Rainy days, winter nights, post-dinner family affairs, and late summer afternoons are always good excuses for playing a few rounds of cards. Whether with family or friends, cards are fun, entertaining, and often educational games to play just about anytime. Plus there are so many types to enjoy. From classic poker to epic strategy games, there is something for everyone's tastes. This guide is a brief introduction to the many types of games that are available along with some of the most popular of the moment. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, but just a taste of the many exciting card games to try out. Feel free to add your favorites.
New Card Games
Classic Games with Classic Cards
Games for gambling and games for fun, classics card games will never go out of style. However, recently there has been a huge popularity surge in the poker world thanks to celebrity televised matches. Nonetheless, a basic deck of classic playing cards can suffice for any of these classic card games.
* Black Jack
Choosing a deck of playing cards can be as easy as buying the cheapest set available. The truth is that cards are relatively inexpensive to start with. However, spending a few extra bucks on a good set of cards will make a big difference in how long they last and how durable they are. Cards with a nice finish are usually more comfortable to play with and they look nicer. You should also consider whether you want a classic face or "jumbo-sized" face. Large print and easy-to-see numbers and symbols may make playing easier for children and those who have problems seeing. Also consider miniature cards sized to perfectly fit children's tiny hands.
Kid's and Family Games
* Apples to Apples: It's a barrel of fun for many with this party game that focuses on interaction and word play. Good for teens and adults.
* Quiddler: A great game for word lovers, but also useful for early spellers as well. It's directed at players age eight and older, but don't think that just because you are a better speller that you will win. All players have a chance at winning in this fast-paced spelling card game.
* Set: This simple card game forces you to match sets of colored objects in pairs to win points. Easily adaptable to the whole family even though the box recommends that only players aged eight and up play it. The only complaint has been the flimsy construction of the cards.
* Sequence: This is an easy to learn, fast-paced game of logic that is fun for all ages and easily adaptable to make it more or less challenging.
* UNO: A fast-flipping family card game that deals with numbers and colors. It can take 15 minutes or more than an hour and there is no limit to the fun that can be had with this game. Plus, since it has been around forever, now there are new sets with popular characters on them, such as the Simpsons.
Collectible and Trading Cards
Trading or collectible card games were first launched in the early '90s, and since then have developed a strong following amongst children, teens, and even grownups. Typically these are two person dueling games that revolve around one theme. Anyone can play anywhere as long as they have their deck with them. To start developing a game deck you need to buy either a starter set or a starter deck. What's the difference? Essentially it is buying for one or two players either with or without prior expertise.
* '''Starter Set''': A starter set will include everything needed for two players to start a game. Along with an instruction manual to explain the game, there are also two prearranged card packs (one for each player) in order to teach new players the most basic elements of the game. After mastering the basic concepts of the game, players may opt to purchase booster packs or theme packs to expand and enhance their deck.
* '''Starter Deck''': If a player has already tried out a game (say at a friend's house), most often they will have a feel for the game and will probably opt for a starter deck, also called a tournament deck. It includes enough basic cards (40-60) for one player to start off without additional booster packs, although additional sets can be purchased in the future to strengthen the deck. Also note that the cards have no specific order in a starter deck, assuming that the player already has an idea of how to play the game.
* '''Booster Pack''': As a player improves his or her game, additional expansion packs of cards should be purchased to complement the person's deck. These can be theme packs or basic booster packs. Typically these sets will contain anywhere from 8-16 random cards. Often these are what people use to trade as these are more specialized cards with higher strengths and particular abilities. They make great stocking stuffers.
There are many trading card games to play, each with its own flavor, style, and rules. Most games are designed to suit either young children or teens and adults. Here are a few of the most popular games categorized according to age group. Keep in mind that within many of these games there are various themes that branch off the main game. Keep in mind that there are many more games out there besides those listed below.