Card games are popular worldwide, but some are more obscure than others. While most people have heard of poker, bridge and solitaire, there are many lesser known card games out there with strange rules or unique cultural backgrounds. Here is a look at some of the most unusual card games from different parts of the globe.
Hyena Chase (Ethiopia)
This odd game is played in parts of Ethiopia. Participants each put three cards face down in a row in front of them to represent three hyenas. A single jackal card is put in the center. The aim is to capture the jackal by placing matching cards on top of it. But be careful – if your hyena gets captured instead, you lose. The game’s name refers to how sneaky and quick you have to be to get the jackal without having your hyenas nabbed.
Popular in Egypt, this game has one of the most complex card hierarchies ever invented. It uses a customized deck with suits representing different military ranks. The ace outranks everything, but beyond that card value gets confusing! There are special rules for when certain cards capture others that take time to fully master. Tablanet is seen as an intelligent game requiring strategy.
In this raucous German game, players try to smash pots using playing cards! Up to five pots are stacked in the center, and players take turns flicking their cards across the room at the pots to knock them over. Whoever demolishes a pot gets to claim a prize inside. Pots typically contain candy, coins or other small trinkets. It’s a loud but entertaining way for several players to compete at Oktoberfest celebrations or wedding parties.
These ancient Indian playing cards often feature elaborate, colorful paintings of royalty similar to miniature paintings. Traditional decks have 8-10 suits consisting of higher ranking court cards down to pip cards all uniquely illustrated. The exact game rules vary by region. In some versions, elaborate rituals substitute cards between players according to specific hierarchical principles. Ganjifa games represent different battle formations described in ancient Indian texts.
With so many diverse cultures worldwide, there are endless unique card games out there. These are just a few of the most unusual ones with their own distinct rules, card designs and background stories. So don’t assume you already know all the possible games that can be played with this simple deck of cards!