Best Card Games Over the Last Six Decades

Card games are timeless. From the 1970s right through to the 2020s, we’re sharing our favorite card game from each decade!

1970s: Uno

Invented in Ohio in 1971, Uno is a card game that is still going strong to this very day. This is a card shedding game whereby a player must be able to put down all their cards to win. Played with between two and 10 players, Uno is typically played over several rounds until an individual gains a score of 500 or more. This makes them the winner.

According to Uno rules, a player must call out “Uno” after laying down their second to last card. This warns other players they are close to winning. If a player fails to do this and is caught before the next player takes a turn, they must draw two cards as a penalty.

Part of Uno’s modern-day charm is that many special edition packs have been created over the years. These special edition packs include Angry Birds, Disney Princess, the Muppet Show and Star Trek.

1980s: Dragonmaster

Launched in 1981, Dragonmaster is a card game that brings together a deck of character cards and some sought-after plastic jewels. There are four suits of each card – King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Baron, Count, Duke, Fool and Wizard – plus one dragon card. There are also 60 plastic jewels, and the aim of the game is to gather the biggest collection of these jewels.

Different trick-taking rules are introduced, which mean players lose or gain jewels during the game. While each player has the chance to be a dealer for five hands, this privilege can be taken off them by when someone takes the tricks from certain hands.

1990s: Sim City

An early example of a computer game being translated into a physical card format, Sim City: The Card Game was launched in 1995. Now a collectible, fans of the SimCity computer game at the time loved the card version. The president of Mayfair Games, who developed the concept, even appears as the Mayor in the pack of cards!

The concept is the same as the computer game, with cards representing different aspects of developing a city. This includes housing, offices, roads, public transport and power lines. The aim of the game is to create the best city, with each card worth a certain number of points. There are special versions of the card game for the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, New York City and Washington.

2000s: Bang!

A card game released in 2002 and designed to recreate a spaghetti western shoot-out in card format, Bang! still has a loyal international following today. The game needs at least four players, and ideally seven players, as each person needs to assume at least one character. Characters include the Sheriff, the Deputy Sheriff, an outlaw and a renegade. There can be multiple Deputy Sheriffs, outlaws and renegades if there are more than four players.

Each character has special abilities, and each player comes with a certain number of bullets, that act as their number of lives left in the game. Players take it in turns to take cards from the draw pile in the middle, which give them the ability to undertake different tasks. This could be anything from drawing a weapon to going to jail!

2010s: Cards Against Humanity

Originating from a Kickstarter campaign in 2011, Cards Against Humanity is an adult card game. Known for its politically incorrect content – hence its name that is based on the phrase ‘crimes against humanity’ – this card game is a more extreme version of the milder Apples to Apples card game.

Each player draws ten white cards at the beginning of the game. Then everyone takes it in turns to draw a black card – that person is known as the Card Tsar for that round. The black card has a sentence, phrase or statement with certain words missing. The other competitors must choose from their white cards to fill these missing gaps. The player who uses the white cards that the Card Tsar thinks creates the funniest phrase wins that round.

Cards Against Humanity has gained something of a cult international following. Since the initial launch, extra boxes of black and white cards have been released for avid collectors. There are also several special edition packs, ranging from the 90s Nostalgia Pack to the Geek Pack. During the pandemic, people even found a way to play over Zoom.

2020s: Cloud Control

A family-friendly visual game released in 2020, Cloud Control is all about creating recognizable shapes with cards before the timer runs out. The full pack of cards consists of cloud cards, shape cards and word cards.

The first player must select a word card at the beginning of their turn, then use the cloud cards to create a shape that depicts the word. A 90 second timer is running, so the other players must guess the word before it is too late. Both the shape-maker and the player who correctly guesses the word win points at the end of each round!