4 Fast Card Games For Your Friday Night
Because everybody loves card games, right?
Well, I certainly enjoy them, and if you’re anything like me, dear readers, you have your friends over each week to play games. Friday night’s a favorite (though Saturday afternoons are good too). But no matter when you play, a quick card game you can teach easily to your pals is a benefit to any game-night organizer. As such, I’ve compiled this handy list of four fast card games for your enlightenment.
I’ve written about some of these games before, having found them at this year’s Gen Con, but these reviews should be a bit more in-depth.
To the games!
[box_light]1) Hogger Logger[/box_light]
If you’re not familiar with Hogger Logger, fellow geeks, click on the link above and check them out on Kickstarter. These guys have put together a fun, fast game that’s very easy to learn and one of my gaming group’s favorites. The premise is simple: one face up card is a number from 1-15. The person who’s guessing has to guess whether a face down card is higher or lower than the face up card. If the guesser is correct, they move on to the next face down card. If the guesser is wrong, the next person becomes guesser. The round is over when one person guesses correctly on the last face down card.
Things get trickier, of course, when you add in the ability for other players to play number cards, affecting the guesser’s chances, as well as action cards, as these allow you to draw (or steal) more number cards, switch hands around the table, force people to guess higher, lower, etc. The game can get frantically fun, and I have some nifty video evidence to prove it!
See how much fun we’re having? Hogger Logger is an awesome game. Of all the games on this list, in fact, Hogger Logger is probably my favorite. It’s so simple, so pared to the bone, that I can’t think of anything that needs tweaking. I’ve only played it with one person who wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as I am, and even then, she admitted that she could see why people would enjoy playing it.
The Hogger Logger Kickstarter is currently going on at this very moment, and as of this article, they’ve reached $7,779 of their $9,500 goal with one week left. $14 bucks gets you a copy of the game, plus they have nifty stretch goals! If they reach $12,000, the action cards will get new artwork featuring everyone’s favorite porcine lumberjack, Pork Chopper!
So… yeah. Pledge to Hogger Logger’s Kickstarter, get yourself a copy of the game, and tell all your friends, because it is super fun.
[box_light]2) POOP: The Game[/box_light]
Poop is hilarious, and games about poop are almost as funny. Sometimes, even more so! Such is the case of POOP: The Game! This is another quick game–both quick to play and quick to learn–that’s a bit like Uno (though it’s not quite as fun as Uno). The object of the game is to be the first person out of cards, but doing so is a bit trickier than it sounds. There are two decks in POOP: the number cards, like the one above, and the toilet cards. The toilet cards are bigger numbers while the poop cards are smaller.
Each player takes turns “pooping,” adding their numbers to the total. The first player to make the pile meet or exceed the limit of the toilet clogs it, forcing them to put all the poop cards into their hand. They then flip over a new toilet and go first. Now, there is a bit of strategy to the game in that any player who lays down a card that finishes a three-color set “flushes” the toilet, which removes all cards on the field, forces the other players to draw a card, and the flusher gets to play first.
So, if the toilet is a 12, there’s 11 worth of cards currently on it, and the last two are yellow cards, I can play any yellow card in my hand and be OK. Reflexively, I always want to play the lowest card in my hand to avoid clogging the toilet, (and there are Skips, Reverses, and 0s), but in this case, I want to play my highest (so long as it’s yellow). Why? Because once I lay down that card, all of them will disappear. If I play a low yellow, I’m essentially wasting it, leaving myself with a higher yellow I’ll still need to play later.
Like I said above, POOP: The Game is a bit like Uno, but it’s not quite as complex as Uno. There’s no Draw 4s or Draw 2s and you don’t have to keep matching colors (although that’s because of the flushing mechanic, so that’s cool). Certain cards force you to make bathroom sound effects in order to keep using them (and if you forget, you have to draw a card), so as long as you’re playing with the right group of people, it can be pretty fun.
There’s also an expansion that adds new colors, new cards, and makes the game playable with up to 10 people, so if you’ve ever wanted to play with poop with all your friends, now you can! (We do recommend that you wash your hands afterwards, though…)
GenDu, or “Gentlemen’s Duel,” is a card game for two people that’s a bit like Magic: The Gathering and a bit like Dungeon Keeper. In essence, your goal is to build a dungeon to defend yourself, to send your monsters through your opponent’s dungeon, and to kill him (or her)! Killing an opposing player is more like Chess than anything else though, in that a single hit will kill them…sort of. You see–and this make sense given the name of the game–players are considered gentlemen. And it is gentlemanly to give your opponent a turn to defend themself before you crush them into powder, right?
Of course! So if I get a monster (or in the game’s lingo, a “noun”) into your garrison (which is what lies at the end of your dungeon), you have to use the cards in your hand right now to either boot the monster out of your garrison or kill it outright. This gets a bit tricky when you realize that in GenDu, you only draw a card at the end of your turn. So unless you have something awesome in your hand right now, you’re screwed.
That being said, I’ve seen someone successfully get a noun into an opposing garrison time after time, only to have all of them rebuffed. Like in the following video:
You’ll also notice that we used a house rule in this video, in that if you do nothing on your turn, you may draw two cards. We added in this rule because the main way that you “pay” for cards, and thus, put them into play, is by discarding cards from your hand. We found the normal pace of drawing only one card on your turn to be too slow. That being said, should you run out of cards entirely, you will lose the game, so use this house rule with caution.
Speaking of house rules, GenDu is a bit rough in the old rules department. Each deck comes with a playing mat to help you remember where cards go and what they do, but there’s no other rule source (besides the forum on their website). Playing with two people who’d never played the game before, I found that they had a number of questions whose answers I only knew because I played the game with the people who made it. Things like, “Room effects only affect your nouns when moving forward. If you retreat, they go away, and if you leave a dungeon, they vanish completely–except for damage, which is permanent.” As far as we could tell, that rule isn’t on the playing mat/rules.
Additionally, I recommend using counters or dice to signify the stats of your various nouns, because you’re going to run into situations where this card will have lost two attack, three health, and two speed, while that one will have lost three attack, two health, and have gained one speed, and it’s very easy to forget whose got what status.
In general, I like GenDu, but I feel like it needs some major editing, both in terms of effect clarification on the cards themselves and the rules in general.
[box_light]4) Villagers and Villains[/box_light]
Another fun game I picked up at this year’s Gen Con, Villagers and Villains puts you in the role of a town mayor in a fantasy world. Your goal is to have the most points at the end of the game, and the game ends when a predetermined town limit is reached (This limit changes depending on the number of players). So Bob has 10 cards in his town (and that includes bad cards he hasn’t gotten rid of yet) at the end of the round, the game ends and everyone tallies their points. But how do you get cards in your town?
I’m glad you asked, dear reader. It’s a neat mechanic, and one of the things I really liked about Villagers and Villains. Each person starts off with a citizen card, the Deputy Mayor, who earns you a bit of gold on your turn and who’s worth some points, and an Angry Mob card, a one-use card that helps you fend off challenges (which are worth negative points at the end of the game). Then, you deal six cards face up. The first player decides which card they would like to put into their hand, and they roll for it.
Cards fall into four categories: challenges, cards that lose you gold, cause negative effects, lose you points, etc.; heroes, who aren’t worth any points, but help you get extra chances at a bonus to fend off challenges; citizens, which are worth a few points and who earn you money; and buildings, which occasionally let you do cool things, but are primarily a source of points.
So we have our face up cards, and they’re a mixture of the four categories. If I want the card in fourth position (let’s pretend it’s a cheap but valuable building), I’ll roll a six-sided die. So long as I roll a four or higher, I get the card in fourth position. If I roll any lower, I have to take the card at first position, and at the end of the recruiting round (where you get cards), everything that’s not a challenge moves down in difficulty. As the game progresses, the recruiting line fills up with more and more challenges, making it easier and easier to bring them to your town.
In the next phase, players take turns fighting off any challenges currently in their town, and they do so by rolling a die. Any challenges not defeated pillage the town, losing the players gold. Then citizens earn money, players can spend money to play cards, and the cycle continues, with a new player going first.
Villagers and Villains is a pretty quick game, though there are a few house rules we have at my house. For example, there are several ways to get bonus points at the end of the game, like having the most hero cards, or the most challenge cards, etc. but there’s no value to gold, which strikes me as weird. So we employ a Lords of Waterdeep-type rule: however much gold you have, divide by two (rounding down) and those are bonus points.
It’s a small change, but it’s one that makes the game a little bit more fun.
And there you have them, folks: four fast card games for your next game night. Like I mentioned above, be sure to check out Hogger Logger’s Kickstarter and help get their game made. It will be a valuable addition to your game collection, and a fun game that’s easy to teach and fast to play with pretty much everybody.
In the meantime, the other games on this list are already publicly available, so be sure to check them out, and let me know what you think of them! You can do so in the comments below, or on Twitter @ColinOBoyle. I love talking about games with folks, and I’m always looking for recommendations, so be sure to drop me a line.-By Colin O’Boyle