This week I’m going to be focusing on a very specific type of game for all of my posts; I’ll be writing about card games and how they fit into the board game world. Now when most people think of card games, their mind probably jumps to games like Magic: the Gathering, Duel Monsters, or maybe even Pokémon. These are great games that have their own place in the entertainment industry, but the card games I’m talking about are unique. These card games play and look like a board game in a lot of ways, and sometimes end up being thrown into the same category as “board game”. A lot of card games even take this a step further and add pieces and boards that add to the visual effects of the game, making the difference between a card game and a board game even murkier.
For the purpose of this conversation I will consider a card game a game that plays like a board game but the majority of action is based on playing the cards rather than moving on a board. A good example of this type of game is Munchkin, a D&D based card game which uses different monster, treasure, and event cards to progress the game and utilizes a board simply keep score (in the original version of the game there wasn’t even a board, you just kept score by hand). This type of game is focused on the cards and the effects they have on the game. In contrast, a game like Clue puts as much emphasis into moving around the board and going into specific rooms as it does the cards that you use to determine who the murderer is. For additional examples of these different types of games, check out the chart below:
|Type of Game||Game Description||Game Examples|
|Board Game with Cards||Focuses on moving across board rather than playing cards||Clue, Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan|
|Card Game/Board Game Hybrid||Uses a board to facilitate the game, but majority of focus is on playing cards||Munchkin, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit|
|Card Game||No board is used, solely focused on the cards||Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Uno|
So now that we’ve established the types of game we’re talking about, what are the advantages of playing a card game versus a board game? Here are a few reasons these games are worth playing:
- Less restriction to a particular area or movement: Board games generally have a defined space in which you can move and react with your character or piece (with certain exceptions). While there are advantages to having a set area to move about, an advantage to playing a card game is that there isn’t the same restriction. Whether this means that you have more freedom within the game itself to play your cards, or if it means you can all gather around and play on the floor, the flexibility of card games is a definite advantage to playing them.
- More opportunities for artwork and impressive images: Some of the most fun parts of a game are the aesthetics. Artwork is a huge portion of making a good game great, and card games have the ability to amplify this effect. Because there are so many different cards you can play in the average card game, artists have more of a chance to be creative and come up with great ideas. The best card games out there usually have cards with either beautiful or entertaining pictures on them.
- Similar style/feel of children’s games: When you look back at some of the games you played as a kid, it’s surprising how many of them involved a deck of cards. Games like Go Fish, War, and Cheat were common when my friends were stuck somewhere with nothing to entertain ourselves except a deck of cards. Playing a newer card game always brings me back to those times, and that excitement quickly translates into a fun experience for everyone.
- Easy to Transport: Generally speaking, it is easier to pack a card game than it is to pack a board game. This is not always the case, but more often than not on road trips the card game is the one that will be easier to fit inside your suitcase. Bringing along some fun card games on trips can mean the difference between an entertaining evening of games and a few hours of trying to find something good on the hotel TV.
Ultimately card games and card/board game hybrids have many of the advantages of regular board games, with some added bonuses along the way. Similar to the board game industry, these types of games are only getting bigger and more common. Make sure to keep an eye out for some cool new card games next time you get a chance and I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
If you have any card games you are a big fan of or would like to know more about, comment below and tell me about them!