A card game is any game using playing cards as the primary device with which the game is played, be they traditional or game-specific. Countless card games exist, including families of related games (such as poker). A small number of card games played with traditional decks have formally standardized rules, but most are folk games whose rules vary by region, culture, and person.
Many games that are not generally placed in the family of card games do in fact use cards for some aspect of their gameplay. Similarly, some games that are placed in the card game genre involve a board. The distinction is that the gameplay of a card game primarily depends on the use of the cards by players (the board is simply a guide for scorekeeping or for card placement), while board games (the principal non-card game genre to use cards) generally focus on the players' positions on the board, and use the cards for some secondary purpose.
- 1 Types
- 1.1 Trick-taking games
- 1.2 Matching games
- 1.3 Shedding games
- 1.4 Accumulating games
- 1.5 Fishing games
- 1.6 Comparing games
- 1.7 Solitaire (Patience) games
- 1.8 Multi-genre games
- 1.9 Collectible card games (CCGs)
- 1.10 Casino or gambling card games
- 1.11 Poker games
- 1.12 Other card games
- 1.13 Simulation card games
- 1.14 Fictional card games
The object of a trick-taking game is based on the play of multiple rounds, or tricks, in each of which each player plays a single card from their hand, and based on the values of played cards one player wins or "takes" the trick. The specific object varies with each game and can include taking as many tricks as possible, taking as many scoring cards within the tricks won as possible, taking as few tricks (or as few penalty cards) as possible, taking a particular trick in the hand, or taking an exact number of tricks. Bridge, Whist, Euchre, Spades, and the various Tarot card games are popular examples.
The object of Rummy, and various other melding or matching games, is to acquire the required groups of matching cards before an opponent can do so. In Rummy, this is done through drawing and discarding, and the groups are called melds. Mahjong is a very similar game played with tiles instead of cards. Non-Rummy examples of match-type games generally fall into the "fishing" genre and include the children's games Go Fish, Old Maid and Blue Canary.
In a shedding game, players start with a hand of cards, and the object of the game is to be the first player to discard all cards from one's hand. Common shedding games in the US include Crazy Eights (commercialized by Mattel as Uno) and Daihinmin. Some matching-type games are also shedding-type games; some variants of Rummy such as Phase 10, Rummikub, the bluffing game I Doubt It, and the children's game Old Maid, fall into both categories.
The object of an accumulating game is to acquire all cards in the deck. Examples include most War type games, and games involving slapping a discard pile such as Slapjack. Egyptian War has both of these features.
In fishing games, cards from the hand are played against cards in a layout on the table, capturing table cards if they match. Fishing games are popular in many nations, including China, where there are many diverse fishing games. Scopa is considered one of the national card games of Italy. Cassino is the only fishing game to be widely played in English-speaking countries. Seep is a classic Indian fishing card game mainly popular in northern parts of India.
Comparing card games are those where hand values are compared to determine the winner, also known as "vying" or "showdown" games. Poker, blackjack, and baccarat are examples of comparing card games. As seen, nearly all of these games are designed as gambling games.
Solitaire (Patience) games
Solitaire games are designed to be played by one player. Most games begin with a specific layout of cards, called a tableau, and the object is then either to construct a more elaborate final layout, or to clear the tableau and/or the draw pile or stock by moving all cards to one or more "discard" or "foundation" piles.
Many games borrow elements from more than one type of game. The most common combination is that of matching and shedding, as in some variants of Rummy, Old Maid and Go Fish. However, many multi-genre games involve different stages of play for each hand. The most common multi-stage combination is a "trick-and-meld" game, such as Pinochle or Belote. Other multi-stage, multi-genre games include Poke, Flaps, Skitgubbe and Tichu.
Collectible card games (CCGs)
Collectible card games are defined by the use of decks of proprietary cards that differ between players. The contents of these decks are a subset of a very large pool of available cards which have differing effects, costs, and art. A player accumulates his or her deck through purchase or trade for desirable cards, and each player uses their own deck to play against the other. Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! are well-known collectible card games. Such games are also created to capitalize on the popularity of other forms of entertainment, such as Pokémon and Marvel Comics which both have had CCGs created around them.
Casino or gambling card games
These games revolve around wagers of money. Though virtually any game in which there are winning and losing outcomes can be wagered on, these games are specifically designed to make the betting process a strategic part of the game. Some of these games involve players betting against each other, such as poker, while in others, like blackjack, players wager against the house.
Poker is a family of gambling games in which players bet into a pool, called the pot, value of which changes as the game progresses that the value of the hand they carry will beat all others according to the ranking system. Variants largely differ on how cards are dealt and the methods by which players can improve a hand. For many reasons, including its age and its popularity among Western militaries, it is one of the most universally known card games in existence.
Other card games
Many other card games have been designed and published on a commercial or amateur basis. In some cases, the game uses the standard 52-card deck, but the object is unique. In Eleusis, for example, players play single cards, and are told whether the play was legal or illegal, in an attempt to discover the underlying rules made up by the dealer.
Most of these games however typically use a specially made deck of cards designed specifically for the game (or variations of it). The decks are thus usually proprietary, but may be created by the game's players. Uno, Phase 10, Set, CASH Trader, Slamwich, 1000 Blank White Cards, and Sopio are popular dedicated-deck card games; 1000 Blank White Cards is unique in that the cards for the game are designed by the players of the game while playing it; there is no commercially available deck advertised as such.
Simulation card games
A deck of either customised dedicated cards or a standard deck of playing cards with assigned meanings is used to simulate the actions of another activity, for example card football.
Fictional card games
Many games, including card games, are fabricated by science fiction authors and screenwriters to distance a culture depicted in the story from present-day Western culture. They are commonly used as filler to depict background activities in an atmosphere like a bar or rec room, but sometimes the drama revolves around the play of the game. Some of these games, such as Pyramid from Battlestar Galactica, become real card games as the holder of the intellectual property develops and markets a suitable deck and ruleset for the game, while others, such as "Exploding Snap" from the Harry Potter franchise, lack sufficient descriptions of rules, or depend on cards or other hardware that are infeasible or physically impossible.