Different games of cards

Classified Index of Card Games

There are many different ways to classify card games, none of them entirely satisfactory. An excellent discussion of the difficulties can be found in David Parlett: A History of Card Games (Oxford University Press 1990) pages 61 to 64.

Following Parlett, the main classification used to organise games on this web site is by : games are categorised according to the process for playing them - i.e. what you do when it is your turn to play. On this page I have also attempted a classification by, based on what the players have to do in order to win.

These abstract classifications are useful in understanding the evolution of card games and the relationships between them, but in a practical situation of deciding what card game to play, might be more useful, and will be progressively added to this page in future. Some of these will be rather subjective. For example, in response to many requests, I have tried to produce a list of .

Games Classified by Mechanism

The aim in this classification is to put together games which have similar mechanics of play. As card games evolve and change, players tend to keep the basic mechanism of a game they know, but vary the objectives or some of the details. Sometimes complications are added to make the game richer; sometimes games are simplified to speed them up, and sometimes ideas are introduced by analogy with other games. A result is that in this classification games that are historically related, being derived from each other or having a common ancestor, tend to end up together in the same group.

I use just five main categories:, , , and . These categories are subdivided into groups and subgroups. Some of the subgroup divisions may take into account the objectives of the game as well as the mechanism. This classification scheme seems to be working reasonably well - nearly all the traditional games being added to the site can be fitted into one of the existing groups.

Category Group

Outplay Games

This is by far the largest main category. Each player has a hand of cards and a move consists of playing out one or more cards to the table to achieve some effect. The play ends when some or all of the players have run out of cards to play.

A trick consists of each player in turn playing one card face up to the table. There are Plain Trick Games in which only the tricks themselves are important, and Point Trick Games in which the value of tricks is affected by which cards they contain. Inflation games are similar to trick-taking games, but players may acquire extra cards during the game, making the hand sizes unequal.

At your turn you must either beat the card played by the previous player or pick it up (possibly with other cards) and add it to your hand. The aim is generally to get rid of all your cards.

In these games if you cannot or do not wish to beat the previous play you simply pass.

The cards are played in a pile and their values added, the aim usually being to achieve or avoid particular totals.

There is a pool of face-up cards on the table which can be captured by playing a matching card from your hand.

At your turn you must play a card which matches the previous play or fits into a layout according to some rule. Most often the aim is to get rid of all your cards in this way. This category includes the stops group, the eights group and the layout group.

Players store their cards in a pile face down and turn up the top card to play it. In certain circumstances the played cards are captured by one player, and added to their store of cards.

Card Exchange Games

Each player has a hand of cards and a move consists of exchanging a card or cards. The exchange may be with another player or with a stock of face-up or face-down cards on the table. The objective is generally to collect certain cards or combinations of cards.

The basic move is to draw a card from the stock and discard one to the discard pile. This category includes the large group of Rummy Games.

There is a common pool of cards on the table, and at your turn you exchange one or more cards with the pool.

Each player has only one card, and at their turn can try to exchange this for their neighbour's card.

At your turn you can ask another player for a card that you want, and if they have it they must give it to you.

A move consists of passing a card or cards to your neighbour, or in some cases taking a card from your neighbour.

Hand Comparison Games

In these games there is little or no actual play of cards. The result is determined simply by comparing the cards dealt to the players to see which is best, or sometimes simply on the turn of a card or cards to decide whether a player wins or loses. In some games there may be an opportunity to improve your position by drawing some extra cards, or by choosing how to arrange your cards into groups. There are many gambling games in this category, often with elaborate betting procedures.

In these games the players' hands are compared with each other and the player with the best hand wins (or the one with the worst hand loses). In Partition Games, the players divide their hand into parts, which are compared separately.

In these games, before the hands are compared, players may propose to raise the stakes, and those who do not wish to accept the raise may drop out.

The players do not play against each other, but each plays individually against a special player - the banker.

Patience Games

These are games in which the object is typically sort the pack of cards into order, by moving cards on a layout according to specific rules.

Patience games were originally designed for a single player. The player wins if the sorting is successful (the patience comes out), and loses if a position is reached from which the cards cannot be sorted.

Several players compete to be the first to complete a patience game.

Other Games

This category is for games that do not yet fit into the above classification.

You might also like
Blank playing cards in different sizes and made of
Blank playing cards in different sizes and made of ...
The different kind of cards within Dark Legacy
The different kind of cards within Dark Legacy
How to Do different kinds of card shuffles
How to Do different kinds of card shuffles
How to Shuffle a Deck of Cards : Different Ways to Shuffle
How to Shuffle a Deck of Cards : Different Ways to Shuffle ...
Related Posts