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Best Trick-Taking Card Games

Often, when people think of trick-taking card games, Spades, Hearts, and “Oh, Hell” come to mind. But, these are not your grandmother’s games. In the past decade or two, game designers have gotten really creative with trick-taking, coming up with fun themes, in-depth stories, and unique tricks themselves.

If you’re a little confused as to what trick-taking games are, here’s some info that’ll clue you in. Trick-taking is a game mechanism in which players play cards in a series of rounds. Each round, or trick, is evaluated separately and then applied. 

Often trick-taking works on a “trump” system, where the highest value wins. There’re many different ways to play “tricks’ from your hand of cards to the table. That’s why we’ve created this list of the 10 best trick-taking games for you to explore!

🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Trick-Taking Games

In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.

Best Pirate

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Skull King
  • FAMILY FRIENDLY FUN: A fast-paced trick-taking game with a pirate...
  • LOVED AROUND THE WORLD: Known and played throughout the world,...
  • CARD GAME FOR ALL AGES: Whether you are 7 or 107, Skull King is...

Best 2-Player

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The Fox in the Forest
  • Familiar trick-taking mechanics with unique character powers
  • Beautifully illustrated cards
  • Compact size is perfect for travel

Best Overall

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The Crew: Mission Deep Sea
  • A follow-up to the Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, The Crew, with...
  • The Crew: Mission Deep Sea has the same innovative cooperative...
  • Work together to win the right tricks at the right time.

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Best Trick-Taking Card Games Featured Image

#1. The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine

the crew quest for planet nine board game art

Players: 2- 5
Playing time: 20 mins

Calling all Astronauts! Astronauts wanted! Scientists have just revealed that there’s a mysterious ninth planet that they’ve located at the edge of our solar system. But they’ll need your help to provide substantial evidence. 

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine is a cooperative trick-taking card game where you and your fellow astronauts need to complete 50 different missions as you travel across the solar system. 

Teamwork is a must to master the challenges as it’s a win or lose together game, but with limited communication. Only once per mission can each player show the other players their hand. To make things even more challenging, the difficulty increases as the game progresses. 

The Crew is a great introduction to new games, putting a modern twist on the trick-taking genre. 

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The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine
  • Cooperative strategy game--win or lose together!
  • A new twist on classic trick-taking card games
  • Difficulty increases as the game progresses, making it a good...

#2. The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

Players: 2- 5
Playing time: 20 mins

The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine, won the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres award in 2020, so it’s only natural that they brought us a follow-up to the fantastic game. 

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea, takes players on an adventure to the depths of the sea to search for the lost continent of Mu. Your crew will need to dive deep down into the abyss to search for the fabled sunken land. 

Like the previous game, Mission Deep Sea is reliant on working together to get the job done. Trick by trick, your search party will uncover new challenges. Again, communication is limited, so your team will need to be quick, creative, and strategic. 

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea promises to bring the same trick-taking mechanic but add a few new surprises, so if you’re a fan of the original give this murky water operation a try! 

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The Crew: Mission Deep Sea
  • A follow-up to the Kennerspiel des Jahres winner, The Crew, with...
  • The Crew: Mission Deep Sea has the same innovative cooperative...
  • Work together to win the right tricks at the right time.

#3. The Fox in the Forest

Fox in the Forest Board Game Box and Cards

Players: 2
Playing time: 30 mins

Once upon a time in a kingdom far away, there lived a talented musician. When he played, all else faded away, and only his music was left behind. In The Fox in the Forest, players can use the special abilities of the fairy characters like the Musician to let their teammates follow.

A two-player game, Fox in the Forest consists of three suits. The odd-numbered cards in each suit have a unique ability. Players aim to play these ‘trick’ cards to score more points. You are trying to win more than your rival, but not too many. If you win too many tricks, you’ll become like a fairytale villain. 

The Fox in the Forest is a fun blend of fairy, mystical characters, and trick-taking! 

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The Fox in the Forest
  • Familiar trick-taking mechanics with unique character powers
  • Beautifully illustrated cards
  • Compact size is perfect for travel

#4. Skull King

Players: 2- 8
Playing time: 30 mins

Trick-taking on the high seas! 

Skull King is a fun game where players predict and bid how they’ll do each round as the stakes get higher and higher. If players bid right, they’ll earn points, but if they bid wrong, they will sink their score. 

You’ll be up against all sorts of characters from mermaids to pirates, and who could forget the formidable Skull King? The Kraken and a vengeful White Whale also stand (or swim?) against you and all the treasure and glory. 

Skull King is fast-paced but the rules are simple, making it a great choice for some good ol’ family friend fun. 

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Skull King
  • FAMILY FRIENDLY FUN: A fast-paced trick-taking game with a pirate...
  • LOVED AROUND THE WORLD: Known and played throughout the world,...
  • CARD GAME FOR ALL AGES: Whether you are 7 or 107, Skull King is...

#5. Tichu

Players: 4
Playing time: 60 mins

Tichu is a Chinese game that’s been around for at least 30 years but probably much longer. Many of its mechanics are from the game Zheng Fen, but you can also see elements of Bridge and Poker. 

The game uses a standard deck plus four unique cards. These are the phoenix, dragon, dog, and Mah Jong. The aim of the game is to rid yourself of your hand of cards while still scoring as many points as you can. 

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Tichu
  • Modern Classic with a cult status
  • Excellent partner game for 4 players
  • Elegant Metal Box for space-saving storage

#6. Claim 

Players: 2
Playing time: 25 mins

Oh no! The King is dead! He was found face down in a wine barrel. Perhaps a party weekend gone wrong or foul play? Regardless, he has no heirs, so the five factions of the realm must take on the task to claim who will be the new king. 

In Claim, players try to recruit as many followers as they can to their side. They’ll then use the followers to compete in tricks against each other, eventually winning over factions.

The first player to reach at least three factions wins!

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Claim
  • The Bundle Includes:
  • ★ Deep Water Games -CLAIM- (Base/Core) Card Game (Recruit...
  • ★ Deep Water Games -CLAIM- Reinforcements MAPS, MAGIC &...

#7. Stick ‘Em

Players: 3- 8
Playing time: 30- 60 mins

To start, from your hand of cards, you’ll choose a Pain color, which are the cards you don’t want. If you collect Pain cards, they’ll now become negative points.

In the game, players try to gather points by trying to take as many cards as possible of all but one color. That one color must be avoided at all costs. All the other color cards are fair play for you and will win you points. But, watch out for opponents who will actively try to stick you with your Pain color cards.

The game is pretty fast and simple as your goal is to try to stick players with cards that’ll give them negative points. 

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Stick 'Em
  • From your hand of cards, you will choose a Pain Color,...
  • Fast & simple trick-taking card game
  • Stick players with cards that give them negative points

#8. Wizard

Players: 3- 6
Playing time: 45 mins

Probably the closest to a traditional trick-taking game on the list, Wizard uses a standard deck of playing cards but also adds four Wizards and four Jesters.  

Wizard is essentially a bidding game played over rounds. Each round, players bid on how many tricks they’ll win with the help of the Wizards and Jesters. 

Each round, players are dealt a hand of cards. One card in the first round, two in the second, three in the third, and so on. The undealt deck’s top card is flipped to reveal the trump. At the end of each round, players tally their trick scores, and points are awarded to how accurate their bid was. 

Although Wizard has predictive bidding and a little luck, once you play it a few times, you’ll see a little strategy can be implemented to win.

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Wizard
  • Package Dimensions: 3.2 cms (L) x 10.8 cms (W) x 13.3 cms (H)
  • Product Type: Toys And Games
  • Package Quantity: 1

#9. The Bottle Imp

Players: 2- 4
Playing time: 30 mins

Down does the price, and up goes the risk! 

The Bottle Imp may seem like an odd name, but it’s based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson of the same name. The story is about a man who buys a bottle with an imp inside it who grants wishes. The bottle is cursed, however, and if the owner of the bottle dies while bearing it, their soul goes to hell. 

The Bottle Imp uses the hot potato mechanism. Ownership of the bottle passes from player to player while the trick cards decrease the bottle’s value. Players try to pass the bottle on to their opponent before the end of the round, thus cursing their soul for eternity, or at the very least, sticking them with negative points.

What’s unique about the game is that the lower the value of your card, the better your card. If the card’s value is lower than that of the bottle, it’s considered a trump, and the player wins the trick. 

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The Bottle Imp
  • Country Of Origin: Germany
  • Model Number: 8030SG
  • Item Package Dimension: 7.086614166" L x 4.8818897588" W x...

#10. Time Chase

Players: 3- 6
Playing time: 30 mins

Finally! Someone has cracked the code to time travel… and it’s you! It’s your breakthrough invention, and it has the potential to revolutionize the world as we know it. 

However, it seems some jealous colleagues are trying to use your invention to travel back in time and take credit for themselves. They must be stopped! 

Time Chase is a fun trick-taking game with a twist. You’re able to “travel back in time” to previous tricks and events to change the outcome. The first player that can control three events wins the game! 

Time Chase is a refreshing game to the genre because normally, once you play a round, you lose the trick you played. It’s a fun idea and gives the genre more depth and strategy throughout the game. 

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Time Chase
  • Travel back in time in this time-traveling trick-taking Game!
  • Spend time crystals to travel to events (tricks) along the time...
  • Control Three events at once to win the Game!

Wrap-Up

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best trick-taking card games. Which game is your favorite? I know, it’s a little ‘tricky’ to choose just one! Have you tried any of the games on this list?

Let us know in the comments which trick-taking game is your favorite to play! We’d love to hear from you.

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