Whether you’re looking for a fun activity with friends, a new way to pass the time on a group Zoom call, or a screen-free way to keep the kids entertained on a road trip, it makes sense to have a few card decks in your game collection. Card games have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and their enduring popularity can be seen all over the world, from card parties at homes to the best casino card games being played online and at casinos. However, the most famous card games are all quite old now as well, and therefore we are bringing some of the newest and slightly unknown card games into the limelight here for you try with your friends and family.
Jaipur is one of the best card games ever made. Accessible, vibrant, and wonderfully moreish, this award-winner should be in everyone’s collection. Players take on the role of traders in the Indian city of Jaipur, and their challenge is to earn themselves an invite to the maharaja’s court. The only way to do this is by becoming the best businessperson in all the land, so leave your compassion at the door – cutthroat tactics are the order of the day. However, there’s no set way to go about winning. Want to buy and trade cheap items quickly? Knock yourself out. Would you prefer to collect high-ticket goods for a larger payout at the end, on the other hand? That’s OK too – you’ve got room to experiment, and there are plenty of strategies to try out. Just keep an eye on your opponent. Trading wins you chips from a limited stack, and these are worth points. Unfortunately, those points decrease as you go further down the pile. That means your efforts may be wasted if your rival beats you to the punch. This leads to an engrossing balancing act, and Jaipur comes highly recommended as a result.
Apples to Apples
This game, which is meant for four to ten players, is flexible and fun. The deck is divided into red cards (which list people, places, things, and events) and green ones, which have adjectives. To play, the judge flips over the top green card, and the other players must put down a red card that best fits with the green one in play. For example, the adjective “risky” might get suggestions such as “The Bates Motel,” “wood chippers,” or “YMCA.” The judge chooses the best suggestion, and that player earns a green card and gets to judge next. (To win the game, you must earn a certain number of green cards.) Note that it’s okay if the cards don’t fit perfectly together, since the point is to impress the judge, and that might mean creating a funny or outrageous combination. Players are also allowed to lobby for their choices, which can lead to lively banter.
If you’re looking for a quick and quirky game to enjoy with friends, Exploding Kittens is calling your name. The premise is simple: each player needs to draw a single card from the deck and hope they don’t get an exploding kitten. If that happens, you’re out of the game. More specifically, you’ve blown up (sorry). As you’d expect, the winner is the person who doesn’t end up being blasted to smithereens. How do you avoid meeting an explosive end? You’ve got a hand of cards that will help you turn the tables. Some contain ways to skip your turn or ‘defuse’ kittens. Others let you know what card is going to be drawn next. Learning how to use these special abilities – and being cheeky with them at every opportunity – is key to your survival. For example, you might see that an exploding kitten is on its way. You’ll then rearrange the deck to ensure your opponent draws it, blowing them to kingdom come while you ride off into the proverbial sunset. It’s devious and wonderful. Because you can get through a game in about 10 – 15 minutes, Exploding Kittens is also ideal as a palette cleanser between bigger board or card game sessions. It’s practically made for parties as a result, especially due to the fact that its sense of humor is straight-up bonkers. The artwork is equally bananas.
Islander 71 to Host “Champagne & Pearls” on December 10th
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