Skip to main content

Best card games 2021: our pick of the top card games for adults

Best card games
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s simply nothing quite like playing a card game with friends. The feeling of building a deck, or having to trust in the randomness that a pile of cards can generate, is one that no other style of game can match. 

Card games have universal appeal too; some of the best card games for adults don’t even have to be full of smutty humor to be enjoyable, and that means that you can enjoy them no matter what age you are, or who you’re playing with. 

So we've collated this little selection of some of the best card games around, that will see you building dungeons, fighting monsters and even betraying your friends.

Sushi Go!

Sushi Go

(Image credit: Gamewright)

Sushi Go is a number-cruncher's dream. It's a draft-based scoring game where you take turns picking one card from your hand, and then passing your hand to the left. Whether you go for the high-risk, high-reward cards like Sashimi that requires three of a kind to score 10 points, or chase after lower-point cards depends on the hand and the players around you, with no game going exactly the same way. 

There's three rounds in each game with each round taking about five minutes or less, which means it's easy to play a few games a night, and it's incredibly affordable. If you're just starting off your board game collection, this is a good one to go for. 

Munchkin

Munchkin

(Image credit: Anton Gvozdikov / Shutterstock.com)

Munchkin is undoubtedly some of the most fun you can have with a bit of cardboard; assuming you’re neither a toddler nor a cat. It’s a bit like Dungeons and Dragons, in that your aim is to get stronger, fight your way through monsters, and come out the other side victorious. 

The main aim of Munchkin is to get to level 10 and, to do so, you have to beat monsters. Easy enough, right? Well, it’s made that much more difficult by the other players trying to stop you from succeeding. Alliances will be formed, friendships will develop complicated new layers, and you’ll all start to wonder why you keep letting the same person win each time. 

Bears vs Babies

Bears vs Babies

(Image credit: Exploding Kittens)

Let’s be honest, we’ve all wondered who would win in a fight between bears and babies, and this game finally gives us the chance to find out. Your aim is to build up an army of monstrous hideously mutated bears to take down the evil baby menace. The person who takes down the most babies is the winner. 

It’s a fairly straight-forward game, but it’s one of the best card games because its simplicity makes it one of the best choices for newcomers to the genre. 

Boss Monster

Boss Monster

(Image credit: Brotherwise Games)

Everything about Boss Monster is reminiscent of a classic video game - and we love it for that. Boss Monster sees you playing as a villain and building your own dungeons. You have to try and attract adventurers into your dungeon and trick them into dying to win. 

You can, of course, mess with your friends by stealing their heroes and messing up their game plans, but don’t be surprised if they do the same to you as a result. 

Joking Hazard

Joking Hazard

(Image credit: Joking Hazard)

The aim of Joking Hazard is to get your friends to laugh. That’s it, nice and easy. The tools you use to try and do this are images from Cyanide & Happiness (not family-friendly), and it will, more often than not, lead to incredibly strange jokes that don’t make any sense - but are still hilarious. 

It’s an incredibly funny game and one that’s sure to have you and your friends laughing so hard it hurts. That’s all anybody can ask for from one of the best card games for adults, more pain. 

Marvel Champions

Marvel Champions

(Image credit: Fantasy Flight Games)

Superheroes are a big deal. Even if you’ve lost interest in this genre of media, not everybody has, and that’s what makes this a good choice for any household with teenagers in it. The aim here is to build a deck that lets you take down the evil villains of the Marvel universe, and you get to do it all while playing as its greatest heroes. 

Marvel Champions is full of wonderful nods to long time fans, and you’ll love it. Just keep in mind it takes a little longer to get into than many of the other games on this list. 

Bucket of Doom

Bucket of Doom

(Image credit: Big Potato Games)

This is the only game on this list that comes in a cool plastic bucket. The aim of Bucket of Doom is to build a convincing escape plan based on the item cards that you have. That means you might be trying to escape from an army of flowerpot-men using only an apron and a pair of tights. 

It’s one of the more inventive ones on the list, and it’s incredibly good fun. 

Game of Phones

Game of Phones

(Image credit: Breaking Games)

This is an excellent choice for students or any other adults who have to share the same space. Each card will have a prompt of some sort on it, and each prompt will relate to your smartphone. You all have to try and complete the prompt as quickly as possible and also try and make your friends laugh. 

It’s good fun but can also reveal a lot about your friends’ Google history. 

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens

(Image credit: Penty Photography / Shutterstock.com)

Cats can be a little bit dangerous. Everyone who owns one knows that they’re prone to absurdly random fits of excitement and energy, often occurring at 4am as you’re trying to sleep. Well, did you also know that they can explode? That’s basically the premise of one of the best card games around, Exploding Kittens. 

Your aim is to trick another player into drawing an exploding kitten so that they lose. It’s a very simple premise, and it’s also one of the easiest card games to get through on this list thanks to its short playtime. 

The Blockbuster Game

Blockbuster the game

(Image credit: Amazon/Big Potato Store)

Although Blockbuster shops might not exist anymore, Blockbuster: The Game is still a fantastic board game option. As you might expect, it's a trivia game all about the movies. It's very fast-paced, fun and can be played by two to eight players, making it ideal for all kinds of scenarios. 

Although it's all about movies, you don't have to be fanatical about film to play. That's because it's not about in-depth knowledge, but details in movies anyone picks up on. 

To play, you divide into two teams and the main objective is to collect one whole deck of genre cards. There are a couple of different styles of rounds. But the main gist is that you'll have 15 seconds (it comes with a timer) to name as many things as you can think of after you've seen the prompt on your card, whether that's movies with pirates or movies with Tom Cruise.

Weird Things Humans Search For

Weird Things Humans Search For

(Image credit: Big Potato Games)

Another one for the online generation. Which, at present at least, is every generation. It’s a bit like Family Fortunes, but with internet search auto-complete. You’ve got to try and get as many points as possible by guessing the strange things that people have searched for online. 

It’s both very funny and a little bit upsetting, but hey, all the best things in life are like that. 

Gloom

Gloom

(Image credit: Atlas Games)

Gloom is all about messing around with a Victorian family. The whole point is to make your family as sad as possible before they reach the endpoint of their life. It’s a very mean game and not one we recommend replicating in real life. The trouble is, all of the other players will be trying to make your family happier, so you need to try and balance their misery with offsetting the potential joy your real-life friends are causing them. 

This combination of dark humor and unique setting make it one of the best card games for adults available. 

Uno

Uno

(Image credit: phaustov / Shutterstock.com)

Uno is one of the best card games for a reason. It’s easy to learn, easy to play, and the scars it leaves will be etched into your soul for the rest of time. All you have to do is empty your hand, and you’ll win the game. That’s all. 

Unfortunately, your former friends and traitorous family will likely impede your victory as often as they can. Just remember we warned you about this when you get hit by that reversal.