The HFoG Buyer's Guide
Looking for a game that you can carry with you where ever you go? A
game you could take on a plane or toss in a purse? Then you're
probably looking for a card game!
Here are a few of my favorite card games.
No Thanks! (Rio Grande Games - 2004)|
If there is one card game that should be in everybody's collection
then it would have to be Thorston Gimmler's masterpiece: No Thanks!
This game is so incredibly simple that it can be taught in about 30 seconds and
it's so quick that it can be played in around fifteen minutes.
The premise is simple: each turn you either give up a chip (worth a point) or take a card.
Because all the cards are worth negative points, no one wants a card; but
because you only have so many chips, sooner or later you're
going to have to give in and take one.
The trick is to decide when to give in and take the inevitable loss.
It's a brilliant, simple game that can be played anywhere by anyone.
Coloretto (Rio Grande Games - 2003)|
Coloretto is a deceptively simple card game that's designed for
adults but also works very well with children. Each card is really
just a color. Players collect colors trying to build sets. The
bigger the set, the more its point value. The trick is that only
three colors count towards your score, the others count against it,
so you need to be careful about which colors you take. That can be
very challenging because the other players are trying to make sure
that you have to take colors you don't want.
This isn't really a kids game but it does work very well with
children for a couple of reasons. First of all, there's no reading
or math (except in scoring) required. But more importantly, the
entire game is played with all cards face up and visible. This means
that it's very easy for an experienced player to coach an
Citadels (Fantasy Flight Games - 2000)|
In this game, players compete to build a medieval citadel composed
of eight or more province cards.
The unique thing about Citadels is that at the beginning of each
turn, players secretly choose from a set of roles. The roles
determine play order but, more importantly, each role has a unique
ability. For instance, the first role is the assassin and his
special ability is that he gets to assassinate another player
(forcing him to sit out the turn). The catch is that he doesn’t get
to choose his victim by name; he must choose by role and that means
that he's never quite sure who he's killed (if anyone).
This game is easy to learn and it works very well with a wide range
of players (from 2 to 8) of all ages. Don't make the mistake of
thinking that because this game works well with six or seven that it
won't work well with two or three. In fact, I actually think the
game works even better with two!
Mü & Lots More (Rio Grande Games - 1995)|
If you're fond of trick taking games such as Rook, Spades, Hearts or
Bridge, then this is probably just the game for you. Mü is the basic
game in the box and it's become my favorite traditional style trick
taking game. It's played with a deck of 60 cards distributed over
five suits. This game has a near perfect bidding mechanism that's
extremely intuitive and a very clever scoring system that is very
well balanced. It plays well with up to six players and I can't
recommend it enough.
Tichu (Rio Grande Games/Abacus Spiele - 1991)|
Tichu is a four player partners trick taking game that really
shines. It's a really hard to describe, very unique game. The best I
can do is say that it's sort of a cross between Hearts and Poker. In
addition to leading single cards, a player can also lead sets of
cards that look like poker hands (pairs, three of a kind, runs,
etc.). The next player can then choose to better the last card(s)
played or pass and the trick continues until three players pass in
succession. This makes it possible for the player who lead to play
again on the same trick! The learning curve is a bit steep on this
game (especially since it's probably quite unlike any other card
game you've ever played) and I'm sad to say that the rules are not
very well written (there is a much clearer rules summary on my blog) but once you've got the hang of it I think you'll
be hard pressed to think of a better four player card game!