What are Card Games Terms Expansion Packs, Editions Explained

We love card games. That’s a fact. But, when we play a game so many times, we memorize every card, and that can get really boring. 

You google to find versions, or visit their websites, and you end up reading terms like expansions, editions, series, themed packs and such. 

At some point you can get into the “???!” mode. That’s exactly why we decided to explain each of those (sometimes) confusing terms you stumble upon.

  • What Is A Core Game?
  • What Is An Expansion Pack?
  • What Is A Themed Pack?
  • What Is A Stand Alone Expansion Pack?
  • What Is An Edition?
  • What’s A Fan Made/ Unofficial Pack?
  • What Is A Card Game Series?
  • What Is A Blank Set?
  • What Means NSFW In Card Games?
  • Where Can I Purchase Expansion Packs, Editions, Or Series Of Card Games?

What is a Core Game?

A Core Game (which is often also called the Main Game), is the original game, the first release. It usually has more cards, and it is launched before its editions or expansion packs. 

A Core Game, as a primary rule, has a certain number of players. Meaning, the manufacturer made that game for a specific number of persons who can play it. (Ex. 3+ players, 5+ players) 

There is also a time duration of that card game, which depends on the number of cards, and rules of the card game, and the number of players, of course.

One more detail we see in the card games, is the appropriate age for that game. Every pack, based on the content inside, has a certain age on it, meaning that only people over that age can play that game. 


Cards Against Humanity has 600 cards. It can be played by 4-20 people at once and usually lasts 30-90 min. It has plainly simple rules, very understandable, and the appropriate age is 17+. 

Despite the simplicity of the game, the number of cards, and the rules of C.A.H are enough to make the game last longer than most games. 

What Is An Expansion Pack?

A Card Game Expansion Pack (you can shortly call it an Expansion), is a set number of cards that is meant to be added to the Core/Main Game. 

They can be themed based on a movie/ TV series, a character, culture, etc. But they can also be a simple expansion, with a set of cards without a certain theme. You know, just some extra cards to add fun to your favourite game.

The expansion packs can be official (released from the manufacturer), and unofficial (fan made). 

The main card games tend to get a little boring, or repetitive when they’re played too many times. An expansion pack will refresh the game, or in other words, it will add the fun back to the game. 


There are a lot of examples out there. Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme?, Exploding Kittens, and a lot of other card games that we love.

Let’s start with Cards Against Humanity. It has more than 28 expansion packs, official and unofficial. 

The C.A.H expansion packs are mostly themed, but there are also a few which don’t have a certain theme – they’re extra cards alike with the core game.

This is how some of them are named: Weed Pack, Design Pack, Absurd Box, Green Box, Period Pack, Pride Pack, and so on. You can check out other expansions on the link above. 

Next is What Do You Meme?. It has 12+ expansion packs, official and unofficial. Just like C.A.H, What Do You Meme? has themed and not themed expansions. You will find a few examples below.

Unthemed expansions: Fresh Memes #1 Expansion Pack, Fresh Memes #2 Expansion Pack, NSFW Expansion.

A few of the themed expansions: Spongebob Expansion Pack, Stoner Expansion Pack, The Office Expansion Pack. 

Exploding Kittens. Has 3 expansion packs, they’re official. They have new cards, which also change a bit of the way that the game is played (Including the duration).

Here: Imploding Kittens – First Expansion, Streaking Kittens – Second Expansion, Barking Kittens – Third Expansion. We reviewed each of them and more, you can find it in Best of Exploding Kittens Games, Editions & Expansions.

What Is A Themed Pack?

90s nostalgia pack

A themed pack is an expansion, which has specific content, and usually a small number of cards (ex. 30 cards). It is meant to be mixed with the core game.

These are usually official expansions (made by the manufacturer), and we can think of them as a little refresh for our game. 

They have a specific theme, just as the picture above, meaning that the content is all about the 90s, and will get us nostalgic.

Here are some of Cards Against Humanity Themed Packs:

  • College Pack;
  • 2000s Nostalgia;
  • Period Pack;
  • Weed Pack;
  • Pride Pack.

What is a Stand Alone Expansion Pack?

A card game Stand Alone Expansion Pack, is an expansion pack that can be added to the game but can also be played as a game itself. 

Usually, for an expansion to be a stand-alone expansion, a higher number of cards is required. Since a small number of cards will make it difficult for a certain number of players to play the game.

It also requires a well-thought combination of cards, depending on the card game.

So, if you’re tired of playing the core game on repeat, the stand-alone pack is a way to get out of it.


The card game Buzzed has an expansion pack called ‘Buzzed – The Expansion Pack #1’. It has 180 cards, and it does not require the main game (Buzzed) to play it. 

Meaning, you can play this expansion independently if you wish. But you can also add it to the main game which will make it more fun.

What is an Edition?

Family Edition

An Edition of a card game, is a certain version or form of the Main Game. Usually the rules are the same, or if they’re different there is a minimal difference to the game. A card game edition can be themed, and not themed. 

The main/core card games are also called original editions. Which makes sense if there are other editions of that exact game. 

Most of the adult card games have another family edition. Usually because of their popularity, and the demand of the kids to play the ‘forbidden’ card game.

There are plenty of editions of our favorite card games. You will find a few examples below.


Cards Against Humanityhas more than four editions, and only 2 of them are official. 

The two official editions of Cards Against Humanity are the Original Edition/Main Game, and the Family Edition.

However, besides the officials, C.A.H has a lot of other unofficial editions. I’ll name a few of them below:

  • Cards Against Disney
  • Cards Against Star Wars
  • Cards Against Kardashians.

 If you want to explore more of C.A.H editions, check out 12 Best Cards Against Humanity Editions Review in 2021.

What Do You Meme?Has two official editions besides the original edition: The TikTok Edition, and the Family Edition.

As you can notice, the TikTok edition is obviously related to the amazing TikTok.. Meaning, it includes jokes about TikTok, or famous TikTok personalities, songs, challenges….

Meanwhile, the Family Edition is obviously a family-friendly version of the main game. Since the main game (What Do You Meme?) is a 17+ game. The Family Edition is a version of that game, but family or kid-friendly (regarding its content).

What’s A Fan-Made/ Unofficial Pack?

Cards Against Muggles

A fan-made pack (or edition), is an unofficial release of the fans of that game, and a specific movie, show, character, era, etc.

They are made in the exact same style just like the official editions of that game, but they are themed and special for a group of persons.

They are meant to be played on their own, just like a themed stand-alone expansion. 

There are lots of fan-made editions, I’ll just mention some of them:

What is a Series?

A Card Game Series is a set of related card games. They can be themed, or not themed.

They can be released at once, or one after another. Depending on the manufacturer. 

They are related to the main game, at least the rules of the game, and (most of the time) the design. Of course, the themed series have some details of the content drawn in the box.


What Do You Meme? Career Series – There are three of these: Real Estate Agents, Nurses, Teachers. 

They are related to one another, and the main game, but still they are different based on their ‘theme’. 

As you can tell by the name, they include cards based on the name of the profession of the game. Who knows, perhaps they’ll launch another one? I’d suggest they make something about writers!

What Is A Blank Pack?

Your shitty jokes

A blank set is a special pack of a game, which allows you to add your own ideas & jokes to the game. This is how you create your customized edition.

These packs usually offer you a specific number of cards, and you can write your questions & answers on them. 

For example, the Shitty Jokes pack, comes with 40 white cards and 10 black ones, which actually isn’t enough to play as a stand-alone, but what you can do is to buy 3-4 packs, or to use it as an expansion to the main game.

We really love them, because you create new sets based on the number of players, on your friends ‘mentality, on your sense of humor, and lots of other details.

Except for Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme? Has a make-your-own-game as well.

What Means NSFW In Card Games?

What Do You Meme NSFW

If we expand the word, NSFW means Not Safe For Work. Meaning, this edition (or expansion) has a very mature content, and it is not appropriate for every person.

These packs usually have very adult content, and of course are not appropriate for kids or teens, or even adults who get offended easily.

Almost every famous card game has a NSFW edition, well not all of them, but you get the point.

Except of ‘What Do You Meme?’, these are the other games that have NSFW expansions/editions:

  • Cards Against Humanity;
  • Exploding Kittens;
  • The Voting Game;
  • Bad People.

So, the NSFW tag in the boxes, is meant to inform you about the content, and to save you from any embarrassment.

Where Can I Purchase Expansion Packs, Editions, or Series of a Card Game?

Most of the card games have their official websites where you can directly purchase the items you wish for. Let me mention some of them real quick:

However, you can find them on Amazon as well. Or in other shops, just like EditionCards (which we really recommend because you can find games that are not available on the other websites because as we mentioned a few times, some of the packs are unofficial) 


Our favorite games are still our favorites. 

It is a fact that the expansions, editions, themed packs, series, have for sure made the games better & more enjoyable.

Even though those terms are at times confusing, with a little bit of thinking, they can be figured out. We just have to put our thinking hats on.

But why do that when we do it for you?


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