Bela Online

• 4 min read

We couldn't play cards in person, so we created an online multiplayer game using React Native.

Bela Online cover picture

What is Bela Online

Playing the Croatian version of Belote online is not straightforward. When the pandemic started in 2020, my friends and I wanted to play, but the country was in lockdown. Alternatives exist, but they lack simplicity and phone screen support.

We helped people playing in person by creating the Bela Blok, but now it was time to help the players that were locked inside their homes. We wanted to finally create a proper phone version of the game.

The Team

The second project created by a team of 3 young developers with hopefully many more to come! We started as a group of friends wanting to just build cool stuff that (hopefully) people will love. This is our website, and here you can buy us a coffee.

The Game

Add another online multiplayer card game to the list! Building an intuitive UI, enabling players to easily connect, and supporting web, iOS, and Android devices was a challenge.

Bela Online Gameplay screenshot


We have designed bots that use a set of heuristics to play the game. We are constantly improving them. Currently, we are making them smarter using Monte Carlo methods. So, if you want to play casually or are missing a player, you can always add bots.

Bots in room screen

Public & Private Rooms

The game can be played with strangers online, or with friends that join room with a password. This was not the case at launch and players could only play in rooms they created or their friends told them to join.

Bela Online app home screen

Redesigned cards

Belote is traditionally played with Hungarian playing cards. Players are used to them, but they not as scaleable as standard French playing cards. For that reason, I redesigned them for smaller phone screens while keeping all the characteristics of the original cards.
Redesigned cards
Redesigned cards in action


For spreading the word about our app we had two plans. On one fo them we spent months, and on the other one we spent a few minutes. Guess which one was more successful.


The initial idea was to build a small community of passionate players of the game. We decided to do it on Instagram. We posted memes related to the game and to the culture. The page slowly grew and at the time of the launch had around 800 followers. It was a lot of work coming up with interesting posts almost daily and we wanted to quit on manny occasions. I would love to say that it was all worth it in the end.
On the day of the launch, we created a post. It got 120 likes and reached a little more than 1000 people. The app download link was clicked ~300 times because of the post.

It's not all doom and gloom since we still have a passionate community of players interested in the game and in it's development. However, as far as the app launch goes, it wasn't what we expected it to be.


One of the following days we posted our app on r/croatia. The post was an immediate success. Because of the post, download link was clicked more than 1000 times in the first hour and made game reach the first place in card games on Croatian App Store for a few days.

Ever since the first post on r/croatia, the game has consistently been in the top 20 card games on the App Store. We posted a few times since for major app updates and were given a whole bunch of karma in return. 🥳


  • There are around 2,000 daily active players
  • There are currently 300,000+ users registered in the game
  • More than 1,100,000+ matches have been played
  • There are around 10,000 matches played daily

Up next

We're working on making it even easier to play with new people.

You can also buy us a coffee here

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