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Top 10 Best Card Games in 2021

Spice up your game night with these amazing card games, perfect for kids and adults alike! Here’s our review of the top ten classic card games from around the globe.

Reasons to look for a good card game

Got a family game night coming up? Or are you going on a camping trip with some friends? Whether it’s for leisure time or on the road, bringing along a deck of cards leads to hours of excitement for everyone.

In fact, you can even teach your young cousins to play or suggest an interactive game that even grandma or grandpa can enjoy. Indeed, there’s no denying that some of the best memories with family and friends come from being huddled up around the table until midnight playing cards.

Throw in some of the gang’s favorite games along with some warm goodies and light music in the background, and you’ve got a lovely evening going on. To help you experience a fantastic game night, we’ll share our top ten recommended card games with an extensive review for every product.

Although the list includes some of the most recent games, the focus of this article is on classic card games.  As such, this will primarily involve iconic and well-known games that have withstood the test of time.

We also provided additional links that will help you weigh the pros and cons of each product. Let’s start!

Best overall

Mattel Games UNO card game

Mattel Games UNO card game

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Read our full review here

UNO is undoubtedly a family favorite. Not only is it easy to learn and play, but it can also be customized based on the skill level of the players.  It’s a fun game of matching colors and numbers where everyone competes to be the first to discard all the cards in their hands.

There are many versions of UNO and several rule variations, but the basic mechanic is simple enough for kids to pick up. So, if you want to invite even the young kids in the family, this game is for you.

As you play, you can even discuss with them some of the best ways to strategize. Moreover, it’s a popular game, so you can find it at any store at very reasonable prices.

Best for families

SET Enterprises Five Crowns card game

SET Enterprises Five Crowns card game

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Read our full review here

Incredibly popular among casual players. Five Crowns is also a rummy-style card game, but with a twist – the rotating wildcard will keep you guessing every round, and the outcome is highly uncertain. Therefore, you’ll need both luck and strategy to win the game.

Rather than using four suits like the traditional ones, the game uses six suites. This adds more options for sets and sequences. The game is about 45 minutes long and can even be played as an alternative to Solitaire. So, if you’re up for a surprise, try this game!

Best for 4 people

Grandpa Beck’s Games Cover Your Assets card game

Grandpa Beck’s Games Cover Your Assets card game

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Read our full review here

A classic strategy game that entails unpredictability and intense challenge. The first player to reach $1million assets wins!  Cover your Assets is a competitive, high-energy, and cutthroat game that will surely get everyone cracking.

As a result, this game is perfect for both the young and old. What’s more, while the rules are quick to learn, it surprisingly requires a lot of thinking. It’s both interactive and fun – you get to employ different strategies while keeping an eye out for your assets as you play.

Best for adults

Cards Against Humanity card game

Cards Against Humanity card game

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Read our full review here

Definitely a crowd-pleaser. However, for all its popularity, this game contains sexual content, humanitarian crises, racial issues, and other taboo topics. As such, this game is not suitable for young players and those of faint heart.

Surprisingly, the design and gameplay are pretty simple. For every round, a player reads a question from a black card, while the other players answer the question using a white card.

This game does draw big laughs, but the insensitive nature of some card pairings may bring you into an awkward or embarrassing situation. However, if your gang enjoys crude humor, then you might want to try this game.

Best for 3 people

Magilano SKYJO card game

Magilano SKYJO card game

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Read our full review here

It’s a undoubtedly challenge to find a card game that can accommodate both small and large groups of players. However, SKYJO fits that niche; you can play it with just two people up to a crowd of eight.

In addition, the rules are pretty simple, making it perfect for casual gaming. It’s also great for teaching children math lessons without realizing it and does a fantastic job for addition and number line practice.

Moreover, once young players get familiar with the gameplay, they can play independently pretty much everywhere.

Best of all time

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza card game

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza card game

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Read our full review here

An absolute tongue twister for your brain! If you want to laugh so much during your family get-together, play Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. It only takes a minute to learn the gameplay, and then you’re good to go.

However, the most remarkable feature of this game is its simplicity. The game rules are so easy to grasp that even a five- or six-year-old can quickly learn them, but it’s cutthroat enough to keep the adults on their toes.

It’s a mix between a word relay and a matching game coupled with hand-slapping mayhem. A speed game with a twist – it’s the perfect starter to enliven the atmosphere.

Best for two people

Monopoly Deal card game

Monopoly Deal card game

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Read our full review here

If you’re looking for a fun game with lots of player interaction, then Monopoly Deal is your best bet. After all, the game gives a chaotic yet exciting feel.

Players close to winning might suddenly get raided by rent and debt collectors, costing them their property sets. As a result, this makes it equally addictive and challenging to play.

However, the game focuses on logic and strategy. As such, it involves reading and simple math, which could be a little challenging for younger children. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent opportunity to teach your young siblings or cousins about critical decision-making through an entertaining game.

Lastly, the game’s best feature is its fast yet fun playstyle, which allows for the development of tactics and quick mastery of the game. Monopoly Deal is endlessly re-playable; you’ll want to play again and again.

Best for couples

Mattel Games Phase 10 card game

Mattel Games Phase 10 card game

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Read our full review here

If you enjoy rummy-type card games, then you’ll definitely like Phase 10. This game requires carefully planned moves and being incredibly attentive to your deck.

With 10 phases to complete, it can be very time-consuming and frustrating. However, the plus side is that even if you fall behind, you still have many chances to make a comeback.

Moreover, the inclusion of action cards intensifies the game. You can get really competitive as the game progresses and possibly want a rematch after the game ends.

Best for group

Exploding Kittens LLC Barking Kittens card game

Exploding Kittens LLC Barking Kittens card game

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Read our full review here

Barking Kittens is the third installment and an expansion to the original Exploding Kittens, a record-breaking game with over 10 million copies sold. It adds fresh strategies to destroy your nemesis, Jerry, absolutely.

However, this version is not a standalone one, so you should have a copy of the original game if you want to play it.

It features several “barking kittens” cards that allow you to combine them to your advantage and the other player’s disadvantage. For maximum chances to demolish Jerry, it’s best to use it with the other two expansions – Streaking Kittens and Imploding Kittens.

It doesn’t take much time to learn the gist of the expansion set – just 5 minutes, and you’re ready to play. If you really want to pack a punch in the Exploding Kittens gameplay, this is the right set for you.

Best for kids

Mattel Games Reinhard Staupe’s BLINK card game

Mattel Games Reinhard Staupe’s BLINK card game

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Read our full review here

Dubbed as the fastest card game globally, the two-minute-long, two-player game Blink is popular among young individuals.

The game’s goal is quite simple; it’s all about matching the cards according to their color, shapes, and symbols.

It’s a lightning-fast game that requires sharp observation. In fact, you don’t need to use complex strategies to win the game; just a fast reflex and a good eye. It’s perfect for kids and teenagers who love to compete in a simple yet exciting game. It’s definitely a must-have game to enjoy with your friends!

What to look for in a good card game

Intuitive mechanics

Some games are tough to follow; even after playing a few rounds, you still get confused about what you’re supposed to be doing next.

It just doesn’t flow naturally. So, you should know that a good card game, even if the rules are a little long, is always logical and straightforward. While playing, you never feel the need to move in any unnecessary action.

Well-defined purpose

Aimless wandering can be fun when exploring the wilderness, but this tends to be a little tedious when you’re sitting at a game table.

As such, another quality you should look out for in a card game is a well-defined purpose. Its mechanics should explicitly tell you the game’s goal and how to gain points and win.

Action

All players should have the chance to actively participate in the game, make meaningful decisions, and playfully compete. After all, games that demand constant attention are more engaging. Therefore, it should have simultaneous action mechanics.  

Continuous challenge

A good game design should not allow the players to get bored; rather, it should keep the players coming back for more.

So, look for a game with a surprise factor; the course of the game should be different for every round. Without this quality, you’ll surely lose focus and drop it later on.

FAQ

What are the essentials to buying and collecting card games?

Once you get the hang of playing cards, you’d usually want to buy more, especially those that pique your interest. There are plenty of good card games in the market, but this doesn’t mean you should splurge on all of them. Here are some important reminders when buying and collecting cards:

– Only buy games that you like, but don’t just buy them for no reason.
– Be selective – focusing on a specific area can help keep your budget in check.
– Find good creators who consistently produce fantastic game cards.
– Only buy from reliable sellers.

Take your time to do some research.

How do Five Crowns compare to Phase 10?

Both card games are suited for rummy-type game style; the only difference is that Phase 10 can be more intense and longer. Generally, the rules are similar – the player with the lowest score wins.

Unlike Phase 10, though, Five Crowns tend to be more streamlined. Moreover, instead of phase level, the total score determines the winner.

Can you still enjoy Cover Your Assets with just two people?

Yes. In fact, there is no actual limit to the number of players. It only says it’s recommended for 4 to 6 players because this is the ideal number for most people who play the game.

However, if you check the rule sheet, it actually says that if the game is played with 2 to 3 players, they will hold five cards instead of four.

As we previously said, this game is fit for all ages; you are free to play it however you want so long as you follow the game’s rules.

What are some other card games that are best for two people?

Aside from what we included in the list, 500 Rummy and Cribbage are worth a try for a 2-player game. 500 Rummy doesn’t really take long to play, and the rules are pretty simple and easy to follow.

The game is played in rounds, and the first player to discard all his cards wins. On the other hand, Cribbage is a quirky game with three phases and ends when either player gets a score of 61 or 121 points.

Is buying decks made out of paper better than plastic?

Overall, it’s your call; you’re free to choose whatever makes you happy. However, there’s definitely a big difference between paper- and plastic-based decks.

Plastic decks have been a trend since the success of Poker. They are very durable and can withstand wear and tear cards tend to experience over time. However, the only downside is they tend to clump together when shuffling. Because of this, people who enjoy playing card games tend to buy card decks made out of paper.

Paper-based decks, although they are not nearly as durable as the plastic ones, are very versatile. This is the reason most people still prefer this type. As such, if you’re into collecting modern playing cards, you’ll find that they’re typically made of paper as well.

Nevertheless, if you value novelty over versatility, you’ll be glad to find other types; cards made out of wood, carbon fiber, and metal, among others!

What are other ideas to consider in exploring the world of card games?

This review should get you going on trying some of the most classic card games. However, suppose you want to expand your horizons about the greatest card games out there. In that case, we are excited to suggest you the following options:

Learn from online resources
There are many resources where you can learn about traditional card games; Pagat, Bicycle Cards, and Board Game Geek are a few of the most reliable ones.

Play using an app or online
Using an app or playing online is one of the best ways to learn the game. This is because they both incorporate multiplayer games, enforce specific rules, and provide tutorials for beginners.

Buy a book that details the rules to some classic card games
Some of the best books you can find are Hoyle’s Rules of Games and The Penguin Book of Card Games.

Final verdict

Regardless of what you’re looking for in a card game, all of them have the advantage of being both affordable and portable. Because of this, you won’t have to spend too much money on them, and they’re ideal for traveling or leisure time at home.

However, there are thousands of card games to choose from. Therefore, the most important thing to consider is your preferences.

For example, if you’re looking for a game where everyone can participate, UNO and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza would be best. They’re both characterized by rules that are easy to follow even six-year-olds can quickly learn them.

On the other hand, we highly recommend Cover Your Assets for a card game that’s fun, competitive, and intense. Cards Against Humanity is also worth a round if you want to experience a heart-racing and exciting game. A little warning, though, it’s not meant for the faint of heart!

Lastly, we’ve been busy looking for the most amazing offers. So, we hope you had fun checking our list and finally found a favorite. Feel free to tell us what you think.

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