The 10 types of card games
Card games are a vast category of games that employ cards. Their rules and their goals can vary significantly, making each unique and challenging in its own way. However, despite the great differences between them, they can be grouped into specific types of card games according to their defining characteristics.
1. Trick-taking games
Trick-taking is one of the most popular types of card games designed for two or more players. There are many different games within this category, but typically they are “outplay games”, meaning that each player has a hand, and they must play their cards (or tricks) out of it. These games also include several rounds.
The goal of each game varies. You may have to collect as many tricks or scoring cards within the tricks as possible, collect a specific number of tricks or avoid taking any tricks at all (penalty cards), for example.
Popular games of Trick-taking include Spades, Hearts, Bridge, and Euchre.
2. Shedding games
As their name suggests, in these types of card games each player has a hand to play and must shed their cards. The first to discard all their cards wins the game. In some game varieties, there is only one loser: the last person left with cards.
Popular Shedding games include UNO, Crazy Eights, and President.
3. Matching / Melding games
Matching card games are also known as melding and rummy games. The main purpose of these games is to match the cards.
In melding games, you must match (or meld) a specific group of cards before your opponent can do so. Some varieties of matching games are similar to shedding games as the goal is to match the cards to discard them. The first player to discard all their cards wins.
Canasta and Rummy are examples of melding card games.
4. Solitaire / Patience games
Solitaire games, also known as Patience, are single-player card games. The term Solitaire encompasses a wide variety of card games, with different tableau arrangements and goals.
In the most popular varieties such as Klondike, Spider, and FreeCell, the goal is to create card sequences and build foundations by suit, following a certain order. Other famous types of Solitaire such as Tripeaks and Golf have a matching component as the player must pair the cards to discard them from the tableau until none is left.
5. Vying games
Vying means to compete or contend with an opponent for superiority. Thus, vying games refer to those games in which the players compare their hands to find who has the best card combination. Vying games are also known as “comparing” or “showdown” games.
Most gambling games fall into this category, including Poker.
6. Banking games
Traditionally, banking games refer to less-skilled gambling games in which luck plays a larger role. Popular banking games include Blackjack and Baccarat.
The distinctive feature of these games is that the players face a dealer (or banker) and must bet on having or eventually acquiring better cards than them. When playing in Casinos, the dealer is the representative of the house (casino). When playing at home, the role of the banker may rotate between the players to equalize their chances of winning.
7. Staking games
These types of card games are based solely on luck. The players simply bet their stakes on the chances of a certain card turning up on the table.
Trente et Quarante, also known as Rouge et Noir, a popular game in European casinos falls into this category. Faro, one of the oldest gambling card games still played in some Casinos in Nevada, USA, is also a staking game.
8. Fishing games
Fishing games are extremely popular in many countries around the world, albeit their success did not quite reach the Anglo-Saxon nations. In China alone, there are several of these types of card games and in Italy, the game titled Scopa is even one of the national card games.
Typically, in these games, each player has a hand, and the remaining cards are displayed face-up on the table. Each player plays a card on their turn. If their card matches any of those displayed on the table, the player can capture it and save it face-down close to them. If the card has no match, it is added to the layout and the turn passes to the next player.
9. Catch and collect games
Out of all the types of card games, the catch and collect games are typically the ones with the simplest gameplay. They are often played by kids and are considered a fun way to introduce a deck of cards and the value of each card to the young ones.
The most popular game in this category is War. In it, a deck is equally divided between two players. The players must reveal at the same time the top card on their deck. The card with the highest value captures the other and both are added to the deck of the “battle” winner. The first player to capture all the cards wins.
10. Collectible card games
Collectible card games include a wide variety of types of card games, each with its own set of rules and structure.
Each player has a personal deck that they build by trading or buying individual cards. Collecting the cards, especially the rarest ones, and being part of a worldwide community of collectors are two of the main attractive features of these games. Famous collectible card games include Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! And Magic.
One game, several types: multi-genre card games
Despite these 10 classifications of types of card games, the great majority of card games are hybrids. They may have a defining feature that places them within one specific category but, most likely, they also contain features of other categories too.
For example, the game Go Fishing is a matching game, but it is also a trick-taking game as you must take cards (tricks) from other players. Interestingly enough, despite its name, it is not a fishing game although it does contain certain details in its rules that are similar to these. Likewise, Solitaire games also have features of matching and shedding games.
The point is: these classifications are not exclusive. Most card games borrow features from some or all of them. They just indicate the main characteristics of the game and help you reduce the pool of types of card games that may appeal to you the most.