So, I decided to start playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim again because why not, right? After a couple hours of questing I decided to go to one of those cozy taverns and give my character a well-earned rest. I bought some food, grabbed a chair and sat down. I realized then that there's actually not a lot to do in a tavern and felt that these places needed something more, just like other video games where you can play mini games.
There are some mods out there that help, in a way, to solve the issue but for a game of the quality of Skyrim, it is a little bit disappointing that a mini game or card game is not included in the core game.
That made me think about some video games with great card games in taverns, saloons or space cantinas that I have played through the years. These mini games add so much more to the experience of the game and makes you get more involved with the personality of your character and the game itself.
With that being said, here are five of the best card-based mini games I've ever played in video games.
5. Final Fantasy VIII - Triple Triad
Come for the cards, stay for the song. The game was an unexpected surprise since you don't expect something like this in a Final Fantasy setting. Granted, most of the games in the franchise have some sort of mini game that you can play at some point but Triple Triad was the first time I felt that there was a lot of effort invested in making a side quest (Card Club Quest) that was huge in terms of completion. It is a nice distraction Plus, that song just stays in your head!
4. Knights of the Old Republic I & II - Pazaak
I am a sucker for all things Star Wars and Knights of the Old Republic is the best video game based on the franchise I have ever played (well, Rogue Squadron & Shadows of the Empire, too) and honestly I wasn't expecting to find such an addictive mini game in an already addictive video game. Pazaak is the Star Wars version of Blackjack but instead of 21, you need to get 20 or less with a little twist. You can add cards to your deck that subtract or add value and have a better chance to win. Winning in Pazaak will earn you not only credits but the chance to have cheaper armor upgrades and the like, but that's not that relevant to the main story and you can easily finish the game without even playing it but that's the point of this mini game: it is just there when you want to take a break from all that questing. It is that simple.
3. Fable II - Fortune's Tower
Ah! Fable II. What can I say about this game? It is so whimsical, imaginative, humorous and has one of the best combat mechanics ever seen in a video game, but the best part of it is the creativity seen throughout the game. The Pub Games in Fable II are amazing and they match the style of the game. Fortune's Tower is simply one of the most simple and riskiest I've ever seen. This game is based on pure luck and pushes you to get the best result. There's no strategy, just your gut feeling and it's incredibly fun.
2. Red Dead Redemption - Poker
Red Dead Redemption is a masterpiece. A game so well made that provides a Wild West experience like no other and that's thanks to the little details like playing poker in the saloon. The best part of this is that you can cheat and even duel after getting caught! The poker rules used in-game are those from no-limit Texas Hold 'Em so you should have at least a passing understanding of the rules when playing the game. This added realism is what makes Red Dead Redemption one of the best video games of all time.
1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Gwent
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the best game I played last year but most of my time playing went into finding every single card for my Gwent deck. Seriously, every time I arrived to a new town or met a new shopkeeper, I knew I was going to have the chance to acquire a new Gwent card. The mini game is so addictive, well crafted and relevant to your side quests and main quest that, for instance, the video above shows a mission that requires you to have a strong Gwent deck and money to enter the tournament, but that's not all. If you haven't practiced or are not familiar with your deck, you will be crushed at the game table. The game of Gwent is the best mini game in a video game I have ever played.
Well, there you have it. Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed the read.