Lots of friendship groups enjoy getting together for a games night; it’s a great way to connect with each other in a partly competitive, partly laid-back environment. Sometimes it’s all about getting out the newest and shiniest board games, but occasionally it’s really nice to go back to the roots of game playing.
Cards are the perfect option for a back-to-basics games night and they’re so versatile. It’s possible to play a handful of games, like solitaire, on your own, but generally speaking, cards are better enjoyed as part of a group anyway. Here’s our guide to some of the very best card games to play with your friends.
Poker is always a favourite for games night as it allows intense competition, the option to bet if you want to, and it suits anywhere from 2 to 14 players, depending on the variety that you choose. Texas Hold’em is the most popular and that is best suited to between 5 and 7 players, but you can vary it once you get to grips with the rules. All you’ll need to play is a deck of cards and some chips, so it really can be super budget-friendly.
Play proceeds in rounds, with each player being dealt a card and given the opportunity to bet before play resumes. By the end of the rounds, there should be five community cards and two cards in each player’s hands.
The aim is to have the highest ranking hand or to convince your friends that you do by bluffing. Before you play, it’s always a good idea to have a really solid understanding of how the game works, particularly if you’re hosting friends.
Depending on which state you live in, it’s possible to practice poker online. In Pennsylvania, there are dozens of PA poker sites that will allow you to hone your skills before taking on your friends.
This game is known by many different names, some a good deal ruder than Karma, so we’ll stick with that one. Originally popularised by backpackers, this game is great fun but can be devilishly wicked. You’ll need just one pack of cards to play and at least one other person to play with. If you want to play with more than three others then it’s a good idea to introduce a second deck of cards.
You begin play by dealing three cards face down in front of each player, three cards face up on top of those, and a further three cards into each player’s hand. Next, players can switch their face-up cards with the cards in their hands in order to build a stronger face-up selection.
In this game, aces are high, Jokers are ‘invisible’, 2 resets the pack, 7 means the next player must play a lower card, 10 burns the deck and everything else is in rank order. The player with a 3 starts the game and play follows with the same rank card or higher.
The aim is to be the first one to get rid of all of your cards. Once you’ve got the ‘special’ cards memorised, this game moves super quickly and is great fun. There are also several subtle variations, so make sure you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet before you begin!