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8 of the Greatest Adult Card Games

Move over, younglings. Full Jedi only on this one. Made men exclusive. ADULTS ONLY.

With the world of Rugrats swept carpetwise, let’s concern ourselves with the mature cheddar of adult card games.

1.Cards Against Humanity

When I hear stories of people playing this over Christmas with grandparents and wider family, I shrink back into my collar and wonder how. Hilarious, cringeworthy and nauseating in equal measure, this game is monopoly’s sordid cousin. More test of familial bonds than mere amusement.

Playing is simple; fill blank spaces on cards to form offensive sentences. Winners triumph, while revealing their inner docker’s tongue. Losers enjoy the debasement of close associates. Guaranteed to destroy what frayed strands of your paternal relationships remain. The last time I played, an apparition of the ghost of my childhood innocence shrieked through the air like a mist bullet and exited via the chimney.

If it’s not the question about Harry Potter’s chocolate starfish, it’s something worse. Due to immense popularity, additional card sets and boosters can be purchased to re-filthify the vanilla game.

2. Exploding Kittens

No, not the title of a darkweb video. Not a crappy hipster band singing about crustless sandwiches and typewriters either. July 2015’s Exploding Kittens matches the Deer Hunter bullet for bullet when it comes to Roulette, only with cats instead of colts. Famously raising over $8.7 million on Kickstarter, this product from the Oatmeal’s finest minds was evidently lacking from the public consciousness.

It’s simple to play. SIMPLE LIKE A CAT! Cards on the table, take turns drawing. If you draw a boom boom, you get boomed and everybody spends ages peeling you off the wall like stubborn gum. You’re out of the game from here on. BUT there’s also defuse cards, laser pointers, catnip sandwiches and more feline miscellany than one can shake a ball of yarn at – anything to lead those pesky pussycats and their ticking tummies away. Skip your turn, force other player’s hands, secretly relocate cards. The fun never stops.

There’s a million ways to die and only a couple to live. Always chaos.

3. Citadels

Citadels, like Lords of Waterdeep, is a game of courtly intrigue. Play as rogues, merchants, adherents of dark arcana, pious clergymen and fearsome plated knights, each vying for control of their sector.

Each player receives a character card to start their turn, each with their own unique abilities. Consisting of three possible actions, a turn can go quickly – choose wisely.

Character cards are then shuffled and returned to the centre at end of each round. So on and so on, guilefully trying to ensure you get the character you both want and need to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and bask in the golden glow of their burning citadels.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Citadels is simply Waterdeep lite, keeping the same rough frame and fantasy art style, with less rules and game pieces.

4. Yu-gi-oh

Again, arguable whether it’s designed for adults or kids. If complexity be the measure, it’s for people 70 years+. Countless, ever-changing rules, monsters mutating in real-time – the works. The glory days of Yu-Gi-Oh was during my childhood, shortly after the first western syndication of the show. A simpler age with fewer monsters, fewer arch-villains and generally less arbitrary complexity.

Relinquished, a thousand-eyed floating deathball which releases a noxious miasma as it glides, still haunts my nightmares.

5. Magic the Gathering

Remiss not to mention the big bold. A game of fantasy and intrigue, for the arch-nerds and super competitive collectors among us. Even Bryn Kenney, ultra high-roller, apex predator and general poker monarch, got his start icing fools at MTG comps with Planewalker Nicol Bolas.

I remember my mother buying a booster pack of MTG cards in Nimble Fingers, our local craft shop, and being totally transfixed by the card art and stark, arcane descriptions. An indelible impression, no doubt.

6. Footie stickers

Why have regular footballers when you can have miniature paper ones with gluey spines? Best of both worlds.

Swap ‘em, trade ‘em, buy ‘em. Beg mum and dad, just one more packet. After all, you’ve been so well-behaved all week.

A typical childhood scene. Want stickers? Behave. Behaving? Oh well, you had to have inwardly wanted to behave for it to count, otherwise you’re only doing it as instructed.

Buying stickers to fill books might be childish to a point, but there’s no denying the satisfaction as you colour every empty frame with icons of your favourite athletes. If you don’t want to look strange, just have a kid and pretend he wants the stickers. If he complains out loud in the shop that he doesn’t like sports, a fact you’re aware of, buy him sweets until the problem goes away and you can be home alone with Alan Shearer.

7. Hold’em/Omaha/Strip Poker

I fear further expounding on my part upon the virtues of Strip Poker should leave me looking deviant. Taking what motes of dignity are left in hand, holding them like the final embers of the last fire, I’ll instead point vigilant readers toward our previous post wherein I – ahem – undressed the game.

History of Strip Poker

Hold’em is the Cadillac of poker. Played from the smoky dens of South East Asia to the lofty, palatial homes of the 1%, Hold’em is the great leveler. Given our name and penchant, there’s tons of info on the website, from a dictionary of table spiel to a ‘poker school 101’. Check it out:

How to play online poker

Omaha

Poker’s darker cousin. T’other side of the coin. Omaha is doubtless the second most popular variant offered, differing from Hold’em on several key points:

  • Four, not two, hole cards are dealt
  • In Omaha, players must make the best possible hand using exactly two of their hole cards (no more and no less) and three from the five community cards

8. Cranium Dark

One sees dark and immediately imagines a nemesis clad in black, the opposite of a starkly white iteration. Not so, it’s dark in the sense of being intended for a more mature audience. Vanilla Cranium contains different rounds involving singing, molding clay and charades. Cranium Dark is a twisted charade, literally. Not only must you act out, or articulate, the action on your card, but must do so while performing another action, which will either be complimentary or distracting. The cards, black-backed action cards and white-backed charade cards, are shuffled and put into play. You might end up a drill sergeant describing a fashion show, or gyrating like a dancer while miming Godzilla – always fun.

Concluding statements

It’s a gamers world now. Board games shops on the high street. Nerdcore as the popular cultural fashion of the day. Million dollar esport prizes. Stadium shows. Maybe even groupies, or GrouPlaystation as the case may be.

It’s a brave new world if you’re a dice-throwing, button-mashing, Twitch-streaming looney, with ample opportunities to walk professional avenues to the bigtime.

Back in the day, being good at Mario speedrunning gave you pallid skin and crooked fingers. Now, you can get famous with just microphones and a Twitch channel. Ride your skills to the bigtime, capitalize on momentum, stick with it.

Some helpful tips for any young upstart, a hardy buck looking to make a name:

  1. Seek endorsement from respected brands – brands selling products you not only use, but believe in
  2. Create a patreon channel
  3. Create extra features for Twitch subs, encourage actions such-like

That’s all for now.

Mike at GGPoker