I've heard of a few computer board game designers, such as Vassal, Cyberboard, and Zun Tzu. Which would work best for building a custom card game? Note, I am willing to use one I haven't heard of, so long as it meets my needs. Things of note include:

  1. I need 2 decks of cards
  2. Each player has their own private hand, but will have some cards in play in front of them that can be seen by all users.
  3. Each card will have several characteristics, basically several integers tied to the value of the card.
  4. I want this to work with Windows 7 and XP.
  5. It would be nice to play over a LAN or the internet, but this is not required.
  6. I would prefer to not have to have any graphics at this time, I want to just have some text labels on each card for the time being.

A few other things about me.

  • I'm am intermediate Java programmer, with some knowledge of C and C++ as well. I know scripting languages like Python at an intermediate level as well.
  • I would prefer to have something relatively easy, but this is not required.

3 Answers 3


Battlegrounds Gaming Engine is one that you don't seem to have considered, but perhaps you should. It sounds like it fits all your criteria except for #6 - you need to supply images of each card; however, I believe there are free card-creation apps that can create such graphics for you, pulling the info for each card from a database or Excel spreadsheet.

One nice thing about BGE is that you won't have to do any programming, scripting, or XML-editing.


ZunTzu meets your requirements providing players do not need to save their decks between games. You would have to provide your text labels as images - easily done with Paint.


You should definitely keep track of CardForest.

It lets create card games by simply specifying the rules in an online code editor.

You just write your rules in CoffeeScript or JavaScript (see reference) and get a working online multiplayer game.

note 1: It is in closed beta. You can submit a request to join on the website
note 2 (Disclaimer): I'm building this

  • Please could you add some detail, summarising something about why this site would help answer the question? As it stands, such a short answer is borderline product spam. Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 17:51
  • Hey @ire_and_curses. I added some details. I hope it's clear that this project is very relevant to the question. I any case, I'll be happy to answer any questions :). Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 18:07

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