Are you familiar with the local card game Tongits? It is a popular game among players in the Philippines, a known pastime in the neighborhood. With a simple 52-card deck, three players can meld or finish the entire pile. However, the player with the lowest-valued card wins. Due to this, the game can be too fast-paced for some.

Fortunately, there are similar games that follow the same footsteps as Tongits. They use cards, but the rules are different. Players only need enough familiarization to understand the game and get the winning card possible.

Check out these four games that are similar to Tongits!

1. Rummy

Rummy is best known as a matching card game. Players must match a suit of cards of the same rank or sequence. The most common approach is building melds, sets, or runs. Since rummy is easy to play, many variants exist in many countries.

For example, a basic rummy game relies on two or three players. The game cannot start when there is only one player. The goal here is to form a sequence as quickly as possible before your opponent finishes first. A player’s win will only count when their sequence has matched colors and symbols.

2. Solitaire

Like rummy, solitaire is where you arrange the cards systematically. Compared to other matching card games, solitaire is best played alone, but you can play with another player. You get to build sequences by the suit from a shuffled deck of cards. The catch is that all cards must be arranged ascending to descending order. Fortunately, there is no time limit. This gives enough time for players to organize their sequences at their own pace.

3. Tonk


This is the game which Tongits go derives from. It only needs two to four players, for the game to begin. The stakes can vary, and players take each turn in a clockwise direction. This game was popularized by blues musicians and military barracks in the United States in the 1930s.  Players get five, seven, or nine cards, depending on the game. The dealer will get one card and place it in the discard pile.

The goal is to get rid of these cards and form a spread. The spread must have three or four identical cards or cards with the same suit. The game stops when all players have no cards left in their hands. If this happens, the winner counts when they are the first to discard all cards. With that in mind, players must have acute senses, as the game is fast-paced.

4. Mahjong

While mahjong does not use any form of cards, its gameplay is similar to any rummy game. The difference here is the use of tiles.

At the start of the game, four players use a set of 144 tiles. However, there are games with three players. Each player gets 13 tiles. The goal is to draw and discard tiles until they complete a hand using the 14th tile distributed by the dealer. While this is the most common approach, many variations exist depending on the player’s location.

Brief History of Tongits

Tongits, a beloved card game in the Philippines, has a rich history steeped in local culture. While its exact origin remains a subject of debate, it’s widely embraced as a part of Filipino tradition. The game’s roots can be traced back to Filipino communities, where it served as a social and recreational pastime, bringing people together for decades. Its enduring popularity has transcended generations, becoming a cherished tradition in Filipino households. The game’s simplicity, strategic depth, and competitive spirit have contributed to its longevity, making it a cultural touchstone.

Popularity and Regional Variations


Tongits’ popularity extends beyond the Philippines, captivating card game enthusiasts worldwide. As a testament to its widespread appeal, Tongits has evolved differently in various regions, leading to unique regional variations. These adaptations have given rise to diverse gameplay styles, adding depth and intrigue to the game. While the core rules remain consistent, regional variations introduce exciting twists, keeping the game fresh and engaging for players from diverse backgrounds.

Why These Four Games?

The selection of Rummy, Solitaire, Tonk, and Mahjong as alternatives to Tongits is deliberate. These games share fundamental gameplay similarities, making them excellent choices for those seeking a familiar yet diverse card gaming experience. Rummy’s matching card mechanics, Solitaire’s solitary challenge, Tonk’s fast-paced action, and Mahjong’s tile-based strategy offer a range of options to cater to different preferences and playstyles.

Player Experience and Skill Levels

Each of these games offers a distinct player experience and varying levels of skill mastery. Rummy rewards strategic thinking and pattern recognition, making it accessible to beginners while providing depth for seasoned players. Solitaire provides a relaxing solo experience with no time constraints, perfect for casual enjoyment. Tonk demands quick thinking and sharp senses, offering a thrilling challenge. Mahjong, though not card-based, mirrors Rummy’s strategic elements, providing an engaging mental workout.

Online Resources and Reviews

Exploring these games further is made easier with the abundance of online resources and reviews. Websites, forums, and dedicated communities provide tutorials, rule explanations, and strategy tips for players looking to enhance their skills. Online reviews and recommendations can help players choose the best platforms and variations to enjoy these games to the fullest. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, these online resources can be invaluable in your card game journey.

Tips for Beginners


Embarking on a journey into these card games can be both exciting and challenging. Beginners will benefit from some essential tips to get started on the right foot. Learning the basic rules, practicing with patience, and observing experienced players can help newcomers build their confidence. Additionally, understanding common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid can significantly improve the learning curve. With these tips in mind, beginners can dive into the world of Rummy, Solitaire, Tonk, and Mahjong with enthusiasm and competence.

Wrapping Up

Games like tongits share similar gameplay and goals. The differences lie in the type of game, the items used, and the rules followed. The most common element is matching symbols and suits so players can empty their pile quickly. In short, these games test your quick thinking and matchmaking abilities within a short amount of time.

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