There are so many great reasons people should play cards. They are portable, fast to set up and most games, including very long ones, have natural breaks at the end of a hand or deal. Card games are very adaptable and informal because they start out as folk games and have variable rules and setups . Card games are easily scaled up or down in challenge level. You can play with people who have never played before, or people who have played for years. Card games are usually a balance of chance and skill. To win you must have a good hand (luck), and be able to play that hand well (skill).
Card games allow for easy, no-pressure conversation. If someone has something to say, they can say, otherwise, you can concentrate on the game. Card games also have a fab air of mystery, the only thing you see of the other player’s is the back of cards dealt. Knowing you can go out on your next turn, and nobody is none the wiser until the moment you drop your cards on the table in satisfaction.
Here are 10 games to play alone, with a couple of people, or a big crowd.
Solitaire has hundreds, if not thousands of variations, so there is def one for you. Including multiplayer- where each player takes turns to move, or play side by side. The quickest to finish is the winner.
Solitaire or Patience games typically involve dealing cards into an arrangement that the player then attempts to reorder, through suit and rank.
Patience is likely German or Scandinavian in origin, before becoming popular in France in the early 19th Century, reaching England and America in the latter half.
The first collection of patience card games written in English is attributed to Lady Adelaide Cadogan through her Illustrated Games of Patience, published in 1870 and reprinted several times. Other collections quickly followed like Patience by Ednah Dow Littlehale Cheney (1869), Amusement for Invalids by Annie B. Henshaw (1870), and later Dick’s Games of Patience, published by Dick and Fitzgerald.
Gin rummy or Gin is a two player game, which was made popular in the 30’s during the Great Depression when families had to entertain themselves at home. Gin Rummy became popular because it is easier to learn than bridge, and more family friendly than poker.
The objective in Gin Rummy is to score points and reach a set number of points or more, usually 100, before the other player. The game is played by forming melds and getting rid of deadwood. Deadwood cards are those not in any meld. A hand can contain three or fewer melds to knock or form legal gin.
If all 10 cards in a player’s hand fit into melds, and so there are no deadwood, they can choose to go gin. Which means that the round ends, and the player going gin receives a bonus of 25 points, plus any deadwood points in the opponent’s hand.
Gin took off in Hollywood in the 40’s particularly on TV, movie and theatre sets because it is an easy card game, with a much better reputation than poker, and could be played and put down and picked up between shots.
Hearts is a trick-taking game, rather than wanting to take tricks, in hearts, you want to avoid collecting them. It’s usually played to 100 points, but the person who gets to 100 is the loser, and the person with the lowest points the winner.
The game as it is known now originated with a group of related games called Reversis, which became popular in about 1750, in Spain. It didn’t reach its modern gameplay until the mid-1900’s and became known through the Microsoft version of the card game which was packaged with most 1990’s versions of it’s Windows operating system.
Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world, as it is relatively easy to get the hang of, and fast to play. Players compete against the dealer, and only the dealer to reach 21 without going over, or by getting the dealer to go over.
When the precursor to Blackjack, 21, was introduced to the USA, gambling houses offered a 10-to-1 payout if the player’s hand consisted of the ace of spades and a blackjack. This hand was called a “blackjack”, and the name stuck, even though the bonus was soon withdrawn. A blackjack refers to any hand of an ace plus a ten or face card, regardless of suits of colours.
Canasta is a rummy-style game, played by 4 in pairs, though variations exist for 2, 3, and 6 players. This game uses 2 decks, and players attempt to make melds or 7 cards of the same rank and go all out when they use all the cards in their hand.
This multiplayer card game was invented in Uraguay, in the 1930’s and spread quickly to Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil. It wasn’t introduced to the states until 1948 when it spearheaded a card-craze.
There is a load of “national” canasta variations, including Bolivian, Brazilian, British, Chilean, Cuban, Italian, and Uruguayan.
Euchre is another trick-taking game, which is played with 4 people in pairs. It uses 24, 28 or 32 cards, usually 9’s to aces, and is the card game responsible for the introduction of the Joker around 1880, to act as top trump.
The game has declined in popularity since the 19th century when it was regarded as the national game of the USA, however, it still has a strong following in Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. The card game is still very popular in Ontario, Canada, where it is commonly seen as a drinking game with tournaments held by bars and community centres.
Spit is a fast, physical game played between 2 people, who are each dealt 26 cards. The goal is to be the first to be rid of their cards. The players don’t take turns, you must simply be faster than your opponent.
This game is a quick one to play, and heaps of fun and family friendly.
War is a simple game, also played between 2 people. The objective of the game is to be the first to win all the cards.
This game is many people’s first card game. Though there is very little strategy in the basic game. The fun appears to come in the myriad of variations such as;
Automatic war– A certain card, typically a 2 or joker causes an automatic war.
Slap war- First player to slap a certain card, usually a 5 collects that pile.
Peace– Lowest card wins, and instead of 3 cards laid down, 5 are for the number of letters in peace.
Quatro– A drinking game, played between 4, the player with the lowest card must drink, and is eliminated. The players play their cards until there is one player left.
Another childhood favourite, which can be made interesting by the number of variations. The objective of the game is to make their 4 cards into a set of four of a kind, by drawing new cards and discarding useless cards. As soon as a player has a set of four they take a spoon when another player notices that a spoon has been taken they take a spoon as well, until one player is left empty-handed, and consequently eliminated.
S-P-O-O-N– A longer version of this card game, involves the round’s loser earning a letter for each loss, gradually spelling out the word spoon.
Extreme Spoons- Instead of placing the spoons in the centre of the table, the spoons are placed in a nearby, but inconvenient place.
Joker- jokers are left in the deck and used as wild cards.
Tongue- instead of grabbing spoons, you stick out your tongue. Last person to stick out their tongue loses.
Old Maid is a 2 or more player card game, from Victorian times, probably derived from an ancient game where the loser pays for the drinks.
The game is played with a regular deck that has had a Queen removed. Players are dealt all of the cards, and the objective is to pair the cards in your hand and avoid being the player holding the odd queen.
It is yet another simple game with a vast array of variations, some interesting ones include;
Jackass–played with an odd jack instead of a Queen.
Philippines Old Maid– Any card can be removed at the start of the game, and the odd card is not revealed until the end.
Scabby Queen– Considerably less fun, this card game is played the same as regular old maid. Except that when the loser is found, the entire deck of cards is shuffled, and cut by the loser. The card on the bottom of the pile decides their “punishment”. A red card means that the player is rapped over the knuckles with the deck, but a black card means that the deck is scraped across their knuckles. This scraping is known as snipes, and a skilled player can draw blood with his opening snipe.
A game of cards can be a fun diversion for an afternoon, or maybe you can set up a canasta or euchre night with your squad. These days playing an actual game could make a boring afternoon much more pleasurable. For tutorials to play all of the above games, and many more besides, check out Gather Together Games.