5 Card Games to Know (and Snacks to Eat While Playing)

Play your cards right: 5 games to learn—and 20 snacks—for your next night in.

September  9, 2015

Play your cards right: 5 games to learn—and 20 snacks—for your next night in.


It's safe to say that Food52 staffers like a little healthy competition: We're on soccer teams and bowling teams; we run races and shake cocktails against one another (cooking is a sport too, right?). And, we're card game enthusiasts. That's right—we love a game medium that feeds our competitive sides without taking too much effort to set up boards, assign pawns, and dole out fake money, and the rules are (usually) simple enough to catch on quickly and move forth with beginner's luck.

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And the best thing about game night? You know it, I know it, and your friends know it—the snacks. When I recently polled our editorial team about their favorite card games, let's just say our competitive sides showed. Here are five card games everyone should know how to play, plus snacks to have within arm's reach: 

For when there's nothing left to say when you've invited a couple over for dinner (and snacks need to stand in for conversation): Spades 


Italian Snacking Bread by inpatskitchen
Peperonata (Red Pepper Stew) by Emiko
Beet Tartare with Dijon and Capers by Cory Daddario
Marian Burros' Plum Torte by Merrill Stubbs

For when everyone's going to be up until 1 A.M. (and they're gonna need junk food): Gin Rummy


Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough + Margherita Pie by Genius Recipes
Chicken Fingers by Merrill Stubbs
Raspberry Fruit Roll Ups by Miranda Keyes
Whiskey Punch by Kendra Vaculin

For when four people are looking to prove just how Midwestern they are (or could be): Euchre


Potato, Mushroom, and Caramelized Onion Pierogi by Jamie@lifesafeast
Corn Dogs by molly yeh
Apple Chips by Merrill Stubbs
Watermelonade by Merrill Stubbs

For when your brain isn't working and you just want to flip over card after card (and not think too much about food): 


Blue Cheese Potato Chips by Catherine Lamb
Americano by Erik Lombardo
Bulgogi Jerky
 by savorthis
Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares by Selma | Selma's Table

For when you're ready to race someone to the finish line (and need maximum hand use): Spit


Truly Amazing Cashew Queso Sauce by Gena Hamshaw
Spicy Shrimp by Helen
Homemade Pocky by Samantha Seneviratne | Love, Cake
Peanut Butter Salt Water Taffy by Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Peperonata by Emiko Davies; Fruit Roll Ups by Miranda Keyes; Corn Dogs by molly yeh; Whiskey Punch, Blue Cheese Potato Chips and Truly Amazing Cashew Queso Sauce by Bobbi Lin; Homemade Pocky by Samantha Seneviratne | Love, Cake; and all others by James Ransom

Which game are you always playing (winning?), and what are you serving alongside it? 

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


Elisa B. April 16, 2021
My favorite column ever (besides that for keyhole gardens). Thanks. Sending to my daughter who's quarantined in SF.
Sally C. March 24, 2020
Anybody ever heard of pitch? Hi, Lo, Jack, Joker, game? No. *slinks to corner*
Windischgirl March 11, 2016
Where are the double-deck pinochle snacks? :-)
Amy H. September 15, 2015
Samantha, Spite & Malice is a card game played with 2-3 decks of cards for 2+ people, kind of like double Solitaire, but with Jokers wild. It's simple to learn and loads of fun.
Lynn September 14, 2015
My gosh, you forgot canasta! Wouldn't miss my weekly foursome.
Samantha W. September 15, 2015
Whoo, just looked this up. Will add it into my regular game night rotation. Thanks for the suggestion!
betsy September 10, 2015
When I was in elementary school, and stuck at my grandmother's house for the weekend with my best friend, my grandmother got us hooked on a game called spite and malice. I don't really remember how to play, but I remember it being addictive.
Amy H. September 11, 2015
Betsy, I also got addicted to Spite and Malice at my grandparents' farm in the '70s! So fun, we played with 3 decks of cards. Rules are at www.hoylegaming.com. There's a commercialized version known as Skip Bo.
Rosie's D. September 13, 2015
Ohhh, my aunt taught me spite&malice back in the 60s. Brings back pleasant memories.
Samantha W. September 15, 2015
Please school me -- what is spite and malice!?
Mary T. March 11, 2016
Is this it? https://www.pagat.com/patience/spitemal.html
Lore September 10, 2015
Those snacks look tasty-yummy. The only card game I know is solitaire