Photo credit: Ryan McGuire @gratisographycom

Card games exist since 9th century, and it seems people still haven’t got bored with them. Games evolve but there are some elements that keep appearing over the ages, like trick-taking or shedding. Modern card games are often much more complicated than their grandparents. They include elements of collecting, creating decks with certain strategies in mind or even go as far as allowing players to merge their own cards from a set of elements.

Today we’ll look at seven card games that were really successful on Kickstarter.

Thunderstone Quest


A game with almost a decade of history behind it. It began in 2009 as a one of the earliest deck building games. During a play session you create a deck of cards and then use it to defeat enemies. There were two series released before the Kickstarter: Thunderstone and Thunderstone Advanced. They both had a number of expansion with new monsters, heroes, village cards and dungeon boards.

Kickstarter’s Thunderstone: Quest can be considered a third release, but introduces many new elements to the series. New quest system was implemented. Each of them has special dungeon tiles and own storyline. Dungeon tiles are the main improvement and core of the gameplay.



Probably one of the longest developed card games ever. Author, who previously worked in video game development, spent 10 years making cards and perfecting the rules. His goal was to create a deep card game that emulates real time strategy video games. His Kickstarter campaign launched in early 2016 and was a big success.

Codex has a huge amount of cards, which results in tons of replayability. Sessions feel different and rarely turn out similar. You create your deck while playing. Game incorporates computer RTS elements like building, patrolling and even fog of war. There are many factions, each with different flavour and playstyle.



One of 2015’s card game heavy hitters. Made by people responsible for Star Realms and Hero Realms. The idea was to create a very fast card game, while still making it remain as deep as possible. The game removes the element of buying random card packs. You get everything in one box.

One of the best features is the ability to play sealed and draft formats. In collectible card games, you have to pay money each time you do this. In Epic, getting few sets of the game makes playing these formats possible and as fun as it could be. Other play modes, like preconstructed are also here, just divide the cards by colors and you’re ready to go. Everything works even with 4 players at once.

Exploding Kittens


Created by an ex-Xbox employee and a comic artist with a multi million fanbase, Exploding Kittens conquered Kickstarter in 2015. They still stand among most funded campaigns ever. The game is incredibly simplistic, with a goal of surviving till the end. It’s not that easy, as drawing a single exploding kitten makes you lose. There are ways to counter these but by the end, only one player will come out unscathed.

There are few types of cards in the game. Some that make you steal cards from others. Others will prolong turns to make someone more vulnerable to a dangerous feline. There are also cards that allow you to shuffle deck or rearrange it. By the end of the day, the game is silly and sort of frustrating, but if you add expansions to it, it gets much much better.

Town of Salem – the Card Game


If you’re even slightly into traditional games, you’ve most likely played some variant of the 1986 game called mafia. This one is a yet different take on that game – this time in the card format. Each player is assigned a role that has to do with killing, saving others or investigating. Players use their abilities during nights and keep doing so until only one faction remains. Accusing others may end in a court trial. The key is to bluff perfectly and never get caught or to figure out the identity of the mafiosos.

Rewards offered in the campaign were pretty unique. The creators own a digital game, a variant of Mafia very similar to the Kickstarter one. By buying your card deck you could also got points used for microtransactions in the digital version.

Potato Pirates: The Tastiest Coding Card Game


Potato Pirates collected almost 200 000 US dollars. That’s a great result considering it’s an educational game. On the surface, it may feel like something silly you would play on a party. If we look deeper though, it turns out, that we’re dealing with a game about… coding. Many parents try to interest their kids in the topic of programming. If they want something lighter than traditional lessons, few games of Potato Pirates could work as a fun introduction.

Game has many mechanics taken straight from the world of coding like loops or conditionals. Despite looking a bit like Exploding Kittens, Potato Pirates are much deeper and have neat concepts like sea battles and anchors. There are also tiny potato tokens(!).

The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game


Dresden Files is a card game based on a series of 15 novels. Works of Jim Butcher tell a story of a private investigator and a wizard Harry Dresden in a world with elements of fantasy. The franchise already got adapted into a TV series, graphic novels and a RPG book system.

The game has heavy cooperation mechanics. You work together with other players to solve cases related to novels. There is also a random case generator included in the rules. Players take roles of various characters from the books. Each turn you either generate fate points or take actions. The goal is to solve as many cases as possible and defeat all enemies. There is a noticeable element of randomness, as dice play a big role in the gameplay.

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