Quote:I don't want this app to be a game, so I don't need it to have any game loops or sprites or anything gamelike.
Ummm...competing against other players is called a "game".
Yes, you DO need a game loop unless your game is only going to be a single turn for each player. A game loop has nothing to do with graphics or rendering. It has to do with maintaining game state until an endgame outcome is determined. Game loops can be as slow as 1 "frame" per user turn, waiting for user input, or as fast as possible without stopping and waiting for input.
ANY language can be used to code this.