Things to Do at Home: These Super-Fun Hawai‘i Card Games Will Have You Smiling, Laughing and Learning In No Time

Forget the Tiger King, being crowned pidgin king is where the real bragging rights are at.
Ulus 2 Ulus card game
PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

ULUS 2 ULUS

Dreamt up by a bunch of friends while hanging out at a Kāneʻohe Starbucks, Ulus 2 Ulus is like a hilarious Hawai‘i version of Apples to Apples in which you compete to match the best local kine nouns with a descriptive word or phrase. For example, for the word “hamajang,” your hand of cards might include nouns such as “tita bun, malo, Guy Hagi, ding-a-ling.” The game got a ton of buzz with its Kickstarter campaign last year and, lucky for us, hit its fundraising goal, spicing up game nights across the state. 

$40, ulus2ulus.com 

 

Hanafuda Na Pau card game
PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINIO

 

HANAFUDA NĀ PUA HAWAI‘I

When local teacher Helen Nakano realized that interest in Hanafuda, the traditional Japanese game made popular in Hawai‘i during our plantation days, was dwindling, she decided to give it a fresh local twist. Her Hanafuda Nā Pua Hawai‘i deck still includes 48 cards arranged into 12 suits, and you still score points by creating specific combinations of cards. But now, the old-school Japanese lunar images have been swapped for vibrant illustrations (done by Nakano’s son) of Island plants and wildlife—think taro, ‘ōhi‘a lehua, pueo and the koe‘a ula (flying bird). The Hanafuda Hawai‘i group even posted a handy guide to all the images online, so you can learn about the backgrounds of the plants and animals featured while you play. 

$15, available at nameahawaii.com

 

Card for 808 card game

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

CARDS FOR 808

Another matching game, Cards for 808 celebrates some of our favorite elements of Island life. Created by Kū-A-Kanaka, its box label says it all: A Choke Fun Game For Locals. This time, everyone picks the best option from their hand of cards to fill in the blank for a specific phrase. For example, your options for completing the phrase “His ‘aumakua is a _____" might include “puka pants, stink eye, ugly mu‘umu‘u” and “that one uncle who calls you bebe.” Plus, Cards for 808 also offers a handful of equally fun extension packs, including a Hula Extension Pack, Old Futs Extension Pack and its newest release, a Ke Aloha ‘Āina Extension Pack. 

$55 for main set, $19.99 for extension packs, cardsfor808.com

 

Diamond Head Playing Cards card set

PHOTO: COURTESY OF KEALOPIKO

 

DIAMOND HEAD PLAYING CARDS

Whether your household is playing blackjack or slapjack, poker or crazy eights, or hey even solitaire, you can level up your games the local way with this Hawai‘i-inspired playing card set. Designed by Diamond Head Playing Card Co., the The House of Kalākaua set includes face cards starring Hawaiian royalty, such as King David Kalākaua, Queen Lili‘uokalani and Crown Prince William Pitt Leleiohoku. The ace cards are inset with the Hawaiian Coat of Arms and the backs of all the cards feature a striking gold foil kapa pattern, representing the feather capes worn by Hawaiian chiefs. 

$17, available at kealopikokeepsdancing.com

 

READ MORE STORIES BY BRIE THALMANN