Inside: The best fast card games both competitive kids and adults will love. Tried and tested by our family of two teens, one tween and one little bean.
Riding in the van, our 15 year-old leans over to his youngest brother and quietly says, “Hey bud. I feel like I’ve hardly seen you this week.”
Between cramming homework, racing chores and running to events, it is easy for families to feel disconnected.
Yet one simple routine can help us begin to reconnect.
For our family, it’s playing games. 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?”
What is the appeal of fast-paced card games?
No set up is required and most card games can be mastered within one round.
Crushing an opponent in under 7 minutes is tremendously satisfying.
Card games fit nicely into a purse or glove box for marathon waiting times. Perfect for the doctor’s office or while waiting at a restaurant.
And the best thing about card games? The price point. Many are under $10 but pack a lot of play value.
I’ll share top-rated card games for those who want to pack a lot of fun into small windows of time.
But what if my kids resist playing card games with the family?
Ready for some Mama Magic? We are not above being strategic to get our kids to spend time with us. These ideas work well:
- 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 scatters
- 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.”
Which card games should we try first?
This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small percentage if you purchase something through the link at no extra cost to yourself. Win-win.
All of these are tried, tested and true. Grab a few using the links and you will have Family Nights planned for months.
If you have trouble deciding, comment at the end and I will personalize recommendations for your family’s ages.
Dutch Blitz Card Game
Each person tries to place their cards in numerical order faster than opponents, by flying through their ‘Flip’ pile.
Kids will race to compete with siblings and you’ll hear, “H-h-h-hey – I was going to put my card there!” and “Gah – everybody slow down!”
It’s a panic-inducing thrill for the whole family.
Get Dutch Blitz here
Pit Card Game
Pit is fast paced and only 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 is left ashamed and spoonless. Get Pit here.
Sushi Go Card Game
Sushi Go’s illustrated cards are adorable and quick to set up.
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 quickly. The scoring system is surprisingly easy to track.
Monopoly Deal Card Game
Faster than the Monopoly board game, this is a new family favourite. Collect properties and charging rent in a fraction of the time. Cards like a Deal Breaker keep things competitive and allow you to steal Park Place and Boardwalk from your sibling – look out!
Much to the teens’ dismay, our six-year-old just beamend “I can’t believe I won. I’m just a kid!
This makes the perfect wind-down activity before bedtime. Get it here: Monopoly Deal
Phase 10 Card Game
Phase 10 is similar to Rummy, with an important variation.
Players must complete their own levels/phases in order to advance to the next level.
So players often work on different levels than their opponents, making it an interesting challenge. Get it here: Phase 10
Rook Card Game
I played Rook through my University years. When I should have been studying, I would often be a card-slinging Rook player.
Win rounds by trumping in at the right time, trying to collect the exact number of tricks you had bid.
Let your children master Rook while they still live at home so you can keep their obsession in check. You’re welcome. Get it here: Rook
Blink Card Game
Players match the shapes, count or colour of their cards to either discard pile, making this perfect for younger kids.
Don’t blink or your opponent will make a match before you.
The first player to get through their pile wins.
Grab your copy of “The World’s Fastest Game” here.
Skip Bo Card Game
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).
Players collect ascending sequences with their cards and try to be the first to use their stockpile. Wild cards keep things interesting in Skip Bo. Get Skip Bo here.
Pull out your old Pictionary cards (or use this online list) and scoop up a package of Playdoh.
Instead of drawing target words, sculpt them. Watch normally civilized people compete fiercely with Playdoh in their hands.
How quickly can you create an octopus or Mt. Rushmore with one colour of Playdoh?
Get your 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 to beat my kids at Dutch Blitz, I’m all ears.