Card Games Terms Explained: Core Game, Edition, Expansion, Bundle, and more. 

Card Game Terms - Cover Photo

If you’ve bought just a few card games in your life, you perhaps were confused about all the terms used: main games, expansions, editions, bundles, and more. This article today comes to save all the trouble and clarify everything when talking about card game terms. 

  • Core game; 
  • Edition;
  • Expansion pack;
  • Stand-alone expansion pack;
  • Themed pack;
  • Fan-made pack;
  • Blank pack;
  • Series;
  • Bundles;
  • NSFW meaning;
  • Final thoughts;

What is a Main Game?

Card Game Terms - Core Game

A main game, or the core game, in other words, is the original pack of a specific game, which usually is the first release, before all its special packs. 

The main game commonly has the largest deck of cards and is the pack that explains to us all the rules. Other expansions or editions that come after, follow the same rules and gameplay. Examples of main games are Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme, and UNO (the original pack).

What is an Edition?

Card Game Terms - Edition

Card Game Editions are certain versions of the main game, which are meant to be stand-alone and follow the same rules as the main game.  

There’s always a difference between the core game (called the original edition) and editions. Usually, the edition has a different age range: it could either become the family-friendly version of the main game or the NSFW edition. However, editions can be themed as well, or become enlarged versions of the main game – containing more cards. 

What is an Expansion Pack?

Card Game Terms - Expansion

An expansion is a deck of cards, meant to be added to the main game, or any other preferred edition. Usually, they bring much fewer cards than the core game. 

Expansions’ goal is to add cards of the same theme to the original games. They might have Expansion written on the box, or not. For instance, the Hot Box of Cards Against Humanity is an expansion, even though the name doesn’t say so. 

What is a Stand-Alone Expansion Pack?

Card Game Terms - Stand-Alone Pack

A stand-alone expansion pack is a card game expansion that could either get mixed with the main games or be played alone. 

Stand-alone expansions usually have a lot more cards than expansions. Unofficial information: if an expansion pack has over 100 cards, it could easily be played as a stand-alone. Just what happens with Drunk, Stoned or Stupid’s first expansion with 125 cards. 

What Is A Themed Pack?

Card Game Terms - Themed Pack

A themed pack is an expansion, in which all cards are related to a specific theme. Although it’s not very common, themed packs could be played as stand-alone too. 

Each themed pack has a targetted audience, and cards included in that pack, are chosen meticulously. Cards Against Humanity, for example, has lots of themed packs: Theatre Pack, Sci-fi, College Pack, 2000s Nostalgia, School Sucks, and more. Themed packs follow the same rules as the main game, but the age range could vary. For instance, the School Sucks pack is made for ages 8+!

What’s a Fan-Made Pack?

Card Game Terms - Fan-made Pack

Fan-made packs are unofficial editions of a main game, usually made by different fandoms. They bring just as many cards as a main game, and they’re always themed. 

By way of illustration, Potterheads, who also happen to be fans of the Cards Against Humanity game, have created a special edition related to the Harry Potter series, and they’ve named it Cards Against Muggles. The same happened with Cards Against Disney, Cards Against Thrones, Cards Against Marvel, and lots more.  

What is a Blank Pack?

Card Game Terms - Blank Pack

Blank packs are packs of a specific game, where the whole deck of cards is blank, allowing you to add your ideas. Not only in a special deck: a few blank cards are found in many card game editions too! 

A full deck of blank cards allows you to make a special expansion, related to a theme of your choice, or to just add cards you think are missing in specific games. If you’re making your CAH blank cards – Shitty Jokes, take a look at our blank card ideas

What is a Series?

Card Game Terms - Series

Card game series are a bunch of unique card games, related to one another. Series are most of the time themed. 

Great card game series are made by What Do You Meme. The Career series, for instance, brings decks made for specific occupations: Real Estate Agents, Teachers, and Nurses. They’re most likely played as stand-alones, by professionals of such specific careers. 

What is a Bundle?

Card Game Terms - Bundle

A bundle is a group of expansions, coming in one big pack. Expansions in a Bundle are usually related to each other and, most likely, are similar in their theme. They can be played alone, or mixed with other editions. 

Cards Against Humanity have put a lot of effort into creating bundles. Instead of buying 6 different packs, you buy a bundle that contains all these 6 packs, plus, most of the time, brings a few extra cards too. The names of bundles usually tell a lot about the packs inside: Pop Culture Bundle, Nasty Bundle, Class Clown Bundle, and more. 

NSFW Meaning

Card Game Terms - NSFW

NSFW (meaning Not Safe For Work), is a warning that tells that this pack brings explicit content, and can only be played by adults. That’s why it’s written in red.

NSFW is the complete opposite of family-friendly. Not only does it tell that one game could only be played by people who are 17+, but, even if you’re an adult, it warns you that the content is very dirty. Way dirtier than the main game, which is also 17+. If you don’t like that, you better get another game, with no NSFW warning.

Final Thoughts

War is over! You can finally tell the difference between a main game and an edition, or between an expansion pack, and a themed pack. Now, when you’re purchasing any of the games (perhaps using our discount codes), you will know exactly what you’re getting!

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