When you’re playing card games with a group of friends, I always think that it’s important to make sure they’re engaging and fun and encourage group interaction instead of focusing solely on skills and technique.
These four-player card games I will be talking to you about today do all the above while ensuring they include enough rules to keep them challenging. If you find yourself short of a player, though, worry not, there are plenty of three-player games to choose from.
One of my pet peeves when playing games with more players is waiting for ages between turns. People quickly become distracted, and the games end before they’ve even got going. Therefore, I have tried to include as many of my favorite games as possible that won’t have people yawning and rolling their eyes. At the same time, they await their next chance to make a move.
For some of the games in this guide, all you will need to play is a deck of 52 classic cards, though you might need to get yourself two decks for one or two of them. Amazon has some great deals where you can purchase two decks for a low price, such as these premium playing cards, they’re also waterproof, so perfect for outdoor playing, or if you’re thinking of using them for a night of drinking games where things can get a little messy, you won’t have to worry about any spillages.
Other games I have included will involve a specialized game set or deck of cards, which I will point you in the direction of where necessary.
Best 4 Player Card Games – My Top Picks
I have tried to keep this list as varied as possible, so there will be some nice simple options, some a little more complex, and some just plain fun!
As you can imagine, many four-player card games are out there, so I have tried to make sure I have picked something to suit people of all ages and abilities.
I have included some trick-taking card games and matching and card-shedding games.
So, let me tell you about my favorite four-player card games to play at home with friends and family.
1. Knockout Twist
I will kick off my list of the best four-player card games with Knockout Twist, in which all you will need is a standard deck of cards.
Knockout Twist is a trick-taking card game for exactly four players. It begins with all four players being dealt seven cards each. Any card leads the trick, and to play a card, you must be able to follow the suit of the trick. The player with the highest-ranking card is the winner. The game plays for seven rounds, and the player with the least amount of won tricks over all the rounds is eliminated.
2. Never Have I Ever
Some people like to make up their questions for Never Have I Ever, but from personal experience, unless you’re extremely well prepared, you can end up stuck for questions, leaving your game with a few awkward pauses or with players losing interest.
So, I recommend getting yourself a Never Have I Ever Game Set. I also recently bought a couple of Never Have I Ever Paddle Boards, which add even more fun and novelty to the party. The idea is to hold them up instead of raising your hand when answering a question. They’re great!
Back to the game, well, it’s quite simple. A question is read out, such as “never have I ever kissed someone on the backseat of the cinema”. Anyone who has done such an action takes the question card to keep and must explain the story behind their activity to the group.
This game can be made more specifically for adults by introducing alcohol and more raunchy questions. There is also a version that can be played directly from your smartphone, which you can find more about in this list of the best iPhone app drinking games.
Get yourself a Monikers card game set, and enjoy one of my all-time favorite card games to play with four players.
The game is played in teams of two, both of which are dealt ten cards at the start, from which they must pick their favorite five. These five cards are then shuffled with the other team’s five favorite cards, thereby creating the deck for the game.
Teams now take turns reading out the description of the person on their card for their teammate to try and guess. Each card is worth a different amount of points depending on their level of difficulty.
There is really no skill involved in this game, but it brings laughter and is highly entertaining. You can learn how to play this game in more depth with my step-by-step guide to the Moniker card game.
I can’t stress enough how much I love a game of charades; I mean, who doesn’t? It’s an absolute fail-safe when looking for a card game to play at home. For one, no skill is involved, and the fewer skills you have, the funnier the game can get.
Now, once again, feel free to make up your own words to act out, but I still think this can become a little challenging. I always find my mind goes totally blank when thinking of words, which is why I love this Party Charades Game from Amazon. It contains 550 words and actions, so you never come unstuck attempting to think of something new and imaginative to act out to your team.
So how do you play, I hear you ask? Well, that’s easy. Playing in teams of two, you take a card and act out whatever is on there. For example, your card might say something easy, like “driving a car” or “throwing a snowball,” or it might be something a little more complex and challenging to act out, such as “Alice in Wonderland” or “listening to classical music”.
The team that correctly guesses the most actions wins the game. You can make the game even more challenging by adding a timer in which you have a minute or two to act out as many cards as possible.
5. Slap Jack
Quite often, when playing games with the family, I look for games that the little ones can be involved with without too much complication, and Slap Jack is the perfect go-to for that. Especially as you can get it in many colorful, fun varieties, I have these cool space-themed Slap Jack cards, and the kids love them.
The rules are simple, four players sit in a circle and deal all the cards equally. If you’re playing with a traditional Slap Jack deck, this should be thirteen cards each.
Players don’t look at the cards and keep them face down throughout the game.
One at a time, players draw a card from their hand and place it down, face up in the middle. If a Jack appears in the discard pile at any time, all players need to slap down their hands onto the cards. Whoever’s hand is directly on the card gets to take all the cards. However, if you make an error and clumsily hit your hand down in a frantic panic when no Jack has appeared, then they must give the top card from their hand to the player who put that card down. Make sense?
If you run out of cards, you’re out unless you slap a Jack laid down by another player, at which point you rejoin the game. The winner of the game is the person to end up with all the cards, leaving everyone else empty-handed.
6. Code Names
If you’re into anything involving spies, mystery and thrillers like I am, then you’ll love playing Code Names. One of my favorite board games is Clue. Still, I’ve now played it so many times that it was refreshing to come across another mystery-solving card game to play on game night.
The game involves working with your teammate, using different strategies and wordplay to discover the agents among you. The game consists of a spymaster, keycards, and codes.
The game is won once all the agents have been discovered. If you want to learn more about Code Names, then lucky for you, I’ve already put together a fully comprehensive guide that will teach you how to play the game step-by-step and give you all the ins and outs of the CodeNames Rules.
If you’re a big fan of Anime, then you will love this game. I have a couple of friends who are mad about Anime, so I purchased the Animena card game last time we’d planned a get-together, and safe to say they were over the moon.
For starters, it draws the attention of all Anime fans because the cards are all themed and feature some of the most famous characters from the much-loved genre.
This is a matching card game that involves pairing your cards with the cards in the middle, the first person to make a match takes the card, and the person with the most cards at the end wins.
I must make a point of saying here that although this game claims to be suitable for people of all ages, some of the images on the cards could be deemed inappropriate for children, so be sure to bear this in mind before introducing it to younger players.
8. Card Against Humanity
If you’re looking for a game for adults only, then Cards Against Humanity is an excellent go-to. While there aren’t any skills or strategies, this game will bring you and your teammates’ plenty of laughs.
Although this can be played as a four-player card game, there aren’t really any limits as to how many people you can include, especially now as there are so many expansion packs, such as this Absurd Box, with 300 extra cards to add to your game. There is also a family edition if you want to play the clean-cut edition.
The concept is simple, but to give you a brief idea, players need to match captions written on the cards with missing words, to be as offensive as possible. The game master picks the best answer, and that person wins the card.
Although it sounds simple, if you want to know more about the details, check out my guide on the rules of Cards Against Humanity.
Food For Thought
I hope my guide has been helpful and given you plenty of options to introduce to your guests next time you’re looking for four-player card games.
If you want to expand your knowledge of games, why not check out my guide to the best Spanish card games, and impress your friends with your cultural gaming expertise?