Card Games, Cards

Guide to Abstract Strategy and Puzzle Card Games

Who says card games are just for casual playing? Abstract strategy and puzzle card games offer the same level of challenge and engagement. 

Abstract strategy card games require players to use strategic thinking and problem-solving skills to win the game. These games do not involve luck or chance and instead rely solely on one making informed decisions about their moves.  Unlike board-based games, these games remove random elements like dice, focusing purely on skillful play and strategic foresight. Players compete to outmaneuver each other through careful card selection and placement.

Puzzle card games engage players in a different kind of challenge. Here, the goal is often to solve a puzzle or complete a task using the cards in your hand. These games can be competitive or cooperative, with players working to arrange cards in specific configurations or sequences to meet the game’s objectives.

Gameplay and Game mechanics of Abstract Strategy and Puzzle Card Games

Typical Abstract Strategy card games may involve some these mechanics :

Hand Management: Players optimize their hand of cards and make strategic decisions on which to play, hold or discard.
Spatial Awareness: Play cards in specific patterns or sequences to win.
Player vs Player (PvP): Players often directly affect their opponents’ strategies through their card plays.

For puzzle card games, here are some common game mechanics: found:

  • Pattern Recognition: Identifying the right combination of cards to solve the puzzle.
  • Resource Management: Deciding when and how to use your cards to achieve the best outcome.
  • Cooperative Strategy: In cooperative games, players work together, sharing resources and strategies to solve the puzzle

What makes Abstract Strategy and Puzzle Card Games Appealing?

Strategic planning and problem-solving are the key areas that make such games appealing. If you like the thrill of cracking a challenging puzzle, these games will have high appeal.

If you want to learn more about card games, read our Essential Guide to Different Type of Card games.

Some examples of Abstract strategy and Puzzle Card Games


SET card game overview

SET has sold over 3 million copies. Players race to find as many SETs as they can. There are three cards in a SET, but each of their features (colour, shape, number, shading) is either the same OR different! The first player calls out “SET” and grabs the cards whenever a SET appears. There are no “turns” in this game. The player with the most SETs wins the game!

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Ghost Blitz

Ghost Blitz card game overview

Ghost Blitz is a fast-paced game where players race to figure out which items to grab and snatch before their opponents can. One player flips the pile’s top card, and everyone tries to figure out which item to grab and get it before anyone else. Players grab the item if the picture has an item that makes up the game pieces.

If there is no item in the game in the picture, players have to quickly figure out what item is not in the picture and which colour is not. They then take the item not found in the picture.

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IOTA card game overview

Iota is a card game where a starting card is placed on the table, and players take turns to add cards to cards in the play area. Before cards can be added,  the card properties must fulfil certain rules. You score points based on the card line you created or extended.

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An Essential guide to the different type of card games

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