I spent many hours during my internship time in Germany playing one-on-one card games with co-workers that didn’t speak much English. Since my German was limited to asking “Where is the train station?” and understanding how to order beer, playing card games was an easier way of communicating.
Here’s my favorite two player card games.
Not only is Piquet one of the oldest card games still being played, it is often called the “King of Two Player Card Games.” Piquet has been around for at least 500 years, and has simple rules and game play that makes it easy to teach, even to someone with whom you don’t share a common language.
Piquet uses a 32 card pack, with every card below 7 removed. Aces are high and 7s are low. Piquet is a melding and trick-taking game, and 6 series of hands make up an entire game, meaning you can play an entire match of Piquet in under an hour.
Piquet’s scoring rules are a bit complicated, but once you memorize them the game is easy to repeat. Check out these Piquet rules for specifics on the game’s scoring method.
No, this isn’t a Spanish game. It actually comes from the Ukraine, and you pronounce the “H” in the game’s name. I learned this two-player card game from a Ukrainian co-worker, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Deal four cards to both players. The first player lays out any card. The object is to win points by winning tricks with aces and 10s in them, the only cards in the game that reward points. To take a trick, you have to match the rank of the card your opponent plays; if your opponent plays a 5, you win the trick by playing another 5.
The game has wild cards which take tricks as well–in most games of Hola, the wild cards are 2s and 7s. The trick-winner leads for the next hand, and you continue to deal out 4 cards every time both player’s hands are empty. You win Hola by having the highest score when the deck is empty. Aces and 10s are each worth 1 point.