Spotlight on Games > Ludographies
Commercial Card Games
November 26, 2013

Card games are like the smartphones of the board games world. Easy to take along to visit friends or to a cafe, to store and often just as fun as something much larger, many of them get many more plays as well. So it's useful to have a list of just what's available out there.

The Pagat website does a great job describing all of the traditional card games of the world. Something like this seems useful for commercial card games as well, even if their instructions cannot be recounted. Players may like to know about all the different types of card games there are to try. Big fans of a particular game may like to explore others in the same category. The catalog may even inspire inventors to new creations.

One big problem is deciding just what to include. Many games use cards – Monopoly for instance – but few would call it a card game. Other games employ for cards smaller, thicker objects we tend to call tiles – Euphrat und Tigris for example – but few would call it a card game either. The bright line in this case seems to be that the game use no components other than cards unless they exist purely for scorekeeping. This unfortunately lets out some worthies such as Drahtseilakt and Titan: the Arena, but perhaps they will sneak in later. Games like Alles im Eimer (The Bucket King) have been left in as its bucket tiles are really a scoring method and besides, could easily have been cards.

Trick Taking
Deck Building
Group Building
Two-Player Only
Social Deduction
See Also

Trick Taking:
Atlantic Storm – hand replenishment, team tricks
Auf Falscher Fahrte – hidden goal, changing trump
Black Spy – passing, special cards, special scoring
Blindes Huhn – programmed play
Chiamo! – no trump, widow
Cosmic Eidex – use your special power to take neither the most nor the least cards
David & Goliath – card collection
Dia de los Muertos – partner, card passing, queries
Double – bid game, dual identity cards
Flaschenteufel – changing trump, card passing
Foppen – trick abstention, wild cards
Hattrick – shared tricks, special scoring
Mit List und Tücke – card collection, play limits
Mü & Mehr: Last Panther – passing, special scoring
Mü & Mehr: Mü – bid game, chosen partners
Mü & Mehr: Wimmüln – bid game
Mückenstich – card collection, changing trumps/goals
Njet! – negotiated rules and goal
Pisa – negotiated goal
Rage – bid game
Renfield – bid goal, ante-ing
Revolte – tricky game for exactly 3 of taking most but not all the power cards
Schnäppchen Jagd – optional trump, card collection
Sieben Siegel, Die – prediction, special scoring
Stich-Meister – each player chooses a special rule card that warps usual play
Sticheln – card collection
Tin Soldiers – cancel cards, power loop, mystery cards, partners
Too Many Cooks – bid game, additive tricks, card collection
Trump, Tricks, Game! – your hand is formed from the tricks you took in the previous round
Twilight – partners, play for others, play restrictions
Tzuris – negotiated goal, drafting, partners
Volltreffer – drafting, melding
Was Sticht – drafting, memory, bid game
Where's Bob's Hat? – bid game, card collection
Willi – unique following, point counting, announced wins
Wizard – bid game, special cards

Alles im Eimer (The Bucket King) – declining points
Attacke – special cards, bid or drop, individual prizes
Auf und Ab – changing card values, changing rules
Corporate Shuffle – changing seats
Elements – negotiated goals, individual prizes
Frank's Zoo – point cards, changing partners, power loop
Gang of Four – similar to Tichu but without partners
Great Dalmuti, The – changing seats
Grosse und das kleine A, Das – once around, low cards valued, taking cards back
Haggis – similar to Tichu but only playable by 2 or 3
Ivanhoe – special cards, bid or drop, individual prizes
Löwendynastie – special scoring
Ohio – identical hands
Olé – ranked suits, changing hierarchy
Sherlock Holmes Card Game, The – story, take that
T-Rex – ranked suits, changing trumps, prize collection, uncertain ending
Tichu – partners, combinations, special cards
Trolley Car – the battle between the red line and the black line, for up 6
Uno – special cards

Deck Building:
Ascension; Chronicle of the Godslayer – players take turns having a go at monsters
Dominion – building up holdings in a medieval or later setting
Eminent Domain – encounters with planets
Thunderstone – defeating monsters in a dungeon setting

Canasta Caliente – adds special powers to certain cards
Earthquake – can only lay out card twice per round, so make it count and beware the quakes
History's Mysteries Card Game – when laying out, declare whether crop circles, Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster, etc. are fact or fiction
Höhlengrölen – satirical poking of the music industry
Mah Jongg – fixed hand size, special combinations
Mhing – fixed hand size, special combinations
Mömmen – "fishing" game of playing a card to call all cards of a type to you
Mystery Rummy 1: Jack the Ripper - special cards, special scoring
Mystery Rummy 2: Murders in the Rue Morgue - partners, special cards, special scoring
Mystery Rummy 3: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – game for two is the simplest in the series
Mystery Rummy 4: Al Capone - partners, special cards, special scoring
Mystery Rummy 5: Bonnie and Clyde – features a car that travels on a board
PEZ – a "take that!" game of filling dispensers with candy
Vampire – two quite different strategies are on offer
Wyatt Earp – a Mystery Rummy-style game with the addition of shooting
Zero – akin to multiplayer Gin Rummy

Bleeding Sherwood – bid on odd lots as they appear
Byzanz – bidding on odd lots and then the losers take turns drafting the cards used to purchase
Don – your bid cannot match the rank of any of the cards you have bought
Edel, Stein und Reich – secret bids, negotiation
For Sale – player who drops out gets worst property and bid, back; high bidder pays full cost
Hollywood For Sale – bidding on Hollywood memorabilia, active player earning a commission
Hopfen und Malz – about brewing beer! first draft, then use them to fulfill contracts
Katzenjammer Blues – very quick game, best with 2 or 3
Land Unter (Turn the Tide, Zum Kuckuck!)
Musketiere – blind bidding for 4 in the world of the 3 Musketeers
No Thanks! (Geschenkt, No Merci) – paying to take as few cards as possible
Olympia 2000 – secret bids, low and high compensation
The People's Choice – blind bidding for US presidents
Pirat (Korsar) – either put a treasure ship out to sea or use your pirate cards to capture one
Rainbow – collecting a set of cards that form a rainbow
Raj (Hols der Geier) – bidding on odd lots, each player beginning with an identical hand
Shit! – secret bids, bid-based rewards
... und Tschüss! – Martin Wallace game where the low bidder is eliminated
Vom Kap bis Kairo – secret bids to build a railroad across Africa

Bohnanza – hand management, investment
Kathai – selling, market manipulation
Money – trade cards for other cards in this currency trading affair
Mundus Novus – card game version of Mare Nostrum
Nodwick – descendant of Pit, now about collecting body parts
Pit – speed
Res Publica – player may only state either what he wants or what he wishes to give away, but not both
Wheedle – neutral trades, speed
Zaubercocktail – speed

Group Building:
Alibi [Adlung] – players try to identify a culprit by building their suspicions to fabricate a truth
Aquarius – card laying to create large conglomerations in your secretly-preferred color
Astromagie – play cards according to the rules of astrology
Café International – place customers of various nationalities around tables per strict rules
Change – play a card and use cards on the table to take the change
Girl Genius: The Works &ncash; card laying
Goldrausch – mining in the Old West
Dreizehnte Holzwurm, Der – climbing, taking cards back
Hornochsen – blind bids to take other cards
Mamma Mia – memory
Mow – play higher than the highest card or lower than the lowest
Mü & Mehr: Safarü – similar to the traditional game Cassino
Pompeji – placement
Red Empire – workinng together to solve problems in the Soviet Union; sometimes nobody wins
6 Nimmt! – secret bids
Who Stole Ed's Pants? – tweaking the state machine to identify the guilty

Daumen Drauf – bluff and memory
Hai Alarm! – bluffing with sharks
Kakerlakenpoker – bluffing and detecting others' bluffs
Kuhhandel (You're Bluffing) – buying animals trying for a complete set
Münchhausen – trying to spot a lie
Nimms LeichLiar's Dice as a card game

Bang! – attacks, variable powers, elimination
Black Vienna – finding criminals in postwar Vienna
Gerüchte Küche – try to find the missing rumor by asking questions of others
Jarjais – multiple copies of cards
Mini Inkognito – information passing
Sleuth – similar to Clue without the board

Eleusis – one player imagines a rule and the rest submit cards to test their understanding of it

Coloretto – reveal a card or take a set, trying to collect three large sets
Freight Train – draft long chains of identical cars
King's Breakfast – memory
Venture – construct horizontal monopolies; avoid the nasty cards

Dutch Blitz (Ligretto) – be the first to play all your cards as they climb upward
Falling – all fall off a building; be the last to splat
It's Mine! – like Slapjack
Lift Off – planetary occupation and minin

Meuterer – will you join the mutiny or support the captain?
Verräter – will you be the traitor?

Alpha Blitz – two words games, Alpha and Blitz
Apples to Apples – humorous pairings of nouns and adjectives, which like in Mad-Libs, have no business being paired
Cards Against Humanity – darkly humorous pairings of nouns and adjectives, which like in Mad-Libs, have no business being paired
Dixit – choosing words that describe a picture inexactly
Elixir – collecting cards needed to cast spells
Image – think of a personality matching a set of characteristics and then play a card which contains the first letter of their last name
Probe – multi-player Hangman

Two-Player Only:
Al CabohneBohnanza with one or two non-player gang bosses
Battle Line – ancient battle oriented version of Schotten-totten
Brawl – real-time personal combat between cartoon characters
Caesar & Cleopatra – contending for majorities in five categories
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – special cards, Rummy
Canal Grande – divider and chooser
Ebbe und Flut – "Ebb & Flow"; the land vs. the water at the beach, similar to a soccer match
Haps – three sharks try to find a square meal
Hera and Zeus – reminiscent of Stratego
Lost Cities – risk management
Pyramiden des Jaguar, Die – using cards to build pyramids
Schotten-Totten – risk management
Settlers of Catan Card Game, The – Catan with a lot of special power cards
Siege – a tussle over a castle

Alles für die Katz – collecting one of each type of animal from the display
Dschungel – use your memory to make way through a jungle of confusingly-similar cards
Gnumies – akin to Raj, with silly fantasy characters

Social Deduction:
The Message – which players are part of the rebellion?
Werewolves of Thiercelieux, The – which players are secretly wolves?

Hanabi – playing fireworks cards in a particular order, but you can't seen your own cards

Dubito – risk management
Flinke Pinke – stock market situation
Fluxx – cope with a frequently changing state machine
Get the Goods (Reibach & Co.) – play cards to gain majorities in various commodities
Havoc: The Hundred Years War – mercenary captains either draft cards or battle using Poker hands
Klunker – selling, hand management
Nicht die Bohne! – avoiding taking certain cards, for up to 6
Picknick Panik – players try to keep the bugs away at a picnic
Racko – try to draft a set of adjacently-numbered cards
Rome in Crisis – bidding to become emperor and then solving a crisis
Safe Return Doubtful – try to reach the North Pole and return safely home, even if you have to ride an iceberg
Skip-bo – kind of a competitive Solitaire
Slapshot – akin to Rock Paper Scissors, as hockey matches
Space Beans – collecting beans in space
Stimmvieh – players are political parties drafting money and votes
Stock Car Championship Racing Card Game – playing cards to alter current position in an auto race
Strand-Cup – team game about beach volleyball
Taktvoll – on the unusual topic of learning to read music
10 Days in AfricaRacko with a map
10 Days in EuropeRacko with a map
10 Days in AsiaRacko with a map
10 Days in the AmericasRacko with a map
10 Days in the USARacko with a map
Titus – collecting Roman coins
Wortelboer – carrots, rabbits and foxes
Zirkus Flohcati – press-your-luck game of collecting ten different circus acts

See Also
Card Games for Two vs. Two
"Take That!" card games

Spotlight on Games > Ludographies

Create 10/13/03.
Thanks for the contributions of Iain Cheyne.