My shuffling skills leave a lot to be desired, in particular when it comes to small form cards, such as those found in Arkham Horror and number of other Fantasy flight games.

What are some effective techniques at shuffling these small cards without damaging/bending them? If I've sleeved the cards, I just push equal piles of them together and it seems to work, but not all my games have been sleeved.

  • possible duplicate of What's a good way to shuffle small decks of cards?
    – Tom77
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 8:13
  • 4
    @Tom77 that other question is asking how to suffle small desks (no matter the size or the cards). This question is asking how to suffle small cards (no matter the size of the deck). Not a duplicate.
    – Pablo
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 10:32

4 Answers 4


I almost always use Overhand shuffling when dealing with board game cards. Video shows it on poker cards but it can be applied to smaller formats as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZByHu_NUJs

  • I agree, with the exception of the larger Arkham Horror decks. If you have a couple expansions, the item decks are large enough that it's really difficult to do this. It's possible, but it ends up being pretty slow.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 19:16
  • I only played with base Arkham Horror. But whenever I get into a stack that's too big I simply divide it in two smaller stacks, shuffle both of them, split them in two and combine and shuffle again. Repeat split, shuffle and combine, a few times. The result should be 'shuffled enough'. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 23:23
  • Okay, sure. That's just a bit time-consuming - it takes twice as long (not counting the split/combine) or you shuffle half as well. Still works fine, just not my favorite method for big decks.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 23:27

For the smaller stacks, any not-riffle shuffle like overhand shuffling works well. But I find that many of the Arkham Horror decks get too big to shuffle easily with any normal method.

For the big decks, you can shuffle a little bit by hand (overhand shuffle or whatever you're familiar with), then spread them around in the box lid, shake them around, then shake them into the corner to help collect them.

It's not pretty, and to get them truly randomized you do need the bit of hand shuffling to make sure what's on the bottom doesn't just stay on the bottom, but it works well enough, and Arkham Horror doesn't really need perfect randomization.

  • Shaking in a box lid can be pretty rough on the card edges, if you care about that sort of thing Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 3:39
  • @bengoesboom Yeah, but those cards are so small and stiff that any normal methods are really difficult. I'd suggest the box lid even if sleeved to ease pushing together.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 3:52

I use corner riffle on everything from the tiny item cards from Fantasy Flight games (Elder Sign, Relic) to larger tarot-sized cards. It even works great if you have sleeves on your cards, since it avoids crunching the open end of the sleeve into another card. Video here.

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    I could buy that for the smaller decks in Arkham Horror, but even with just the base game, the item decks are 40+ cards. They're really stiff, and it's pretty difficult to bend them in order to do any kind of riffle shuffle.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 19:15
  • I just pulled out a Relic threat deck (60+ Mini American cards like the ones I think you're talking about from Arkham) to test corner riffling on them. My first attempt flopped, but my second attempt went fine, and I tried a few more times after that without trouble. So, it's definitely possible. No sleeves on mine, though. Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 15:53
  • Hm, either I'm really bad at this or my cards are thicker/stiffer - I feel like I'm going to damage the cards or hurt my fingers before I manage to bend them enough to shuffle.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 19:07

Pile shuffle. Deal six, seven or eight (you'll figure out a preference, I always do 7) in front of you in a circle. Move round clockwise putting the top card from your deck onto each pile one at a time and repeat until all the cards are dealt. Gather them up in such a way that piles next to each other in the circle don't go back into the deck next to each other. Cut the deck a couple of times and repeat if you want to be really thorough. If you watch the start of a round in a Magic: The Gathering tournament you will see the majority of players going through this process.

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