Deal with it
The best card games will keep you entertained for hours, days, months, years, and maybe just forever. You’ll be able to build decks, pull off absurd combos, or just perfectly plan out your strategy, but all at the behest of RNG, the cruellest of mistresses. A lot goes into card games though, and while we can’t list all of the best card games, we’ve done what we can to list a couple from the various different styles of card games out there.
This is important because some people will want more games that have you using cards to control a character, other people will want to be able to build a deck and face off against other players, and some will just want to be left alone to enjoy a story that happens to have cards involved in some way. We should, therefore, have something for everyone.
The Best Card Games
Now then, we’ve got an array of games here, so hopefully, you’ll find something new to satiate your need for card-based shenanigans. Each of these could conceivably lead you into a different genre of game, and while cards are what binds them all together, don’t expect a similar experience, for the most part. So, without any more of that ado, here are our picks for the best card games.
Eternal Card Game
Eternal Card Game is, and there’s no hyperbole here, probably one of the most innovative digital CCGs around. While the turn structure isn’t anything unusual, and that’s mostly due to the very heavy Magic: The Gathering influence here, the cards and mechanics themselves are absolutely amazing. Jumping in now would be a lot to deal with, largely due to the sheer volume of cards in the game now, but it’s an incredibly generous game, and you’re likely to have a competitive deck ready in a very short space of time thanks to that.
Slay the Spire
Obviously Slay the Spire has to be on a list about card games. While it wasn’t the first to blend card games and roguelikes, it’s probably the most popular, and for good reason. Slay the Spire’s mix of absurd difficulty, infuriating RNG, and ecstatic victories make it an incredibly satisfying experience. Each run only last about half an hour, and it’s perfect for that “one more go” problem that we all develop when playing a good game.
Monster Train gets compared to Slay the Spire a lot, and it’s not inaccurate to do so, but it also kind of misses the point. There are definitely elements of the game here, but it does a lot very differently too. Set in hell, you have to guide the last pyre to the centre to try and stop hell freezing over. You do this by building a deck, upgrading your cards, and fighting through hordes of angelic enemies. It plays a little bit like a tower defence game when it comes to battles, and it’s just a sublime experience all around.
Ancient Enemy is an RPG that uses solitaire as a gameplay mechanic. I realise that’s probably enough to explain why it’s on the list, but the story is great, the fights are incredibly challenging, and the animations have this wonderful sudden energy to them too. It’s a really good game, and is very different from other entries on this list thanks to the way it plays. You’ll find yourself banging your head against some strange enemies, and it also has one of the best difficulty sliders in recent memory.
Faeria has you using your deck to battle against other foes. Standard sounding stuff, but what makes it fascinating is that you build up the battlefield as you play and then command your units to go across the field taking each other out. It’s genuinely excellent, and once you’ve bought the game you only have to play the game to be able to unlock more cards. It makes it a very easy game to recommend, and that’s why it’s on our list of best card games.
Jason is the Editor of The Indie Game Website. He’s a lover of roguelikes, soulslikes, and other kinds of likes. He basically spends a lot of time getting beaten up in games and seems to enjoy it.