This year I’ve been playing and discovering a lot of games, and have developed a particular love for quirky card-based games. They’re great because they’re (usually) portable, simple to play with quick-to-learn rules and therefore very low maintenance for group gatherings. There are so many fun options out there, not just your standard deck of cards, so I’m sharing 3 of my recent finds. And just in case you were wondering, the popular Cards Against Humanity hasn’t made this list (although I do enjoy it), because chances are you already did know you needed it in your life.
1. Werewolf the Party Game
Recommended for: Large gatherings; Halloween parties; Drunk fun.
How to play: The cards are used to allocate secret roles to every player at random. The main roles are be Villagers and Werewolves, but there are also optional additional roles such as Doctor, Seer and Witch for larger groups. Each go-through of the game is directed by a narrator who runs the alternating night and day rounds and creates the atmosphere for the game. The general idea is this: during each night-time round the Werewolf players secretly kill off a Villager, and in each daytime round the surviving Villagers (including the Werewolves in disguise) lynch someone they suspect is a Werewolf. The aim for the Villagers is to eradicate all the Werewolves from the village. The aim for the Werewolves is to survive all the lynchings until they outnumber the Villagers.
Expect: Paranoia and mistrust (suspect everyone, believe no-one!); Passionate pleas of innocence; Lies; Betrayal as your friends accuse you of crimes you didn’t commit; Overall hilarity!
Recommended for: Logical minds; Fast thinkers; Quiz-based family fun.
How to play: The gist is this – you don’t win by getting the questions right, but by guessing the link between your answers. Each card has 4 quiz questions which you’ll note down the answers to, and as soon as you spot the link between them, shout out for a chance to win the round and the card. Collect the cards until you can spell out the word LINKEE and win the game. It’s simple to play and lots of fun!
Expect: “Aha!” moments; Fast-paced fun; Regret (each time you answer too slowly or too hastily!)
Recommended for: 3-7 players; Casual gatherings; Picnics; Low maintenance fun.
How to play: This is a really old game from 1904 that has clearly stood the test of time as a new version of the game is still being produced today. The deck of cards consists of eight commodities – in the vintage version these include barley, wheat and flax. In each round the cards are all dealt out and the aim is to corner the market in one of the commodities, i.e. collect all the cards for that item by trading/swapping them (face down) with other players. There are no “turns”, so this involves everyone shouting out the number of cards they want to trade until someone takes them up on the offer, and this continues until someone collects a set and wins the round.
Expect: Lots of noise; Chaos; Fast-paced fun; Vintage feels (if you play using an old deck, which I think is much more fun!)
Find the newest version of PIT on Amazon, or search for the vintage version on eBay.
Card Games to Try Next:
1. Snake Oil
Recommended for: Imaginative minds; People with sales patter.
How to play: Each round, one person takes a “role card” such as pirate, caveman, rock star etc, and in this role they are a consumer looking to buy a product. Everyone else has a hand of word/object cards, such as tap, mask, love etc, and has to combine 2 of those cards to create the name of a product suitable for the customer (pirate/caveman/rock star etc). Obviously these products are all nonsense, but creative minds will think of some way of selling their made up nonsense to the target market. The winner of the round is chosen by the customer of course, for the best product and pitch!
Expect: Hilarious nonsense and surprisingly creative inventions.
Recommended for: Bluffers; Tacticians; Smaller groups.
How to play: This is a short, tactical game, which only really comes into its own once people get the hang of it and start bluffing. Each player has 2 cards with a figure on them. Each figure has certain things they can do (acquire money, assassinate someone, etc), but nobody knows what cards anyone else has, so bluffing to get what you want is advantageous (although if your bluff is called you lose one of your cards). The aim of the game is to be the last one standing while taking out everyone else’s cards. It’s worth taking the time to learn so that you can really make the most of it!
I love all of these card games, and don’t think they’re as well-known as they deserve to be! Have you played any of them, or do you have any recommendations for other fun card games?