On a rainy day, a trip to grandma’s house or just a family night at home, a simple deck of cards offers endless opportunities for fun and laughter. Not only is playing cards an enjoyable pastime for all ages, it also helps to boost mental acuity, memory and logic skills.
A near countless number of games can be played using a simple deck of cards, including some that are very simple to learn and even easier to play. To help get you started, below we have highlighted several of the easiest card games to play, and provided a brief description of each game.
Considered the easiest of the easy card games, Go Fish is a great game for younger children. The game can be played between two to five players; if playing with two or three players, each player is dealt 7 cards, and when playing with four or five players each player is dealt five cards. The remainder of the cards forms the draw pile.
The primary objective in Go Fish is to obtain as many books of four as possible.
In a typical game of Go Fish, the player to the dealer’s left starts by asking one of the other players for all of his cards of a certain rank (‘Got any 2s, 7s, etc.). If the player has cards of that rank, he must hand them over and player one gets to ask again.
If that specific player does not have any cards of that rank, he says “Go Fish,” and the player must draw a card from the draw pile. If, on that draw, he receives a card of the same rank, he gets to ask again.
Otherwise, the turn to ask is passed to player number two. When a player collects a book of four, he places that book down in front of him.
A player who runs out of cards may draw one card from the draw pile unless the draw pile is depleted. When all cards have been played down, the player with the most books wins the game. Ties may also occur in the game of Go Fish.
If you have ever played the game UNO you already have a pretty good idea how to play the game known as Crazy Eights. The game that started the UNO craze, Crazy Eights is a great game to play with all ages.
Crazy Eights is played between two to four people, and the goal of the game is to get rid of all your cards before the other players. When playing the game among two people, each player is initially dealt seven cards (when playing with three or four players each player receives five cards apiece).
The remainder of the cards are used as the draw pile—the pile from which a player must draw if he/she cannot play from the hand.
Once the cards are dealt in Crazy Eights, one card is turned over from the draw pile—this is the start of the discard pile. Beginning with the player to the dealer’s immediate left, players take turns trying to match the number or the suit of the card that is showing in the discard pile.
If a player cannot match the number or the suit of the face-up card, he can play an eight—a wild card—and name it whichever suit he pleases. A player who has neither a match nor an eight in his hand must continue to draw until he gets a card he can play on the pile.
The first player to discard all of the cards in their hand is declared the winner.
For a longer variation of the game you can keep track of points. In this version, what you will need to do is add up the cards in each of the losers’ hands and give the points to the winner.
Face cards are worth 10 points each, eights are worth 50 points, and every other card in the deck is added at face value. Games can be played to 200, 500 or any other number that is designated prior to the game.
Spoons is a fun and fast-paced game that tests the speed of players and typically ends up in raucous laughter. At least three players are needed to play a game of Spoons, but when it comes to this game the more is truly the merrier.
Players sit in a circle, either on the floor or around a table. Spoons are placed in the middle of the circle, one less than the number of players (think musical chairs).
Each player in a game of Spoons is dealt four cards and the remainder of the cards forms the draw pile. The object of the game is to collect four-of-a-kind.
Play starts with the player sitting immediately to the left of the dealer. This player takes one card from the deck.
If it improves his hand, he adds it to his hand, discarding another card, which he slides to the player on his left. If it does not improve his hand, he passes the drawn card on to the player on his left. Then, the player on his left—and so on—does the same thing until all players are passing cards simultaneously.
Here is where the fun comes in. As the cards are being passed around the circle, the first player to collect four of a kind quietly and discretely takes one of the spoons from the middle of the table.
When the other players in the game sees this spoon being taken, they, too, grab for a spoon in what usually turns out to be a melee of sorts. Sadly—and often hilariously—one player will be left without a spoon; and that person is eliminated from play until the next game.
Play then continues until only one player is left, who is declared the winner.
A great way to whittle away the hours while having more than one’s fair share of fun and laughter, Spoons is a great game for all ages.
War is the classic and easy card game in which the high card always wins. In the game of War, which is played between two opponents, each player is dealt 26 cards each—half of the deck.
Once all of the cards have been distributed into two face-down piles, players start the game by turning their cards over one-by-one. Each time this is done, the player with the higher of the two cards wins, at which time he will collect and stack those two cards in another pile off to the side.
Once all 26 cards have been turned over, the player with the largest stack of cards wins.
One fun version of the game of War is when both players turn over the identical card (7 and 7, Jack and Jack, etc.). When this happens, each player will then lay three cards from their stack face down, and then reveal the 4th card.
The player with the higher 4th card gets to keep all of the cards in play, rapidly adding to their pile. However, if this process leads to another tie, the same is repeated, allowing the winner of this “War” an opportunity to win a sizable portion of the deck.
Some people also play War to the absolute finish. In this version of the game, which is a great way to kill a few hours, the game continues until one player has collected ALL of the cards in the deck.
Last but certainly not least, the game of Memory is typically played between two players, but it can actually be played among two to six players if you so desire. In the game of Memory, which is also known as Concentration, all of the cards in the deck are arranged face down into a 13 x4 grid.
The players then take alternating turns in which they will turn over two cards within the grid. If those two cards match, the player removes them from the grid and places them in a pile in front of him.
He then gets to turn over two more cards, and so on. However, if the cards do not match, the player will turn them back over into their exact position and the next player will take his turn.
The object of the game of Memory is to focus intently on each player’s turn and try and remember the position of each card that was turned over within the grid—each card that didn’t create a match. In doing so, players will know which two cards to turn over when it is once again their turn to draw.
Play continues in the game of Memory until all of the cards in the grid have been successfully turned over and matched. The player who created the most matches during the course of the game—the player with the largest stack of cards in front of him—is declared the winner.
These are just a few of the easy card games that can be played among people of all ages. For other ideas, check out games such as Blackjack, Solitaire, Garbage, Pounce, Slap Jack and more.