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Old 02-21-2018, 08:39 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Card game recommendations

The "Best and worst board games" thread is drifting a bit, so I thought I'd open a thread for folks to recommend card games that others don't know about. I'm especially interested in games that aren't played with a standard deck.

No Thanks is one that I've only ever seen once (until I bought it), with very simple rules and interesting strategy.

The 33 cards are printed sequentially with the numbers from 3 to 35. Each player gets something like ten chips to hold secretly in their hand. To play, you remove nine cards, face-down, from the deck (so nobody knows what cards are missing), then turn the top card face up.

On your turn, you only have two choices:
1) Say "No thanks" and put a chip on the card; or
2) Take the card and any chips on it.

At the end of the game, you get points equal to the sum of the value of your cards, minus the number of chips you have. If you have cards in a sequential run (21,22; or 32,33,34,35, for example), only the lowest card gives you points.

Low score wins.

With the very simple binary choice on your turn, it looks like it'd be boring. But evaluating all the factors--do you need that card to complete a run? does another player need that card? Are there a lot of chips on it? How many chips are in your hand? How many chips do you think the other players have? Can you chip it this turn and pick it up next go-round with a lot more chips on it?--makes the strategy far more interesting than it'd first seem.

What other odd little card games do folks recommend?
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:48 PM
Bayard Bayard is online now
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Probably not very odd or obscure, but pinochle was a big part of my life growing up. It uses some of the familiar playing cards, but not a standard deck. It's not a terribly challenging game, with many of your plays required by the rules if you aren't leading. But it's enjoyable enough and gives you something to do while you sit around and shoot the shit and eat chips.

And it gives you a reminder to sing:

The worms crawl in. The worms crawl out.
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:12 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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Sushi Go! is a hit card game in our family. Easy to understand after one quick practice round and the whole game does not take much time. You make decisions and your decisions matter. Fun game, great theme.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:48 AM
Quimby Quimby is offline
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Flip City was recommended to me on this board and it ended up something I enjoyed. It isn't very deep but it is fun.

I have played Monopoly Deal a few times and so far I like it.

But the granddaddy of card games is Magic the Gathering. It can be a rabbit hole of time and money since it's a Trading card Game in that you buy randomized packs to collect cards but they do make premade decks designed for beginners you can pick up and play with a friend. There are also a few Board game-esque products that have multiple decks designed to be played against each other.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:02 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Sushi Go! is a hit card game in our family. Easy to understand after one quick practice round and the whole game does not take much time. You make decisions and your decisions matter. Fun game, great theme.
I really need to get that one--I've never played it, but everything I've heard about it has been great.

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Originally Posted by Quimby View Post
But the granddaddy of card games is Magic the Gathering. It can be a rabbit hole of time and money since it's a Trading card Game in that you buy randomized packs to collect cards but they do make premade decks designed for beginners you can pick up and play with a friend. There are also a few Board game-esque products that have multiple decks designed to be played against each other.
Oh God. I can't be trusted with MtG--after sinking hundreds and hundreds of dollars I couldn't afford into it back in the early nineties, I gave all my cards away to a younger cousin and never looked back.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:05 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
Quoth LHoD:

Each player gets something like ten chips to hold secretly in their hand.
But everyone knows how many each player starts with, and everyone knows what plays everyone else is making, so it's only a "secret" if your memory fails you, correct? I think in situations like that, I prefer to just drop the pretense and make it public knowledge.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:12 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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But everyone knows how many each player starts with, and everyone knows what plays everyone else is making, so it's only a "secret" if your memory fails you, correct? I think in situations like that, I prefer to just drop the pretense and make it public knowledge.
This is a bit of a flaw--but in my experience, the game moves fast enough that it's pretty difficult to track how many chips every other player has. In a group with widely different ability, it'd be a real problem, but most folks are just vaguely tracking what others have.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:13 AM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Sushi Go! is a hit card game in our family. Easy to understand after one quick practice round and the whole game does not take much time. You make decisions and your decisions matter. Fun game, great theme.
I like the concept of sushi go but the tallying after each round is annoying. If I have to get out a pad and pencil, I'd rather just play cards.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:33 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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No Thanks is excellent. We play it with the kids (8 & 5) with chips out in the open - it hasn't yet occured to them to count, and I try not to keep close count so as not to take too much advantage. I probably could get the 8 year-old to count other players' total points if I leant on him (i.e. he's numerate enough), but there's no fun in that and it'll be so much the better if/when he works out he can do it.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:47 AM
Left Hand of Dorkness Left Hand of Dorkness is offline
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It occurs to me that with chip-counters it'd be perfectly within the rules to mess with them: "How many chips do you think I have? Seven, I've got seven. Wait, make that three chips for me, five for Laura, six over there for Chris, Laura has one, I have four...."
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:52 AM
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(I agree that in games where you could know holdings from memory, they should just be public. Better to reward clever strategy than reward brute memory.)

Some of the best card games, I think, are the classics: Cribbage and Casino for two players; Hearts or Contract Bridge for four players. There are other trick-taking games suitable for 4 or 5 players. Goofspiel can be played with 2, 3 or 4 and is good for a change of pace. (Count Ace as 15 or so, not 1.)

Since OP want something other than 52-card deck, try Klabberjass, a 2-player trick-taking game with a 32-card deck.

Tonk is a very simple fast-paced melding game for 4 players or so.

Last edited by septimus; 02-22-2018 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:29 PM
N9IWP N9IWP is online now
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Sushi Go Party has a score track (plus it offers variety and handles more players)
For "mostly card" games, I linke Bruges , Ethnos , and Progress

Brian
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:32 PM
MaxTheVool MaxTheVool is online now
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Highest recommendation: Hanabi (the deluxe edition uses mah jong tiles, and is vastly better if you can find/afford it, but the original game has cards). It's a cooperative game with hidden information. The players are working together to lay out 1 through 5 in order of each of the 5 colors, a bit like playing solitaire. But you can't see your own hand, you can only guess what's in it based on the hints your teammates give you, which are severely constrained. Where it really starts to get fun is when you start establishing conventions as to what the various hints mean, trying to guess from what clues people did or did not give what your cards could be, etc. VERY deep and fun, probably unsuitable for kids under 11 or so

Another recommendation: Tichu. This is a published version of what (according to Wikipedia) is a mishmash of traditional Asian card games, but whatever it came from, it's super fun. It's a bit like Great Dalmuti (or Asshole) (or Feudal Wars) with partners, but with enough extra rules to keep it fresh and exciting.

Final recommendation: Barbu, which has the brilliant mechanic of having several different subgames, and the dealer deal the cards, picks up their hand, looks at it, and then chooses which subgame to play.
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:49 PM
McDeath_the_Mad McDeath_the_Mad is online now
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I recommend "Wizard", it's a trump (the good kind) based game that is quite enjoyable. It can be played with 2-8 players, 4+ is ideal. This does involve a custom store bought deck.

I also recommend Euchre, great for playing while enjoying a few cocktails.

MtM
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:56 PM
Allecher Allecher is offline
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I will second Sushi Go Party and Hannabi, and add Chrononauts.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:33 PM
Straight Dope Bruab Straight Dope Bruab is offline
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I love Tichu, but it's hard to play because it really works best with exactly 4 people who need to be partners. And there's 4 weird cards I have to keep explaining to people. Pro-tip: most Tichu sets come with 2 decks. Pull the special cards out of the second deck and put them off to the side face-up so you can remind people what they are.

There used to be a decent Tichu iPhone app, but it hasn't been updated in quite a while, and I think it's stopped working correctly (it hung the last time I tried it).

I picked up Wizard, and it's pretty fun. Best of all you can play it with 2-6 people with no partners. And the 2 unusual cards are easy to explain. It's a lot more bidding-heavy than Tichu (which I don't love) but all in all it's a fun game.

Last edited by Straight Dope Bruab; 02-22-2018 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:20 PM
Quimby Quimby is offline
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I also enjoyed Hannabi and came back in to add it. It doe stake some getting used to to draw cards and *not* look at them. Also it isn't a game you can play while chatting or watching something but it's a fun and different cooperative game.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:25 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is offline
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I got to try this one last year at a local comic/gaming con, and liked it enough to buy it: Pina Pirata.

The deck has somewhere around 50 cards, each unique. Each card has a picture of either 2 pirate animals on it (say, a Parrot and a Tiger) or just one (say, a solo Octopus). Game play is like Uno: play a card with an animal that was just played. Someone plays a Walrus/Baboon, you can play a Baboon/Turtle, next person can play a solo Turtle. First person to run out of cards wins the round. Easy enough so far.

The interesting bit: when someone runs out and wins the round, they pick three tiles from a stack of about 80 and reads them. One they keep (there's a treasure map piece on the back, it takes four to win), one they put back, and one they place face-up in front of everyone. Each tile has a new rule that applies for the duration of the game. New rules are things like: when you play a Tiger, you can play again if you have a card that plays. The last player who played a Turtle can't win. When a Penguin is played, the order of play reverses. When a Baboon is played, everyone must pass their entire hand to the left. When you play a Rat, everyone must show a Rat from their hand, or they must draw. Stuff like that.

By the third or fourth round, the additional rules make gameplay crazy. By the eighth round, play gets so convoluted that you might want to scrap the rules and start over. Example: we had additional rules for both Parrots and Penguins, and then we got a rule that said, "Parrots are Penguins and Penguins are Parrots", and our heads exploded.

Anyway, it's fun, and simple enough that little kids can play.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MaxTheVool View Post
... Final recommendation: Barbu, which has the brilliant mechanic of having several different subgames, and the dealer deal the cards, picks up their hand, looks at it, and then chooses which subgame to play.
In a complete round (28 hands using the Wikpedia rules) each player must declare each subgame exactly one time.

I recall a very similar game (called "Kings") circa 1970, though I only played it once or twice. There were 16 hands in a round, since there were just four subgames, three of them "negative: Last Two, Kings, and Kings & Jacks.
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:50 PM
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I recommend Fluxx. There are different varieties including Dr. Who, Monty Python, and many more. You can play a card that brings up an odd rule that has to be played every time (my personal fave is the one where you have to sing a Monty Python song before each turn, followed closely by, IIRC, 4 lines from any sketch).

There are infinite variations, and it's even 2-player friendly.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:18 PM
MaxTheVool MaxTheVool is online now
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Originally Posted by Swampwolf View Post
I recommend Fluxx. There are different varieties including Dr. Who, Monty Python, and many more. You can play a card that brings up an odd rule that has to be played every time (my personal fave is the one where you have to sing a Monty Python song before each turn, followed closely by, IIRC, 4 lines from any sketch).

There are infinite variations, and it's even 2-player friendly.
IMHO, Fluxx is fun and pleasingly meta... but it's also extremely silly. It's the kind of game that is quite fun to pull out and play occasionally with casual gamers, but not the kind of game you'd get together with serious game playing friends and play once a week.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:46 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Sushi Go! is a hit card game in our family. Easy to understand after one quick practice round and the whole game does not take much time. You make decisions and your decisions matter. Fun game, great theme.
Is you like Sushi Go, I recommend you check out Fairy Tale. It takes the basic rules of Sushi Go and makes them better.

In Sushi Go you draft a card and immediately play it. In Fairy Tale, there's drafting rounds where you draft five cards. And then there are playing rounds where you play three of the five cards you drafted (and discard the other two). You do this four times so in the end you have a tableau of twelve cards that you score.

This gives Fairy Tale new levels of strategy because you get to work on collecting cards before you have to play them. You also now have more opportunity to "hate draft" where you take a card that you don't want in order to deny it to another player who you can see does want it.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:55 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Some of my other favorites are Fidelitas, Red7, and Trickster. I also enjoy Actionworks but I have a harder time recommending it because it's very hard to find a copy and you really need six players to experience the full game.
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:30 PM
bmoak bmoak is offline
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If you're going to pick up Sushi Go, go all the way and get Sushi Go Party. It adds a bunch of new cards, which you can sub in for the also-included cards from the original game to make a near-infinite amount of decks. It also adds a counter track for scoring, and now you can play with up to eight players.
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Old 03-16-2018, 08:59 PM
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I'll also recommend Kodama, The Tree Spirits. The Studio Ghibli-esque design elements are what caught my eye, but the inventive game mechanics are pretty unique. You play your branch cards off your starting trunk card to build your tree and score points, so there's a physical element to placement, as you choose which branches to extend and a card you play can't touch any card but the one you are attaching it to.
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:53 PM
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Final recommendation: Barbu, which has the brilliant mechanic of having several different subgames, and the dealer deal the cards, picks up their hand, looks at it, and then chooses which subgame to play.
um, you could grab Dragonmaster off ebay which is a very playable remake, or the (less playable imho) more recent take called Indulgence.

both played with no traditional decks.
splendor is a fantastic card game that isn't really a card game but one that is played with cards.
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:59 PM
davidm davidm is online now
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I haven't played it in years but I enjoy Mille Bornes
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mille_Bornes
  #28  
Old 03-17-2018, 12:59 AM
magnusblitz magnusblitz is offline
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I recommend "Wizard", it's a trump (the good kind) based game that is quite enjoyable. It can be played with 2-8 players, 4+ is ideal. This does involve a custom store bought deck.
I remember the actual gameplay of Wizard being underwhelming, but I have good memories of it because one of my friends started yelling WIIIZAAARD whenever he played the titular card and it became something of an inside joke for us.
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Old 03-22-2018, 11:28 AM
MedellinMike MedellinMike is offline
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Tichu - I'll be the third or fourth to recommend this game.

"The Game" - a cooperative card game, with limited communication between players. There is a deck with cards from 2 through 99. Each player starts with 5 or 6 cards. The object is to get all of the cards from the deck onto the table by placing them on 4 piles in either increasing or decreasing order.

"Mind" - a new game that I don't think is released yet. Another game with a deck from 1 to 100 and limited communication. This game is played in a number of rounds, again trying to get cards out of you hand in ascending order.

There are a slew of deck building games, but I assume that is different than what you are looking for.
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Old 03-22-2018, 12:32 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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"Mind" - a new game that I don't think is released yet. Another game with a deck from 1 to 100 and limited communication. This game is played in a number of rounds, again trying to get cards out of you hand in ascending order.
It's been released in Germany and the Netherlands. There hasn't been an English-language version released yet.
  #31  
Old 03-22-2018, 01:32 PM
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Another vote for Fluxx.
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