Before the takeover of television, mobile phones, and video game consoles, there was a classic way of entertaining yourself and all of your friends each time they came over. This, of course, is none other than the famous (and occasionally infamous) deck of cards.
Your standard 52 deck of cards has a staggering amount of uses, from magic tricks, to simple jokes (ever heard of 52 pickups?), too intense and highly convoluted games that will keep you & your friends busy for hours. Unfortunately, we’ve disconnected with the art of card games in favor of more modern pursuits. Personally, I think it is a tragedy because card games are elegant and refined and create a kind of tension that is hard to replicate on a digital screen. Sometimes, things are just better off analog.
If you’re like me and want to make the most out of a deck of cards, but aren’t quite sure what games are available, here’s two worthwhile games that’ll keep you busy:
Best played in a friendly manner among friends with something inconsequential to bet (peanuts, small coins, etc.), blackjack is one of the simplest yet most engaging games you can play with a deck of cards. While you should definitely look up the full blackjack rules, it’s a pretty simple game overall. In essence, there is the dealer and the players. Overall, the objective of the game is to get as close to 21 in card value, but simply being even a point over the dealer’s number is enough to secure a victory. Face cards are given a value of 10 and an ace can be either a 1 or 11, whichever was most advantageous at the time. Going over 21 results in “busting” which is a loss. A loss results in the forfeiture of your bet while a win results in doubling your bet.
War is another simple card game that can be played with two players. The entire deck is dealt one by one face down until each player has 26 cards. From there, each player will draw a card one by one face up. Whoever has the higher card, then takes both cards and puts them at the bottom of the deck face down. When two cards of the same value are placed down, War is called. During War, each player will put an additional card face down and another one face up. Whoever has the highest number of this card will take all of the cards, now totalling six. If War is called again, the process repeats itself and the amount of cards won increases in kind. The game is over when one player has all of the cards.
These two games can result in hours of fun and lots of mixed emotions from all players involved. All card games are a game of chance mixed in with just a little bit of skill, which is part of what makes playing cards so compelling. Being able to leverage the cards you’re dealt against probability and the skill levels of other players is where most of the tension and excitement comes from playing cards. So, while these games might be a good starting point, they are hardly the be-all-end-all for card game enjoyment.