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We have friends in another part of the world, with whom we like to board game. Some complex games are actually playable remotely if both sides have a copy of the game, either because they have no Random element (Chess), or the random element is made public entirely simultaneously (PowerGrid), or possibly because the random element is independent for the players (MtG)

But other games require some centralised random source, even if all parties have a copy of the game; normally a deck to draw from.

Is there a site that will host an arbitrary virtual deck for me?

Ideally, I imagining something where:

  • I log in.
  • I enter a list of values representing the cards in the deck (either names, or descriptions, or card numbers, as appropriate)
  • I declare I'm finished and tell it to shuffle the deck
  • I share the link with other people
  • Other people can visit the link and draw cards from the deck. Each time the site tells them the card they've drawn, but nothing else. (And naturally the site is tracking the state of the deck.)

Is this AThingThatExists?

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    I expect the question might get closed as 'recommendation' questions usually do. There are many many many website/programmes that will do what you want though. Things like Table Top Simulator, Screentop, Tabletopia, Vassal. There will be many more. In general you will have an image that is your whole deck of cards and you tell the programs how many rows/columns/number of cards it is. Apr 26, 2022 at 21:49

2 Answers 2

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You can use any online board game engine to create your own module, upload cards/other components there and use it to share game state between players, or maybe just host a full game. Engines I know of:

  1. OCTGN (free, requires everyone to have a client),
  2. Vassal (free, requires everyone to have a client),
  3. Tabletop Simulator (sold on Steam, requires everyone to buy a copy),
  4. Tabletopia (browser-based, I'm not sure if everyone or only host needs to make a free account for self-made modules).

On the plus side, those engines have a library of existing games already available, so depending on the game all work might be already done.

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Inspired by your question, I created a Google Sheet that more-or-less does what you imagine, feel free to make a copy of it (it's in view mode).

You can load in an arbitrary list of cards, shuffle them into a deck, and give each player a hand of cards.


I managed to find a site with at least some of the features you describe:
https://deck.of.cards/

You can generate a shareable link, all players can see the same screen and interact with the deck. Unfortunately, it's restricted to the standard 54 playing card deck. It does have a shuffle feature, but it seems to only be able to shuffle in all the cards, even those already drawn. You can also play with multiple decks.

Depending on your level of desperation, you could assign each card in your game to one of the 54.

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  • playingcards.io mght offer a lot more flexibility. You can make up your own deck. You can save a configuration an reupload it later. Or you can use configurations shared by other people.
    – Stef
    May 3, 2022 at 15:31

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