Showing posts with label Uncategorized. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uncategorized. Show all posts

Saturday, September 17, 2022

How to Change Your Appearance

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Most game sites will let you change the way you look, and it’s the same at World of Card Games. Even so, not everyone realizes it. Today’s post is a short one that explains how to do that.

Just click the “Avatar” link in the upper left corner of the screen. This causes a panel to open that’s filled with all the possible images you can use for your profile picture while playing a game. You can scroll down using the scrollbar at the right hand side of the panel, and when you see the one you want to use, click it. You’ll see a green check mark briefly appear, and the panel will close.

Now you’re all set. You’ll see your new avatar the next time you play a game. And you can change your avatar to something new anytime you want – all free of charge. Enjoy!

You can choose from a wide variety of images for your profile pic!

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Best Spades card game hand ever?

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

A player at the site recently sent me a Spades hand history. She’s been playing at the site for many years, and thinks this is the best hand she’s ever seen. Here’s a screenshot taken of the replayer that she downloaded after the hand was finished.

There are at least 6 sure winners in South’s hand, and probably more

She has 7 spades cards, and the 6 highest spades (9 through ace). And she has the ace and king of clubs. What do you think? What would you have bid? I think I would have bid 9, but it would depend on the other players’ bids. Notice that she was also extra lucky in being last to bid, so she’d be able to adjust her bid based on what everyone else already bid.

If you want to see what the bids were, and what happened during the hand, click this link to view the full replay. It is well worth taking a look if you enjoy playing Spades. Just keep clicking the “next” button to see each step during the hand — which was really an eye-opener!

This was a pretty amazing hand! I do think it’s the best hand anyone has ever sent me. But it’s not the best one that’s possible. The very best hand would consist of an entire handful of spades — from 2 to ace. And that’s a valid hand, too — literally just as valid as any other hand. I’d love to see that, one day, myself! I wonder which is more rare: a hand completely full of spades, or picking all the right lottery numbers for the Mega Millions? I’m not going to try to work out the odds… 😃

You have to pay for a lottery ticket, but trying your luck in a game of Spades is entirely free online at World of Card Games. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Was this Spades bid too high?

A modest bid of 2 still got set!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Someone sent me a Spades hand history from World of Card Games to ask what I thought: Was their bid too high? The player is “West” in the screenshot above. They were first to bid, so they had no information about anyone else’s bids.

When I’m first to bid, I’ll usually err on the side of caution. So let’s see what we have here. The player bid 2. Do I agree?

At first glance, I’d say it was entirely reasonable. As you can see from the screenshot above, they’ve got the king of spades and one extra trump card. That king of spades is very likely to take a trick, but there’s a small possibility that it might be trumped by the ace, with some bad luck.

Clearly, the player was also counting on their king of clubs taking a trick. I also think this is reasonable. They’ve got three clubs. It’s always possible that someone else is long in clubs, and that might result in their king of clubs getting trumped. But on average, I think it’s usually safe to count that king as taking a trick, with only three of the suit in my hand.

However, this turned out to be one of those cases where the odds were not in favor of West. Late in the hand, when West tried to take a trick by trumping over their right-hand opponent using their king of spades, the left-hand opponent took the opportunity to trump that card with the ace of spades! This was the worst-case scenario that they didn’t really anticipate. If they had held the king and just discarded a hearts card, they might have saved their bid.

Overall, I still think the bid was good, and this team just had a bit of bad luck. What do you think? You can view the hand history here or take a look at the replayer of this Spades hand at YouTube.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Play Pokémon Go to Improve Your Health

A Zigzagoon from Pokémon Go seen in augmented reality!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Recently, I’ve started playing Pokémon Go. Okay, I admit it. I’m hopelessly behind — this game has been out since 2016, for 6 years! I’ve always been curious about it, but never had the time to look into it. I used to play video games as a kid. But as I got older, life got complicated, and I became more of a workaholic. By now, I almost never play games anymore, unless I need to for work!

However, Pokémon Go really piqued my curiosity. The stories I’d heard about it reminded me of a scavenger hunt, and that appealed to me. Off and on, I’d hear about this game, and think it sounded like fun. So finally, I caved in and downloaded the app. It’s available for Android and iOS. And it’s free of charge, although you are encouraged to make “in-app purchases”, something that I’ve found easy to avoid so far.

When I started to play, I had no idea what I was doing. I decided to jump right in and not do any research. Research would take the fun out of it! I’m sure there are people who would read all about the rules and look for “cheat codes” and strategies to get ahead as quickly as possible. That was not me. Well, for one, I just don’t have the time 😄. And for another, I think that would spoil the game for me. I wanted to discover the rules and figure out how to get ahead without any outside help.

I just started by downloading the app and creating an account. It was so easy that I felt silly about how long it had taken me to get around to it. You choose a name, an outfit (yes, sunglasses and all), and you’re ready to go.

It was not so clear what I was supposed to do when I started. I soon discovered some Pokémon monsters, and I finally figured out that I was supposed to capture them by throwing “Poké Balls” at them. You do this by swiping your finger up your phone screen in the general direction of the creature. I was pretty bad at it, since my ball tosses tended to swerve to the right. I still don’t do this very well, and I wonder if I’ll get any better, or if there are any tricks to it. I’ve improved a bit, and I can usually capture the monsters that I find. Perhaps 30% of the monsters that I capture manage to escape, unfortunately. True to my nature, I’ve restrained myself from looking for advice about how to improve my odds. Usually, if a monster escapes, I can keep trying, and eventually I’ll get it (using valuable resources along the way, of course). A few of them take a powder before I can capture them for good.

I captured a few Pokémon just sitting at home, but they turned out to be pretty scarce in my vicinity, and the game got boring. I was quite interested in trying the game outdoors, since I’d heard some fuss about how Pokémon Go used some kind of “augmented reality” to interact with the monsters outside.

Eventually, I had the chance to take the app on a walk. This turned out to be entertaining. The app has a built in real-life map of your area. While you walk around, you can see your character walking along a map of your real-life location. Here and there on the map, you see “points of interest”. I didn’t understand how to use these at first. I’d click on one, and see a monster and a photo of the place. For example, the place might be a library building or town hall. I still don’t know how these places were first input into the app, but I’m guessing these were contributed by players. Speaking as a game developer, having to filter out all the user contributions sounds like a real headache. Many of them must have come from trolls or worse. Oy! But I digress.

Eventually, the app itself gave me a tip that I could “spin” the photo of the point of interest and that would generate some little bubbles that I could tap to collect extra valuable potions and so on. Why do you need potions? To heal your critters when they get hurt in fights!

After playing for a while, I was accosted by a kind of bully who challenged me to a fight. He arrived in a hot air balloon, no less! I could have run away, but decided to give it a try, and accepted the challenge.

It turns out that you don’t do any fighting yourself. Instead, the Pokémon you’ve captured fight for you. In each fight, you can pick three Pokémon to represent you. The bully is represented by three Pokémon of his or her own.

I think I’m fighting correctly, but I’m not really sure. Fighting involves swiping or tapping across the screen really fast, like you’re shooting at the opposing Pokémon. The system chooses an ideal Pokémon group for me, and I just kind of hope that I’m using them the correct way. Sometimes I can choose to apply a shield against an attack, and that often works. Sometimes I see a message that tells me my attack is not very effective, but I don’t know how to solve that problem. It seems some types of Pokémon are more effective at attacking other types. I don’t understand those nuances, yet. Sometimes I win the fight, but I’ve probably lost about 50% of them so far.

Honestly, the battles are not overly exciting. And I’m not sure that I’ll become interested enough in this game to dig into the details of how to improve my chances in these battles. I’m going to keep at it for a while because there’s one thing that I really like about the game. It encourages exercise. You get credit for walking while you play the game.

I can see why this is a problem. After all, we don’t want people strolling down the street with their noses glued to their mobile phone screens. That is a recipe for disaster. The way I deal with this is to take the phone along on a walk, and if I see the opportunity for a battle, I’ll just stop, step to a safe spot to one side of the sidewalk, and play. So far, so good. I do like that the app encourages people to get up and move. It just needs to be used sensibly in order to avoid accidents.

In this respect, Pokémon Go is so different from World of Card Games, where the only opportunity for exercise is between games, or perhaps if you use one of those treadmill desks. Card games have been around for much longer than the Internet, and you don’t need an app to play them, so that’s very different as well. All you need is a deck of cards (if playing Solitaire) and maybe some friends if playing a game like Spades or Hearts. I can see the appeal of Pokémon Go as an alternate type of entertainment. It gets you out of your chair and outside. And there’s a huge world of game items and rules to discover.

In contrast, the rules of card games are generally simpler. Once you figure them out, it’s up to you to try to apply different strategies within the constraints of the rules to try to win the game. I feel like a big part of the fun of Pokémon Go will be puzzling out how things work, and I wonder if I won’t get bored once I do. On the other hand, once I figured out the rules of card games like Euchre, Double Deck Pinochle, and Spades, I never got bored of them. I don’t play very often, but I still find it entertaining and relaxing to play once in a while. Perhaps Pokémon Go will turn out that way, too. Time will tell!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Questionable Cover for a Nil Bid in a Hand of Spades

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Here’s an interesting hand of Spades that was sent to me by a player recently (click this link to view a “replay” of the hand or watch the YouTube video by clicking that video link above).

The player, North, at the bottom of the screen, bid nil. I think it was a pretty good nil, with lots of low cards, and only two low spades.

Their weak suit was hearts: 3, 9, 10, J, and Ace. If an opponent tried to set them with a low hearts card, North could duck once. But if another low hearts card was led, they might have some trouble. It all depends on the distribution of cards… does their teammate, South, have too many low hearts?

Turns out that South has the 7, Queen, and King of hearts. It seems like that could work if played correctly. But if you check what happened using the replayer, or viewing the YouTube video, you’ll see something a little strange.

The second trick was led by the right hand opponent with a low card, the 8 of hearts. North ducked by playing the 3 of hearts, their only card that was lower than the 8. This left them with a handful of pretty dangerous cards: 9, 10, J and ace.

At this point, the nil bidder had safely ducked, and the nil would not be set. South did not have to take this trick. Rather, it was an opportunity for South to discard their low hearts card, the 7. In fact, South did something a bit dangerous, in my view. They took the trick with the queen. This left only two hearts in their hand, the king and 7. They could cover one more hearts trick using the king. Once they did that, they’d be stuck with the lone 7 of hearts. If the opponents led another hearts trick after that, North would most likely be set. So it is a mystery to me why South decided to take this trick instead of using the opportunity to discard their low card.

The person who emailed me was surprised and disturbed when viewing the replayer, too. If you view the entire video, you’ll find out just how the hand played out.

I feel that even slightly risky nils are usually worth the risk in Spades. Sometimes, though, your teammate will make a mistake, and your risk becomes higher than expected! In this case, perhaps South got distracted or misclicked a card.

What do you think? Can you think of a legitimate reason for playing the cards like this? Leave a comment here, if so!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

What Would You Bid? Spades End Game Strategy

As the dealer, I’m the last to bid in this game of Spades

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Here’s a screenshot of a hand from a game of Spades that I played at World of Card Games, this week. Check out the scores! There’s a puzzle. What would you bid to win this game?

This is one of my favorite scenarios when playing Spades. Both my team and my opponents are within reach of winning. So we’re probably in the final hand. Both sides need some combination of luck and intelligent bidding to win the game.

In this case, my team has 465 points. The opponents have 472 points. So close! I am last to bid. That means my team is in a stronger position because I’m going to know all the other bids before I have to make my own bid. I like being last to bid! 😃

My left-hand opponent, Atom, bids a reasonable 3. With Ace and King of Spades, he will definitely get 2 tricks. And he’s counting on the Ace of hearts to give him an extra trick. I think that bid makes sense as an opener. He’s also in the worst position. As first to bid, he has no additional information to help him decide whether to underbid or overbid. If anything, he might be a bit cautious in making his bid.

My partner, Optimus Prime, bids 2. At this stage, all I know is that he doesn’t have a very good hand. Too bad, because that may make it difficult for us to win.

However, we got lucky. My right-hand opponent, hitchBot, bid 1. I would argue that this was a mistake. This bid brings their total bid to 4. If they make their bid, they’re going to wind up with a total of 512 points (472 + 4*10). That’s enough to end the game. But there are also plenty of tricks left — 9 extra tricks for our team to take — to help my team beat them. Why 9? Well there are 13 total tricks, and they bid 4, so there are 9 left.

That means that there’s plenty of wiggle room here for me to bid just a little higher and beat their final score. This is why I like bidding last. I just make a judgment call — can I make a bid that’s safe, and that will put my team’s score slightly above the opponent’s score? If so, that’s the bid to make.

In this case, I need to bid something that will put my team above 512 points in order to win the game. If my team bids a total of 5, and then succeeds in taking 5 tricks, we will win the game with 515 points, just squeaking by. So I have to bid at least 3. If I bid 2, my team will lose.

In the end, I wound up bidding 4 to take my team’s total bid to 6 — that’s 1 more than what we needed to win. Why did I do this? I was slightly worried that the other team might try to give us 5 bags. If that happened, we’d roll and lose 100 points. By pushing our total bid to 6, I felt pretty confident that they couldn’t give us 5 bags, although you can never be sure.

If I’d bid 3, our team’s total bid would be 5. To make us roll, the opponent would need to give us 5 bags — so we’d have to take 5 extra tricks! That would mean they’d have to purposefully lose their bid. Many people don’t want to aim for that, even if that means losing the game. Also, ducking tricks is not exactly easy to do. You could accuse me of being overly cautious by bidding 4 in order to avoid a roll, and you’re probably correct.

In the end, my team wound up winning, easily. I was playing against the bots, and they aren’t very clever in their end-game strategy. Too bad! It’s fun to win, but I really prefer the challenge of a smart pair of opponents.

Here’s the hand history for that hand, if you’re curious to see how it played out. What would you have done if you were on the opposing team? If you were in hitchBot’s place, would you have bid nil? Do you think I made a mistake in bidding 4?

Saturday, July 30, 2022

How to Avoid People You Don’t Like

Sometimes, people just get on your nerves

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

At World of Card Games, if someone is behaving in a way that annoys you, you can hit the “dislike” button next to that player. Once you do that, you won’t be seated with them again.

If only real life were that simple, eh? Sometimes, you’re put in situations where you have to interact with someone who bugs you. Maybe it’s a relative, a coworker, or your boss. There’s no dislike button in life! But there are things you can do about the problem.

One thing that can work is to recognize that you can’t control other people, but you can control how you react to them. So, if you’re letting someone get under your skin, but they’re not actually harming you, then it might be worth looking deep into yourself to try to understand what is bugging you so much about their actions. Is it really something that should upset you? Is it possible that you’re actually the one causing yourself more trouble than the other person? For example, if someone is being rude or disrespectful to you, your first reaction might be to get upset, and to try to force them to be respectful in some way. But unless their rudeness is actually causing you to be endangered, then what harm does it do to you? In fact, in many cases, rudeness just reflects poorly on the person being rude, and it’s not worth wasting your time on. Ignoring people who bother you is a great way to avoid unnecessary stress, if you can find a way to do that.

Another option seems a bit of the coward’s way out, but can be very effective. Just do your best to avoid those who annoy you. Don’t like a coworker? Make an excuse to leave the room when they appear, or be extra busy to stay out of their way. Don’t like your boss? Make a serious effort to get a new job so that you don’t dread getting up in the morning.

Some people find that confronting the people who annoy you can work. Is a coworker tap-tap-tapping away, destroying your focus? Don’t wait for it to become so irritating that you explode in a rage at them. Instead, politely explain the problem. In many cases, people don’t even realize that they’re causing someone else discomfort, and will immediately work to improve the situation — but ya gotta tell them!

Just so it’s clear, in every case above, I’m talking about those who annoy you — not when you’re in real danger. If you’re in danger, seek help from the authorities! We’re talking about annoyances here, not danger.

Do you have a favorite tactic to remain unstressed by the behavior of others? Please share your ideas. And thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Cheating at Cards

Worried about cheating? Play against bots — they do not cheat!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Are you worried that someone at your card table is cheating at the game? You’re not alone! Periodically, I get an email from someone who is convinced that someone is cheating. I’m told I should ban this or that person because they are “too lucky”, or “blatantly cheating”.

In case it’s not obvious, it is possible to cheat at cards online 😃 Look, for whatever reason, some people consider it more important to win than to play fair. I am not one of those people, and I think most people are not. But, you’ve got to realize it can happen. This comes under the category of “things I learned in kindergarten”, sad to say.

This behavior has been going on since time immemorial. There’s an entire Wikipedia page that outlines the different ways that people have cheated at Poker. Among the most obvious things? Unethical types will try to peek at another player’s cards, or mark the cards. And there are plenty more obscure techniques.

Most recently, Ali Imsirovic — a World Series of Poker participant — has been accused of cheating. Sadly, cheating is apparently rampant in the card game Bridge! As soon as something is at stake — large sums of money, or even something silly, like being called #1 — some people won’t blink an eye at doing whatever they can to get that reward. In that NY Times article about Bridge cheaters, we see this quote from an admitted cheater: “I didn’t do it for money, glory, results, victories, some sort of fulfillment, or masterpoints,” she said, referring to bridge’s ranking system. “I did it because it was so, so easy, and so tempting.” If you’re like me, you’re rolling your eyes at this admission.

Marking cards and stacking the deck just don’t work online, but people have discovered other ways to cheat, much to the annoyance of those who prefer a straight, aboveboard game.

Unfortunately, in most cases of online cheating, it’s just too difficult to tell if people are truly cheating, or if they are just really good at the game. If you see someone playing cards in a way that just seems too good, consider that after having played thousands of hands of a specific card game, some people have developed strategies — such as counting cards — that makes them better at the game than your casual player. As much as I find cheating pathetic, I hate the idea that an innocent person might be accused of cheating when they’re simply very good at a game.

What can you do if you are convinced that someone is cheating at your table? Fortunately, at World of Card Games, you can hit the dislike button next to a person to avoid being seated with them in the future. Many Guests (unregistered users) are quite nice, friendly, and decent people. But some people are suspicious of Guests. Any registered player can avoid playing with Guests by setting up their Options that way. And if you just think everyone is out to get you, you can still play against the “bots”. The bots don’t have the best reputation and they are not stellar partners, but let me tell you, they definitely do not cheat.

And if you’re reading this, and you’re a cheater? Please reconsider and take a good look in the mirror. Why are you doing it? In my view, you are harming yourself more than anyone else. I understand when people steal bread because they’re starving. I don’t understand when people cheat to win a game.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Having trouble signing in? Try this!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Sometimes, I get an email from a user saying that they can’t sign in to the website.

I know it happens, but I can’t figure out why. Most people do not have this problem. And I’m one of them. I can sign in with no problems in two different web browsers: Firefox and Chrome.

How do I sign in? I click the “sign in” link in the upper right corner of the site. This causes a little panel to open with a place for my username and password, and a button labeled “Sign In”. I click my mouse into the username area, and type in my username. Then, I click the password text input, and type in my password. Then I click the “Sign In” button with my mouse. Voila, I’m signed in!

Here’s a YouTube video that shows how I do this, in case it’s not clear from my description.

One thing I didn’t mention above is that sometimes, a web browser will “remember” my username and password. When I go to the site, and open the Sign In form, those form inputs that I mentioned above will be filled out for me. This can also happen if I’m using a password manager of some sort.

That’s convenient! And I think that in most cases, the browser’s attempt to fill in the form works. However, for some people, it does not, and clicking the “Sign In” button does not work when the inputs have not been filled in manually.

There’s another case where problems can occur. The web browser may “autocomplete” some words for you. For example, you might start to type your username, and the browser fills it in before you can finish typing.

This is another case where a feature of the web browser seems to work for most people, but in rare cases, something goes wrong. So if you’re having trouble signing in, try ignoring the “autocomplete” feature of your browser, and just completely type in your full username and password, and then click the “Sign In” button.

I hope this helps you get signed in to World of Card Games, or any other sites where you’re having problems logging in!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

What Would You Bid? A Hand of Spades

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Here’s a fun puzzle for people who play the card game Spades.

Take a look at this hand of cards that I was dealt recently. Here’s a link to the Spades hand history for anyone who wants to see the full hand.

I was dealt 5–8–10 of clubs, 10-Q of diamonds, 2–3–8 of spades, and 3–4–5–9-J of hearts. I bid 1! Why?

My partner was first to bid. They bid 6, meaning their hand was pretty good. I don’t know about you, but when I see my partner make such a high bid, my mind immediately thinks “Can I bid nil?”

And if you look at my cards, at first glance, there’s a good argument for a nil bid. I’d argue that I might be lucky to even get one trick if I tried!

I’ve got three spades, but they’re all low. I’m long in hearts, five of them, and the highest is the Jack. And I’ve got three clubs, all low.

If I bid nil, it’s unlikely that I’ll get set in clubs or hearts. What about diamonds, though? There’s the catch. I’m holding the 10 and Queen of diamonds. There are eight cards out there that are lower than my 10 of diamonds: the two through nine. On top of that, I’m also holding the Queen. It seems to me that if I bid nil, I’d very likely get set with diamonds unless I got very lucky.

And in fact, if you look at everyone else’s hands in this hand history, you can see that if I’d bid nil, it would have been very risky. Imagine my teammate leading with the Ace of diamonds. That works fine and I’d get rid of my Queen. Eventually, though, it would be likely that one of my opponents would wind up leading with diamonds. If they’re smart, they’d lead with their lowest diamond, and at that point my nil would be toasted! My opponents both hold diamonds that are lower than the 10, and my teammate doesn’t have any higher diamond to cover the 10. So unless my opponents made a bone-headed move, that’d be the end of my nil.

Bidding nil can so often win the game for you that it’s tempting to do so whenever possible. And it’s fun, to boot! But there’s something else to consider here. Look at the scores. You’ll see that this is an end-game scenario. My teammate and I need to take a total of five tricks to cross 500 points and win the game. Our opponents are far behind us and have no chance of winning if the game ends at this hand.

My feeling is that anyone who bids nil in this case is not playing to win, but just loves bidding nil and taking big risks. My safest bet is to bid one. And that’s what I did.

There’s a risk in that, as well. What if I can’t even take a single trick? It’s possible that my hand is so weak that my opponents would set my bid of one! But I do have three spades, and I’m kind of short in diamonds. I’m going to hope that once all my diamonds are taken, I’ll be able to trump in on a diamond trick. And if that fails, I’m hopeful that my teammate’s hand is so strong that they will take an extra one and cover my bid that way.

Things could have gone differently. The only way that my team could have lost this hand would be if we got set. We got lucky, and I actually wound up taking two tricks, one more than I’d bid. We won! 😃

This is one of the things that I love about Spades. You often need to think — and think again — to figure out the winning tactic. I might have bid differently if the scores were reversed, and we had nothing to lose. I might have made a more risky bid earlier in the game, too.

I hope you have some fun thinking about what you would do if you were dealt this hand of cards! And if you enjoy playing Spades against the computer or other people, give it a try at World of Card Games!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

How to Play Ranked Card Games

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Did you know you can get ranked for many of the card games at World of Card Games? I thought everyone knew this… but maybe I’m wrong.

Recently, I got an email. Someone said it was taking them a long time to get a ranked game going. They suggested that I write a blog post about ranked games. Surely, more people would play ranked games if they knew about them.

I thought to myself, “but, the site has a big message at the top of the screen that says you can play ranked games at World of Card Games! Everyone sees that, and knows the drill. Don’t they??”

There’s a link at the top of the page to a post about ranked games

Well, just in case some people are not aware, I’m going to explain what ranked games are, how to get to them, and how it all got started.

Ranked games give you a score — an “Elo rating” — that is visible to others. This system was originally developed for chess, but has been applied to many other games, including card games.

When you play your first ranked game, your Elo rating defaults to 1500. It gets higher the more ranked games you win. If you lose a ranked game, your rating goes down. For some people, it adds a little bit of competition and excitement to the game. If a person has an Elo rating, you can see it by clicking on the person’s avatar.

World of Card Games did not originally have any rankings. The total number of your wins and losses was recorded, together with a few other statistics, and that was pretty much it. These stats were only visible to you.

There seemed to be a demand for something a little more official. People would email me, saying that the site really needed a ranking system. I guess some people wanted to prove that they were better than your run-of-the-mill card player!

That was okay with me. However, I also chatted with some people who told me that they were vehemently opposed to rankings! This surprised me. Some people just didn’t want any extra competitive element in their games. They wanted the games to stay friendly and casual.

That feedback is why the default option for the site is unranked. And it’s also the reason that it can take longer for ranked games to start, especially at times of the day when it’s less busy. I wish that there was something I could do about this. However, I think it’s most important for everyone to play the way that they prefer, even if it means games take a little longer to start.

Anyway, after a little research, I developed an Elo ratings system, and in October of 2015, people could start to play ranked Hearts! The formula was modified over time based on feedback from players. You can read the details of the Elo ratings system for team games like Spades and Double Deck Pinochle here, or for Hearts here. Over time, the option to play ranked games was added to Spades, Euchre, Double Deck Pinochle, and Twenty-Nine.

Aside from the rating system, there are some rules that apply solely to ranked games.

First, only registered players can play at ranked tables. Guest numbers change over time, so recording an Elo rating for a Guest doesn’t make sense. And because Guest numbers can change, it’s difficult for others to recognize them. I encourage people to register at the site, so that people can then play with people they recognize and like. I hope that giving registered players the ability to play ranked is a good incentive for people to register.

Second, you cannot play a ranked game until you’ve completed 10 games at the site. This is done to make sure that you’re at least somewhat familiar with the site before you try to play against others competitively.

Third, you won’t get ranked unless you specifically choose to be. You do this by taking a seat at a ranked table. Ranked tables show up as purple in the list of tables.

A ranked table appears in purple in the list of tables

You can also play a ranked game by clicking on the Menu button for your game, and clicking the link to “Play Ranked”. Here’s a screenshot showing the Menu button.

The Menu button

Another way to access ranked games is by visiting the home page for your game, where you’ll see a link for ranked tables. There are separate home pages for Hearts, Spades, Double Deck Pinochle, Euchre, and Twenty-Nine. Those are all the games that can be ranked at World of Card Games.

Since ranked games are competitive, there are some penalties if you do something wrong. Specifically, if you quit a ranked game, and don’t return to it within three minutes, you will get banned from ranked play for two hours and you forfeit the game. This penalty is applied to deter quitters, since that behavior upsets a lot of people!

There’s one more thing to note. If you’re one of those people who really does not want to be ranked, and you want to make sure that you never get seated at a ranked table accidentally, then there’s a setting you can apply. From the home screen, click your name in the upper right corner. A panel opens with various settings. If you scroll down a bit, you’ll come to the “Rank me” area. If you uncheck any of those boxes, you will not be seated at any ranked tables in the future. If you change your mind, you can check these boxes again, but it will be seven days before you will be allowed to play ranked again.

“Rank me” settings are found by clicking your name in the upper right corner

Well, I think this is all you need to know about ranked games! Feel free to contact me or comment if you have any questions.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Worst Hand of Spades Ever

A terrible hand of Spades!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

This post is for people who love to play the card game Spades. One of the fun things about Spades is being surprised by a fantastic hand of cards — a lot of aces, kings, and trump cards (spades). It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you just know you’re going to be able to make a high bid. And you’re hoping that your teammate will be able to bid nil, too.

There’s another kind of hand in Spades that is also great, although it seems like a bad one when you first think of it. You’ve got a handful of low cards — twos, threes, etc., and just one or two trump cards (or maybe no trump at all). What a terrible hand! It would take a lot of luck to win even a single trick with it. Fortunately, in this situation, you can turn your poor luck into good luck by bidding nil. With so many low cards, your nil will likely work, leading to 100 points for your team.

There are other hands of cards that can be work well for bidding nil, like when you have a void in a suit (meaning, you have no cards in one suit at all). In some cases, you can successfully bid nil even if you have some aces in your hand. Just don’t absentmindedly bid nil when you’re holding the ace of spades, or you will possibly incur the wrath of your teammate! 😅

It’s starting to sound like Spades is all sunshine and roses, isn’t it? No matter what hand you get, you’ll always figure out some way to turn it into a winner. In fact, that’s not the case. Recently, I played a game of Spades, and I was dealt the type of hand that I dread. It was filled with middle cards — the Jack, the 10, the 9. If I tried to bid nil, I would probably get set. And if I bid one? That would very likely get set as well. I was second to bid, so I didn’t know what kind of hand my partner had, and all I could do was bid one,and hope they could cover my bid if I didn’t make it. You can run the hand history to see how it went. You can read about the hand history feature in another one of my blog posts if you’d like to see how it works. Long story short — the total bid wound up being 12, and I thought the opponents might set us. We got lucky, though!

Can you think of an even worse hand of Spades than the one I described here? If so, please leave a comment. And thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

An Exciting Game of Double Deck Pinochle

Double run in the final hand!

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

A few months ago, I received an email from a Double Deck Pinochle player, “Tigre”, who plays the game at World of Card Games. He’d had a fun game to report. I asked him if it would be okay to share it, and he said yes… so here it is.

This game was a rated (or ranked) game, so there was probably an extra touch of pressure on everyone involved! 😃

It sounded like my favorite sort of game. There was a struggle in which one team would pull ahead, and then fall behind, back and forth, throughout the game.

In the next to last hand, the score had gotten to 499–460, with Tigre’s team at 460. Every single point that had been made counted. If the opponents had taken just one extra point anywhere during the game, it would have been over by now. As fate would have it, an extra hand would be played to decide the winners.

In the last hand, the initial bid was made by Tigre’s right-hand opponent. That person started the bid at 50. In Double Deck Pinochle, a bid of 50 is a “captaincy” bid or “take” bid. It tells the teammate, “I want to declare the trump suit (aka make trump). Let me know if you have any good meld.”

Tigre must have been disappointed with having to pass. His hand was not strong enough to make a bid. His opponent on the left bid 51, a pretty clear signal that this person wanted to make trump. It was not looking good — both opponents must have had good hands with a decent chance of winning the game if they were able to call the trump suit.

Tigre’s teammate responded with a bid of 65! Was she bluffing? No way to tell. The next opponent would have to bid 70 to challenge this bid, but that did not happen. Tigre’s teammate made trump! When meld was displayed, it turned out that she had a double run (see the screenshot above), meaning a very strong hand with great meld — 162 meld, in fact, just fantastic! To make things even more interesting, one of the opponents also had a run in the trump suit.

Tigre wrote me that even with that fantastic meld for his team, he knew that the game wasn’t decided until the hand had progressed. In the end, though, his team did win the game!

The games I love the most are the ones where there’s a huge battle and you never know what will happen until the last card is played. What do you think? Would you prefer an easy win, or do you love the struggle too?

For anyone who is curious to know even more details of that last hand, here’s the hand history. You’ll need to visit Power Pinochle’s hand animator tool, and copy and paste the hand history into their form to see each round of cards as it was played. Have fun with it!

This hand history for Double Deck Pinochle can be replayed using the Power Pinochle hand animator - Copy and paste the text below into their form and follow the instructions.

% Format "PPN 1.0"
% Site ""
% Date "2022.01.15"
% ID "164229406412410"
% Players "N-Ju E-mr S-TH W-Ti"
% tableid "61f623d4-4177-4960-bc0b-a0c00ecc1d9d"

[GameScores "499:460"]
[Auction "S:50 51 53 65 Pass Pass Pass"]
[Contract "E 65 H"]
[Play "E"]
[MeldScores "41:174"]
[PlayScores "19:31"]
[Result "SAVED"]
[HandScores "0:205"]

Saturday, June 11, 2022

The Entrepreneur

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

This weekend, I clicked through a long list of emails in my inbox. I’d been busy with my other job for over a week, and hadn’t had time to check email for World of Card Games in a while.

Even when I get busy, I make it a point to respond to all questions, eventually — except for the most rude ones!

But I have to admit, it wears me down.

Ninety percent of the emails that land in my inbox fall into one of two categories. The first category is the tech support email. The writer is using the site, and it doesn’t work the way that they expect. So they send me an email with a question.

In fact, I’m delighted to get these emails! This may seem odd. However, most often, the person writing to me just doesn’t realize that, in fact, World of Card Games can do what they want. I’d prefer that they write to me so that I can explain how they can use this or that feature. I hope they can use that information to have more fun playing cards just the way that they want! If someone is playing cards at World of Card Games on a regular basis, I’d hate for them to be frustrated by the experience. I always tell people that if the site doesn’t do what they want, they should go play somewhere else. And I mean it! The site is there to entertain you, and I want people to have a good time at it. If I can help by pointing out an undiscovered feature to a person with a problem, that makes me happy.

The other category of email is the one with the angry complaint. A person has become completely frustrated or angry by something that happened at the site, and they are going to blast me about it — even if there’s nothing I can do to help or it isn’t my fault. This type of person sometimes gives me business advice. They tell me that I should run the site this or that way, and if I don’t, then I’m an incompetent nincompoop. Sometimes they rant at me for being a bad software developer. After all, if the site suddenly stopped responding, it’s 100% my fault, and has nothing to do with their Internet provider, bad WiFi, or old computer…

I try not to take this category of email personally. I guess some people need to vent, and don’t understand that it’s actually extremely difficult to run a multiplayer game site — especially as a solo developer. There are no big corporate bucks behind World of Card Games. I provide the site free of charge. There is a column on the right side of the page with space for one or two ads. The ad revenue makes it possible for me to keep the site running, but it doesn’t provide me with revenue to hire staff to support or build out the site. It’s just me and it probably always will be.

When I get an angry email, it surprises me how much perfection some people expect from a free service.

I don’t often get emails from those people who are happily enjoying the site. And I don’t expect it, in fact! Why bother? Most people — including myself, I confess — don’t think to make a comment when everything is going right. In fact, you may not notice when everything is going right. It’s when things go wrong that you’re more likely to jump off your couch to register a complaint.

Prior to running World of Card Games, I wasn’t an entrepreneur. I guess you could say I was a “wantrepreneur”. I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know how. I was always a full time employee, and I had trouble coming up with ideas for how to develop a profitable business, doing something that I could at least tolerate (or, heavens, maybe even enjoy!).

Once World of Card Games fell into my hands, I became a real entrepreneur. It has turned out to be a mixed bag. It’s not highly profitable. People complain. A lot of the feedback I’ve gotten is negative. There have been many times in the last few years when I’ve wondered why I keep doing it. And in fact, I’ve had to stop working full time on World of Card Games. I find I can make a better living doing other things. It’s now my side hustle, which is why it can take me a while to respond to email.

This brings me to the topic of this post. Today, I clicked on an email. The person had written the following to me:

No complaints marya just a thank you for your site. There is a occasional {should not be there} person but most are very nice people who love playing Euchre. Thank you for putting up with all of us.

At the end of the email was a little smiley face.

I practically broke down and cried. It has been a stressful week. I don’t expect emails with a simple thank you. It’s rare, and this person just blew me away with kindness. I wrote back to let this lovely person know how much I appreciated the thoughtful email.

Since I became a business owner, I’ve made an effort to give positive feedback at businesses that I frequent. In my experience, entrepreneurship is difficult and often thankless. If someone’s small business brings me joy, I want them to know about it. I encourage you to do the same. Let me be clear, this is not a request for you to send me a thankful email, although obviously I’d appreciate it 😃 But the next time you go into someone’s diner or shop, and you enjoy the experience, maybe take a moment to say thanks! Some days, a kind word can make all the difference!

Saturday, June 4, 2022

How to Find Family Members and Friends at Private Tables

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Recently, someone wrote to me with a problem. The email went like this: “I play Pinochle with my family at a private table every week. But recently, my brother and I can’t get to the same private table. My other relatives and I can be at the same table, but then when my brother tries to join, he is seated at an empty table, and can’t find us. If I leave the table, then he can get to the table with my family as expected, but then I can’t get to that table. What’s going on?”

I feel pretty bad when this happens. I hope that everyone who experiences this problem writes to me about it, so I can help, but I do wonder if there are people who just don’t think to send me a tech support email. This post will explain what’s going wrong and how to solve it. I hope anyone who searches for the answer to this type of problem will find it here.

I explained a few weeks ago that you can play at private tables at World of Card Games. Usually, people who play at private tables just want to chat amongst friends and/or family. It may not be quite as good as getting together over a card table in real life, but it’s a good substitute. And personally, I think it’s more fun than Zoom! Although, when I think about it, there’s nothing to stop you from Zooming and playing a multiplayer online card game at the same time!

Anyway — private tables have most of the features that are available at public tables. One of those features is the “dislike” button. The dislike button is a little red circle with a white x in the middle. As you can see in the screenshot below, it appears next to every person at the table (except yourself… you cannot dislike yourself!).

The dislike button is a red circle with a white x

If you click the dislike button next to a player, there’s usually no immediate effect (although in some cases it can lead to a person getting kicked from the table). But the site remembers your preference. You will not be seated with this person in the future. That’s useful to avoid people that you don’t want to play with again, for any reason. But if you click the dislike button next to one of your friends or relatives, by accident, you won’t ever see them at the site again! Not good!

This is only a problem if you don’t realize what’s happened. If you find that you can’t get seated with one of your friends or relatives, just take a moment, and look at your list of disliked players. This list appears in a panel that opens when you click on your user name in the upper right corner of the screen. I’ve got a screenshot of the list below.

Manage Likes and Dislikes at World of Card Games

Notice at the very top of the screen, you see my user name. I’m a guest — “Guest #2,163”. That user name is clickable. Clicking on it opens the panel that you see here. You want to scroll down the panel, and eventually you will come to the area that’s labeled “Manage Dislikes”. If you see someone in that list who doesn’t belong there, click the “(remove)” link. That undoes the dislike immediately, and the site will no longer keep you from sitting with that person. Problem solved!

In this situation, you will want to make sure that all the players in your group of friends and family have not disliked each other. I recommend that people who play at private tables actively “like” each other when they first get together. To “like” a player, click the yellow star to the right of the person. That yellow star is shown in the first screenshot, too. Once you “like” a player, the “dislike” button goes away. This keeps you from accidentally clicking it in the future.

I hope you all have fun playing free multiplayer cards online at World of Card Games with your family and friends. And if you’re ever feeling a bit bored, but can’t get a game going with friends, don’t forget that you can play against the computer, as well. It’s almost as good as Solitaire… or maybe even better. 😉

Saturday, May 28, 2022

How to be a Good Teammate in Spades

I see bags in someone’s future…

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

The card game Spades is a team game. Despite that, I still see people playing it as if they’re going it alone. At least, that’s what it looks like to me. I sometimes question my own strategy: am I doing things that make me a bad partner? I don’t think so… but then, you can never be sure, can you?

This got me thinking, and I wrote up a list of 10 dos and don’ts that I think will help to make you a good partner in Spades. Leave a comment if you have any ideas of your own.

  1. Do use chat in a friendly way.

Many times, I’ve seen this brief conversation in chat: One person says “Tx” (translation: “Thanks”) to their partner for saving the bid. The other person says “team game” or “it’s a team game”. It’s a friendly exchange. This type of chat can go a long way in cementing a partnership. Of course, it’s kind of a no-brainer. You don’t need to say “thanks”, since it’s in your teammate’s own interests to make sure that your bid is covered. If you lose, they’ll lose too. But that doesn’t matter. It’s an acknowledgement that you saw what they did and appreciate it. I think it’s a rare personality that doesn’t warm to a friendly comment.

2. Don’t tell your partner how to play.

Some people may be scratching their heads here. If you don’t tell them how to play, how will they know what your brilliant strategy is? I’ve seen people instruct their partners to bag the opponents, or play low cards to set the opponent’s nil. Doing this is usually considered rude, and is known as “table talk” in card games. If you know that everyone at the table is okay with table talk, then feel free to disregard this rule. If you feel your partner is making tactical mistakes, then instructing them (or cursing at them) right in the middle of the game is not friendly. You are more likely to upset your partner than transmit wisdom, and playing with a teammate who’s upset with you is not likely to lead to a win. If you must have a strategy discussion, consider a post-game chat. You certainly have the option of avoiding someone whose strategy conflicts with yours in the future (you can use the “dislike” feature at World of Card Games to do this).

3. Do try to read your partner’s mind.

Now I hear you saying “But Marya, it’s not possible to read someone’s mind!”. Of course that’s true, but you can use the clues that you see at the table as the game goes on to get an idea about how your partner plays. If you see that your partner never leads with spades, hand after hand, that may mean they think it’s bad to lead with spades, and they may get upset with you if you do that. If you see your partner tends to bid risky nils, then you probably don’t want to lead with a low spade when they’ve bid nil, if you have a choice — you might flush out their one high spade. You get the idea. Pay attention to the signals that your partner is sending you by the way that they play their cards. You can adjust your behavior in some cases, and that can lead to more wins for your team.

4. Don’t hurl abusive chats at anyone at the table.

If your partner is a polite person, making angry comments at anyone at the table may very likely upset them, leading to poor gameplay. Just don’t do it. The card table is a public place. If you think it’s okay to curse at people in public, please get some therapy.

5. Don’t throw the game.

This one seems obvious. Throwing the game is a fast way to get out of an unpleasant situation for you, perhaps, but it completely blows your credibility. If you’re prone to throwing games, don’t be surprised if it becomes progressively more difficult to get a game going as time goes by. No one likes a sore loser.

6. Do cover your partner.

As a general rule, if the sum of all bids for the hand is 11 (with a maximum of 13), then one team may start thinking about setting the other team. Given that’s the case, you may want to think about taking an extra trick or two at any point during the hand. This can lead to bag accumulation, true. But it can also save your team from getting set. You will have to suss out how your partner feels about bags (see Rule 3). Some people are quite good at taking exactly the number of tricks that they bid. You might be one of those people! But I think that’s actually a pretty rare skill. Even if you’re quite good at counting cards, your partner may not be, and taking an extra trick is usually better than getting set.

7. Don’t assume your partner is against you.

There are cases when the rules of the game require your partner to play a card that’s not in your team’s best interests. For example, suppose you bid nil. Now your partner is leading, and to your surprise, they lead with the two of diamonds! I’ve seen this happen, and the nil-bidder will start cursing at their partner, assuming the worst. But it turned out that their partner had no choice. Spades had not yet been broken, and the only card they had left to play was that lonely, low card. The solution? First, don’t curse at people at the table (Rule 4)! Second, don’t make assumptions about what people are doing, at least until the hand is finished, and you can see what choices they had. You might want to collect the hand history to verify what they did, too.

8. Don’t take your partner’s tricks.

This especially applies if the bid is 11 or more, or if it looks like your team might get set. I’ve been baffled at this behavior more than once when the bid was 13, and it was imperative that our team make our bid. In one example, I was the second person to play a card, and I’d managed to capture a trick with a low card… only to find that my teammate trumped the trick! They were the last person to play, so they could have saved a spade and let me take the trick instead. Being a polite person, I just keep my trap shut. I chalk it up to newbie behavior or distraction. Please try not to do this!

9. Don’t let your partner take bag after bag after bag.

I know I said not to take your partner’s tricks in rule 9. But here’s an exception. Suppose the total bid is low, 8 or 9. There are four or five bags out there, and someone is definitely going to take them. Suppose I’m long in clubs, and I’m leading. I have no choice but to play one club after another, and dagnabbit, the opponents have no clubs. I’ll play club after club, and the opponents merrily discard their high cards to dump tricks, while I collect bag … after bag … after bag. Meantime, my partner starts bagging me, too, by discarding their non-trump cards! I do not understand this behavior. If it’s pretty clear that your partner is just getting bagged, help them out by trumping in with your highest spade, and then try to escape the lead yourself with a low card.

10. Do graciously forgive mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes. Did your partner play a bad card? The most likely explanation is that they got distracted, or accidentally played the wrong card. Yes, some people are trolls, and will deliberately do things to annoy you. Most people are just trying to have a fun game of cards, and want to win. If your partner does something wrong, please consider that we’re all human and we make mistakes. Forgive and forget.

If you’ve got any rules of your own, or if you disagree with mine, please leave a comment! And if you want to play solo, give Solitaire a try. That can be a fun game too, but personally, I prefer multiplayer Spades for the teamplay!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

How to be seated at a new card game every time at World of Card Games

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

This week, I got an email from someone who had recently started playing cards at World of Card Games. The person was upset! When he clicked on the big Spades image to play a game, he’d very often be seated at a game that was already in progress. And worse, his team was losing, and the game was about to end.

That’s not fair, he said. It was a problem. But the real problem was that he didn’t realize that this situation was entirely under his control.

When you visit World of Card Games for the first time, and click on a game “button”, you don’t get taken to a game table immediately. Instead, you will see a dialog that looks like the screenshot below.

You can exclude games in progress at World of Card Games

In this example screenshot, the person just clicked on the Spades button. The dialog reads: How would you like to play “Spades”? And it gives you a few simple Options.

  • Play against the computer (with “robots”)
  • Play against people, with “robots” allowed
  • Exclude Games in Progress
  • Remember this choice (you can change ALL settings later by using the ‘Options’ button)

There are two buttons below these choices: “Go to table” and “Cancel”. Hopefully, it is obvious what they mean. If you click the “Go to table” button, you will be seated at a table with your selected Options applied.

In the example screenshot above, the “Exclude Games in Progress” checkbox is checked. If you click the “Go to table” button at this point, you’ll be taken to a table where the game has not yet started. And since you’ve got “Play against the computer” selected, your game will be against robots, and no people will be allowed at your table. If you want your Options to be saved, check the “Remember this choice” checkbox before clicking the “Go to table” button. Otherwise, you’ll see this dialog every time you click a game button.

At this point, I can imagine some people reading this are puzzled. They’re thinking “Marya, that’s crazy! Why don’t you just make sure that everyone gets seated at a table where the game hasn’t yet started.”

Here’s my answer. There are many people who just want to play one or two hands of a game, and then be done. Maybe they want to take a quick break from some boring task. Or they just just don’t have time to play a full game. After all, while some full games can take only 10 minutes, others can last for 40 minutes or more.

In fact, I’m one of the people who sometimes plays a hand or two. I do this for a couple of different reasons. Sometimes, I’m just taking a short break and I want to clear my head. I don’t have the time for a full game — but I want to finish a shorter game. At other times, I may have time for a longer game, and I find it interesting to get seated in the middle of a game to see if I can turn the tables and come back to win.

I’ve tried to make World of Card Games very flexible so that different people can use it in different ways, depending on their preferences. You don’t like being taken to a game that’s already started? You can fix that! If somehow you’re not seeing the dialog that I described above, you can still adjust your Options. Every game has its own Options that you can customize. Click the Options button, shown in the screenshot below.

The Options button for Spades is shown with a green ellipse around it

Clicking the Options button will open a dialog like this:

The Options dialog for Spades

Check the “Exclude Games in Progress” checkbox. Then click the OK button to save your new Options. Now you won’t be joining games right in the middle anymore. Have fun, and be nice 🙂

Saturday, May 14, 2022

You Got Disconnected

Photo by Jonathan on Unsplash

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium, but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

Recently, I had to work from a coworking space where my Internet connection was spotty, at times.

Typically, the problem would rear its ugly head as follows: I’d be in the middle of developing something, need some documentation, open a web browser, and do a search. And then I’d wait… and wait… and wait. Eventually, I’d give up, close my browser, reopen it, and then my search would quickly load up.

After a few of these incidents, I decided that slow loading meant I should just turn off the WiFi on my computer, and then turn it on again. This usually seemed faster than just waiting to reconnect, or getting timed out.

I couldn’t figure it out. What was causing this strange and annoying problem? Was the WiFi router really that bad? I expect a coworking space to have really good Internet. After all, most people who use a coworking space are doing work on the Internet. You generally don’t see stacks of books and people typing away on a typewriter at a coworking space 🙂

One day, as I waited and wondered whether I needed to reset my WiFi, I noticed the droning of a microwave in the next room over. And then it hit me — the microwave was interfering with my WiFi! It seemed quite odd, but the next few times I got disconnected, I noticed the microwave running. It wasn’t exactly a science experiment, but I’ve become convinced that microwaves can interfere with WiFi! I’m guessing it depends on the router and the microwave, but I think it has happened to me too frequently to be a coincidence… Perhaps I need to place a tinfoil hat on my computer (or on me!).

When this happened to me, it was so frustrating! And I felt a lot of empathy with any player who has been frustrated with a disconnect from World of Card Games right smack in the middle of a game.

Sometimes, people will email me complaining about getting disconnected from the site. There have definitely been times in the past when everyone playing at the site got disconnected due to a problem with the hosting service (the “hosting service” is the company that maintains the big computer that runs World of Card Games software). However, the truth is that most disconnects are due to local problems — and often the culprit is bad WiFi. According to technology writer Geoffrey Fowler at the Washington Post, “Bad Internet connections are [Americans’] №1 tech problem”.

That Washington Post article outlines some things you can try to fix your Internet connection. And there’s a follow-up article with reader fixes for WiFi problems as well. Next time you get disconnected, try some of those suggested solutions. If they don’t work, check out my blog post where I describe my own experience with game player issues.

Or, just make sure the microwave is turned off before you play 🙂 And please comment here if you find anything that helps you, since it might help someone else.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

NOTICE: This post was originally posted on Medium but has later been moved to the official World Of Card Games blog to consolidate all posts.

This is an off topic post. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. If you’re a mom, then Happy Mother’s Day to you!

My mom was not perfect — who is? But my childhood was pretty happy, in large part due to her. She encouraged me in so many ways. I was lucky to have her, as a child, and still am.

When I look back on how we celebrated Mother’s Day as a kid, it seems so corny. I recall giving her various little hand-crafted gifts, like a necklace made of painted pasta shells, drawings, a sculpture made of acorns, or crocheted potholders. She claimed that she really liked these handmade things, and preferred them over something that could be bought. I think we might have given her the classic breakfast in bed, one time, but I don’t think that was something she really wanted… Probably because she had to clean up the mess in the kitchen afterward!

Thanks Mom! I hope you have a great day!