As we enter the holiday season, friends and families gather to eat, drink, and enjoy each other's company… right? Kids are home for holiday break from school, relatives travel in from out of state, and after a day or so stuck together, and if you're like me I'm thinking you just might be looking for a way to pass some of the time. While Cards Against Humanity is a big hit for the adults (or at least those with a twisted, dark sense of humor), simple card games like UNO and War are the go-to for family-friendly games with kids as they are simple to learn and don't require a ton of strategy. Ninja: The Card Game of Sneak Attacks and Captures is just about as easy to pick up as Go Fish, yet provides some strategy to go along with the quick gameplay. My pack came in the mail today, and I was already playing my first game with my 8 year-old daughter in a matter of minutes.

Created by The Dollard Brothers and developed by Big Idea Design, each round of Ninja: TCGSC only takes a few minutes to play and you can rack up the points pretty quickly. You may recognize the last name Dollard, as Ryan is the smart and talented one while his blonde-haired brother is too busy flexing his abs. Who am I kidding, everyone knows & loves Evan Dollard from American Ninja Warrior, American Gladiators, and S1 of Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge. It's pretty damn cool to see these guys get fully funded on Kickstarter and ship the game really quickly to get it in our hands before the holidays.

How to Play

The gameplay is pretty straightforward, but you can actually employ some strategy based on how you use your Action Cards and depending on the points up for grabs from the Castle Card that's showing. Two different options for sneak attacks with the Rescue Mission cards can help to gain points or restock your hand, the sole Ninja Card can be a game-changer, and Castle Guard card can help save your butt when you need it. The quick-thinking action requires some rapid addition skills (don't worry, the max possible score is 24 points, so you can add in your head!) There's a video below dedicated to gameplay, but for the most part it's simple enough to break down like this:

  • Each player gets (5) Action Cards, those may consist of:
    • Ninja Cards (4 colors, 4 point values)
    • Rescue Mission Cards
    • Castle Guard Cards
    • Black Ninja Card (only 1 in entire deck!)
  • One Castle Card (point values 2-6) is flipped over, your goal is to capture 11+ points
  • To capture a Castle Card, you make your highest point total with 1 to 3 of the 5 cards in your hand.
    • At least two of your our cards MUST match in either color or number value.
    • Examples:
      • Play three 4's that are different colors – 12 points
      • Play 2, 3, & 4 of the same color – 9 points
      • Play a 2 and 4 that are blue (matching colors) and a pink 4 (matching number with the other 4) – 10 points
  • Youngest player or prior hand winner says “Ready? One, two, three… NINJA” and you throw your hand, winner captures the Castle Card and adds the points to their total!
  • Rescue Mission Cards, Castle Guard Cards, and the lone Black Ninja Card all change how the hand plays out – check out the video to learn how and develop your own strategy!

Very easy to understand rules on only one sheet of instructions and we were playing in less than 3 minutes!

Winning and Losing

The first one to 11 Castle Card points wins, so even the shortest of games will last at least 2 hands. I'm not saying Vivi was lucky, but she bested me several times over the course of an hour where we were able to squeeze in about a dozen games. It's fun and quick game with some unique gameplay and surely family-friendly. I'm glad we picked up a copy from Kickstarter, and psyched to support our bud Evan by recommending you snag your own copy of Ninja: The Card Game of Sneak Attacks and Captures!

Game Play Video


Grab Your Own Deck

Ninja: The Card Game of Sneak Attacks and Captures is available now for $19 from Big Idea Design.

Share this post!