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Sometimes, the most fun card games are best enjoyed with just three people. Whether you’re playing with your closest friends, family, or just looking to pass the time with colleagues, our top recommendation is Gnoming A Round. It’s simple, fun, and has just the right amount of challenge to keep things interesting even after multiple rounds!

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Because we believe in having a great time no matter the number of players, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten card games perfect for three players. Want to know how we curated our list? Read our selection process here.

1. Best Overall: Gnoming A Round

Available on
  • Player count: 2-7 players
  • Duration: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Ages: 7+

It’s like a mini-golf, but with cards! Gnoming A Round tops our list as the best card game for three players for its simple gameplay, replayability, and fun factor.

Why we love it

The best thing about Gnoming A Round is how quickly you can learn and play the game. The rules are straightforward, and you can start playing fast! So even if you’re playing with new people or young kids, you don’t have to worry about a long learning curve.

This game is a perfect way to practice or get better at counting, or just math in general. Since it’s like mini-golf, it’s all about getting the lowest score and being strategic, so you can work on your math skills while having fun!

Plus, Gnoming A Round has infinite replay value because you can implement more complex rules once you become familiar with the game, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned players. The game also has superb artwork, and it’s small enough to bring anywhere โ€” so you can whip it out for a quick game at any time.

The only thing we didn’t like about this game is the box that it comes in. It falls apart rather easily, but that’s a minor inconvenience compared to the great features of this game! We suggest investing in another type of box to store it in, so you can keep it safe when you bring it with you.

Gnoming A Round is an excellent choice for three players and a must-have in your card game collection. It’s so fun and easy to learn โ€” we guarantee you won’t get tired of playing it!

How to play

Gnoming A Round is a thrilling, three-round game! During these rounds, you’ll need to arrange cards into a 3x3 grid. The key is to score as low as possible; you can attempt this by either filling your grid with Negative value cards or constructing rows and columns of matching positive point values.

To set up, deal each player nine cards, which they lay face-down in a 3x3 grid. Players then flip over any two of their 9 cards. Put the rest of the deck within easy reach of all players and flip over two cards to create two different discard piles.

It’s time to start the game! Deal all three players nine cards, which you arrange in a 3x3 grid with their faces down. Then, turn over any two of those 9 cards. Place the remainder of the deck close by so everyone can reach it and flip two more from it, forming two distinct discard piles.

During your turn, you take a card from either on top of the discard pile or from the deck, play a card into your 3x3 grid, and discard one card onto any one of both discard piles. If you uncover a face-down card that matches either the replaced card or any other revealed cards, select another one from your grid instead of discarding it.

When one of the players flips over their final card, the other two players are granted a single turn before points are tallied. The round ends, and you begin to set up for the next round. The player with the lowest score at the end of all three rounds is declared the winner!

2. Best Classic: Old Maid

Available on
  • Player count: 2-4 players
  • Duration: 5 minutes average playing time
  • Ages: 4+

Old Maid is a classic card game that always packs a punch! All about trying to get rid of your cards first; this game is fast-paced and full of surprises.

Why we love it

There’s just something about the game’s simplicity that we find charming and enjoyable. We’ve all grown up with it, playing it in our homes and at family gatherings, so we can’t help but love the nostalgia that comes with Old Maid.

The game is intuitive and as simple as it is entertaining. All you need to do is deal the cards and discard the pairs; the rest is up to luck! Young players will be able to understand the rules with minimal guidance.

It’s also great for teaching numbers, patterns, and turn order - the essentials of card playing. Because the game has no winner, only a loser, players won’t have to be hellbent on winning. It’s an excellent way to teach children how to lose gracefully and graciously, which is a valuable lesson.

Our only gripe with this game is that it can be repetitive if played too many times. Nevertheless, this old classic is an absolute must-have in any card game collection!

How to play

To begin, shuffle and deal out the entire deck of cards among all three players. Because you have three players, you won’t get an equal number of cards, but that’s fine. You’re good to go as long as all the cards are distributed.

Next, choose a person to start the game. That person begins by discarding any pairs of cards they have. For example, if you were dealt two sevens or two jacks, you can toss them. The person to your left then has a turn and so on, until it comes back around to the first player again.

When all the pairs have been discarded, whoever has the Old Maid card is declared the loser. This game has no winner, only a loser, so don’t feel bad if you end up being the one with the Old Maid card because you can always play again!

3. Best Interactive: Slap Jack

Available on
  • Player count: 2-4 players
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 4+

Put your reflexes to the test with the next game on our list - Slap Jack! This classic game of speed and skill with an interactive twist is always a blast.

Why we love it

The great thing about Slap Jack is that anyone can play it! It’s a game of reaction, so you don’t have to be the best card player or even the smartest one to win. All you need is quick reflexes and the right timing!

Slap Jack has a low learning curve, so you can jump into the game without learning complicated rules or strategies. It’s an easy game with a silly twist, making it great for kids and adults.

Plus, the game has excellent replayability and facilitates social interaction โ€” expect full of laughs as players try to be the first ones to slap a Jack card! It’s an unpredictable game with plenty of interactive opportunities, so trust us when we say that no two Slap Jack games ever play out the same way!

However, remember that this can be too rough on your hands, especially if you play a lot in one sitting. But overall, Slap Jack is an excellent three-player card game that encourages quick thinking and fast reflexes, and we think you’ll love it just as much as we do!

How to play

Setting up and playing Slap jack is simple! All you need is a regular deck of cards and three players. Each player draws a card from the deck, and whoever has the lowest card becomes the dealer.

The dealer shuffles the deck and then deals out the cards to all the players face down. Once all the cards have been dealt, the dealer flips over a card from the top of the deck and places it face up in the middle of the table.

The next player does the same, and so on. The game’s goal is to be the first person to slap a Jack card when it’s flipped over. Whoever slaps it first gets to keep the card until all the cards have been flipped over.

When a player slaps a card, even if it’s not a Jack card, they must forfeit one of their cards to the next player. In the end, whoever has the most cards wins!

4. Best Icebreaker: Play Nine

Available on
  • Player count: 2-6 players
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Ages: 8+

For golf fans, another excellent three-player card game is Play Nine! This golf-themed card game combines elements of strategy and luck, making it a great way to break the ice among friends and family.

Why we love it

The best thing about Play Nine is the immense flexibility it offers!* While you can still complete the game in nine rounds, you can shorten or lengthen the game depending on your preference. And flexibility is something we could all use right now!

Aside from that, Play Nine is a lighthearted game that can be a fun go-to game (even if you don’t know golf) for adults and kids alike. It has a fair mix of luck and strategy, and the rounds also move quickly, so you don’t have to worry about the game dragging on for too long.

You’ll also love the fact that this game has excellent replayability. The rounds move fairly quickly, and the game can be adjusted to your needs, so you and your friends will never get bored!

Our only complaint is that this game’s cardstock wears down quickly after a few plays, so we suggest investing in card sleeves or a new deck after some time. Overall, Play Nine is an excellent three-player card game that combines elements of luck and strategy in a fun, golf-themed package!

How to play

Getting started with Play Nine is easy! To get the game going, give each player eight cards. Place what’s left of the deck in the middle to form your draw pile, and then flip over one card to start your discard pile.

Every player arranges their cards in two rows of four without looking at them. Then, all three players flip over two randomly chosen cards โ€” an action known as ’teeing’. This is the only time when two cards are flipped together.

The player on the dealer’s left begins the game.

When it’s your turn, you have two options: like the card that you drew or don’t. To start, draw a single card from the pile and evaluate whether you want to keep it. If yes, replace any of your visible cards by swapping them with this one โ€“ easy as pie!

If you are dissatisfied with the card that has been revealed, feel free to discard it and flip one of your face-down cards. You repeat this process until you only have one face-down card left, and everyone else has flipped over all their cards.

Now, tally up the scores of each player, and whoever has the lowest score after the ninth hole wins the game!

5. Best for Kids: 3 Up and 3 Down

Available on
  • Player count: 2-6 players or more (teams allowed)
  • Duration: Can vary
  • Ages: 7+

Get your young ones in on the fun with the next classic card game in our list, 3 Up and 3 Down! A fast-paced game with a simple premise, this is always a hit with the kids!

Why we love it

The beauty of 3 Up and 3 Down lies in its simplicity. It’s straightforward and only takes a few minutes to get the hang of it. The game is fast-paced enough to make it a filler game or something you can play while waiting for your food to arrive at a restaurant.

Plus, this game presents plenty of opportunities to practice math and logical thinking because players must make deductions based on what the other players are discarding. And it’s a great way to introduce kids to basic card game mechanics and strategies.

3 Up and 3 Down also has a nice balance of luck and strategy. Since the cards you get will be random, you must make the best of what you’ve got. So, it’s a game that requires your players to think on their feet and come up with strategic solutions to any problems they may face!

Its only drawback? You may be better off watching video tutorials online than reading the instructions from the box. Once you’ve seen it in action, we guarantee you 3 Up and 3 Down will quickly become a household favorite for its simplicity and fun factor!

How to play

In this game, your objective is to be the first player to eliminate all your cards. To begin, shuffle the deck and deal three cards face down to each player. You can’t look at these cards.

Once you’ve dealt the initial three cards face down to each player, deal six more, and allow them to have a look. Each person will select three of these six new cards and place them on top of their original ‘3 down’ set: this is what we call your ‘3 Up’ group.

The remaining three cards that you were given now make up your hand. Place the other undealt cards in the middle, and you’re ready to go!

Playing the game: You can play one or more cards from your hand during your turn. If you have a card in your hand that you can play, it is mandatory to do so; the number on the card must be greater than or equal to the cards already present on top of the discard pile.

If you have two or more cards with the same number, you can play all of them at once. If you cannot make a play, pick up one card from the remaining deck and add it to your hand. Keep doing so until all of your cards have been used up.

The game continues until one player discards their last 3 Down card and is declared the winner!

6. Most Unique: Exploding Kittens

Available on
  • Player count: 2-5 players
  • Duration: 15 minutes average playing time
  • Ages: 7+

Get ready to laugh out loud with Exploding Kittens! An off-the-wall game that guarantees a hilarious evening, this is the perfect choice for friends who like to laugh and let loose.

Why we love it

What makes this card game so unique is its hilarious artwork and crazy premise. It’s a strategic take based on Russian Roulette, with the added twist of being able to use cards to skip your turn or defuse the dreaded Exploding Kitten cards.

This game facilitates a high level of social interaction as you all try to outsmart each other by making strategic moves. Plus, it’s silly artwork and the cards are just too much fun for you not to bond with your friends!

Moreover, Exploding Kittens is high in replayability, fast-paced, and unpredictable, so you’re guaranteed a different experience each time you play. And there are also expansion packs you can buy to add more spice and variety to the game.

A significant downside to this game is its card quality. The cards are made from flimsy material, so you may need to buy a card sleeve if you want them to last longer.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and quirky 3-player card game that’s designed to make your night even more enjoyable, Exploding Kittens is a fantastic addition to your collection!

How to play

It’s easy to get the game of Exploding Kittens going โ€” you can set it up in just a few minutes! First, take out all of the Exploding Kitten cards and Defuse cards from the deck. Give all three players one Defuse card, then shuffle all remaining cards together.

Shuffle the Exploding Kittens into the deck before dealing each player four cards face down. Once all players have five cards, including one Defuse card, place any remaining cards in a pile at the center of your table for easy access. Now you’re ready for some explosive fun!

To start, the person to the dealer’s left is the first player. During each turn, you can lay down as many cards from your hand as you want. Then, end your go by taking a card from the deck in the middle.

Don’t panic if you draw an Exploding Kitten card; that is where your Defuse cards come in! On your turn, simply discard the Defuse card to avoid being eliminated from the game. That way, you can keep playing and have fun!

As the game progresses, players will be eliminated until only one person is left. Whoever that lucky soul wins โ€” all thanks to the dreaded Exploding Kitten card!

7. Best Competitive: Set

Available on
  • Player count: 1-10 players
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 6+

Think you’ve got an eye for detail? Try your hand at Set! A game that requires you to use your observation skills, Set tests on how well you can spot patterns before your opponents do. Are you up for the challenge?

Why we love it

The best thing about Set is how quickly you can learn the rules and get started playing. It’s simple yet requires quite some concentration because of its competitive nature. You’ll need to be quick to spot a set of three cards that share one or more attributes, such as color and shape.

We also love how the shapes are big enough for players to see how each card differs easily. Plus, the game is so portable that you can take it on road trips and family vacations.

The downside to this game is that the cardstock isn’t the best quality, so we suggest investing in a plastic sleeve to protect your cards. But overall, Set is an ideal three-player card game that’s perfect for testing your memory and observation skills while having fun with your friends!

How to play

Set is a quick-paced, visual perception game. The aim of the game is to identify and collect as many sets as possible. Each card in Set has four different attributes: symbols, color, number of symbols, and shading.

You need three distinct cards to be the same or different in all attributes to form a set. Specifically, each card must either include matching symbols or dissimilar symbols. For example, the cards all either need to be in the same or different color or the same or different symbol.

A game of Set starts with one player becoming the dealer who reveals twelve cards on the table. All players, excluding the dealer, will attempt to identify a set simultaneously. When someone finds a set and calls out “set” they are rewarded with those three cards!

This continues until all cards have been collected, and all three players count each card they received. Whoever has the most sets wins!

8. Best Cooperative: The Game

Available on
  • Player count: 1-5 players
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Ages: 8+

Know how to count from 1 to 100? Great! How about in reverse? A cooperative card game, The Game tests your team’s counting skills, so come together and get ready to count!

Why we love it

Our favorite part about The Game is the frustration and excitement it brings. Because it’s a cooperative game, you have to work together as a team and be frustrated together - and then, when you eventually win, the joy is shared among everyone!

We also appreciate how this game improves group communication because you’re not allowed to discuss concrete numbers but can only make requests to the other two players. This way, you learn how to formulate your thoughts in a way that gets the point across without being too specific.

The excellent levels of accessibility this game offers make it great for all ages and skill levels. It’s a simple concept about drawing numbered cards from the deck and then adding them to two different piles, so as long as you can count from one to one hundred, you’re good!

This game also has infinite replay value with how quick each round is. It’s typically very short, so you won’t have to worry about it dragging on for hours!

The only thing we see other players struggle with is the game’s tension, especially if you’re not into tension-packed games. Nevertheless, The Game is a great card game for three players that can bring the team closer and strengthen your counting skills!

How to play

As the game progresses, four rows of cards are laid out on the table. Two rows ascend from 1 to 99 while the others descend from 100 down to 2. These four rows of cards are laid face up, one below the other, in the middle of the table.

Then, shuffle the 98 number cards together. Distribute six of them to all three players, leaving the remaining cards in a stack face-down off to one side of the table; this is your draw pile.

Playing the game: Decide who goes first, and then, on your turn, look at your hand. Place at least two cards from your hand beside one of the four-row sets. You can lay as many cards as you want in whichever piles, even if you empty your hand.

When you’re done with your turn, replenish the same number of cards from the draw pile laid out this round so that you have a full hand of six again. Now it’s time for the next player to repeat this process until all players have a renewed set of cards.

When the draw pile has been depleted, keep going without picking up any cards. The game ends as soon as someone cannot play the minimal number of cards required for their turn - two if there are still cards left in the draw pile or one once it’s empty.

Winning the game: Once the game has concluded, tally up all of the cards left behind - this includes any cards still held in players’ hands and those that remain in the draw pile. Scoring fewer than ten cards is an excellent result! If you manage to play all 98, then you win! You’re now ready to increase your difficulty level!

9. Best Strategy: Uno Flip

Available on
  • Player count: 2-10 players
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 7+

With a unique twist on the classic Uno game, Uno Flip allows you to turn the game around by just flipping one card. Perfect for those who love a challenge, Uno Flip incorporates some strategy elements that will get any 3-player team pumped with excitement!

Why we love it

There’s just something about the accessibility of Uno Flip that makes it an excellent game for any gathering. It’s simple enough for young kids to understand, yet the new twists in this spin-off make it challenging enough for seasoned players.

This game has excellent levels of player interactions and strategic thinking, as each player must carefully think about their moves. On top of that, the game encourages players to think of the best way to get rid of their cards as quickly as possible.

Our only gripe with the game is that there’s no tin storage that comes with it, only a paper box. This makes it quite challenging to keep it organized, especially if you don’t have many board game shelves. But this minor issue doesn’t take away from the overall fun of Uno Flip, and we still highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for a strategic game with your friends!

How to play

Uno Flip is an exciting game with two sides to every card โ€“ dark and light. It’s simple; the challenge lies in being the first one to discard all your cards! To begin playing, shuffle the deck and deal seven cards to each player.

All participants begin with their cards light side up, and as usual, you take turns trying to match the same color or number of your top card with one from your hand. If you can’t, pick up a card from the draw pile.

If a player places a Flip card on the discard pile, this indicates that the game is flipped โ€“ all cards must now be played dark side up! Keep playing until one player has no cards left in their hand. That player is the winner!

๐Ÿ‘‰ For a more comprehensive guide on how to play Uno Flip and its cards, read our guide on the game here.

10. Best Immersive: Oh Fruck

Available on
  • Player count: 2-6 players
  • Duration: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Ages: 12+

An unbelievably raucous game takes the last spot on our list โ€“ Oh Fruck! All about getting rid of your cards and laughing your way to victory, this game is one wild ride!

Why we love it

What we love about this card game is how silly and immersive it is. The cards will sometimes ask you to do the weirdest things, like acting like a chicken or trying to speak in another accent. This makes Oh Fruck so much fun at any gathering โ€“ it will garner plenty of laughs!

We also appreciate the game’s flexibility โ€“ you can go as fast or slow as you want, adjust how many rounds to play, and limit rules depending on your preference. The creators even encourage you to do so!

Oh Fruck is also straightforward to learn and doesn’t require a lot of thought. All you need to do is follow the rules on each card, discard all your cards before anyone else, and you’ll be the winner!

However, not everyone would be into the silly humor that comes with Oh Fruck. If you’re playing with more serious players, this game might not be the best choice for your group. Still, if your 3-player squad wants something fun, wild, and out of the ordinary โ€“ this game has got you covered!

How to play

In Oh Fruck, your objective is to be the first player to discard all your cards. To do this, you’ll need to follow the instructions on each card. The game begins with combining all 76 Playing Cards into one large deck and shuffling.

Then, deal eight cards to each player and put the rest of the deck in the middle. Flip the top card and place it on the discard pile. Shuffle the Special Rules cards, then turn three cards over and announce them for everyone to hear.

Pay close attention! Specific rules apply to all players, while other restrictions only apply to a few. On your turn, discard a card that matches the one in the discard pile. If you can’t, pick up a new card from the deck.

Discarding some cards will trigger special effects, and the Special Rules cards will kick in at certain moments. The game ends when one player has no cards left โ€“ that person is the winner!

How we picked and tested

PsyCat Games is built by people who know how to have fun! We’ve been researching parties and games since 2018 and have published 400+ articles on our website. That’s why we’re confident that we know what we’re talking about!

We want you to have the best time possible and not waste your money on a subpar product. That’s why we spend over three months testing over 30 games with groups of kids, teens, and adults. We’ve ranked the games by the fun factor, player experience, and replayability!

Our ranking is subjective, but we’ve tried our best to be impartial. However, if you stumble upon a card game for three players you think deserves a spot on our list, please contact us! We would love to hear from you.

PsyCat Games is supported by readers clicking on our affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we might earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

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