Discover the World of Card Games below
List of Card Games World Wide
This is a list of card games per country. If you want to know more, you can click on the countries to find out more about the games from these nations.
- Chinese Card Games – The earliest country to have playing cards, these games have a focus on competitive gambling aspects, being the preferred side activity for alcoholic drinking since ancient times.
- Egyptian Card Games – These card games initially spread from China, and are one of the few countries to still use their traditional cards today, such as the Ganjifa cards.
- French Card Games
- Indian Card Games – Imperial colonization and rule introduced cards to India. Fast-forward a few centuries, and India’s online card game industry is blooming, exceeding the size of even their Chinese counterpart.
- Italian Card Games – Can be traced back to 14th century Egypt. Spanish, French and German decks were used consistently at the time, thanks to Italy’s unique location as a melting pot of different European play-styles.
- Japanese Card Games – Were first brought in through the Portuguese traders and immigrants. However, the Japanese Sakoku period meant that all contact and interaction with the Western world was cut off.
- Mexican Card Games – Mexico is hailed as the birthplace of modern Rummy. Mexican card games, even today, still use the standard Spanish 40-card deck.
- Spanish Card Games – The birthplace of the Spanish 40-card deck, the games were first introduced from the colonization of Egypt. In the 1400s, the Spanish deck was born, with 48 and 40-card variants becoming the norm.
A Brief History
The world of international card games is a vast one, with a history stretching past upwards of 500 years. The first ever set of playing cards on earth was found in China, tracing back to the early Tang dynasty. The idea for modern gameplay styles were then developed in the Ming Dynasty of the 14th century. Through natural spread, this spread to nearby Arabia and Egypt, and through colonization, Europe was introduced to the art of playing cards.
Each country brought forth multiple different innovations to the standard formula. One of the most significant was the now standard 4-suit system, which appeared in traditional Spanish and French decks. Some concepts have even survived the test of time, such as face cards and numbers. It’s no surprise that playing cards are now common in households, with the modern standard of the Anglo-American 52-card deck becoming the modern standard since its introduction in the mid-1900s.
While the 52-card deck is larger than traditional decks used in the past, it has the advantage of allowing play of the otherwise obsolete games using old decks, simply by removing certain cards to adapt to the size. The popular Spanish deck is a classic deck that is still used today, yet the similarities with the modern Anglo-American deck also means that you can adapt decks to work with this without issue.
The fact that card games are still played to this day is a testament to their endearment. The diversity across countries are also indicative of the adaptability of the concepts. Below, we have provided a list of countries that we cover in detail, followed with a quick introduction to the games. Should you desire more detailed explanations, we include full guides for each country as well.
Think you have more to add? You can help enhance our interactive map and guides by suggesting games from your country, and you can even submit games that we’ll add to our guides on card games around the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the major difference of card games in each country?
Each country differs in their preferred play-style. Certain countries may favor the more fast-paced games, and others might prefer the slow-paced thinking games where mistakes are punished with eventual losses.
What are the easiest card games to learn, and from which country?
Slapjack, while seemingly American, actually takes inspiration from Egyptian Ratscrew and its slapping variant. This is an excellent introduction to the world of card games for kids, and it is still extremely fun for adults.