We’ve been having endless fun with our new GM puzzles and playing cards (for obvious reasons) since they were released last week, and we’re just getting started. Now that November is here and gift-giving season has begun, we’re thinking of all the ways we can not only incorporate these fun and stylish games into our own lives, but also ways we can involve our friends and family. After all, it takes two to tango! Or in this case, play cards…
And the good news doesn’t stop there—each GM collector’s box comes with two sets of cards, making it perfect for multiplayer games when friends and family come into town over the holidays. So with that said, we’re breaking down a handful of Gray’s favorite card games below, from traditional games to family-friendly games (plus, a couple of drinking games, too). Whether you’re planning to gift these chic cards as a host or hostess gift this holiday season or you’re just trying to gather everyone around for a game or two, you’ll want to commit these card games to memory (or at least bookmark this page for future reference!). And of course, don’t forget to pick up a pack of our Gray Malin at the Parker Playing Cards to get your game on…
Solitaire: Solitaire is possibly the most popular single-player card game, and one we never get tired of. There are tons of variations of traditional solitaire, but for the standard version, use one deck of 52 cards. With the objective of building numeric sequences for each suit in the deck, it is a game of patience and strategy. For a detailed run-down of the rules, click here.
Emperor: For this solo game, one player uses two decks of cards shuffled together. The goal is to build up eight “foundations,” each starting with an ace up to a king. Start with ten piles of four cards each, the last card facing up. The rest of your cards are considered your stock pile. Try to build up each of your foundations using your stock pile or waste pile, until you’ve built your “empire.” Read the in-depth rules for this game by clicking here.
Ride the Bus: This game is played in a series of rounds. For the first round, the dealer goes around the group and asks each player, “red or black?” Correct guesses don’t drink, and wrong guesses take a sip, then take the card from the dealer. Get the idea? Round Two: the dealer asks, “higher or lower?” Round Three: the dealer asks, “in-between or outside?” Round Four: the dealer asks each player to pick a suit. If a player guesses correctly, their reward is five drinks to divvy up between players or give them all to one player. Phase two of the game is called “building the pyramid,” and phase three determines which player has to “ride the bus,” and take a predetermined number of drinks if the dealer flips over any face cards at the end of the game. For the full rules, click here, and get ready to ride the bus!
Ring of Fire (a.k.a. Kings or Circle of Death): This classic party game requires one drink in the center of the circle, as well as a drink for each player. Create a face-down circle around the center drink with the playing cards, and take turns drawing a card from the circle. Players must do whatever the card number or face dictates, according to these rules… Ace: Waterfall (everyone drinks at the same time until the person to their left stops drinking); Two: You (pick someone else to take a drink); Three: Me (you take a drink); Four: Floor (all players have to touch the floor, and the last to do it has to take a drink); Five: Guys (all the guys in the group have to drink); Six: Chicks (ladies’ turn!); Seven: Heaven (everyone points up to the sky, and the last person to do so has to take a drink); and so forth… Click here for all of the instructions and to see how the game ends!
Gin Rummy: A long-time favorite of Gray’s, gin rummy is a game that revolves around the goal of creating “melds” (a.k.a. sets and runs) with all ten cards in your hand. When all of your cards are part of complete melds, this means you’ve reached “gin” and the game ends by drawing a card and placing it face-down on the discard pile (a.k.a. “knocking”). If you want to make things even more interesting, try knocking early to prevent the other player from reaching gin before you. For a full how-to on gin rummy, click here.
Nertz: First off, this game requires that every player has their own deck of 52 playing cards. (Sound intimidating already? Stick with us!) Essentially, Nertz is like a game of fast-paced, multiplayer solitaire. Trust us, it’s a ball when you get the hang of it, so head over to this page for the in-depth instructions. It may sound complicated at first, but it’s worth the effort to learn!
President (a.k.a. Scum): The goal of President (or Scum) is to be the first to get rid of your cards each round, and assume the position of “President” of the table. Each player takes turns placing down a card (or cards) from their hand, as long as they top the card(s) that were previously placed by the player before them. Players continue this sequence until they can’t top the previous card, ending the “trick.” When the first player goes out, everyone keeps playing, going out of the game one by one and assuming their “ranks” for the next round. Cards are dealt depending on each player’s rank the following round—and President gets the best of the best, so do everything you can to not become the scum! You can find a full description of the rules here.
Slapjack: If you’re looking for a game perfect for all ages and equally fun for adults as it is for kids, then slapjack is your game. The concept is simple: deal all the cards out one by one, then have each player take a turn by laying down a card in the middle. Whenever a Jack is laid down, all players rush to be the first to slap the card. Whoever’s hand hits the Jack first gets the discard pile. Keep this going until one person collects all the cards, or someone runs out of their hand. For a more detailed how-to, click here.
Crazy Eights: Calling all Uno fans… Even if you don’t have an Uno deck, you can essentially play the same game using a deck of playing cards. Deal out five cards to each player, and place a draw/discard pile in the center. Take turns discarding one card at a time, making sure to match either the number or the suit of the card at the top of the pile—and eights are wild. If you can’t play, draw a card. Keep this pattern going, and whoever runs out of cards first wins. If you want a more detailed run-down, click here.
Have you ever played any of these card games? Which one is your favorite?
We hope you pick up a set of our brand new playing cards, and then pick up a game or two… But even if you just decide to keep them as décor, we won’t blame you. ;)
Xx Team GM
Photos: Jessi Burrone for GrayMalin.com