At home bored with nothing to do? How about some card games? If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing way to spend the evening at home, consider playing some 2 player card games. Believe it or not, there are tons of games you can play with a deck of cards and if you can only find one other person to play with, then this list of card games for two people will be perfect for you.
1. Slap Jack
The first on the list of card games for two people is Slap Jack, also sometimes known as slaps or heart attack. It is a simple card game that can be played with a regular deck of cards. You can play with up to 5 players and the overall goal of the game is to win the most cards by slapping down your hand on the jacks as they are played. The game can get pretty exciting and more fun the faster the players put down their cards.
War is an easy game to play, and a favourite among children due to its simplicity. It is played with only 2 players and the goal of the game is to collect all the cards in the deck by playing the highest card against your opponent and winning the ‘war’.
How to play:
- Divide all cards evenly between 2 players and keep them facing down
- Take turns turning over the top card from your pile. The player who has the highest card wins the round and collects both cards and adds them back to their pile
- Keep taking turns turning over your cards until both players turn a card of the same value. When this happens, you enter ‘war’
- In ‘war’ each player takes 3 cards from their pile and places them face down in front of them. Turn over the 4th card and whoever has the highest card collects all 10 cards and adds them to their pile.
- The game ends when one person acquires all the cards
Another great card game for two people, speed, also known as spit or slam, is a game of agility. The goal of the game is simply to get rid of all your cards before your opponent. It involves using your reflexes and being lightning fast.
How to play:
- Each player is dealt 5 cards each
- Two single cards are placed face down between the players and between the 5 cards dealt
- The rest of the cards are distributed evenly between the players and placed beside them as their draw piles
- Each player takes the top 5 cards from the draw piles and has them as their hand.
- The game beings when the center 2 cards are flipped over at the same time
- The players then place down cards that are one value above or below the cards in the center from their hands.
- Once you play a card, you draw a card from the draw pile, always having 5 cards in your hand.
- If the players run out of moves at any point, then each player flips a card from the pile of five beside the center cards and the game continues.
- The player who plays all the cards in their hand first wins the game
4. Exploding Kittens
Exploding Kittens, modelled after Russian Roulette is a fun and suspenseful game to play for all. The object of the game is to avoid drawing an exploding kitten card from the deck, and you win if you succeed. Each game lasts anywhere from 5-15 minutes and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for fun card games for two people.
How to play:
- You start off with 1 card in your hand and the remaining deck in the center
- Each player then has to draw a card or can use the cards in their hand to avoid drawing and getting the exploding kitten card which would cause them to lose the game.
- When a player draws an exploding kitten card and cannot ‘diffuse it’ with any other cards in their hand, that player loses the game
5. James Bond
James Bond is a fun game of memory and speed perfect for 2 players. It is similar to Speed in the sense that you have to be quick if you want to win. The overall goal of the game is to collect four of a kind in each of the piles in front of you.
How to play:
- Deal six piles of four cards to each player and keep them face down.
- There should be 4 remaining cards when then go in the center
- The game begins when the 4 cards are flipped over.
- You then look at one of your piles of four and can exchange one card at a time with those in the center.
- Keep exchanging cards from your pile from the middle until you have four of a kind in that pile.
- Once you have four of a kind in a pile, flip that pile face up and continue playing till all of your six piles have four of a kind. Shout “James Bond” and you’ve won!
Also known as Memory, concentration is essentially a matching game. It can be played with a standard card deck and is perfect for 2 players. This game is perfect for younger children as well as it can help to enhance their memory, concentration and memorization skills.
How to play:
- Lay out an entire deck of cards facedown in a grid pattern
- The players then take turns flipping over 2 cards at a time trying to find a match
- When a player makes a match, they get to keep those cards. If the two cards flipped over were not a match, they have to be flipped back down at the end of the turn
- The game goes on until all of the cards have been matched. The player with the most pairs of matched cards wins!
The aim of Trash, also sometimes known as garbage, is to be the first person to complete a set of 10 cards, from Ace to 10. It’s a fun game for 2 players and easy for kids to play as well.
How to play:
- Deal 10 cards to each player and place them face down into 2 rows of five cards
- The remaining cards are then placed facedown between the 2 players
- A player starts by drawing a card from the deck and if it is from Ace to 10, replaces the face-down card that is in its corresponding position. (ie. If you draw a two, you would place that card face up in the second position)
- The face-down card that was replaced is flipped over and if it can replace another face-down card, based on its number then the player can do so.
- Jacks, queens or jokers are not used in the game and are added to a ‘trash’ pile if they are drawn
- Kings are treated as wild cards and can be used to replace a card in any spot
- The player continues their turn until they can no longer play any more cards
- The next player can draw a card from the deck or pick a card from the trash pile
- The game continues like this until one person has turned all of their facedown cards face up in the correct sequential order (from Ace to 10)
8. Crazy Eights
Crazy Eights is an exciting card game for two people. It is also easy enough for kids to play as well. The aim of the game is to get rid of all the cards in your hand to a discard pile by matching the number or symbol to the current card in the discard pile.
How to play:
- Deal 5 cards to each player and place the remaining cards in the center as a draw pile.
- Turn over the first card from the draw pile and place it on the table
- The player who is going first has to play a card that matches the same symbol or number as the face-up card. (ie. if the starter card is a 3 of diamonds, then you can play any card with a diamond or the number 3 with any symbol).
- If you don’t have any cards in your hand to make a play, you must draw a card from the deck until you are able to make a move.
- Eight cards in this game can be played as any symbol, hence the name ‘Crazy Eights’
- The player who gets rid of all the cards in their hand wins the game
If you’re still not happy with any of these card games for two people, then definitely try out Scattergories. It is a fun and fast game perfect for all ages. The game is a combination of Slap Jack and the traditional Scattergories word game. When a category and letter combo is revealed in a round, the first player to slap the “I Know” card and give the correct answer wins the card. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
Another simple and fun game to add to your list of card games for two people is Golf. It is a fun, simple memory game in which the goal is to get the lowest score over the course of nine deals.
How to play:
- Each player is given 6 cards which are kept face down and arranged into 2 rows of 3 cards.
- The remaining cards are placed face down and the topmost card of the deck is flipped face-up starting a discard pile
- Each player then flips two of their face-down cards face up and then each player takes turns drawing a card from the discard pile or from the deck
- The card drawn is then swapped out for one of the six cards in front of you or placed in the discard pile
- When you swap out a face-down card, it is placed face-up in the discard pile
- The goal of the game is to have the lowest value of cards. This can be done by swapping out high-value cards or by matching cards of equal value
- The game goes on till all of the player’s cards in front of them are face up. You then add up the scores and the player with the lowest score wins
- An ace is worth 1 point, card numbers 3-10 are worth their numerical value, jacks and queens are worth 10 points, number 2 cards are worth negative 2 points, kings are worth zero points and matching cards of any value are also worth zero points.
Blackjack is one of the most popular card games out there and can be easily played with only two players.
How to play:
- Both players are dealt two cards each, one face up and one face down
- Players can look at their face-down card without showing it to the other player and add the value of that card to their face-up card.
- Kings, queens and jacks have a value of 10 while Aces can be either 1 or 11
- The goal of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it
- Once a player has added up the value of their two cards, they can decide to take another ‘hit’ (which means taking another card) or ‘stay’ (which means keeping the cards they have and their score)
- When both players are happy with the value of their cards, they turn them over. The player who was able to get the closest to 21 without going over wins that round.
- You can continue the game in a best two out of three format or also make it more interesting by betting money or tokens on the outcome of each round.