Categories: Activities

6 Card Games For Big Groups Perfect For CNY Gatherings That Aren’t Blackjack

Card games for Chinese New Year

Image adapted from The Singaporean Dream

Poker, Dai Di and Ban Luck are just some common card games that get played at every Chinese New Year gathering. But not everyone is open to losing their angbao money right away, and kids aren’t exactly old enough to be playing with poker cards. Won’t somebody please think of the children?

Without compromising the fun, here are 6 card games you can bring to your next CNY house visit to enjoy with the whole family.

P.S – Read till the end to see how you can be also your CNY potluck’s MVP!

The Singaporean Dream

Image credit: The Singaporean Dream

Think of this new card game as SG’s take on the family favourite board game The Game Of Life. The cheeky, localised context of identities such as “Influencer” and action cards like “Get BTO Flat On First Try” make The Singaporean Dream instantly relatable, and hard for anyone at your CNY reunion not to get involved too.

Image credit: @thesingaporeandream

How to play

1. Each player picks a Singaporean identity
2. Players draw 2 action cards and get to play 3 actions each turn
3. Buy, steal and gain “Dream” cards each round, each associated with a typical Singaporean scenario
4. The player with the most “Dream” cards wins

Number of players: 2 – 6

Why it’s perfect for CNY: Competition will definitely make your friends and relatives kanchiong and kiasu, so you’ll see exactly which Singaporean stereotype everyone falls into.

Get it here

Smol Tok

Image credit: @starknicked

With themed questions covering topics such as life experiences, personal phobias and opinions on the modern world, Smol Tok is the perfect icebreaker that brings friends and family closer in ways you never thought you could.

Instead of focusing on winners and losers, the card game emphasises and encourages healthy conversation among any group instead – from strangers to family members. Look out for questions that only Singaporeans can relate to such as “How do you choose 4D and TOTO numbers?”, that will surely pique the interest of the older generation as well. 

How to play

1. Players take turns drawing question cards from the deck to ask a fellow player
2. Answer the questions accordingly and honestly to share experiences until the time limit runs out

Number of players: 4 – 6
Why it’s perfect for CNY: Not only does it counter irritating, recycled questions like “where you studying now?”, “got relationship already?” and the classic “why your jeans got hole one ah?”, but it also overcomes awkward silences and helps you get to know new introductions better.

Get it here


Gotta catch all ’em Attribute cards to victory!
Image credit: @superfightgame

A Darth Vader that shoots laser cats. A Pokemon trainer wearing an armour made out of Justin Timberlake’s ramen hair. These are just some of the crazy, customised characters you can come up with in the card game Superfight.

This game involves accumulating ‘Attribute’ cards to build an imaginary unstoppable fighter. The best superhero will be determined by a designated judge, meaning it’s a great game to play with the kids where they’ll be able to flex their creativity.

How to play

Video credit: Skybound

1. Build your most creative fighter with Character and Attribute cards
2. The table decides who wins each battle!

Number of players: 3 – 10

Why it’s perfect for CNY: What’s CNY without a little friendly competition?

Get it here


First to get their deck to correspond to the Instruction card wins
Image credit: Co-op Board Games

To score yourself the winning deck in Cahoots, players will have to resort to some cheeky sabo-ing of other players to not have the cards they want to build their deck. Otherwise, form an ally with a fellow player to help each other get the cards with the number or colour you both need by hinting to each other when no one’s looking. Sneaky!

How to play

1. Each player draws an Instruction card that sets the rule for their pile. For example, “All cards must only be pink”
2. Work together with your rivals to get the deck you need
3. First player to get the deck according to the rules wins!

Number of players: 2 – 4

Why it’s perfect for CNY: Cahoots doesn’t require a big group to play – which means it’s a fuss-free way to kill time while waiting for your CNY feast to be prepared.

Get it here

Say What?

Say What? is a hilarious way of learning Chinese dialects by throwing slangs at players to attempt at guessing what they mean, similar to Heads Up! and Taboo.  Even if you are not a native Hokkien, Cantonese or Teochew speaker, that shouldn’t stop you from playing it with your friends over the CNY break – you might just become a bit more fluent after a round or two.

Image credit: @saywhatwithfriends

Besides, it’ll create a better connection with ah ma, ah gong, and younger family members while learning about their respective dialect together. Nothing like good ol’ family bonding.

How to play

1. Players split into 2 teams, each with a dedicated reader
2. The readers read out 2 combinations of cards and the rest of the team has to guess what is the meaning of the Chinese dialect words within 1 minute
3. Players can act out the words as well
4. The team with the most correct guesses win

Number of players: 2 – 10

Why it’s perfect for CNY: Nothing brings people together during Chinese New Year than learning Chinese dialect slangs, terms and customs. It’s also perfect for educating the jiak kantang (Singaporean Chinese only fluent in English) among us.

Get it here

Fun Employed

Try going an hour into a CNY house visit before someone asks “how’s work?”. You can’t.

The topics of job statuses and career prospects are commonplace at any social gathering. Whether you’re getting ready for the working world or a veteran in your industry, Fun Employed is an interview-based card game that promises plenty of laughs while helping players ask and answer interview questions.

Image credit: @theflowerpunk

How to play

Video credit: The Dice Tower

1. Have 2 separate piles of Job Cards and Qualification Cards
2. 1 player starts as the Employer and everyone else assumes Applicant roles
Applicants draw 4 Qualification Cards each to “apply” for the Job that the Employer chooses.
4. Each player argues their case with their Qualification Cards to attempt at being hired
5. First player that gets the most Job Cards after 2 rounds wins!

Number of players: 3 – 6

Why it’s perfect for CNY: For those that are “fun-employed” IRL, you’ll be able to hone your interview skills so your relatives will see that you’re at least trying to find a job.

Get it here

Card games for Chinese New Year

It’s pretty much customary to play card games over the CNY holidays, but instead of sticking to the usual suspects of poker and blackjack, try these alternative options that will definitely add some newfound fun and friendly competition for any gathering.

May the 福 (Fú) (good luck) be with you!

Celebrate your CNY with Häagen-Dazs ice cream

Group activities like card games are also always better complemented with ice cream. After feasting on your Chinese New Year spreads, wind down in the best way – with a comforting tub of ice cream or two.

Häagen-Dazs has just launched their limited edition Mint Leaves & Chocolate flavour, and it’s ideal for anyone with a penchant for light and refreshing mint ice cream and chocolate fudge. Consider getting the classic Strawberry flavour to bring along for your potlucks and open houses!

Having the variety of both flavours stocked in the fridge means that you won’t need to stress about your dessert plans whatsoever. The combination of family, friends and some delicious ice cream are all you need to make this CNY the most extraordinary one yet!

Try the new Häagen-Dazs Mint Leaves & Chocolate Flavour now!

Find out more about Häagen-Dazs here.

This post was brought to you by Häagen-Dazs.
Photography by Gabriel Seow.

Bryan Christopher Yeong

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