Whether you’re hosting a one-time party for a special occasion or having a weekly game night with the family, it’s never a bad idea to have an awesome card game on hand. Card games, as opposed to board games, are easier to store, usually have simpler rules, and are fantastic icebreakers at a party.
With almost 25 options on this list, there’s bound to be something here that strikes your fancy. There are games with incredibly simple—almost nonexistent—rules to follow, and games that require a strategic mind to win. And while there are some games here that are family-friendly, a lot of them aren’t—NSFW, if you will. That said, the recommended age range is in each entry to make browsing easy!
Any of these games are a fantastic addition to family game nights. The winning objective and rules for each game are easy to learn and simple to follow, making them perfect for people of any age.
- Villainous: In this game, everyone chooses a different Disney villain and has their own board, cards, and winning objective. While it may take a little bit to learn the rules during your first game, the fun and replayability of the Villainous series is worth it. For this first installment of Disney Villainous, there can be two to six players (ages 10 and up), and you can expect about 15 to 20 minutes of playtime per player. Plus, there are a ton of expansions for Disney Villainous and even different versions to try as well, like Marvel Villainous and Star Wars Villainous.
- Fluxx: Have you ever played a game with rules that constantly change? Fluxx, and all of its many unique editions, is different every single time you play it, depending on which cards you draw. There are four main card types: New Rule cards change how the game is played, Action cards shake up the game specifically on your turn, Keeper cards are what you collect to win, and Goal cards outline the path to victory. With two to six players (ages eight and up), a game can last anywhere between five minutes and half an hour.
- Codenames: If you’re short on time but want to play a game together as a family, Codenames is the perfect option. Each game should only take about 15 minutes and works well with two to eight players (ages 10 and up), especially split into teams! It’s up to you or your team to reveal all of your agents first through word-based clues while avoiding the assassin that would end the game.
- Sushi Go!: This is one of the easiest card games to get the hang of. You earn points by accumulating certain sushi combos through a pick-and-pass style gameplay. On each turn, every player picks one card they want to keep, places it face-down, and reveals the rest of their cards to everyone else. Then, you put your cards face-down and pass them to the person on your left, and the next turn starts. Each game takes roughly 20 minutes to finish, and two to eight people can play (ages eight and up).
Cards Against Humanity is a wildly popular card game that most people have probably heard of. An NSFW Apples to Apples copycat, Cards Against Humanity has raunchy fill-in-the-blank or question cards that you and your friends find hilarious answers to. But if you’re all played out with CAH, try out one of these fun alternatives that follow the same general rules. All of these games are only appropriate for older (17+ and 18+) audiences and shouldn’t be played with younger kids.
- Joking Hazard: It’s up to you to create the funniest punchline to a three-card comic strip full of hilarious animations and jokes from Cyanide & Happiness. The first card in the comic strip is drawn randomly from the deck. Then, the judge for the round plays a second card to flesh out the story. Finally, all the other players choose the funniest punchline card from their hands, and the judge picks their favorite. According to the back of the box, Joking Hazard can be played with 3-10 bad people who are 18+ and can handle (im)mature content. Depending on the number of people and drinks involved, the game can last between 30 and 90 minutes.
- Charty Party: In every round, one player reveals a funny chart, and everyone else plays a card from their hand that fits the chart perfectly. You need at least three people to play, but the more players, the better—as long as they’re 17 years or older. Charty Party’s creators say that the jokes within this game tend to be more clever than offensive, but still, it’s a game best suited for adults. Depending on how many people you have and how many rounds you plan to go, Charty Party could last 30 to 90 minutes.
- Funemployed: This game consists of Job cards and Qualification cards, both of which are hysterical. The person who’s judging the round draws a Job card and is looking at the other players as candidates to hire for roles like Professional Cuddler, Mad Scientist, or Celebrity Impersonator. Your fellow players, or applicants, choose a Qualification card from their hand and try to get you to “hire” them by selecting their card as your favorite. You can play with three or more people (ages 18 and up) and should expect a playtime of 30 to 90 minutes.
- New Phone, Who Dis?: We’ve all sent an accidental, possibly embarrassing, text before. The makers of What Do You Meme? just had the good sense to make a game out of it. Whoever’s in charge of judging answers for the round draws a prompt card from the deck. Then, the other players choose a text reply from their hand that fits hilariously well and hope the judge finds it just as funny. This game is best played with as many players as possible, but at least three, ages 17 and up. Expect the game to go for anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes.
Who says learning can’t be fun? If your brain is full of trivial information and you want to show off to your friends or family, bring one of these great games to your next hang.
- …I Should’ve Known That: Whereas most trivia games give out points based on how many questions you answer correctly, this game subtracts points for every incorrect answer. Answer random questions like: Is starboard on the left or right side of a boat? How long did Sleeping Beauty actually sleep? Is a penguin a bird? There’s no estimated playtime, and it likely depends on the number of players you have and how well you know random trivia. You can play a two-person game or include as many people as you want (ages 14 and up).
- Chronology: If you think you know your history, this is the game for you. As new cards are played with a unique historical event, you have to choose where that event falls in your timeline laid out in front of you. If you’re right, you get to keep the card and add it to your timeline. The first player with 10 cards in their timeline is the winner! There can be two to eight players (ages 14 and up), and each game takes about 30 minutes to finish.
- Resonym Buffalo: The Name Dropping Game: This is a short, 20-minute party game that’ll put your name-dropping skills to the test. With two to eight players (ages 14 and up), you’ll compete to see who can name-drop the fastest after flipping an adjective card and a noun card. You might see combos like a flamboyant pop star, skinny superhero, funny scientist, or a glasses-wearing heartthrob. Be the first to name someone that fits that description—real or fictional—and collect the most cards to win.
- All of Us: If your shindig has people of all ages, it’s the perfect time for a multigenerational trivia battle. The creators of What Do You Meme? strike again with yet another great game that works well for groups over four people (ages 12 and up). Games should last about 30 to 60 minutes and cover trivia from categories titled Movies, Music, Pop Culture, Sports, and TV across four generations: Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. With over 2,500 questions, this game has massive replayability value.
Breaking out a card game at a party is a fantastic icebreaker, whether you’re among good friends or no one knows anyone. These games ask excellent—though sometimes risqué—questions that help people get to know you, and vice versa.
- If You Had To… [A Party Game]: If you loved playing Would You Rather? with your friends as a kid, you’ll love this game. As a kid, you usually had to choose between something gross and something even grosser, but this 17+ card game has more fleshed-out adult topics to choose between. For example, would you choose to relive the same day over and over or have your mom fly a drone that follows you everywhere (with full video and audio)? Or, how about sleeping in a bucket versus having Martha Stewart baste you like a turkey? Convince the judge of the round that your card is the worst to win the point. You can play with three people, but the more, the merrier. Each game takes about half an hour to play.
- Hot Seat: Players take turns in the hot seat, finding out who among their friends knows them best. You draw random cards from the deck with questions like What’s the first thing I’d do if I won the lottery? What would make me instantly laugh? What job would I be absolutely horrible at? Your friends then answer how they think you would, and see who gets closest to your actual answer. With over 200 questions and 3-10 players (ages 10 and up), this game can take anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes to finish.
- Never Have I Ever: With this game, you’re rewarded for certain bad decisions you’ve always wished you could forget, like making a fool of yourself at a work holiday party or posting a picture on social media to make someone jealous. There are 485 question cards and 65 rule cards to shake things up. While you can play with two people, it’s recommended to play with at least four or more (up to 12) that are at least 17 years old. Games of Never Have I Ever typically last around 30 minutes. For more kid-friendly fun, try out the Family Edition that’s appropriate for ages eight and up.
- Disturbed Friends: Want to know which of your friends is the most disturbed? With 250 messed-up question cards, you’ll have your answer by the end of this game. The judge for a round draws a question card that has three answer choices labeled A, B, and C. Each player (three to nine other people) then votes on what they think the judge would do in this scenario. Once all the votes are in, the results are revealed, and anyone who answered the same as the judge gets a #WINNING card. The first player to collect 10 of these cards wins the game. Only people 21 or older should play this game because of its content, and depending on how well your friends know each other, it could take 20 to 90 minutes for a winner to be declared.
If you want to try out a game that’ll probably be new to all guests at your party, check these out. Having a game that’s not as well-known by everyone can help ease the tension because no one knows what they’re doing.
- Debatable: You should only play this game with people you know because things can get heated quickly. There are silly questions mixed in with serious questions, and only one person can win the debate. You’ll take turns arguing for or against something and sometimes have to adhere to a crazy condition like “Deny everything” or “Use made-up science to support you.” Do foil hats protect your thoughts from alien mind readers? Should post-mortem organ donation be mandatory? These are the questions you and 2-15 other players (ages 15 and up) will answer. A game of Debatable could be over in 30 minutes or could last up to two hours.
- The Awkward Storyteller: If you want a party game that doesn’t track points and declare a winner, try out The Awkward Storyteller. While you can technically award points to awesome answers, you certainly don’t have to, and the game might not be as fun. Everyone takes turns as the Storyteller, starting things off by drawing a Story card and reading it out loud. Then, other players ask questions about the story and play a Letter or Word card at the same time. The Storyteller has 10 seconds to answer each question by using the word on the Word card or starting their sentence with the letter on the Letter card. Because of the card’s contents, this game is recommended for ages 16 and up. The game can last as long as you want to keep going, and it’s perfect for four to 11 people.
- Gloom: This isn’t the most uplifting party game, but it’s so different and probably unlike anything you’ve ever played before. With two to four players (ages eight and up), you compete to make your characters suffer the most before death. It sounds horrible, but the cards are beautifully designed, and the gameplay is intricate, making for a surprisingly fun game night. It takes about 60 minutes for a full playthrough, and you’ll come across cards with horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Swindled by Salesman.
- Midnight Outburst: Reminiscent of Family Feud, this game comes with 562 cards that can only be read after slipping one into the included decoder. Each card has a title, like Catchphrases from Seinfeld, and the top 10 answers, like No Soup For You or Hello, Newman. A team has 45 seconds to yell out as many answers as they can; more answers equals more points. You can play with as many players as you want, split up between two teams, and for as long as you want. Because of the contents of a lot of the cards, this game is recommended for those 18 years old and up.
If none of the other games on this list look interesting to you, try out one of these bestsellers. All of these games are well-established and have been played by thousands of people, so chances are, any one of these will be a hit at your next party.
- Exploding Kittens: Imagine playing UNO, but Russian Roulette-style UNO. That’s Exploding Kittens in a nutshell. Scattered throughout the deck, there are Exploding Kitten cards that eliminate you from the game unless you have a Defuse card, or you can trick someone else into drawing it instead of you. It takes about two minutes to learn the rules and about 15 to play through an entire game, whether you have two or five people playing. Anyone over the age of seven can take part in the fun!
- Incohearent: Surprise, surprise. Here’s another hit game from the creators of What Do You Meme? Each card has a word or a phrase on it, but in code, and then the actual word or phrase on the back, along with a hint and a definition. For example, the person or people trying to guess will see “Hike ant eve hen,” while the person who knows the word will see “I can’t even,” with a hint of “ugh, whatever,” and definition of “when you witness something so dumb it makes you incapable of speech.” You can play with two people, or over 20 (ages 17 and up), and games typically take about 20 to 40 minutes.
- Freedom of Speech: This game reminds me of Catchphrase and Heads Up!, but with more adult content that’s appropriate for those 17 and up. Each card has a word on it that you know, but your team doesn’t. You have to get them to guess the word without actually saying the word within a short time limit. Your team’s objective is to be the first to correctly guess and collect a total of 21 cards. With four to 20 people split between teams, it’ll take about 20 to 40 minutes to complete a game.
- Unstable Unicorns: Now a wildly popular strategic card game, Unstable Unicorns is one of the most-funded projects in Kickstarter history. With two to eight players (ages eight and up), you compete to see who can build a unicorn army with seven Unicorns first. There are, of course, cards to hinder progress and even eliminate Unicorns from play altogether. Each game takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete, and it’s fun from start to finish.