Recommended Games for Five Players
A selection of some the best 5-player card games and domino games, recommended by the editor. For a longer list of traditional games, see the full 5-player game index. See also our recommended games for two, three, four and six players.
The above are the editor's recommendations, but tastes differ and you may find other games you like more in the full index of traditional 5-player games. Further 5-player games can be found among the collection of invented games and on the commercial games page.
Explanation of symbols
Difficulty. Subjective assessment of the editor combining two factors: how difficult or complex the rules are, and how difficult it is to learn to play the game well.
Popularity. Games are ranked in order of the average number of people (actually different IP addresses) per month who visited the game rules page in the last 6 months. Top 10% get 5 hearts, next 10% 4 hearts, next 20% 3 hearts, next 30% 2 hearts, bottom 30% 1 heart. (The top 6 games under this ranking are also listed on the home page as 'most popular games'.)
Trend. The number of visitors in the most recent month are compared with the average per month over the preceding five months, and the significance of the change is estimated using a statistical technique described here. The pages are then ranked in order from most significant increase down to most significant decrease. The top 10% are given 5 flames, the next 20% 4 flames, the middle 40% 3 flames, the next 20% 2 flames and the bottom 10% 1 flame. (The 6 games or pages with the most significant increase are also listed on the home page under 'recent interest'.)
The stats and popularity/trend ratings are updated at the beginning of each month, and the order in which the recommended games are listed on this page is shuffled randomly once a week so as not to give undue weight to any one recommendation.
Notes on five-player games
A group of five players has quite a wide choice of good card games. These fall broadly into three categories.
- Some games played between two unequal teams, usually three against two. The teams normally change from deal to deal, and are determined by bidding or by the location of certain card.
- Some are round games, also playable by more or fewer players, normally with each person playing for themselves.
- Groups should not overlook the possibility of playing a four-player game, with each player in turn sitting out, normally when it is their turn to deal. Almost any four-player game that does not have fixed partnerships is suitable for this treatment. Having a non-playing dealer often makes the game run more smoothly as the person sitting out can use the time for activities that might otherwise interrupt the game, such as bringing refreshments, checking or updating the scores, shuffling a spare deck of cards and so on. Here are some of our recommended four-player games that are suitable for this treatment:
- Tarokk (Hungarian): In this 4-player tarot game from Hungary partners are chosen by calling the XX and there are multiple objectives including catching the XXI and winning the last trick with the I (pagat ultimo).
- Doppelkopf: This popular 4-player game from north Germany is played with a double deck of 2×24 cards. The players with the queens of clubs are partners, but you only find out who your partner is during the course of the play.
- Königrufen (Tarock): Austrian Tarock game for 4 with a large choice of contracts. In some the bidder plays alone, in others the bidder chooses a partner by calling a king.