card multiple ways of being played, challenging you to think of which way is the best in the long run. While the rules are a bit more complicated, your family and friends will understand them pretty quickly if they're familiar with the classic board game.

There's Been A Murder
Best Murder Mystery Card Game

A collaborative whodunit

Whodunits have been a stable genre in any and all entertainment mediums. While most of them make you suspicious of your fellow players, There's Been a Murder is a card game that requires collaboration between everyone to catch the killer.You can add or remove cards to adjust the difficulty, but beware, there's a chance the killer can escape.

  • A rare collaborative murder mystery.
  • Wide player count.
  • Can adjust the number of cards for difficulty.
  • Games with fewer people are sometimes too short.
  • Players cannot discuss their hands, which is tough to enforce.
  • There is a chance you can lose.

Everybody loves a good whodunit, and There's Been a Murder makes you feel like a regular Benoit Blanc. Unlike most murder mystery games, that make you turn on your friends, this one forces you to work together to find the killer. Players must cooperate to get the Detective to point out the Murderer. However, if the Murderer and the Witness card come together in one hand, everyone loses.

Arkham Horror
Best Role Playing Card Game

If horror RPGs are your thing

Arkham Horror blends card based gameplay with RPG styled mechanics to create one of the most in depth card games you'll ever play. It can be played with a single player if you want to, and if the base campaign is to your liking, it has a number of expansions you can get.

  • Lovecraftian horror setting.
  • In depth RPG mechanics.
  • Can be played single player.
  • Base campaign is a bit short.
  • Highly complicated ruleset.
  • Baits you to buy expansions.

Here's where things become a lot more advanced. If you thought tabletop RPGs were intense, role playing card games are more so. Not only do you get to choose a character, but you must upgrade their skills, perform skill checks, and adhere to a number of parameters throughout this Lovecraftian nightmare. It can be played single player, and it also has a number of expansions if you really get into it.

Magic: The Gathering
Best Trading Card Game

One card game to rule them all

Magic: The Gathering has been around for decades, and is the go-to game for TCG fans. Wizards of the Coast constantly pushes out new expansions, crossovers, and updates. There are so many types of decks to build, and so many new cards, that there's no way you can get bored of MTG.However, it requires in depth knowledge of the mechanics and staying up to date with the rules. This is where you want to reach in your card game journey to the top.

  • Can be customised to your play style.
  • Infinite permutations and combinations.
  • Amazing artwork.
  • Complicated and intimidating ruleset.
  • Expensive in the long run.
  • Players need to be well versed on latest updates.

Magic: The Gathering is undoubtedly the world's premier TCG. There are literally, and metaphorically, infinite possibilities with MTG when you consider the number of cards released, kind of decks you want to build, and the number of updates to the ruleset. Magic: The Gathering is more of a hobby rather than just a card game, so be prepared to invest your mind, and money if you plan on getting into it.

Sushi Go!
Best Deck Building Game

Take over the world with maki rolls

Sushi is amazing on its own. But, a game which requires you to create your own adorable little sushi army is an absolute treat. Not only is the art on the cards deliciously cute, but each of them synchronizes with another to form powerful combos, resulting in more points.

  • Cute art.
  • Great way to bring in sushi night.
  • Great introduction to deck building.

Sushi Go! is a great way to introduce someone to entry-level deck building. You can lure them in with the adorable and yummy looking cards and make them stay for the satisfying combos that can be created by pairing up types of sushi. It's a great family game - one that has something for all ages to enjoy.

Marvel Champions
Best Living Card Game

The other side of superheroes

Marvel Champions is a card gamer that allows you to live out your superhero fantasy. Not only does it set up encounters between heroes and villains, but you'll also have to tackle encounters featuring other heroes, personal problems, and random issues that everyone faces. You never know if you're going to go up against Green Goblin or plumbing issues at home.

  • Unique encounters between heroes and villains who don't usually cross paths.
  • Provides a glimpse into a hero's personal life.
  • High replayability value.

The beauty of Marvel Champions isn't in the gorgeous art and plethora for superheroes and villains, but in the fact that Spider-Man may have an important assignment due on the same day that Venom decides to run riot in the city. Managing all of these encounters and saving the day is the best part of this card game.


What Card Games Can You Play Online?

There are plenty of card games to choose from, playing card games like Rummy and Poker have a number of titles, while Magic: The Gathering: Arena and Hearthstone are great online card games. Marvel Snap is a very popular mobile card game.

What Is A Trading Card Game?

A Trading Card Game, or TCG, is one where each card has its own inherent value, and is focussed more towards building a strategic deck of cards. Players can trade cards for other cards, and even real world money.

Can You Play Card Games By Yourself?

There are a number of single player card games. Solitaire is the most popular solo playing card game, but if you want something more intense, try Arkham Horror mentioned above.

NEXT: TCG Release Dates 2023

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