Cover art for the exploding kittens card game, featuring the text of the game and a cartoon cat.

S3E13 Our Favorite Card Games

On this episode of Lair of Secrets, Ken totally doesn’t buy a new game he doesn’t have time to play, while David fights the good fight against streaming technical difficulties. Our main topic is a look at our favorite card games, including Fluxx, Exploding Kittens, Morels, Race for the Galaxy, and more.

Game Room

Main Topic: Our Favorite Card Games and Why

  • Fluxx
    • Family friendly card game with a ton of themed sets.
    • Basic set up:
      • Every game starts with a basic rule governing how many cards you can draw and play.
      • Keeper Cards – Represent different objects or concepts (e.g. Sun, Chocolate, Love)
      • Objective Cards – Tell you to win the game (e.g. you could have “Hot Chocolate”, which requires a player to have the “Sun” and “Chocolate” keepers in play at the same time.
      • Rule Cards – Augment or break the basic rule in some way. Change how many cards you draw or play a turn. Set how many Keepers a player Exploding Kittenscan have in front of them. Set a hand limit.
      • Action Cards – Lets you draw additional cards, steal cards from someone else, trade cards, steal keepers, and generally mess with the rules.
    • Sets can be combined for crazy combinations, but will always lead to longer games.
  • Exploding Kittens
    • An elimination-based, mess-with-your friends card game.
    • Basic set up:
      • A number of “exploding kittens” – exact number depends on how many people are playing – are shuffled into a communal deck.
      • Players play a card and draw a card.
      • Other cards include different kinds of kittens; if you get doubles or triples of particular kittens, you can use them to steal cards from someone else.
      • Other action cards let you take a specific card, ask for cards from someone else, or defuse (and then shuffle back into the deck) an exploding kitten.
      • Goal is to be the last person standing.
    • Fun, raucous game. Not great for people who don’t like elimination games. 
    • Kids played it at Pax Unplugged.
  • Morels
    • A two-person mushroom gathering card game
    • Basic set-up:
      • There is a forest path which consists of a number of game cards laid out next to each other.
      • Players draw cards, which causes the path to advance.
      • The goal is to collect sets of mushrooms, and then cook them.
      • Bonuses for using butter, cider, and other ingredients in your meals.
    • Always makes us hungry for mushrooms.
  • Race for the Galaxy
    • Build a galactic empire before anyone else.
    • Basic set-up:
      • Game is divided into phases.
      • Which phases happen depend on what kind of cards people play (e.g. develop, colonize, produce/trade, ship).
      • Goal is to build a tableau of 12 cards OR gain the most victory points before everyone else.
      • Tableaus can have themes built around top-level cards (e.g. military themed builds, mining themed builds, terraforming
    • If you enjoy the feel of Mass Effect and space opera in general, you’ll enjoy this game.
  • 6 Nimmt
    • Suggested to David by our former Overlord Johnson
    • Basic set-up
      • Players get a hand of 10 cards, each card has a different point value
      • Each round they must place into one of four columns, each card is placed in the row that ends with the highest number that’s below the card’s number.
      • If a placement happens to be the sixth card in that row, the owner of that card claims the other five cards, off to the side, and their card becomes the new first card in the row
      • Play continues until all cards in your hand are played
      • Then everyone tallies up their score
      • If no one hits 66 points, then another hand is played.  The first person to get to 66 points ends the game and the person with the lowest total score loses.


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Cover art from the Exploding Kittens card game. Credit: Exploding Kittens LLC

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