Card games lend themselves perfectly to the genre of casual mobile gaming apps. Unlike some classic games, like board games, most card games can be finished in a relatively short time. They don’t need intricate setups; it’s just a case of getting out the deck and getting started.
Playing cards has always been a fun, light-hearted pastime for many people. With casual gaming growing in popularity across multiple demographics – creating a marketplace projected to be worth $24.97bn by 2027 – it’s no surprise to see many of the leading card games and card-based genres come to the fore in the App Store. Below, we shine a spotlight on five of the leading iOS apps tailormade for card players.
Solitaire is one of the most popular casual card games in living memory. Also known as Patience, Solitaire soon shot to prominence across North America in the early 1900s, as it’s primarily designed to be a single-player game. However, there are some versions which cater for multiplayer setups.
MobilityWare’s Solitaire version has been firm at the top of the card game charts on the App Store for many years now. It even compares favorably with the version of solitaire within Apple Arcade – and it’s easy to see why. There’s heaps of gamification within the app, including fresh daily challenges, a chance to level-up and win new titles, and even the ability to compare your scores with friends and family.
Headbands is a card-based game that’s not designed to be taken too seriously. Perfect for home games with family or friends, Headbands is a readymade version of charades. It’s become a global phenomenon due largely to its expansion into eight different languages. There’s also no less than 70 categories to play with; all of which are regularly updated.
You can even get creative within the app yourself by creating your own Headband decks to take the game to another level. There’s heaps of challenges which make it feel wholly different to charades, with groups also tasked with singing, drawing, and dancing out the on-screen words.
There’s no doubt that Texas Hold’em poker is the most played variant of the game which is said to have originated in North America in the early 19th century. The format’s simplistic game mechanics have also given rise to a string of approaches and strategies deployed by pros and amateurs alike. PokerStars’ mobile app opens the door to enjoying cash game and multi-table tournament action on your iPhone or iPad, entirely at your leisure.
If you consider yourself a skilled poker player, you can also use PokerStars to branch out and play other poker variants in real time, including Omaha Hi-Lo, Omaha High, 6-Max Hold’em and many more.
It’s no surprise to see the real-world card game UNO! translate seamlessly into the world of casual mobile gaming on iOS. The official UNO! app is now enjoyed by approximately 200 million players worldwide. You can enjoy it locally in groups within the same room or compete in multiplayer mode with friends or family all over the world.
The official UNO! app feeds your competitive streak. Take part in events and tournaments to win free prizes. There’s also a high-octane wild version of UNO! with two-deck gameplay and a chance to win up to 600x prizes. Some have even turned UNO! into an Esport, with the Mobile Community Cup in North America proving hugely successful.
Mattel163 Ltd’s rummy-inspired Phase 10 game has taken the App Store by storm in recent years. Enjoyed by millions of players globally, it has genuine pick-up-and-play appeal, especially among those familiar with the game rummy, also known as gin rummy. Put simply, it’s a case of being the fastest to build a winning seven-card hand, comprising a three-card run and a four-card run.
The gameplay for Phase 10 is similar. Each player gets a set of cards which must be matched to runs of numbers and colours. There’s also a “Journey” game made, allowing you to play offline when you don’t have Wi-Fi or mobile data to entertain you.
If at least one of these card game apps provides you with more light relief entertainment on your iPhone or iPad, then we’ll have done our job!