Since many people can't meet up over Christmas this year, playing card games online can be a vital way to continue those festive traditions over the internet.
Thankfully it can be really easy to enjoy online board games, whether you want to play a quick game of patience alone or show your family and loved ones who's boss with a competitive game. There are also loads of popular branded collectible card games (CCG) to try out.
So if being stuck alone at this festive time has you feeling like you're in lockup, your patience is all gone and 'Yukon' not keep going without playing a card game, there are options open to you.
We've worked out a few easy solutions for you to play card games online, no matter what game you want to play, how technologically adept you feel, or how many people are playing.
How to play card games online: here are your options
- Play physical card games over chatting apps
- Play card games on dedicated websites
- Play card games on a virtual card table
- Download a card game app
- Try out a popular CCGs or TCGs
How to play card games online
1. Play physical card games over chatting apps
- Pros: Very personal
- Cons: You need some kit
If you've already got a deck of cards and want to play with that personal touch, it may be easier simply to jump in a calling app or a chat app with other people, and play the game over webcam.
Sure, this won't work for all games – if you need to keep your cards a secret, it's going to be hard to show one person their card without showing everyone else on the call too, and it'll be impossible to shuffle the deck the same for two people.
But for joint Patiences, for example, and other co-operative games, it might just be possible to play over the internet. It's a lot more personal too!
For this you'll need a webcam, unless you have a device with one built in. If you find webcams at a premium right now, we've got a guide on where webcams are currently in stock.
2. Play card games on dedicated websites
- Pros: Plenty of games
- Cons: Few multiplayer games
If you simply want to play a basic card game online, the kind you'd normally play with a deck of cards, you can easily do so online, as there are plenty of websites offering that service.
The one we use is cardgames.io, which you can access by clicking its name there, as it has plenty of card games like Rummy, Pyramids and Hearts, as well as certain other popular games like Minesweeper and Chess. It's a simple website so it can run on basically anything, but there's no multiplayer option, so you either pick a solo game or play against the computer.
Unfortunately, it seems there are very few games where you can play with your friend over the internet. If this is what you want to do, though, the next option will be perfect for you.
3. Play card games on a virtual card table
- Pros: Fun experience
- Cons: Best cost money
If you love that feeling of cramming loads of people around a table, but can't find a physical table, there are thankfully options in the form of virtual card tables, which let you play many games with a deck of cards or other tools.
One such option is playingcards.io, a virtual 2D table which lets you and friends see the same board and all change it together, by pulling cards off decks, moving those decks around or even summoning more decks. If you already know the rules of the game, this is easy to use.
Another possibility is Tabletop Simulator, a game on Steam which, as the name suggests, simulates a tabletop. This game lets you play many like Poker, Chess, Dominoes and any card games you the rules of, and you can also buy extra board games as expansions. The only drawback is that this option costs a bit, as each player needs to buy the game.
4. Download a card game app
- Pros: Lots of choice
- Cons: Quick app turnover
It's very easy to search 'card games' or something more specific into your phone's App Store or Play Store search box, and find plenty of options that let you play the classics or more niche games.
The top results change quite frequently, so it's hard for us to recommend an app that is available in all regions and will stay popular, but check the app ranking and number of downloads, which should indicate the reliable ones.
If you're into more niche games, like the type we'll get into next, there are plenty of options here too. Popular 'board games' played with cards are available in app form too like Star Realms, 7 Wonders: Duel and Exploding Kittens, though you usually have to pay for them.
5. Try out popular CCGs or TCGs
- Pros: Plenty of great options
- Cons: They can be complicated
Collectible card games (CCGs) or trading card games (TCGs) can be hugely fun and challenging digital games that you can play on your computer, gaming console, smartphone or tablet.
Games like The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Hearthstone, Pokemon TCG, Gwent, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links and more are popular card games, played with cards made for the game that can sucker you in, and be played on any device you have.
Some of these games can be quite complicated compared to your standard card game, and if you've only played Rummy before some of these might make you reach for the rum, but spend a little time getting into them and it could be rewarding. It does help to understand the respective universe, though, as most are based on pre-existing works, but this isn't vital.
- If you're playing on a smartphone, maybe a tablet with a bigger screen will be useful? Check out our list of the best tablets, as well as the best iPads and best Android tablets.