Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The Culture of Online Classic Card Game Communities: Building Connections in the Digital Age

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This is a guest piece by writer Amanda Winstead

Classic card games have made a comeback in recent years. Today, 78% of people play card games at least once a year and 5% of Americans play every day. That means over 16 million people nationwide are sitting down to play cribbage, bridge, hearts, solitaire, or other classics on a daily basis. 

The recent return of card games is largely thanks to the influx of online card gaming communities. Folks from around the world can sign in to free or paid servers to play versions of games that they’ve loved since childhood. 

These digital communities can also help folks find friendships and build support circles. Much like video games, which are notorious for their ability to draw fans together, classic card games have a strong focus on making friends and playing together. This strengthens the culture of online card games and helps folks build meaningful connections. 

The Benefits of Card Games

Card games have been popular for hundreds of years. The oldest recorded card game, called Karnöffel, originated in Germany in the 1400s, though it was likely a variation of an older Islamic card game that arrived in Europe via trade routes. The enduring nature of card games points towards the reality that they have many benefits besides providing light entertainment for the whole family. 

Regularly playing classic card games can actually improve your memory and reduce your risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Playing games like cribbage and poker can improve your ability to focus and reinforce some memory skills. Even solo games like Solitaire will force you to use your gray matter on an interesting, engaging game. Similarly, engaging with folks online will help you build a bigger social circle which may hold your interest and help protect your working memory. 

Some speculate that games like Bridge are good for brain health. That may be why high-performing business leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are fanatical bridge players who benefit from the intellectual and social stimulation involved in playing the game. This sentiment is echoed by Keith A. Josephs, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who explains that folks who play games like Bridge “are less likely to be depressed; hence they sleep better, [and] tend to exercise more and have a better life in general.” 

Hobbies in Retirement 

Building connections in the digital age is particularly important if you’ve recently entered retirement and are struggling to find folks with similar interests to you. Diving headfirst into an online gaming community can help you discover a rewarding retirement hobby that holds your interest and helps you fight back against the apathy that may come with life after work. When trying to settle on a hobby in retirement, consider factors like: 

  • Personal Interests: Do you already have a favorite card game, or is there a game you’ve always wanted to try? 
  • Personal Needs: Are you looking for folks to play games with during the day? Will you benefit more from collaborative games than competitive ones? 
  • Goals: Is there a level of proficiency that you’d like to reach? Or, an in-person event that you’d eventually like to attend? 

Answering these questions can help you find a hobby that suits you. It can also help you connect with a community quicker. For example, card game conventions are growing in popularity in countries like the UK, where conventions are held multiple times a year in cities like Birmingham and Milton Keynes. 

If you do decide to reach out to classic card game communities, you’ll likely find a friendly group of folks who are willing to help you get up to speed. This can make a world of difference if you’re experiencing loneliness in retirement and need to broaden your social circle. You can find games online easily, too, as there are thousands of people online looking to play classic games like cribbage and bridge. 

Finding Games

Nowadays, you don’t have to wait for Friday night to invite your friends over and start playing card games. Rather you can find online communities easily and start playing within a few clicks. Many of these games offer “ranked” play, meaning you’ll get to play with folks who are roughly similar to your own skill level. If you’re interested in joining games and groups, consider using: 

These sites host games and communities to help you develop your skills and find games. This can be transformative if you’re struggling to find games in your area but are looking to build connections in the digital era. Just be sure to introduce yourself and explain what you’re looking for when joining the community. You’re sure to encounter plenty of support and will be dealt a digital hand in no time. 

Branching Out

Classic card games have stood the test of time for a reason. They’re engaging, can be played repeatedly, and are a great way to make friends. However, you shouldn’t overlook the incredible growth of the card game industry in recent years. If you’re interested in card games in general and are willing to learn a new game, consider signing up for the most played card games on Steam, including: 

  • Baltro
  • Dota Underlords
  • Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
  • Hearthstone

Some of these games, like Baltro, are based on classic card games while others are more aligned with video games. However, you’ll find that titles like Gwent still rely on the same quick thinking and gameplay that you’ve learned from playing games like cribbage. Engaging with these games can broaden your card gaming horizons and help you find a large community of other online gamers. 


Card games are a great form of entertainment if you’ve recently entered retirement or are looking to connect with a digital community over a shared love of cards. You can easily find games online through Facebook groups and Reddit communities. You’ll also find plenty of apps to support your passion for online classic card play. Just be sure to keep your playtime in check, as it’s all too easy to sink in hundreds of hours over a few weeks if you’re enjoying playing cards.

Images via respective owners

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