When it comes to the world of adult card games, the great news is that there's something for everyone! Whether you're looking for a competitive game with cards to collect, cooperative gameplay, or lighthearted fun for a party or gathering, there's a multitude of card games available online in the UK.
We've compared a wide variety of different genres and styles to compile our selection of the top 10 best card games for adults. With reviews of offerings from titans like the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Wizards of the Coast, and Fantasy Flight Games, check out our favourites below!
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Table of Contents
The most common type of adult card game on the market are collectable trading card games. These are often competitive in nature and revolve around creating a deck in order to challenge and beat other players. The most popular of these have huge communities worldwide, making them a great choice if you're looking for something social to play as a hobby.
Collectable trading cards are available in a variety of formats, but the most common way to get into one is to pick up a starter deck or set. These are an inexpensive way for you to jump right into the action and learn the rules of the game before investing in more competitively viable tournament decks by purchasing booster packs or individual cards in secondary markets.
The living card game is a term that has popped up in recent years. These share a lot of similarities with trading card games, but without the randomness of booster packs. Instead, a living card game will release expansions periodically, updating the base game with new scenarios and character decks to play, or introducing mechanics that change the way the game is played.
More often than not, living card games tend to be cooperative in nature, focussing on teamwork and strategy to overcome a puzzle or defeat enemies. What sets them apart from many self-contained card games that also release expansions is that they often feature a progression system, like a story unfolding or a character levelling up rather than playing individual rounds or games repeatedly.
For more progression base gaming, consider picking up a legacy board game!
Many card games will offer expansions when proving popular with players, but the difference between self-contained games and living card games is that a self-contained card game is made up of multiple rounds of the exact same game. You cannot buy additional cards to give yourself an edge and the expansions will often change the fundamentals of the game, rather than add an extra chapter to the story.
Self-contained card games are a great option if you're not looking to invest more money further down the line, preferring something where everyone is on a level playing field. You'll find most casual and party games are self-contained, but there are a few fantastic one-on-one competitive titles out there too.
When most people think of a card game they probably imagine something competitive where your goal is to win the round by collecting the most points or knocking out the opposing player. While these games are still very popular and have a huge audience, there has been a big increase in cooperative card games over recent years where teamwork and strategy play a very important role.
The other notable genre of card games designed for adults are party games. These are often a lot less serious than competitive trading card games or cooperative titles, and aren't as concerned with rules. If you couldn't guess by the name, these make a great addition to any social event, especially when the drinks are flowing and you don't mind a little shouting and laughter!
If you're looking for more social experiences take a look at some cooperative board games!
One of the most important things to do when deciding on an adult card game is to check the number of players. There's nothing worse than picking up an intriguing title to play with your partner and finding out you'll need three players minimum, or pulling out that box in a large group and seeing that it's only made for two.
The number of players also gives you a good indication of the type of gameplay you can expect. If you see a game designed specifically for two players, it's probably going to be a one-on-one duel, whereas a game requiring a large group will mean a lot of laughing and talking over one another, rather than a strategic game of chess.
A lot of people outside of card and board game groups may expect adult card games to contain mature themes, but this is far from the norm. While some party games do have strictly 18+ content that makes a fun accompaniment to an evening drinking, most modern adult card games will have a variety of themes and gameplay styles.
It's important to pick the right theme for your group and the people you play with to ensure that everyone is engaged, without being made to feel uncomfortable by more explicit content or an uninteresting theme. If you have a group of players who love Marvel, for example, you can cater to that while introducing others to a new hobby.
If you're taking a trip, consider picking up some travel games for the journey.
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7 Wonders Duel
A Civilization Building Battle That’s Perfect for Competitive Couples
Wizards of the Coast
Magic: The Gathering Starter Kit
The King of the Collectable Card Games Since 1993
Fantasy Flight Games
Arkham Horror: The Card Game
A Thematically Impressive Cooperative Game for Horror Fans
Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy
The Ideal Starter Set for Learning to Play the Pokémon TCG
Fantasy Flight Games
Marvel Champions: The Card Game
A Cooperative Superhero Adventure for Fans of Marvel
A Simple Yet Strategic Game for Two Players
Sushi Go Party
A Relaxed Party Game With Fantastic Artwork
Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity
An Outrageous Party Game Where the Goal Is Shocks and Laughs
Irreverent Fun for Groups That Enjoy Zany Humour
Steve Jackson Games
Fast and Silly Fun for Fans of Certain Franchises and Genres
The goal of 7 Wonders Duel is to build a civilization by picking up cards representing different industries and resources. You'll take turns choosing cards and revealing others in the process of creating a lasting dynasty and gaining more points than your opponent. If you're looking for something to play with a partner in the evenings, this is a wonderful choice.
The best part of 7 Wonders is that no two games are the same due to the random nature of how the cards are laid out and the different avenues to victory. You can choose to build an economic powerhouse and buy your way to the top, invest in science to become the most advanced, or even go down a military route to crush the opposition!
If you're serious about getting into collectable card games, there's only one option worth considering. Since its inception in 1993, Magic: The Gathering has been a staple of board game and hobby stores, with over 35 million players worldwide.
This starter set is the best avenue to get into Magic at an affordable price, and is a great way to meet new people and become part of a larger community. Just be warned, this game is addictive, and quite expensive. However, that doesn't stop it from being one of the most popular hobbies in the world!
The Arkham series of games are cult classics in the board game community, but their complexity has always been a sticking point for new players. The card game is also somewhat complex, but once you learn the rules, it'll be one of the most rewarding and thematically on-point card games out there
You'll find yourself fully immersed in a Lovecraftian universe, pushed to the brink of madness by the various scenarios. With adjustable and dynamic difficulty settings, you can always find the right challenge for your level, and each scenario has consequences for the next.
While it may not be the first thing you think of, the Pokemon Trading Card Game has become fiercely competitive over the last twenty years or so. Just like with Marvel and Harry Potter, people who grew up with Pokémon are continuing their love for the series into their adult years.
Pokémon isn't just a fantastic game to play against friends or a partner, but also something of an investment for the future as some rare cards have sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds! This starter set, containing three complete decks, isn't likely to reach those numbers in the future, but makes a great entry point for new and lapsed players alike!
In Marvel Champions, players choose a superhero and build a deck of cards containing different powers and abilities to battle together against the many famous villains of the Marvel universe. If you're a fan of the cinematic universe, then you'll absolutely love this theme!
The name of the game is coming together as a team to think tactically and come up with a strategy to win the day. As a living card game, there are also plenty of additional cards and sets to pick up to add to this base edition.
Jaipur transports you and your opponent to a bustling middle eastern bazaar, choosing the right time to buy and sell your goods. There is a surprising level of strategy for what is a simple game that can be taught quickly, making it a great option for couples when travelling.
While a great game with a strong theme, it's fast moving, with rounds only lasting about ten minutes. If you're looking for something quick and fun, Jaipur is a hit, but those hoping for something more complex will need to look elsewhere.
If you're looking to maintain a more relaxed atmosphere while enjoying an evening with a group of friends or family, Sushi Go Party is a fantastic choice. Players compete against each other to create the best sushi menus possible by choosing cards from a hand, before passing it on to the next player.
It's something of a niche game, working best on a chilled evening with around four or five people. The artwork on the cards is both cute and informative, with rules and instructions that are easy to understand almost instantly.
If you're looking for an explicit and mature game for adult parties, then Cards Against Humanity is guaranteed to create laughs and gasps in equal measure. Played in rounds, the goal is to create the funniest phrase by combining two outrageous statements from a hand of cards together.
In the right environment, with drinks freely flowing, this is great fun, but doesn't make for a great game in its own right. It's very much an adult card game suited to a birthday party, or to play before a night out, rather than one for board game night.
If the idea of building your own unicorn army and backstabbing your friends sounds like a fun evening, then Unstable Unicorns will be right up your street! This is a fun game based around betrayal, with a silly, zany edge rather than Machiavellian.
While some players will read that description and rub their hands together with glee, some groups may find both the gameplay and art direction obnoxious. That said, if it seems like something that's going to be right up your street, you and your friends are guaranteed to have a fun-filled time.
Munchkin is a game based around working together with your group in order to explore dungeons, fight monsters and level up, before turning and betraying those you fought with to take the treasures for yourself! It's very much aimed at fans of role-playing games and other franchises like Disney and Marvel.
On the surface, Munchkin is a lot of silly fun with a group that's constantly turning on each other. However, there's a random factor that can be quite annoying, especially if you've just been screwed over. For the right group, this can be a dream, but for the wrong one, it's a bit of a nightmare!
Written and researched by David Sexton
No. 1: Repos Production｜7 Wonders Duel
No. 2: Wizards of the Coast｜Magic: The Gathering Starter Kit
No. 3: Fantasy Flight Games｜Arkham Horror: The Card Game
No. 4: Pokémon Company｜Pokémon Trading Card Game Battle Academy
No. 5: Fantasy Flight Games｜Marvel Champions: The Card Game
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