The best card games on PC come in all shapes and sizes, but they each offer the same core treasure. That’s a highly addictive gameplay loop that allows you to craft powerful decks of cards – and then test them out in a thrilling, strategically challenging competition. We’ve compiled a list of the very best PC card games, with recommendations for a range of play styles and skill levels.
These are the best card games on PC in 2023:
Best easy card game
Do you like collecting gorgeous art of heroes from your favorite Marvel comics? Do you like beginner-friendly card games you can start playing for free? Do you like live games that constantly offer new content? If the answer to all these is ‘yes’, you should get acquainted with Marvel Snap.
In a game of Marvel Snap, you go head-to-head against an opponent, sending superheroes to different locations in attempts to overpower their foes. More powerful characters win locations, and winning three nabs you an overall victory. If you’re feeling really confident, you can also ‘snap’ during a game – doubling the reward of a win (as long as your opponent rises to the challenge).
Praised for its approachability and fast pace, 2022’s Marvel Snap is snappy in both name and nature. You play with a teensy deck of 12 cards, only have a handful of rules to learn upfront, and can finish a game in three minutes. If you’re after an easy card game that gives you maximum fun for minimal study, Marvel Snap is the go-to.
Slay the Spire
Best deck-building card game
Slay the Spire combines roguelike dungeon crawl with a compelling deck-building game. Here, your cards are used to do combat with the creatures you meet as you attempt to climb (and slay) the titular spire.
You begin life in the spire as one of four characters, each with their own unique ability and deck of cards. Developing a stronger deck involves doing battle, as you can only add new cards when you’ve defeated a randomly-generated foe in combat. Victory also grants you relics with useful buffs, but you can never guarantee what you’re going to get – you’ll need to be flexible with your game plan, adapting to the best cards and relics you can find.
No two runs in Slay the Spire are ever the same, and this gives the card game an addictive quality. It’s simple to learn, but there’s plenty of strategy to test your thinking skills.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
Best digital trading card game
If you like trading card games with a bit more complexity, we suggest giving Magic: The Gathering Arena a try. This is a digital version of MTG, one of tabletop gaming’s biggest names. And trust us, it deserves that title.
If you’ve ever played a TCG, you’ll be familiar with the core beats of MTG Arena. Step one: collect cards and build a deck. Step two: use your deck to battle against an opponent, aiming to reduce their life to zero or trigger an alternate win condition. Step three: victory (maybe).
MTG Arena is a free-to-start card game that lets you gain new cards from booster packs, which are bought with an in-game currency (earned through play or by paying actual money). It offers multiple game modes and MTG formats to try, and new cards are released constantly as the tabletop game releases new MTG sets.
This is a rich card game which offers countless strategies and ways to play. Arena lets you play MTG any time you like with anyone around the world – for free.
Best narrative card game
Inscryption is more than just a card game. It’s also a roguelike, horror mystery story, and escape room packaged in one spooky-looking puzzle box. A mysterious foe called Leshy has trapped you in his cabin and forced you to play against him, building the best deck you can from a set of randomly-generated cards.
Even when you’ve got to grips with the moreish core gameplay loop, Inscryption continues to surprise you. Many of the best Inscryption cards are unlocked after you’ve made a certain amount of progress, and new items, environments, and characters will enter and completely change your fate.
To say more about Inscryption would be to spoil things. This is one of the best card games we’ve played, period – and we’ve no intention of robbing you of the darkly delightful surprises that are in store.
YuGiOh Master Duel
Best complex card game
Lovers of YuGiOh aren’t confined to playing card games in person – they can play on their PC too thanks to YuGiOh Master Duel. Master Duel is designed for both newbies looking to practice their skills in a solo game and veterans looking to duel at all hours of the day.
The core game remains the same here. Crack boosters (paid for with gems) to collect cards for your deck. In battle, you’ll play monsters, spells, and traps, aiming to reduce your enemy’s life points, prevent them from being able to draw cards, or trigger an Exodia-style victory condition.
There are some differences, though. You can dismantle cards to craft new, better ones, and there’s even a separate YuGiOh Master Duel banlist monitoring the meta of the digital card game.
YuGiOh Master Duel offers a fairly complex card game, and you’ll need to keep a close eye on that meta if you want to win consistently. But it’s a mainstay for YuGiOh lovers everywhere.
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
Best adapted card game
What started as a minor passtime in a much bigger game has become a PC card game in its own right. Introducing Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, a free-to-play card game that originally appeared in The Witcher 3 and won the hearts of players everywhere.
In Gwent, your deck of cards is built around a chosen faction and a leader with a unique ability. You’ll play one card per turn, placing it in the melee or ranged rows. Your goal here is to have more powerful cards on your side of the board than your opponent when the round ends – which means any card that affects your enemy’s board state or boosts your own troops comes in very handy.
Gwent may be great, but there’s one bit of news that may put off newbies. After 2023, CD Projekt Red will no longer support the game. That means no new cards, online tournaments, or set rotations, and the balance of the game will be left in the hands of the Gwent community. If you don’t mind your card game being a bit less ‘live’, there’s still value here, but the unsupported nature of the game is worth bearing in mind.
If you’re a collector of cards as well as a player, check out these rare Pokemon cards and the most expensive Magic cards ever printed. Or, if you’re just here for the PC games, we can recommend even more titles in our guides to combat flight simulators and turn-based games.