The 10 Best Card Game Apps

Whether you’re role-playing, building a deck, or just want to play a few games of rummy or FreeCell while you line up at the grocery store, here are the apps you need.

Stellar realms

Stellar realms is a mobile port of one of the best deck-building games ever made. (If you have already played Domination, that’s how it is… but in space). Players take turns buying starships and starbases from a central market, then using those ships to attack their opponents. Thanks to the four distinct card races/factions, each with their own special abilities, you can replay this game dozens of times before it feels stale. The only downside of the mobile app is that the maps are quite small, requiring a lot of zooming in to read when playing for the first time.

Cost: “Free” (but full game costs $4.99)

Platform: Android and iOS

Earthcore: Broken Elements

earth core is a simple yet refreshing take on the collectible card genre. The game has a basic paper-rock-scissors approach, where water cards beat fire cards, fire beats earth, and earth beats water. Each card, rather than having a set attack/defense stat, has a risk value – the damage you take if the card loses a one-on-one battle. At first it may seem oversimplified magic the gatheringbut inside earth core‘s restricted ruleset, entirely new playstyles and power dynamics appear.

No cost

Platform: Android and iOS

Nightfall

A deck-building game like Star Kingdoms, Nightfall has huge differences in feel and gameplay. Here, amidst werewolves and ghouls, you’ll face up to four online opponents at once, focusing less on jockeying for the best cards and more on outmaneuvering other players by stringing together clever combinations of card effects. Some deck builders may feel like all players are locked into their own solitaire games. This is not the case with Nightfall: When you fail to repeatedly attack and defend against your opponents with minions during the combat phase, you are desperately trying to outsmart them and hire new minions for the next turn.

Cost: $2.99

Platform: iOS only

Sage Solitaire

There’s something frighteningly addictive about this single player card puzzle. Your job is to create combinations of poker hands from a 3×3 grid taken from the standard 52-card deck. Clear the table by forming poker hands eliminating the cards, and you win. Each round only takes a few minutes, making it the perfect casual game type for killing time or queuing. But, if “casual” sounds like a dirty word to you, you can also take this game very seriously with Sage SolitaireTrue Grit mode. Here, you bet fake money every spin, but if you fall into the red, you will never be able to play the mode again.

Never.

No cost

Platform: Android and iOS

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Foyer is a mobile collectible card game with an outrageously devoted fan following. It’s certainly due to the fact that this game incorporates everything that players love in a strategy-focused collectible card game like magic the gathering, and adds an extra layer of bluffing mind games and poker. More importantly, with the game’s huge library of cards, you can spend hours thinking (and, inevitably, chatting online) about the different decks to put together and the strategies behind each. While the application version of Foyer falls falls under the dreaded category of “free to play” mobile games, which means there’s always something new to buy, at no time does it feel like winning requires hemorrhaging real dollars .

Cost: Free to play

Platform: Android and iOS

Map exploration

If you’ve ever wondered which characters from the Dungeons & Dragons universe play instead of solitaire, meet Map exploration, a simple and repetitive game, but in the best possible way. To play, the game throws you 54 cards in sets of four. These cards are either gold, mortal enemies, or weapons, spells, and potions. Your objective is to defeat all the enemies in the deck using the other cards, while accumulating as much gold as possible. Win a game and you keep the gold, which can be used to buy powerful new cards for future games. For an added challenge, try to complete all of the game’s quests, victory conditions that can only be met with luck, and clever spell combinations.

Price: $1.99

Platform: Android and iOS

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer

Of the three deck-building games we’ve listed, Ascent is easily the most masterfully crafted. As Stellar realms and Nightfall, the game consists of building up decks of powerful cards by buying them at each turn on a central market. The difference with Ascent is that this fast app plays even better than the physical card game. With fantastic online play and a seemingly endless stream of card game expansions, all of which are brimming with modest nerdy, beginning of the DnD era sword and sorcery aesthetic – you could (and probably will) play this one all the way to 2016 before you start to tire of it.

Price: Free (Extensions are required and range from $6.99 to $0.99)

Platform: Android and iOS

Five Card Quest

Alright, I’m calling Five Card Quest strictly a card game is a bit of a stretch, as it straddles the line in tactical RPG territory. But you will thank us for recommending it. In Five Card Quest, you select heroes to hack and slice through increasingly difficult dungeons. The kicker is that each hero has their own set of playable cards for attacks and spells, which are shuffled together and form your hand and draw pile used to defeat your enemies. Because the game is so strategic, it’s worth wondering which map you’re about to play, especially when you’re at the start of this game’s exceedingly steep learning curve.

Price: $2.99

Platform: iOS only (Android coming soon)

Magic 2015

In the early 90s, Richard Garfield created magic the gathering at the request of its publisher Wizards of the Coastas part of a deal he made for them to publish his beloved robot programming-themed board game, Robo Rally. The rest, well, you know. RoboRally went nowhere as Magic exploded into a worldwide phenomenon, its latest installment being the Magic 2015 application. How does the app compare to MtG, the unrivaled holotype of all collectible card games? We would say “good enough”. The gameplay is a bit slower than you’d expect, the menu is a bit confusing, but…it’s still Magic! You will buy it anyway.

Price: $9.99 (and like real Magicit will always cost more for new decks of cards)

Platform: Android and iPad

Shark Collection of Cards (Deluxe)

Collectible card games? Deck builders? Tactical RPG hybrids? If this nerd mishmash of words only aggravates and confuses you, then the app you may be looking for Collection of card sharks. Here you will find more than 50 more traditional games, from rummy 500 to euchre, from FreeCell to spades, via Texas hold’em, Egyptian ratscrew and… Australian solitaire (does it exist?). With the app’s intuitive and fluid layout, Collection of card sharks might be the last one you’ll need to download for traditional card games.

Price: $2.99

Platform: Android and iOS

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