You'd be forgiven for thinking that physical tabletop gaming might have trouble surviving in this digital and ever-mobile age, but collectible card games and traditional board games are arguably more popular than ever. Excellent digital versions of household staples sit alongside entirely original offerings that serve up the full tabletop experience with added digital convenience. Online play can be a real lifesaver if you're stuck indoors and can't get to a friend's house, and not needing to lug a weighty card collection around will do wonders for your posture, too.
Below we've assembled a selection of the best Switch card games, deck building games and traditional-style board games. While titans of the genre like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering aren't currently available on Switch, the console boasts a varied selection; some pure card games, others hybrid RPG experiences or totally board-based, but they all have quality in common. Switch's hybrid nature makes it an ideal home for CCGs and board games, with the option to play on your TV at home and carry on in handheld mode when you're out and about.
If you're into strategy, tactics and puzzles (and the absence of cards isn't a deal-breaker), check out our picks of the best strategy games on Switch and the best puzzle games on Switch for more brain-tickling digital experiences.
So, may we present — in a randomly shuffled order — our picks of the best deck builders, card and board games on Switch...
Terry Cavanagh has done it again with Dicey Dungeons; this is easily one of the best roguelike titles you can play on Switch. Loads of gameplay variety, fantastic music, a high skill ceiling and friendly visuals make this a thoroughly gripping and fun experience you won’t want to miss out on. If you like roguelikes or card games, we’d highly recommend you pick this up as soon as you can – and even if you don’t, we’d still encourage you to check it out regardless.
While this turn-based affair might look, move and feel just like a real board game, Armello is actually a completely original creation - and one that does more than simply doff its cap at the world of tabletop gaming. From the deep tactics of its living board game gameplay to the sheer charm of its world-building and animal character designs, it's a quest filled with back-stabbing, political power plays and rampaging monsters that’s different each and every time you play. It’s at its absolute best when played in multiplayer, that human factor making for an even more unpredictable battle for the corrupted throne. You’d be doing yourself a disservice not to add this anthropomorphic tale to your wish list.
While utilising the ruleset of a more traditional CCG system might put off some players, the on-brand approach to turn-based combat in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is still a positive addition to the world. Because with such an involved and intricately designed story – and such an interesting world to explore beyond the confines of Geralt – Thronebreaker offers the opportunity to lose yourself in the Continent like never before.
Compilation games like Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics always have a variety of hits and misses depending on your own personal taste, but there's a wide enough variety of board, card and action games here that you're sure to find a number that will appeal to you. Texas Hold'em, Solitaire, Majong, Blackjack, Dominoes, erm... bowling; every one of the 51 games is presented with charm and warmth (terribly-written cutscenes aside) and there's an enormous amount of content on offer, whether you plan on playing solo or with others. The perfect game for if you're stuck indoors with the family? Quite possibly.
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Talisman: Digital Edition is a worthy, content-rich adaptation of a superb board game. It offers a vast multitude of unbalanced characters to choose from, hundreds upon hundreds of Adventure Cards with something new to see on every play, and spellcasting battles leading to pure salt from the eventual loser. It’s an absolute classic, and there’s also cross-platform online play in the Switch version, so you’ll be able to play with friends on Steam, Android and iOS. The only real caveats are the excess of DLC and – let’s face it – the fairly unbalanced gameplay of the original Talisman, but we love it.
Remarkably solid and satisfying, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a card battler with an abundance of charm in its art, mechanics and writing. The presentation is slick, the dialogue’s witty and the gameplay’s addictive. It doesn't have quite that special feeling that SteamWorld Dig 2 did, but it's still a thoroughly enjoyable time in that universe. As long as you’re not expecting anything revolutionary, we recommend anybody who likes turn-based battling or who enjoyed any previous games in the series check SteamWorld Quest out.
Along with the expected multiplayer modes (ranked and casual battles), Faeria delivers a compulsive, interesting and frankly enormously fun card battle experience. While not the easiest game to explain, it's an impressive teaching tool for itself, but never feels overwrought or tiresome in said education. Of the card games we've enjoyed on Switch, Faeria is easily the highlight of the bunch and deserves to do well. It's a full-featured package and stands out as an excellent card/board/strategy experience. If you want to play a fantasy card game on Switch, we'd recommend this one first.
Almost impossible to categorise yet utterly compelling as a result, Hand of Fate 2 is a unique RPG experience. Fusing the basic premise of a deck-building card game with the heart of an action-RPG, there’s just so much to enjoy here; the rewarding premise of its deck-building, the endless depth of its questing, the simple pleasure of its combat. This is a handheld port that’s practically indistinguishable from the version you can play elsewhere. Do yourself a favour and get this fantasy romp in your digital library right now.
Chess Ultra is a visual treat, while also soothing you with pleasant music as you engage in a tough match. There are plenty of options and variety for online and offline matches, with the former being particularly enjoyable if you're able to get into a real-time contest. With Tournament play and some well constructed Challenges on board, along with Tutorials for newcomers, it ticks most boxes. It's another checkmate for the Switch eShop.
In the highly competitive world of CCGs, PlayFusion has taken one of the biggest fantasy licences and seamlessly melded it with a card battling system that's both easy to grasp and different enough to set itself apart from its contemporaries. With the addition of extra modes, including the Arena of Echoes and Realm Trials, and the option to scan in cards from your physical deck, there's a deep and customisable experience in Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions that's ideal for genre veterans. Joy-Con controls work well enough – enabling you to play in docked mode – but it's at its best when played intimately in handheld mode with the touchscreen. The need for a constant internet connection will irk some, but for those that are willing to be tethered to Wi-Fi, PlayFusion has served up a fine rival to the likes of Hearthstone.
Wingspan is a strong card game for those with the patience to learn how it works. It's fun, compulsive and can sometimes truly surprise you with stacked effects and their outcomes. Its translation to the Switch is a little... difficult, but certainly not for want of trying. In handheld it's far from ideal, but in the dock, as a couch multiplayer experience, there's plenty of fun to be had. It's also enjoyable alone as you'll seek out ways to create the highest-scoring possible deck. Despite a few porting issues, Wingspan is definitely a good time, and it'll be difficult to stop after just one game. It's a lot cheaper than the physical game, too, making it a thoroughly viable alternative.
Slay the Spire is an endlessly addictive roguelike card-battler that’s a perfect fit for the Switch; a beautifully balanced game that arrived on Nintendo's system with all the benefits of an extended period of Early Access on PC. Its combination of ferocious battles, entertaining chance encounters and selection of three impressively different player characters make every run to the top a nerve-wracking and totally absorbing affair. Massively inventive sets of cards combine majestically into hugely destructive combos and attack and defence options fuse perfectly together, enabling players to use the information provided by the brilliantly transparent Intent system to strategise endlessly against the hordes of foul monstrosities that stand between themselves and victory. Sure, you’ll eventually see every enemy and chance encounter and yes, there are a few framerate niggles here and there, but overall this is one dungeon crawler that will live long in our system memories.
Those are our picks, although there are plenty of others bubbling under: games like Lightseekers, Shephy, UNO, The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game, Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution, Mystic Vale and Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission are all worth investigating if you can't get enough cards in your deck. Let us know below if you've got a particular favourite.
This article is one of our Switch Essentials guides which cover a wide variety of genres, including the Best Switch FPS Games, the Best Switch RPGs, the Best Switch Games For Kids, the Best Switch Couch Co-Op Games and the Best Switch Fitness and Exercise Games. We can also help out hunting down the Best Switch Horror Games, the Best Switch Racing Games, the Best Switch Action-RPGs, the Best Nintendo Switch Roguelikes, Roguelites and Run-Based Games , the Best Free Switch Games, and even Games to Play After You've Finished Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Whatever your favourite genre, we've got you covered: Strategy Games, Metroidvanias, Puzzle Games, Party Games, Online Multiplayer Games, Local Wireless Multiplayer Games, Shmups, Visual Novels, Fighting Games, Hidden Gems, 2D Platformers, 3D Platformers, Run and Gun Games, Sports Games, Beat 'Em Ups, Chill Games, Family Games, Retro-Inspired Games, Short Games, Card Games and Deck-builders, Flight Sim and Space Combat, Point and Click Adventure Games, and the Best Switch Exclusives, as well as Every Arcade Archives Game, Every ACA Neo Geo Game, Every SEGA AGES Game On Switch., and the Best Switch Collections And Compilations.
If you're looking for the best Switch games regardless of genre, our reader-voted selection of the Best Nintendo Switch Games should help you out, and you can also find the Best Nintendo Switch Games of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. And finally, if you're interested in other Nintendo consoles and retro games, check out the Best Game Boy Games, Best Nintendo DS Games, Best Nintendo 3DS Games, Best SNES Games, Best N64 Games, Best GameCube Games, and Best Wii Games, as well as Every Nintendo Switch Online NES Game and Every Nintendo Switch Online SNES Game.