Inside: The best fast-paced card games both competitive kids and adults will love. Tried and tested by our family of two teens, one tween and one little bean.
My cousin Julie is the Queen of Dutch Blitz. Once you deal the cards, her warmth is replaced by stoic determination. Julie flips cards and sends piles flying faster than you can say “H-h-h-hey – I was going to put my card there!” She finishes her round and screams <BLITZ> right when I am about ready to play my third card. Boom.
I have been secretly practising for a Dutch Blitz rematch because no one likes to get crushed by their baby cousin.
Playing games as a family connects us. We huddle on the carpet or gather around a table. We create memories like, “Remember the time Dad tried to cheat at….” or “I can’t believe you beat me again. Best out of three?”
Which is why I recently confessed my love of board games here:
And as much as I adore board games, I might even love card games a teeny, tiny bit more (as long as Cousin Julie is not around).
Why do card games have so much entertainment value?
Crushing an opponent in under 7 minutes is tremendously satisfying.
No set up is required and most card games can be mastered within one round.
They fit nicely into a purse or glove box for marathon waiting times. Perfect for the doctor’s office or while waiting for food to be served. The more children you have, the more you need to be prepared.
And the best thing about card games? The price point. Many card games are under the $10 mark, and have enough play value to make that a worthwhile investment.
I’m packing this post with top-rated card games for those who want to pack a lot of fun into small windows of time.
What if my kids resist playing games?
Ready for some Mama Magic? We are not above being strategic to get our kids to spend time with us, right? These ideas work well:
- Say, “I have 15 minutes and I’d love to beat some kids at Sushi Go. Or we could tackle laundry together instead. Pick one.”
- Pop some popcorn and start a game with anyone who IS willing. Magically, the most resistant sibling may appear and ask to join the next round.
- Carve out a set time for games. Even 15 minutes right after dinner time, before everyone dives into homework, piano practice and reading behind closed doors.
What fast-paced card games should we start with?
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All of these card games are tried, tested and true. Grab a few using the Amazon links and you have Family Nights planned months. Check these out:
Dutch Blitz is fast-paced enough to help everyone burn calories after a Turkey Dinner.
Last Christmas our family teamed up Bigs with Littles, ranging from 4 to adult, and had a whole marathon of Dutch Blitz. As they promise, it really is a Vonderful Goot Game! Get Dutch Blitz (with or without the Expansion Pack) here
Everyone places a single card in their collection area then passes the rest of their cards to the person on their left. Playing and passing keep this game moving. The scoring system sounds a bit complicated at first, but it really isn’t.
It is endearing to hear teenage boys despairing that they didn’t collect enough puddings. Get Sushi Go here.
Pit is fast paced and slightly-violent as you try to be the first to collect a full suit. You desperately try to trade blindly with others by screaming, “TWO! TWO! TWO!” and “Give me THREE or make your own lunch tomorrow!” To make this game more exciting, we set out one less spoon than the number of players. Once someone collects their set, they discretely grab a spoon. Once the first spoon is grabbed, everyone else jumps in to get a spoon until the last person will be left ashamed and spoonless. Get Pit here.
So, to be fair, this is not exactly a high-speed game. But it is certainly faster than the Monopoly Board Game, so it made the list. It has quickly become a family favourite. It includes many of the same elements as Monopoly, like collecting properties and charging rent, but can be played at a fraction of the time. Cards like Deal Breaker keep things competitive and allow you to steal Park Place and Boardwalk from your sibling – look out!
Our six-year-old beat us all beaming, “I can’t believe I won. I’m just a kid!”
In fifteen minutes, this makes the perfect wind-down activity before bedtime. Get it here: Monopoly Deal
Phase 10 is similar to Rummy, with an important variation.
Players must complete their own levels (or phases) in order to advance to the next level.
This means players will often be on different levels from their opponents, making it an interesting challenge. Get it here: Phase 10
I played Rook through my University years. A lot. It’s true. When I should have been studying, I would often be a card-slinging Rook player.
Win rounds by trumping in at just the right time, trying to collect the number of tricks you had bid.
It’s probably best your children master Rook while they still live at home so you can keep their obsession in check. Get it here: Rook
There are two types of families who play this game. Those who are wrong and call it Skip-Boo and those who are right and play Skip-Bow (as in – put a bow on it).
Get everyone involved, with up to six players allowed.
Players collect ascending sequences with their cards and try to be the first to use up all of the cards in their stockpile. Wild cards keep things interesting in Skip Bo. Get it here: Skip Bo
I have no idea who to credit for creating this game, but it is brilliant. Pull out your old Pictionary cards and scoop up a package of Playdoh.
Instead of drawing the target word, try sculpting it with Playdoh.
There are no words to describe the hilarity of watching normally civilized people fiercely competing with Playdoh in their hands. No words. Get Playdoh here.
I’d love to hear about your favourite fast-paced card games – I’m sure I’ve missed a few. And if you have suggestions for my Dutch Blitz rematch, I’m all ears.
Download this printable for more ideas to stay connected with your child. Especially if they enter the eyerolling stage.