With Ohio unexpectedly deciding to give us piles of snow, some may have a bit of a difficult time finding activities to do in the warmth of their own homes. Here are four games that only require a standard 52-card deck and some willing players.
Make Ten is a great game for families with young children.
Tutorial and placemats available here
Remove all jokers and face cards from the deck. Aces will act as a value of 1.
(Optional) Print off placemats for the cards. This may make it easier for younger children, and come with options for more challenging games, like Make 15 or Make 20.
Shuffle the deck and split the cards evenly among all players.
Each player takes the top four cards from their deck and places them face up in front of them.
Players go around using their cards to add up to a value of ten.
A group of ten could include a pair of cards, three or four cards, or even a single “ten” card. Anything goes as long as you add up to a value of ten. For an extra challenge, allow subtraction of cards as well (for example a player could take a 7 and add it to 4, then subtract their 1 card).
Place the group of ten aside and replace the cards that were used.
When a player is unable to make a ten, they may remove one of their cards and place it at the bottom of their deck, drawing a new one from the top.
The game ends once all players are unable to make any more groups of ten.
The winner can be determined by whoever made the most groups, or it could simply be used as an educational game.
James Bond is a fun game for families with older children.
Video tutorial available here
Deal 48 cards evenly among the players, placing them into piles of four.
The last four cards are placed face up in the middle of all the players.
The goal is to have all of your piles each contain the same number value of cards, for example a pile of threes, a pile of sevens, etc.
Players may only look at one of their piles at a time.
The only way to move cards is by exchanging a card from a pile with one in the middle.
If a player wants to move a card from one pile to another, they have to exchange it for a card in the middle, pick up the second pile, and exchange again from there
The first player to get all their piles to contain the same value is the winner, and the game ends.
Golf is best played with as many players as you can get, but it can be played with any group.
Tutorial available here (this tutorial uses a version with six cards)
Start by dealing four cards to each player.
Each player arranges their four cards in a square formation.
Flip the top card over in the deck.
Going around in a circle, players take their turns.
The first turn is started by the player taking a look at any two cards in their delt cards. Remember these because you can’t look at them any other time in the game. Keep these cards a secret from other players..
Players choose whether to take the top card of the deck and trade it for one of their own, or leave it alone and flip another card over from the deck for the next player. If you choose to not take a card, you must flip over one of your own cards as well.
The goal of this game is to have the lowest score possible.
Aces are one point, a two is two points, etc.
Jacks and queens are 10 points.
Kings are zero points.
If you have a pair of any cards, such as two 9s, it counts as a zero.
A jack and a ten do not count as a pair, they must be the same card, not just the same value.
The game ends once everyone has all their cards flipped up and the totals are calculated. Play for as many rounds as you want.
There are many many variations of this game, so pick whichever rules you like the most and have fun!
Knockout Whist is a bit more challenging.
Tutorial available here
Each round is called a “trick.”
Seven cards are dealt to each player at the beginning of the first trick.
A card is flipped over from the remaining deck. Whichever suit this card is counts as the trump card for that trick.
A player starts by placing a card in the middle.
Every player after that has to try to place another card of that suit. If they do not have a card of that suit, they may play another suit.
Once everyone has played, a winner of the round is determined. The winner is the player who played the highest card in the original suit, or in the trump suit, which automatically wins over the original suit. For example, if the original suit is a spade and a player doesn’t have one, instead choosing to play the trump suit, a diamond, they would win that trick.
The winner of the trick takes the cards that were played and sets them aside.
Do not draw new cards. Each trick will begin with one less card than the last this way. Continue like this until all cards are played.
Anyone that has not won a trick, is knocked out and cannot continue play
Deal new cards to the remaining players and continue with the same rules until there is only one winner left.