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Baseball cards are for collecting—we all know that. But can you believe back in the “old days” cards were also used for fun, with kids even going as far as sticking them in their bike spokes?
Now, I can imagine doing that with something like 1991 Fleer…but 1952 Topps. Little did they know, right?
Anyway, point is, cards can serve more than a business or collection purpose and can be used as the basis of a new and fun game your family can dive into your next game night.
In fact, there are many different games that can be played with baseball cards, from simple matching games and others that mimic existing playing card games to more complex fantasy leagues. Some games involve competing against others, while others can be played solo.
(Of course, don’t use any cards of value or any cards that might increase in value. Junk wax commons are your best bet!)
1. Baseball Card Bingo
Baseball Card Bingo can be played with a group of people and a set of baseball cards. Briefly, the first thing you’ll want to do is figure out how to fill the board—will it be player names, teams, positions, card numbers, etc?
Each player then gets a bingo card with your various baseball card numbers or words on it. The baseball cards are shuffled (remember, junk wax commons!) and drawn one at a time. If a player has a card with one of the features on their bingo card, they mark it off. The first person to get a full row or column marked off yells “Bingo!” and wins.
You can create your own bingo cards using a template or print them out from a website. Dry erase bingo cards also work well:
To make the game more challenging, you can add different variations such as requiring players to get a diagonal line, or a four-corner pattern (like a baseball diamond!) before shouting “Bingo”. Alternatively, you can play a blackout game where players must cover all the squares on their bingo card, just like the traditional rendition.
For another fun twist, before starting the game, players choose a rival team or player. If a player’s rival team or player is drawn from the stack of baseball cards, they must mark off one of their previously marked squares!
Baseball Card Bingo presents a fun and creative way to learn more about the sport and its players.
2. Baseball Card War
Baseball Card War is played with two players and a set of baseball cards. Before the game begins, players will decide on the statistic “in play.” That is, they’ll choose if they’ll be comparing home runs, RBI, ERA, etc.
Once agreed upon, each player chooses a baseball card and reads off the selected statistic from the back of their card. So, if we are competing based on career home runs, I’ll pick a card, and oh look, it’s a 1990 Donruss Jose Canseco, and at the time, he had 128 career home runs.
The other player then chooses a card and reads off the same statistic—let’s say it’s a 1990 Score Barry Bonds, which reports that Barry only had 84 career home runs at the time. Whoever has the higher value wins that round, in this example, the holder of the Jose Canseco. The player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
Of course, if the stats on the cards are tied, then a “war” is declared, and the players draw another three cards and place them face down on top of their original card. They then draw a fourth card and place it face up, where the players then compare the stats on the fourth, flipped card. The player with the higher statistic wins all of the cards in the war.
Baseball card war is a great way to engage with the statistics on baseball cards and to compete in easy cardboard fun with friends or family.
3. Baseball Card Pack War/Battle
With a similar name but a completely different premise, let’s talk about Baseball Card Pack Wars/Battles. While the other baseball card games on this list all have to do with taking old junk wax cards and repurposing them for entertainment’s sake, this one does in fact involve new cards, and can actually be used to build a collection.
So, while in a completely different category, I thought it was worth mentioning. Let’s take a look.
First, like all of these games, there are a few different ways to play. You can have you and your friend buy a pack of cards, and then state that the person who pulls the best card gets the content of both packs. That said, the winner could be based on anything of your choosing—the opener to pull a numbered card, the most Mariners cards, the most rookies, etc.
For example, here is one rendition from Sports Card Investor, in which the battle is played with an entire box of cards in which players open a single pack at a time.
Once they think they’ve found the most valuable pack in the box, they stop opening packs and hide the card from the other player. The other player then does the same, and the winner is of course the player with the better card.
4. Baseball Card Draft
This last game is a personal favorite, and involves drafting players from a set of baseball cards to create the best team possible! The first step is to decide what “best” means, which could be the team with the most pitcher wins, the team with the most home runs, etc.
Each player then takes turns selecting or “drafting” cards until all of the cards have been chosen.
This type of Baseball Card Draft game will test the player’s knowledge of stats, with the most knowledgeable knowing that in a choice of “wins” between Bob Welch and Dave Stieb, Welch would be the better option.
Anyway, as you can see, you can easily adapt existing and traditional games – like bingo and war – to make them fun baseball card games (I’m sure there is an easy way to do a matching game of sorts.)