Dealing with Cards

Having recently been working on a couple of party games, the idea got into my head to look and see what the expectation was as regards how many cards should be included in a game - or at least, what the reality was of how many were generally found in games. Here's what I gathered.

Apples to Apples: The mother of all "play a card and everyone plays a card in response" games has 321 red cards, 107 green. Expansions have 216 green and 72 red. The "Party box" and wooden "Apple crate edition" each have the same 749 red cards and 249 green ones. Interestingly, the Party box and Apple crate are advertised as having "Over 1000 cards" but 749 plus 249 is, by my count, NOT more than 1000.

Dirty Minds: 304 "Clean answers" plus three "Dirty clues" for each.

Say Anything: Doesn't say in the instructions how many cards, but I count 80 with 5 questions on each, total 400 questions.

Cranium: original game had 800 cards, 200 of each sub-game activity. "Cranium Wow" had 600 cards, other editions had varying numbers

Wits and Wagers: 100 cards with 7 question each = 700 questions. Expansion Pack 1 has an additional 700 (better) questions.

Loaded Questions: original game has over 1000 questions. Booster pack has 128 cards with 4 questions each (about 500 questions.) "Loaded on the go" has 250 questions, "Adult" loaded questions has 300, the other editions have only 200. (more specific focus)

Trivial Pursuit: The crusty bewhiskered granddaddy of the modern party game takes the prize for most cards, as far as I have found. The original had 1000 questions. Newer version had 432 cards (72 of each category) with 6 questions on each card, total 2500 questions.

Time's Up: (commercial version of the "Celebrity" charades game) The original game had 432 cards with 2 names on each (864 names total.)

As an additional note, I discovered many games (A LOT of games) put more than one question on a card (wits and wagers, say anything, loaded questions, trivial pursuit, hummmble, encore, etc) - they put more than one question or game element on a card. This makes sense from a practical standpoint - it's much cheaper to print (and ship) a game that has a few cards with lots of content, than loads of cards with one item each. It also mitigates the problem of encountering a card a second or third time - if there are other items on the card, there is less chance of an already played element coming into play (a game buzzkill if there ever was one).

An additional note: SR wrote in with the following comment, which rings true: "The expectation of the players should have a lot to do with the number of cards. e.g., a game such as Monopoly has relatively few cards. But it is interesting that the meanings of the cards changes with accumlation/strategy. A simple "one-shot" type game where you just answer a question needs lots of questions to keep the variables/newness to a level to keep the interest of the players. however when the cards work with synergy than less are needed. Thus strategy games require fewer cards overall and are less entertaining to the A.D.D. crowd in general I would imagine."


  1. I miss you a lot. I wish I was there to "game it up" with you.


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