Best Card Games for Adults
Playing card games is a great way to spend time with friends. If you want something a little more complicated or naughtier than family-friendly card games, we've collected some of the best card games for adults that are perfect for parties, date nights, or other occasions!✍️ December 16, 2022
- 🐾 Best Overall: Exploding Kittens
- 🎴 Best Classic: Cards Against Humanity
- 👾 Best Immersive: Boss Monster
- 🕵️ Best Cooperative: Codenames
- 🟩 Best Icebreaker: F*ck The Game
- 👉 How we picked and tested
Card games are a fun pastime just for kids – adults can get in on the fun too! With so many different card games out there, you can always find something perfect for your game night, whether you’re looking for a classic game or something new and exciting.
For any adult looking for an entertaining game, we highly recommend Exploding Kittens. It’s a wild and fast-paced game that’s easy yet fun. Plus, it has hilarious illustrations that will have you and your friends laughing all night.
If you’re looking for a board game to get the party started, here is a list of our top five card games for adults. From timeless classics to more modern twists, we included something for everyone. If you want to know more about how we curated this list, read the process behind our selections here.
1. Best Overall: Exploding Kittens
- Player count: 2-5 players
- Duration: 15 minutes
- Ages: 7+
This strategic Russian roulette-inspired card game will have you and your friends on the edge of your seat! In this game, you draw cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and gets eliminated — so try not to be the one who gets blown up!
Why we love it
The best thing about Exploding Kittens is that it’s fast-paced and easy to play — you can get through a game in 15 minutes or less, and there’s almost no setup involved. Despite having a simple premise, it’s an incredibly engaging game with its hilariously inappropriate illustrations, like farting bats or cats shaped like hairy potatoes, that will have you paying attention the entire time.
There is an excellent level of aggressive play, and social interaction involved that makes for a truly enjoyable experience. You’ll find yourself strategizing, bluffing, and outwitting the other players - just how we like it!
This game has endless replay value as it is a fair balance of luck and strategy, making it an excellent game for adults looking to have some laughs while playing. And with various expansions available, you can keep playing for hours and never get bored.
The only thing we didn’t like is that the cards are made of poor quality and can wear out quickly. We recommend getting card sleeves to ensure the cards stand up to multiple plays. But apart from the card quality, we really don’t have anything negative to say about this game.
Overall, we think Exploding Kittens is an ideal card game for adults looking to have some fun. It’s absurd, strategic, and easy to learn - perfect for game night!
How to play
Getting started with Exploding Kittens is easy - the setup only takes a few minutes. First, take out all the Exploding Kittens cards and Defuse cards from the deck. Give each player one Defuse card and shuffle the remaining cards.
Then, deal four cards face down to each player, and put the remaining cards face down in a pile in the center of the group. Insert all the Exploding Kittens back into the deck and shuffle it. All players should now have five cards in their hand, including one Defuse card.
To begin, the player to the dealer’s left starts their turn. On each turn, you can play as many cards from your hand as you want. After playing cards, you end your turn by drawing a card from the center pile.
If you draw an Exploding Kitten, don’t panic — that’s where your Defuse card comes in. As long as you have a Defuse card in your hand, you can discard it on your turn to avoid the exploding kitten.
Eventually, everyone but one player will be eliminated by drawing an Exploding Kitten. The last person standing is the winner!
2. Best Classic: Cards Against Humanity
- Player count: 4-20 players or more
- Duration: 30 minutes average playing time
- Ages: 17+
This beloved classic is the perfect game for adults who like to push boundaries and poke fun at society. With hundreds of outrageous cards, this card game encourages you to be creative and come up with the most ridiculous answers to win.
Why we love it
Our favorite thing about Cards Against Humanity is its digestibility and simplicity. You don’t need to know any special rules or strategies - just pick the funniest answer to each question and hope you win!
This game encourages social interaction as you and your friends come up with clever answers to the questions. It’s an ideal icebreaker for large social gatherings and can even be played virtually. Plus, you can buy various expansions to keep the game fresh and exciting.
Its only downside is that you need to have a certain type of humor to appreciate and enjoy it truly, so if taboo topics do not easily amuse you, this game might not be for you. We also didn’t like how the base game can get stale pretty quickly after a few rounds.
But all in all, Cards Against Humanity is an excellent game for adults who want to have a good laugh while playing. Be warned, though - it can get pretty wild!
How to play
To begin, shuffle the white cards, deal each player ten cards, and choose one person to act as the Card Czar. The Card Czar will read out a black card from the deck, and everyone else will pick a white card from their hand to answer it.
Once everyone has selected their cards, they will put them face-down in front of the Card Czar. The Card Czar will then shuffle the cards and read out each one individually, along with the phrase on the black card.
Then, the Card Czar will choose the funniest answer and award the player the black card. The player to the left of the Card Czar becomes the new Card Czar, and a new round begins.
At the end of each game, whoever has the most black cards wins!
3. Best Immersive: Boss Monster
- Player count: 2-4 players
- Duration: 20 minutes
- Ages: 13+
Ever wanted to be the bad guy in a fantasy world? Now you can with Boss Monster! This card game puts you in control of a powerful villain who lures heroes to their doom.
Why we love it
What makes Boss Monster so fun is how immersive the game can be. The 8-bit and pixel artwork is gloriously done and gives you the feeling of being in an old-school video game, making it the perfect game for fans of RPGs and video games. Its unique premise also sets it apart from other card games that are usually just about being heroes or saving the world.
There is an excellent level of replayability thanks to the variety of rooms and spells you can use, and the game itself is easy to learn and fast-paced. Expansions are also available to add to the challenge and keep things fresh. You’ll find yourself wanting to play this game over and over again!
On the downside, Boss Monster does rely on luck more than most card games and can become highly unbalanced if you’re unlucky with your hand. Some players might also get turned off by the player elimination aspect, making it annoying to wait for others while they finish the game.
Nevertheless, Boss Monster is an excellent game for adults who want an immersive and unique card game experience. If you’ve ever wanted to play as the villain in a fantasy world, this is the game for you!
How to play
Setting up and playing Boss Monster is fairly simple. In this game, each player builds a dungeon to lure heroes to their doom. Your objective is to kill adventurers in their dungeons so you can steal their souls. The first player who gathers ten souls wins the game.
If a hero reaches the final boss room without being eliminated, the boss takes wound damage. Five wound damage points destroy the boss and result in the player being eliminated from the game.
Players control their dungeon by selecting a Boss Monster, or they can randomize the bosses to keep things fair. Every boss has a unique level-up ability and corresponding experience points on their card.
Whenever a player completes their dungeon by filling all the rooms, the boss character on their card levels up. They can then use their special ability at any time. The experience point cost determines which player gets to go first during each round.
Every player begins the game with 2 spell cards and 5 room cards. The objective is to make the dungeon as deadly as possible for thieving heroes by playing your room cards strategically. Spell cards have unique abilities that can be used to attack other players or heroes directly, but can only be used once.
As heroes move through your dungeon rooms, you will have to keep track of how much damage they have taken. Heroes who don’t survive your dungeon will award you with a soul point, and the player who first gains 10 soul points wins the game!
4. Best Cooperative: Codenames
- Player count: 2-8 players (teams allowed)
- Duration: 15 minutes
- Ages: 14+
This social deduction game is perfect for those who enjoy working together to solve puzzles. Codenames is a fun and exciting game where you’ll have to guess with fellow players to uncover the secret agents on a mission.
Why we love it
The great thing about Codenames is that it encourages teamwork and social interaction. The game wants you to work with your team and use creative thinking to figure out the secret words, so it’s perfect for groups of friends or family who love to work together.
This game also has a shallow learning curve — it’s easy to set up, and the rules are straightforward. You can pick up the game and start playing right away; there are no pages of rules and instructions to read!
Codenames has a great level of replayability, as you can make many possible combinations with the words. The sleek and sturdy design of the cards also ensures that they can handle a few rounds of intense play without wearing out.
The most notable drawback of the game is that while it says two players at the minimum can play it, we recommend it for at least four. With only two players, the game can become dull and repetitive quickly.
Still, Codenames is an excellent cooperative card game for adults. It’s simple yet engaging and perfect for those who enjoy some detective work in a game.
How to play
Split into two teams to start the game, with one person from each team assigned as the “spymaster”. Each spymaster will need to check a card containing several words and then give single-word hints that relate most of those words to their team’s color.
The spymasters should sit on the same side of a table, with the other players (field operatives) sitting across from them. There should be a 5-by-5 grid of codenames in the middle of the table.
Shuffle the codename cards and flip over half the deck to begin the game. The spymasters should then choose one key card at random without letting the field operatives see it and slide it into the stand between them.
Playing the game: In this game, spymasters take turns giving one-word clues that connect as many of their team’s cards to their colors (red or blue) as possible. Field operatives can then use the spymaster’s clue to identify which cards belong to their team.
The field operatives should guess the cards, revealing them as they do so. If a card is guessed correctly, the spymaster covers the word with an agent card in that color. The operatives can try guessing again, but the spymaster can give no more clues.
The team’s turn ends when the operative either touches an innocent bystander or a card from the opposing team. If they touch the assassin, then that game is over and the other team wins — simple as that. During this process, the spymaster must keep a poker face so as not to give any clues away by facial expressions.
When one team correctly identifies all of their cards, they win the game. Additionally, it’s possible to win on another team’s turn if that team makes a mistake and guesses your last word correctly. If any member of either team guesses the assassin card, the game ends immediately.
5. Best Icebreaker: F*ck The Game
- Player count: 2-8 players
- Duration: 30 minutes
- Ages: 17+
Playing on the Stroop Effect to get players to mess up and say the wrong words, F*ck the Game makes for a hilarious icebreaker. Get ready for your quick thinking and creative language skills to be tested in this game!
Why we love it
We love how incredibly easy and accessible the game is. All you need to do is take out the cards and start playing — no need to read through a bunch of rules or complex instructions. It’s just one of those games that are simple and easy to learn, yet hard to master.
The game’s fast-paced nature also makes it exciting and perfect for those who don’t want to spend hours on a card game. Getting each other to make mistakes and shout the wrong word is a great way to break the ice and get people laughing in no time, making F*ck The Game ideal for large groups of adults. There is also an exceptional level of flexibility with the rules in this game, as the creators even say that taking out words is completely acceptable if they offend any players. And being able to accommodate adults of all ages and backgrounds is always a nice and appreciated gesture.
Our only gripe is that the game isn’t exactly colorblind-friendly, as it relies on correctly saying the word in the card and not being distracted by the colors to win. But overall, we still think F*ck The Game is an incredibly simple and entertaining game that can bring a lot of fun to any gathering.
How to play
In this game, your objective is to get rid of all your cards. To do so, correctly say what the cards ask you to say to avoid picking up extra cards. To begin the game, divide the deck as evenly as possible among the players and have them place their cards in a stack face down.
The player who goes first has to draw the top card from the stack and read it aloud. There are several rules you need to remember when playing this game, such as:
If the color of the text is black, you need to say what the background color of the card is. If the color of the text is colored, you need to say that color. If the text is a swear word, you just need to say that swear word. If the word is “FUCK” you don’t say it – you instead just follow rules 1 and 2.
Take turns going around, and if a player incorrectly says the word, all the other players should race to slap the deck. Whoever gets to slap first chooses a player to receive two cards from their deck. The first player who successfully gets rid of all their cards wins the game!
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 20 different games with groups of 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 as impartial as possible. However, if you stumble upon a card game for adults that you think deserves a spot on our list, please reach out to us! We would love to hear from you.
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