The Incomplete Guide to Nice Little Card Games

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  • #1418426

    In which I present, in no particular order, some card games which might be nice to play
    with your family and/or friends. (Note to mods: No text will be copied from any website,
    and I’ll make each game a separate post to keep them short.)

    No Thanks!
    3-5p (3-5 players) / 8^ (age 8 and up) / 20m (Playing time: 20 minutes)

    The object of No Thanks! is to score the fewest points, which come from cards that players will
    be taking over the course of the game. Each card will score as many points as the number on it
    at the end of the game; however, if a player has cards with consecutive numbers (e.g., 11, 12,
    and 13), only the lowest of those numbers will score. But how do you actually play?

    The deck consists of 33 cards numbered 3-34. After shuffling them, 9 are removed at random,
    face down, and will not be used. Each player is given 11 tokens, each of which is worth -1 point
    at the end of the game. The starting player turns over the top card of the deck, and must choose
    either to keep it or place one of their tokens on it (saying “No thanks!” is optional). If they place
    a token on it, the next player in clockwise order must choose whether to place a token on it
    or to keep the card and the token, and so on. Whenever a player keeps a card, they
    turn over the top card of the deck and the process starts again. Play continues in this way until
    the last card has been taken; the scores are counted up, and the player with the fewest points wins.

    #1418532

    (Well, that’s obviously a great start. 🙂 At least now I’ll know where to put line breaks.)

    It might have been unclear that after a player takes a card, that player,
    not the starting player, must then choose whether to keep or refuse the next card.
    I also forgot to mention that players’ remaining chips are kept hidden according to
    the rules, although some people do prefer to play with them kept open.

    #1418538

    Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine breaeareaeareaeareaeareaeaks!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also, the play time should probably have been listed as 20-30 minutes.

    (Future entries will be rechecked. And. Line. Broken. Into. Submission.)

    #1421571

    Continuing the theme of avoiding points, here’s a game with
    somewhat similar scoring to No Thanks!, but that features
    more traditional play-a-card-on-your-turn, color-collecting
    gameplay rather than No Thanks!’s series of pseudo-auctions.

    Parade
    2-6p (4 probably best) / 8^ / 25-40m(?)

    The object of the game is to score the fewest points, which come
    from cards that players will be taking over the course of the game.
    Each card is worth its number (0-10) in points, but the player with
    the most cards of a color only scores 1 point for each of their cards
    of that color (there are 6 colors, each one featuring a different
    Alice in Wonderland character).
    [With only 2 players, one player must have 2 more cards
    of a color than their opponent does to “have the most”.]

    Players start with 5 cards in their hand, and a line of 6 cards is
    laid out horizontally in the center. On their turn, players must
    play 1 card from their hand to the back of the line of cards.
    The played card’s number is counted forward from it, and all cards
    after that number (so the 4th card and on, if a 3 was played) which
    either are the same color as the played card or have a number
    equal to or less than the played card’s number are taken by the
    player and kept in front of them. The remaining cards are shifted to
    close any gaps in the line, and the player draws a card from the deck.

    Play continues in this manner until either the deck of cards is empty,
    or any player has at least 1 card of each color in front of them
    (that player would not draw a card at the end of their turn).
    Each (other) player then takes one more turn without drawing a card
    at the end, so that all players have 4 cards in their hand. Then, each
    player puts 2 of the 4 cards in their hand in front of them to score
    along with the cards they took over the course of the game.
    Scores are counted and the player with the fewest points wins.

    (As a variant, you can play for most points instead of fewest.)

    #1421588

    Another get-the-fewest-points game, in which all players
    choose the card they’re going to play at the same time.

    6 nimmt! (aka Take 6(!), Take 5(!), Category 5, and Slide 5)
    2-10p (very few or many players not recommended) / 8^ / 45m

    The object of the game is to score the fewest points, which come from
    cards that players will be taking over the course of the game.
    The game consists of a deck of cards numbered 1-104 (we’ll talk about
    how many points they’re worth later). Gameplay revolves around four
    piles of cards. One card is placed on each pile to start, and the players
    each start with 10 cards in their hands.
    In a round, each of the players chooses one of their cards to play and
    places it face down before them. The players then reveal their cards
    simultaneously, and the cards are then placed onto the different piles
    in lowest-to-highest order, as follows.
    Each card is placed on the pile whose top card is the closest to it from
    below (the highest number that is still lower than the card’s number).
    For example, the 100 would always go on top of the 99 if it was there,
    followed by the 98, etc.
    If a card is not higher than any of the top cards of the 4 piles,
    the player whose card it is must choose a pile and take all the
    cards in it to keep, and the card they played then becomes
    the top (and only) card of that pile.
    If a pile reaches 6 cards, the player whose card was the 6th
    must take the first 5 cards to keep, and the card they played
    then becomes the top (and only) card of that pile

    After 10 rounds, the players have no cards left. Scores are counted up,
    and if any player has a score higher than 66, the game ends, and the
    player with the fewest points is the winner. If no player has reached
    66 points, all the cards are reshuffled and the game starts again,
    with players keeping the points they had scored so far.

    The point values of the cards are as follows (they have point symbols
    on them, so players don’t have to remember all of this when scoring):
    Numbers ending with a 5 – 2 points.
    Numbers ending with a 0 – 3 points.
    Doubled-digit numbers (11, 22, etc.) – 5 points.
    “55” – 7 points (it’s doubled and ends with a 5).
    All other numbers – 1 point.

    This game is pretty high on luck. For a little more predictability and less
    chaos, use only cards equal to the number of players times 10, plus 4
    more, starting from 1. (For example, with 4 players, 1-40, plus 41-44,
    or with 3 players, 1-30, plus 31-34.)

    #1421558

    Any questions should be asked >here<, please.

    #1421922

    Redleg
    Participant

    What’s wrong with Bridge?

    #1422620

    DovidBT
    Participant

    What’s wrong with Bridge?

    Or Pinochle?

    #1423023

    Just redoing No Thanks! (partially rewritten and with variants added).
    There will be one more game of taking the fewest points, and then I
    think you’ll see a Chanukah-candle-themed game, followed by a few
    with food themes (everyone likes food, right?).

    No Thanks!
    3-5p (3-5 players) / 8^ (age 8 and up) / 20m (Play time: 20-30 minutes)

    The object of No Thanks! is to score the fewest points, which come
    from cards that players will be taking over the course of the game.
    Each card will score as many points as the number on it at the end
    of the game; however, if a player has cards with consecutive numbers
    (e.g., 11, 12, and 13), only the lowest of those numbers will score.
    So, how do you actually play?

    The deck consists of 33 cards numbered 3-34. After shuffling them,
    9 are removed at random ( face down) and will not be used.
    Each player is given 11 tokens, each of which is worth -1 point at the
    end of the game, which they keep hidden (any additional tokens
    they get during the game are kept along with the starting tokens).
    A player is chosen to take the first turn, and the top card of the
    deck is revealed, making it available to be taken.
    On their turns, players must choose either to keep the currently
    available card or place one of their tokens on it (saying “No thanks!”
    is optional). If they choose to place a token on it, the next player in
    clockwise order must then choose whether to keep the card and
    the token or place one of their own tokens on it, and so on.
    When a player keeps a card (and the tokens on it), they reveal the
    top card of the deck and take another turn. Play continues in this
    manner until the last card has been taken. The scores are counted,
    and the player with the fewest points wins.

    Some variant rules:
    You can play with open tokens (which prevents players from taking
    cards you didn’t expect them to because they had no tokens left).

    To play with a 6th player (and only the included components),
    you can give each player only 9 tokens at the start of the game
    (I don’t know if I’d recommend this, but you can try it out).

    You can play the game as many times as there are players, with each
    player taking the first turn once, and have the lowest total score win.
    (You can play 3 times, with the player whose score was lowest in the
    previous round taking the first turn in the second and third rounds,
    and have the lowest total score win.)

    The official variant – Instead of removing 9 cards, remove the 10, 20,
    and 30 before shuffling the deck, then remove 6 cards after shuffling.

    #1430565

    X nimmt! (A sequel to 6 nimmt!, with a more strategic twist)
    2-4p / 8^ / 25-40m

    Gameplay is roughly the same as in 6 nimmt!, with the following differences:
    The cards run from 1-100, and players start with 8 of them.

    There are only 3 piles – one is taken by the third card, one by the fourth,
    and one by the fifth. When a player takes a pile, the cards are not taken
    to be kept, but instead go into the player’s hand – however, they first
    choose one of the taken cards and add it to their “X-pile” (cards in an
    X-pile do not score). If the card is not higher than the last card added
    to their X-pile, the cards already in the X-pile are moved to their
    double-scoring area – those cards will score twice their usual value.

    A round ends when a player cannot play a card (their hand is empty).
    The other players score the cards in their hand and (2x) the cards
    in their double-scoring pile, but not their X-pile cards (as mentioned).

    After 2 rounds, the player with the lowest total score wins.

    #1456339

    We’ve passed Chanukah, so I’m going to forget about Candle Quest
    (by Yehuda Berlinger) for now. Food themes may happen eventually.
    For now, here’s a game you can play without having to actually buy it.

    Kobayakawa
    3-6p (I’ve heard it’s best with 4) / 8^? / 15-20m

    You will need:
    Cards numbered 1-15
    4 tokens per player, plus 8

    Initial setup:
    Players start with 4 tokens. Another 8 tokens are placed in the center.
    Choose a starting player.

    Round setup:
    In each round, the deck is shuffled, and each player is dealt a card.
    One card is put in the center, face up. The rest of the cards remain
    as a deck in the center.

    Playing a round:
    On their turn, players take 1 of 2 possible actions:
    1. Draw a card, then discard either of your cards face up.
    2. Replace the center card with the top card of the deck.

    After each player has had a turn, each player (in turn order) must
    choose whether or not to pay a token to stay in the round.
    The players who paid then reveal their cards. The player with the
    lowest card adds the value of the center card to their own card,
    and then the player with the highest card wins all of the tokens paid
    that round, plus 1 token from the center. They also become the first
    player for the next round. At this point, players with no tokens left
    are eliminated from the game.

    Play 7 rounds. In the last round, you must pay 2 tokens to stay in
    (exception – if you only have 1, you can pay 1), and the winner of
    the 7th round gets 2 tokens (not 1) from the center.
    After the 7th round, the player with the most tokens is the winner.

    #1491701

    This one’s not actually for everyone; it’s a
    bit too much on the advanced side for that.

    San Juan (2nd edition)
    2-4p / 10^ / 45m

    Each card in this game represents a building in your town,
    worth a number of points and usually having a useful effect
    during the game or a way to score more points at the end.
    To play a card from your hand into your town, you must pay
    its cost by discarding other cards from your hand – to make
    use of any opportunity, you will have to give up others.
    Once any player builds their 12th building, the game ends,
    and the player with the most points wins.

    In each round, 5 actions are available, and players will choose one
    on their turn. Each can only be chosen once, but in most cases, all
    of the players take the chosen action, with the player who chose it
    getting to do it in a better way. Once each player has taken a turn,
    the round ends and a new one begins. The 5 actions are as follows:

    1. Draw a card. (The other players do nothing.)
    2. Each player draws some cards and chooses one of them to keep.
    The player who chose this action draws 5 cards, the others, only 2.
    3. Each player can build 1 card from their hand by paying its cost.
    The player who chose this action pays one card less than the cost.
    4. Each player can produce a good on 1 of their production buildings
    (see below). The player who chose this action can produce 2 goods.
    5. Each player can sell a good from 1 of their production buildings.
    The player who chose this action can sell 2 goods.

    What’s this production and selling business? It’s a way of refilling
    your hand. Some buildings are production buildings. When you
    produce with one, you place a card from the deck on it to show
    that you have a good there (limit 1 per building). When you sell a
    good, that card is removed and you draw a number of cards from
    the deck. The number of cards drawn depends on the building;
    buildings that produce more valuable goods cost more to build.
    There’s actually just a little more to goods values than that, but
    that’s all you need to know unless you’re actually about to play.

    At the end of the round in which any player builds their 12th
    building, the game ends (players start with a building that
    produces a 1-card good). And that’s pretty much the game –
    or is it? What are all these buildings about? A few examples:

    Various production buildings – Produce goods (no additional effect).
    Office building – At the start of each round, you can discard up to 2
    of your cards, then draw that many cards.
    Tower – You can hold 12 cards at the end of a round (usually, it’s 6).
    Aqueduct – You can produce 1 more good each time action 4 is chosen.
    Trading post – You can sell 1 more good each time action 5 is chosen.
    Quarry – Non-production buildings cost you 1 card less to build.
    Harbor – 1 point at the end of the game for each time action 5 was
    chosen and you sold 1 or more goods (track this by placing a card
    underneath the Harbor card each time that happens).
    Guild hall – 1 point at the end of the game for each production building
    you have and for each type of production building you have.
    Monument – 5 points at the end of the game (no additional effect).
    Palace – 1 more point for every 4 points you have at the game’s end.

    #1491702

    And here we go with the food.

    Sushi Go! / Sushi Go Party!
    2-5p (Party!: 2-8p ) / 7^ / 20-25m

    A simple drafting game. Players simultaneously choose one card
    from their hand to keep, reveal them, and pass their hand to the
    next player. This is repeated until all the cards have been taken.
    The players score points according to their cards and then discard
    them. After 3 rounds of this, the player with the highest score wins.
    That’s the whole game right there. But how do the cards score?
    (On each card is a reminder of how it scores, so players
    don’t have to constantly remember all of the following.)

    Nigiri (yellow): Scores its printed value from 1-3 points.
    Wasabi (yellow): Wasabi scores no points by itself. The next Nigiri you
    keep goes on top of your Wasabi – it scores 3 times its printed value.

    Tempura (purple): Each set of 2 Tempura cards scores 5 points.

    Sashimi (green): Each set of 3 Sashimi cards scores 10 points.

    Maki Rolls (red): Each Maki Roll card has a value from 1-3.
    The player with the highest total of Maki Rolls scores 6 points,
    and the second-highest total, 3 points.
    (If players tie for first, they split the points and no second place
    points are awarded; if players tie for second, they split the points.)

    Dumplings (blue): The more Dumplings you have, the more you score.
    One Dumpling=1 point, two=3, three=6, four=10, five (or more)=15.

    Puddings (pink): Unlike the other cards, Puddings are not discarded
    at the end of each round, and are scored only at the end of the game.
    The player with the most Puddings scores 6 points, and the player
    with the fewest Puddings loses 6 points (both are split if tied). Also,
    if 2 players tie for most points, the player with more Puddings wins.
    (In a 2-player game, the one with fewer Puddings doesn’t lose points.)

    Chopsticks: Chopsticks score no points at the end of the round.
    However, they are useful while you have them. If you already
    have a Chopsticks card, when choosing a card, you can shout
    “Sushi Go!” and choose 2 cards to keep instead of 1. If you do,
    you must put the Chopsticks into that hand of cards.

    Those are all of the cards in Sushi Go(!). Sushi Go Party! is played the
    same way, but includes more cards of each type, allowing for 3 more
    players, and more types of cards in each color – the players choose a
    type for each color during setup (recommended setups are included).
    Additionally (of particular interest to frum Jews), S.G. Party includes
    a scoreboard and pawns so that scores don’t have to be written down.

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