I still remember a major portion of my childhood being dominated by Friday Family Rummy nights, memories I’ll always look back on fondly. Those games also sparked an interest in Solitaire, Freecell and other card games that I enjoy even today. There is no age limit on these fun games. The visuals and numbers combined are great for keeping the brain active. These are a few games that are ideal for playing with the family that will keep everyone interested and challenge you in different and exciting ways.
1. Ninety Nine
Ninety Nine is one of two games that shares this name
Players: This game can have between 2 and 5 players.
To Start: In this version of the game, each player is given three cards. Starting with any player, and moving clockwise, on each players turn, they must place a card face up to the center and simultaneously draw a card from the deck to their hand.
How the Game is Played: Each card has a numeric value which is added to the value of cards placed to the center. So when you start the game, the center value is zero. Aces are equal to 1, cards of the numbers 2 to 10 will have the same numeric value, and Jacks and Queens also count for 10. Red Kings subtract the value of 10 from the center, while Black Kings can add or subtract 10 to the center, at the choice of the player.
When the game starts, the center value is 0. Say the first player puts an ace to the center, the center value becomes 1. The player calls out the new value before the next players turn. Let’s say the next player places down a jack, the center value goes up.to 11. So the second player would call out 11, and the third player would proceed, moving clockwise.
The Challenge: Now here’s the catch. The goal is to get the center value to 99, and not cross that number. So no one can play a card that makes the center value exceed that number. There is no “scoring” per say, but the person who hits 99 first is the winner of that hand.
Winning: The fun part about this game is that it can be played indefinitely. After 99 is reached the deck is shuffled and the cards dealt to start a new hand, but with one fun difference. The winner of the previous hand gets to make up a new rule that has to be followed by everyone. For example, every time a 7 is played to the center, the game has to be played counter-clockwise instead of clock wise. Each winner gets to add a new rule.
The rules laid down by each winner have to be applied to all players, no specifics are allowed (eg: no rule can be made applicable only to players with off number of letters in their name or only players with blonde hair). Other than that the rules can have any scope, like changing the value of the cards, saying by making all cards have a value to the center 1 more than their original, so ace would then count for 2, 2 would count for 3, etc.
Keeping up with the rules can make the game more fun and challenging
2. Crazy Eights
Players: This game is a generally played between 2 to 4 people, with the former requiring players to take 7 cards each and while the latter can play with 5 cards each.
To Start: Once the cards are dealt, the rest of the cards in the deck are placed face down in the center. The top card from the deck alone is flipped over and placed down next to it, starting the “discard pile” for the game.
How the Game is Played: Now the game begins. Moving clockwise, the first player has to play a card to the discard pile that either matches the suit or the number of the card open in the discard pile. So if the first card in the discard pile is 3 of clubs, then the first player can put down the 7 of clubs, the King of clubs, or the 3 of spades, 3 of hearts, etc.
However, if any player does not have a matching card, he or she has to keep drawing cards from the face-down deck, until a matching card is drawn that can be played.
The Challenge: So why is it called crazy eights? Because in this game, eights are the wild card, the joker. They can be played as a matching card to any suit or number. After an eight has been played, the next player has to put down a card matching the card played before the eight.
Winning: Following the above-mentioned method, each player continues to discard all matching cards, one turn at a time, until one player uses up all of their cards. The discard pile can be collected and reshuffled if the face-down deck runs out. The Player who finishes using all the cards in his hand wins.
Players: Here’s another fun card game, that is similar to War except for one fundamental difference. More than two players can enjoy this game, up to 6.
To Start: The cards are dealt to all players one at a time until the entire deck is depleted. A few players may have a card more but once the game starts it’ll even out. Once the cards are dealt, no players are allowed to see their cards.
How the Game is Played: The first player places the first card on his deck face up next to his deck, followed by the second player, who repeats the same step. Each player continues doing this until any player notices two matching cards drawn to the top of the face up pile.
For example, say two 3’s, or two 7’s are placed by two different players to their respective face up pile. The first player to notice the two cards and yell “Snap!” gets to collect all cards in the face up pile of the players that drew the matching card, and add the same to the bottom of his or her deck.
The Challenge: If two players “Snap!” simultaneously, then the two piles of cards under the matching cards (and the matching cards) are put in the center to become a “snap pool”. Then the game continues as the next player plays the first card on their deck to the soon-to-be-formed new face up pile. In case “snap” is shouted by mistakenly someone when the cards aren’t matching, they can either give every player a card from his face down pile, or their face down pile can the new snap pool.
Winning: When the next set of matching cards is drawn, the first player to scream “snap pool!” gets the whole snap pool pile in the center. The player with all the cards at the end of the game is the winner.
Players: This game can be played with anywhere between 3 to 13 people, and its not your conventional card game.
To Start: Depending on the number of players, pull out 4 cards of that number of a kind. This basically means if there are 3 players, pick out 3 sets of 4 cards of the same numeric or rank from each suit. For example, let’s take 4 queens, 4 three’s and 4 sevens, shuffle the 12 cards (so with 13 players you’d use a full deck), and deal them out to each player. Each player should have 4 cards.
How the Game is Played: Each player then, one at a time, places 1 card from their hand face down on the table in front of them. When all players have one card placed face down on the table, each player simultaneously passes their face down card to the player next to them who adds the same to his hand, and picks up the card passed to them.
The Challenge: The players continue this process until one player collects 4 of a kind (4 queens or 4 threes, etc.), at which point, without saying anything, the player must place their finger on their nose. After this, as the other players notice, they must also place their finger on their nose.
Winning: The final player to notice, and put a finger on their nose gets a letter. The first letter is P. Can you guess what the next two are? As you can figure out, the first player to reach P-I-G loses.
Concentration (also known as Memory) is another matching game.
Players: This game can be played with anywhere between 1 person (like Solitaire) and up to 12.
To Start: You can use the full deck of 52, but it isn’t required, as this game is played in pairs. If younger kids are playing, it might be advisable to use fewer cards.
After selecting the number of cards, and ensuring there are only pairs of numbers or ranks in the deck, shuffle it well and spread the cards face down between the players in a random grid-like pattern. For best results, spread the cards on a table.
How the Game is Played: Each player takes turns flipping over two cards per turn, to find matching pairs. This becomes a memory game as the trick is to remember where different cards you flipped over are, so you can make matching pairs on your next turn.
The Challenge: For each matching pair turned over, the pair has to be removed from the grid, and collected by the player that found it. The player that finds a matching pair also gets another turn. When all pairs have been turned over and removed from the grid, the players have to count the number of pairs they found.
Winning: The winner is the player with the most number of matches, the self-declared king or queen of Concentration!