Looking for international or obscure card games
July 27, 2008 6:53 AM   Subscribe

CardGamesFilter: International or unusual card games I can play with 2 other people?

Last night, I played an Indonesian card game called 41 with some friends and had a real blast. I'm wondering if there are any other international card games that I could play with my friends.

I'll also expand this question to include obscure card games. We already know all about bridge, canasta, euchre, etc. I'm talking really obscure card games.

Links to rules would also be appreciated.

I'm sure all the MeFites have some great suggestions for me.

posted by reenum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Armenians play Belote. Apparently is it French in origin. Here is a different Wikipedia page.
posted by k8t at 7:05 AM on July 27, 2008

Skat isn't all that obscure, but it's perfect for three people. We used to play when we couldn't find a fourth for bridge.
posted by gleuschk at 7:10 AM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

500 is popular in Australia. According to that wiki entry, it started in the US and then lost popularity. 500 is unique in my mind, in that you can buy special decks for it with number cards that go up to 13. I last played it in the early 90's and have forgotten much since then, but I think it was pretty easy to pick up and be fairly good at. Playing Misere (and lay down Misere) of fun, when you think you have such a shit hand you deliberately announce & set out to loose each trick. I recall much laughter and swearing and name calling.
posted by goshling at 7:11 AM on July 27, 2008

You don't get much more international than Shithead (which has a wikipedia page too, but that gets a bit confusing in its listing of all possible variations), although of course some people know it by more family-friendly names. Nice and easy to learn, with the main rule being to make sure that everyone agrees on the rules before you start (see all the variations on the wikipedia page...).
posted by Lebannen at 7:26 AM on July 27, 2008

Best answer: Egyptian Rat Screw! We played with pairs, tens, and sandwitches, and if you fucked up slapping, you had to pay up the size of the pile, and if you had no cards and mis-slapped, you got punched in the shoulder. While looking for rules for you, i also found this.
posted by Mach5 at 7:56 AM on July 27, 2008

I'm not sure how obscure Oh Hell is, but I played it for the first time a few weeks ago (never heard of it before that) and it was *awesome.*
posted by Nelsormensch at 8:04 AM on July 27, 2008

Durak is one of my favorite games of all time. You can strip the low cards out of the deck to make it go faster.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 8:14 AM on July 27, 2008

Basra [Egypt] is played almost identically to Casino. In Italy, nearly every region has their own uniquely styled pack of cards (although many of them have the same number of cards: 40).

For unusual, if you don't know Egyptian Ratscrew, you should learn it. Oh Hell is a very entertaining game that, while not all that obscure really, is not as widely played as other trick-based games. The alternative names section for the "Oh Hell" article indicates that this game is played internationally.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:21 AM on July 27, 2008

On postview: darnit.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:21 AM on July 27, 2008

My favorite three person game is probably sheepshead, which is a variant on tarot games using a normal deck. Tarot can also be played with three people, apparently, but I would think there are just too many cards. That said, if you can track down a tarot deck and four friends, that is the best card game I have ever played.

Your new friend, by the by, is Pagat, which has scores of card games and rules from around the world. Explore and have fun.
posted by Schismatic at 9:08 AM on July 27, 2008

Big Two is so much fun. I don't know how obscure it is, but a lot of people I know haven't heard of it. It is easy to learn and super fun to play.
posted by LoriFLA at 9:11 AM on July 27, 2008

I learnt 1000 from a good friend of mine, it's fairly simple to learn and has quite deep strategy. Takes several hours for a full game, too!
posted by katrielalex at 9:44 AM on July 27, 2008

Mao remains one of my favorites.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:47 AM on July 27, 2008

posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:29 AM on July 27, 2008

My personal favourite is Sergeant Major, which is also known as 3-5-8. My Dad taught my brother and I to play this as my Mum refuses to play cards with him - he cheats! We soon got wise to his ways, and transferred our allegiance to my Mum, with whom we now play this really addictive game whenever we're together as a family.

Nobody I've ever met has ever heard of this card game, but I commend it to anyone.
posted by car01 at 11:30 AM on July 27, 2008

I learned Scopa from a nice old Sicilian lady. It's fun, but you'd need a 40-card Neapolitan pack.
posted by zadcat at 11:38 AM on July 27, 2008

I got taught a game apparently called Briscas (I tend to remember game mechanics better than game names), a Puerto Rican card game (or at least one played by some people from Puerto Rico).
posted by that girl at 11:53 AM on July 27, 2008

How about Faro? I've never actually played it, I just know of it because of Deadwood.
posted by crios at 4:52 PM on July 27, 2008

Pinochle. So exotic that it requires its own special deck.
posted by saladin at 5:45 AM on July 28, 2008

I am a huge fan of set.

It requires its own 81 card deck, but it is a really fun competitive thinking game if you have the right crowd of people to play. The only complaint I have against it is it is not very good if some of the players are much better than others.
posted by vegetableagony at 4:56 PM on August 6, 2008

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