I can’t remember a time where games weren’t part of my life. It was the glue that kept me going during childhood; I would grapple with my Tamagotchi, and play Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64, whittling away the hours. Later came the Game Boy, first ever Playstation, and an obsession with ‘retro games’ like The Sims, Spyro, and Mario Kart. It wasn’t just video games or digital toys either. There were card and board games that stole my heart. Monopoly, Twister, Go Fish, and Snap. Later the card and board games would be more obscure. There would be free online card games, and physical card game decks for adults. Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity were just some of the ‘adult games’ I would play into the early hours. Gaming became a huge part of my life, whether that was hosting game nights, playing games with my gamer boyfriend, or with friends.
Back in 2019, I went on a date with my partner, and we shared our mutual love of gaming. The date comprised of three locations, but the last was most definitely the best. It was a games bar in Loading called Dalston, where Mario themed cocktails awaited. We sipped on Crash Bandicoot with glee, as we talked for hours about adult cartoons (Big Mouth anyone?), games, and mumbling drunk s***t. He learnt very quickly that I am a very competitive gamer, and a sore loser. Well, we both were. I would win the random, obscure games with nonsensical rules like Unstable Unicorns, and he would win the classics. In the basement there were even retro games, which we played until the bar closed shut. Though I wasn’t the best gamer, gaming held a special place in my heart.
It wasn’t just that gaming was ‘fun’ and brought us as a couple together. For my partner gaming was a chance to un-wind and de-stress after a long day at work. Though people often see gaming on a superficial basis, the reality is that it is so much more. Gaming is a relaxant, helping you escape from all your worries, in a temporary safe haven, where magical realism prevails. Time is a forgotten concept, as you lose yourself in fantasy. For me gaming helped me in times of loneliness, isolation, grief, anxiety and depression. No matter what, it always lifted my spirits. Even if it was just a little bit, my mood would improve. In Lockdown particularly, I would dream up fun virtual game nights, including solo, couples, and team games that were silly and fun. Games like Jackbox, Super Mario Party, and Drawful helped me navigate Lockdown, and feel less alone.
No matter what, games were always there for me. As well as a host of mental health benefits, it did wonders to increase my confidence, self-esteem, and helped keep my mind sharp and active. We always imagine ‘games’ as being for kids, but I would argue the opposite. Remember the innocent sense of wonder that you had as a child when you saw the world through rose-tinted glasses? Recapture that happiness, and let go of your cynicism, even if it is just temporarily. In my personal view gaming helps improve your psychological outlook, while dealing with real-life issues. Whether you played free online video games, family games like Guess Who, or couples games like Adult Twister, the possibilities are endless.
With the days getting hotter, and the nights getting longer, gaming is still at the forefront of my mind. Because I work long hours my partner, and I don’t get to spend much time together. When we do, we love to unwind by playing free online card games like Texas Hold’em, Poker, and Cards Against Humanity. Our current favourites? Fall Guys on the Xbox One, and FunEmployed at our favourite games bar. When it comes to playing online however, we are obsessed with Crazy Eights. As much as we love games that offer escapism, we also love gaming which sharpens our wits. Games that make us think, and challenge our boundaries. While the weather is warm now, cooler weather is coming, which the games below would be perfect for. From classic gard games, to adult card games, and cult card games, here are amazing card games which you can play online for free!
Traditional Free Online Card Games
Gin Rummy is a classic card game that is thought to have evolved from ’19th century Whiskey Poker’. Popular in the United States in the 1940’s it has made a resurgance in recent years. Why? Because it is a fast-paced card game that is similar to ‘Gin’. It is simpler to learn than ‘Contract Bridge’ and more popular with familes than Poker. This computer version of Gin Rummy on Solitaire.Org is easy to play, with a detailed list of instructions, and FAQ’s underneath the game. You need to create three of four of a kind or more cards in a sequence or suit.
Each card can only be used in one meld. If you had the 7-8-9 of clubs and also wanted to use that same 7 as part of a set of sevens you can not & 2 of your sevens would count as deadwood. Using a 52-card deck, your goal is to try and beat your computer opponent and reach a high score. You want to get rid of as much deadwood as possible by melding as many cards as you can. Deadwood is cards that are not part of a set or a run. In contrast a Meld is when you have three or more of a kind, or by have three or more of a run. A run is made of three or more cards of the same suit in increasing or decreasing order.
So what does it mean when a player ‘knocks’? Put simply the player has reduced their hand to the maximum points allowed by the value of the knock card. Finally,“Going gin” is when a player gets rid of all of their deadwood through melds. Going Gin is good as it helps you earn a 25 point basis. The winning player scores points based on which cards their opponents holds in their hand at the end of a hand which is not part of a set or a run. In my personal experience you should keep ‘lower’ cards, and avoid keeping higher cards (unless they are in melds). This is because the hand can end at any time. With this particular version of Gin Rummy, I think the ‘prison themed’ graphics, and dramatic music make for an exciting fast-paced card game.
Looking for easy and free online card games? Pyramid Solitaire (known by its former name as Tut’s Tomb) is popular in both Europe and the US. In Pyramid Solitaire the cards are arranged in a pyramid layout. The object of the game is to remove pairs of cards that add up to a total of thirteen from a pyramid arrangement of twenty eight cards. So how do you play? You must deal cards to form a pyramid, starting with a row of one card, followed by a row of two cards, and so on, down to a final row of seven cards.
Each row needs to overlap the previous one. The remaining cards must be set down at the bottom of the pyramid, which acts as a ‘draw and waste pile’. Cards are removed in pairs and these pairs must add up to thirteen. For example, a ten and a three can be removed together, as they add up to a total of thirteen. Like Gin Rummy, you start with a 52 card deck. Only open cards can be paired, and when you can’t make another move the game is lost. You can win the game by removing all the cards from the pyramid.
While I am not an expert and am new to Pyramid Solitaire, I think playing kings quickly adds to your advantage. This is because a King does not need another match, which helps you free up more ‘viable cards’. Even if you can’t play a ‘King’ look for a way to eliminate a card that exposes another card in the pyramid. Like many other card games, it requires skill and strategy to be able to play. Another key tactic is to remember the values of the cards in the pyramid. For example Aces have a value of one, numerical cards have face value, Jacks have a value of eleven, Queens have a value of twelve, and Kings have a value of thirteen. Each row gets a different score. The bottom row is 25 points, the second row is 50 points, the third row is 75 points, the fourth row is 100 points, the fifth row is 150 points, the sixth row is 250 points, and the seventh row is 500 points.
In the original version players are on the table playing against the Dealer. Everyone (including the dealer) is dealt two cards. For the dealer one card is face up and one is face down. For everyone else both cards are face up. A round of betting (including placing chips) takes place.If anyone gets higher than 21 they are out. It goes around the table, and everyone has the choice to hit, stick or split. Hit is when they add another card from the deck into their hands. For example if they had a five and a 7 and they hit another 7 they would be on 19. If they are still in, and are happy with the amount they are on, they stick.
Split is if you have two cards which are the same value. You can split the card, but you would have to double your bet. You would receive two more cards to add onto the split cards. This creates two new unique hands. Once the betting has gone around the table, the dealer will then turn over their one face down card. If they have a better hand than anyone else on the table, then everyone loses their money. If there is a player that has a better hand than the dealer, the dealer will have to keep on hitting (adding a card from the deck to their hand). If they are making a hand which is under 21 and is better than anyone else on the table, the dealer wins. If they hit and their hand exceeds 21 then the dealer busts and everyone on the table wins.
The online version is similar.You score points based on how many chips you wager and win. Draw means that you score the amount of chips you bet. Win involves scoring double the amount that you wagered. Losing means no score, and the end of round total is added to your total score after each round. Out of all the classic card games that you can play online Blackjack is probably my favourite. It’s a long game, but the rules are simple, and it is so much fun to play. There are many websites that can play Blackjack on including Solitaire.org, freegames.org, and cardzmania to name a few.
The key to an excellent card game is to make the rules as simple as possible. It uses a regular deck of 52 cards, and each player is dealt eight cards. The objective of the game is to be the first player to discard all your cards. After the eight cards are dealt, the remaining cards are placed in a pile in the center of the table, facing down. This is called the stock pile. The top card in the stock is then turned upwards to act as the beginning of the discarded pile.
You must take turns to discard cards one at a time. Please bear in mind that you can only get rid of cards which match the suit or the rank that is shwon on the top card of the discard pile. For example if you see the Queen of Spades, only Queens and Spades can be discarded by the next player. The only exception is the ‘8 card’. You should try and gather as many ‘eight cards’ as you can, as it allows you to change and choose what suit the next player must play.
When you have no more cards that you can discard, you need to pick up a card from the centre pile. Sounds simple and all, but how does that work online? Well, Solitaire Paradise‘s online game automatically informs players if there are no possible moves, which prompts them to draw more cards. If there are no cards left in the center pile, the dicard pile then gets shuffled to form a new pile. Crazy Eights plays for four rounds, and the player with the most points at the end of all rounds is declared the winner.
Arkadium’s Texas Hold’em
I used to dread playing Poker because there was so many different variations of it. I struggled to pick up the rules, and was constantly mixing up the games. Yet with practice, it soon became a favourite of mine. Although it was never as simple as Crazy Eights, it was the ultimate game for couples, families, and friends. When it came to free online card games that tested skill, strategy and ambition, Arkadiums Texas Holdem was up there.
True, it is a complex game if you are a beginner. That’s why I almost gave up a bunch of times when I was playing it. But stick with it, as perserverence is key. Once you have familarized yourself with the rules, you’ll be laughing!In Arkadium, you play with 6 other computer players and all of you have 2000 chips each to start. There are five community cards that are dealt in three stages. The Flop is the first free community cards, The Turn is the fourth community card, and The River is the fifth and final community card.
To play a hand, you must offer a minimum bet and “call” the highest bet by any player. If you are feeling good about the cards you have, you can raise your bet. However, if the round is not working out in your favour, you can fold and play again in the next round. If you are feeling really lucky (which I rarely do!) you can go all in and bet all of your chips on your hand. Just be sure that you know what you are doing, as you could lose everything. To make the game more interactive, websites like Arkadium, shows you a global leaderboard, of their top ranking players. It might be hard to top someone who has 36,820 points, but it is sure worth a try! It can sometimes feel like a waiting game, because in some rounds you will fold, until you get a better hand. However, the wait is always sweet.
Would You Rather
Moving on from unconventional card games, Would You Rather is a classic. It takes me back to late nights as a teen hanging out in the park with my friends, drinking alcopops. We would snort and giggle as the questions would become more and more ridicolous. Soon, the game became synoymous with university, and freshers, as we’d whittle the time away merrily. Now though? It takes me back to the early days of meeting my partner, playing random card games on the ‘London Beach’. We would wriggle our toes free from the confines of the silky sand, and laugh until the early hours.
Soon, we would come up with our version of the game, seeing who could win at being the most ridicolous. Turns out it was me. When we discovered that we could play it online, our hearts just about burst with excitement. But could they match up to the levels of our unbridled imagination? The questions would be wicked, downright stupid, and always a hell of a good time. For example the choice between ‘marrying an exact clone of yourself’ vs ‘marrying your sister or brother’ would seem obvious right? I mean, I am not Cersei Lanister from Game of Thrones. Yet a shocking 25% of people said they would rather marry their sibling than a clone of themselves. I don’t know about you, but incest dosen’t seem like the answer.
Another comedic battle was choosing between being in a ‘chicken’s body’ and being in a pig’s body. I chose being a pig, because they are more intelligent and live longer, but apparently the general public did not agree. There was the obscure as well. Would you rather randomly time travel travel forward or back 20 years everytime you passed gas, or teleport to a different place on Earth everytime you sneeze (land not water). 68% of people chose the latter, because DUH. At least you can be in the same timeline, and still be aware of your surroundings. Going forwards and back in time would be incredibly disjointing, 20 years in the future? Bam, loved ones are dead, you are confused, and the world as you know it is a lie.
All Bad Cards
Looking for more ‘adult themed’ free online card games? Well look no further than All Bad Cards. It’s like Cards Against Humanity but online. Channel your inner crude and rude, and leave all your inhibitions at the door. If you get easily offended then this game is not for you. Whether you have a rude sense of humour (me), a crude sense of humour (also me) or have a dark sense of humour (my partner), All Bad Cards is exactly how it sounds. Evil, and bad. Really bad. Created by Jake Lauer and Fred Clarke as part of the Good Cards family of games, you’ll never look at yourself the same way again.
Whether you want to play with your family, friends or strangers, you’ll never look at yourself the same way again. Although the game is free, there are packs you can buy including Backer, Star Backer, and Super Backer. Backer has packs including Star Wars Parody, Covid Pack, and Darwin Awards for $0.99 a month ( 10 packs, 1700 cards and no ads). Star Backer has packs including Redneck Pack and Undead Pack for $4.99 a month (18 packs-2500 cards). Finally Super Backer has Simpsons Parody, Game of Thrones Parody and My Psycho Ex Pack for $6.99 a month (24 packs, 4100 cards).
To play the game there are four modes: Classic, All Bad Questions, Family-Friendly and All Bad Memes. Classic is where you fill in the blank to make the funniest phrase as rudely as possible, All Bad Questions is where you already have the answer. It is up to you to play the question. Family friendly is where you fill in the blank to make the funniest phrase as rudely as possibly (but keeping it PG-13). Finally All Bad Memes is where you respond to GIFS with the funniest reaction phrase. My personal favourite the classic mode, but just make sure that you have another player that you can play online with. You can also create your own custom online card packs but these are not moderated.
Never Have I Ever
The way that we spend our free time has changed massively since the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are no longer in lockdown, many of us still love playing games online. Why? Because it has a positive impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing. Never Have I Ever is one of those games that has the ability to connect friends, families, and couples, while having fun. Its simple to play, and you can adapt the rules based on who you are playing with, the age group, and the location of the participants.
A great website is psycatgames, where you can play six different modes. There is popular, dirty, party, relationships, school and work, and mixed. There is even a mobile app which you can download if you are on the go. There are several variations of the game including classic, Never Have I Ever As A Drinking Game, The Ten Fingers/ Points Game, Gross Foods Game, and Custom. My personal favourite? The Gross Foods Game. As a vegetarian with allergies, I end up being quite safe. But the destruction that happens around me is pretty comical. Fermented duck egg anyone?
Each mode has a different set of questions. The rules are simple; the game asks you a question and you answer yes or no. It is usually used as a drinking game, but you don’t have to drink. You could have another incentive. For example everytime you have done something, you have to do a dare, or tell a truth. That would certainly keep things interesting if you are in a couple. In classic a typical question might read as ‘Never Have I Ever Been Catfished’ (the answer is yep, I have been catfished). In Dirty it says ‘never have I ever given my genital a nickname’, which would be a hard No. In Party Mode it says ‘never have I ever walked a dog drunk’ (nope), and in relationships ‘never have I ever been stalked by an ex online’ (yep, it’s rather alarming).
School and Work is funny too. Never Have I ever farted in front of a classmate or or coworker, and the answer is a resounding smelly yes. When you have a stomach condition, you will definitely be a pooper trooper haha. Lastly mixed has questions like ‘never have I ever drank urine’ (ew no, I am not Bear Grylls), or ‘never have I ever gone to work without underwear’ (yep, it’s a thing, it happened).
Fun fact. I never actually played UNO until I was a full-grown adult. I’m talking like 2-3 years ago max. Yep, I didn’t have a childhood. I am only half joking, but I fully missed out. UNO is a fun card game, that has stood the test of time. The first player to play all of the cards in their hand in each round scores points for the cards their opponents are left holding. The first player to score 500 points wins the game. To start each player draws a card. If you have the highest point value then you become the dealer. Each player is dealt 7 cards after the deck is shuffled.