War is an adaptation of the childrens card game War. War is a game of almost pure chance. The only decision a player has to make is if he should go to war when the dealer and he turn up cards of the same value. To get the best ods the player should always go to War in this scenario. The player may also place a side bet on a tie by placing. I've made a few card games before but this is the first Solitaire game I've done. It's been fun to make, I hope you enjoy playing it. If you have any questions, comments or requests for other solitaire games you can send them to [email protected] or tweet at me @cardgamesio.
This is a children's game played in many parts of the world. No strategy is involved - simply the ability to recognise which of two cards is higher in rank, and to follow the procedure of the game. The standard two-player game is described first, then the game for three or four players, a version in which captured cards can be stolen, a Russian version of it called Drunkard (P'yanitsa), and a German version Tod und Leben.
See also the War Variations page, for variations of War submitted by readers.
War for two players
In the basic game there are two players and you use a standard 52 card pack. Cards rank as usual from high to low: A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. Suits are ignored in this game.
Deal out all the cards, so that each player has 26. Players do not look at their cards, but keep them in a packet face down. The object of the game is to win all the cards.
Both players now turn their top card face up and put them on the table. Whoever turned the higher card takes both cards and adds them (face down) to the bottom of their packet. Then both players turn up their next card and so on.
If the turned up cards are equal there is a war. The tied cards stay on the table and both players play the next card of their pile face down and then another card face-up. Whoever has the higher of the new face-up cards wins the war and adds all six cards face-down to the bottom of their packet. If the new face-up cards are equal as well, the war continues: each player puts another card face-down and one face-up. The war goes on like this as long as the face-up cards continue to be equal. As soon as they are different the player of the higher card wins all the cards in the war.
The game continues until one player has all the cards and wins. This can take a long time.
Most descriptions of War are not clear about what happens if a player runs out of cards during a war. There are at least two possibilities:
- If you don't have enough cards to complete the war, you lose. If neither player has enough cards, the one who runs out first loses. If both run out simultaneously, it's a draw. Example: Players A and B both play sevens, so there is a war. Each player plays a card face down, but this is player B's last card. Player A wins, since player B does not have enough cards to fight the war.
- If you run out of cards during a war, your last card is turned face up and is used for all battles in that war. If this happens to both players in a war and their last cards are equal, the game is a draw. Example: Players A and B both play sevens, so there is a war. Player A plays a card face down, but player B has only one card, so it must be played face up. It is a queen. Player A plays a card face up and it is also a queen, so the war must continue. Player B's queen stays (B's last card) while player A plays a card face down and one face up, which is a nine. Player B wins the war and takes all these seven cards (the five cards that A played and the two cards that B played) and the game continues normally.
War for three or four players
War can also be played by three or more players in much the same way. Deal out as many as possible of the cards so that everyone has an equal number (17 for 3 players, 13 for 4).
All players simultaneously turn over a card and the highest wins all the cards tuned up. If two or more players tie for highest there is a war - everyone plays their next card face-down and then turns up a third card. This continues until one of the face-up cards is higher than all the others, and then that player wins all the cards in a war.
Note that all players take part in a war, not only the ones who had the highest cards.
A player who runs out of cards drops out. The game goes on until only one player has cards, and that player wins.
Many players play three face-down cards in a war rather than just one. When equal cards are turned up the players play the next three cards from their pile face down, sometimes saying 'W - A - R' and then turning up the next card to decide which player wins all ten cards. Some say 'I - de - clare - war' with the word 'war' said as the new face up card is played.
Some add two jokers to the pack, in which case they count as the highest cards, above the aces. Since the jokers are very powerful, some prefer to make sure that both are not given to one player, but separate them from the pack before dividing it between the players and then burying one joker in each player's stack of cards.
In the Romanian variation Război, the number of cards played in a war is determined by the value of the card that caused the war. For example if both players turn over sevens, the war consists of each player playing seven cards, the last of then face up to determine the winner. I am not sure how picture cards are treated in this version - maybe they all have the value 10. If one player does not have enough cards for the war, all players play the same number of cards as the player who had fewest. If there is a war and one of the participants has no cards at all to play, that player loses.
Many variations submitted by readers of this site will be found on the War Variations page of the Invented games section.
This variation, reported by Gary Philippy and Hayes Ruberti, is a sort of hybrid of War and Stealing Bundles. The basis is a normal game of War, in which wars consist of three cards played face down followed by one face up. The deck includes two jokers, which are the highest cards.
When cards are won, they are not added to the bottom of the winner's card supply but placed in a pile face up beside the player. Each player has a single face up pile. Newly won cards are added to the top of the pile and the winner can choose which of the new cards to place on top.
As players take cards from the top of their face down packet to play, they look at them before playing them. If the rank of your card matches the top card of an opponent's face-up pile, then instead of playing it normally you can use it to steal that pile. You put your card face up on top of the pile your are stealing and then take the whole of the stolen pile and place it on top of your own pile without changing the order of the cards. You then look at the next card from your face down packet and play it (or, in a game of more than 2 players, possibly steal another pile and play the next card).
If each player's card matches the top card of the other player's capture pile, they can both steal and the two capture piles are exchanged.
The three cards played face down during a war are not looked at and cannot be used to steal an opponent's pile, but the following card can be used to steal instead of competing to win the war if it matches an opponent's pile.
Once you have played a card and let go of it, you can no longer use it to steal an opponent's pile. Sometimes players miss stealing opportunities accidentally, but you may deliberately choose to play your card rather than stealing with it. For example you might prefer to use it to win a war rather than steal a small pile.
As soon as a player's packet of face down cards runs out, the player's face-up pile is turned over and shuffled to make a new face-down packet of cards to play from.
A player who runs out of cards during a war loses immediately.
As the game was originally described, there is the possibility for a pile that was stolen to be stolen back immediately if both players draw a card the is equal to the top card of one of the stacks. This depends on the timing of the play. If A's face-up pile has a 9 on top and A and B both have 9's as their next play card, then B can steal A's pile and A can steal it back, provided that B steals before A has played. If B waits until after A has played the 9, then A can no longer use it to steal and the cards remain with B. This is rather unsatisfactory, since in this situation A and B might wait indefinitely for the other to play first. The following rule is suggested as a solution: if you play a card that matches your own pile, it protects your pile from being stolen during that turn of play. So in the example A can play the 9 normally and B cannot steal A's pile. B can only play the 9 normally for a war.
Leo Broukhis contributed this Russian version of War, which he says is mostly played by kids in summer camps on a rainy day.
- everybody puts a new card face up on top of the card they played the previous trick, or
- everybody puts a new card face down on top of the card they played the previous trick, then a card face up.
Tod und Leben (Life and Death)
Günther Senst played this simple variant as a child in Mecklenburg, Germany.
- A 32-card pack is used, the cards ranking from high to low: A - K - Q - J - 10 - 9 - 8 - 7. The suits have no significance.
- The cards are thoroughly shuffled and each of the two players receives 16 cards face down.
- Both players simultaneously turn up their top card. The player with the higher card takes the two-card trick.
- If the players' cards are equal, each player simply turns the next card, so that the trick consists of 4 cards. And so on.
- If the players' last cards are equal, they get one card each.
- After both players have played all 16 cards, whoever has won more cards wins the round.
- The game can continue for as many rounds as the players desire.
A version of War is offered as a gambling game in many online casinos. The player places a bet and the player and the house are each dealt one card face up. The higher card wins: if the house has the higher card the bet is lost: if the player's card is higher the bet is returned plus an equal amount of winnings. If the cards are tied, the player has two options:
- Surrender, in which case half the player's bet is returned and half kept by the house, so if the original bet was $10 you lose $5.
- Go to war in which case the player must stake an additional amount equal to the original bet. Three cards are dealt face down and then the house and the player are each dealt another card face up. If the new house card is higher the player loses both bets. If the playuer's card is equal or higher the player's bets are returned plus an amount equal to the original bet only. For example if you bet $10 and then go to war, you will either win $10 or lose $20.
It is also possible for the player to bet at fixed odds of 10:1 that there will be a tie.
The Pogg's Casino War Guide provides information on Casino War, its strategy and places to play online.
Software and On Line Games
The collection HOYLE Card Games for Windows or Mac OS X includes a War program, along with many other popular card games.
Rules Of War Card Game
These are the rules I use for Hearts. There are many variations possible, but I use the basic ones from Wikipedia.
- The objective of Hearts is to get as few points as possible. Each heart gives one penalty point. There is also one special card, the Queen of spades, which gives 13 penalty points.
- When the game starts you select 3 cards to pass to one of your opponents. Typically you want to pass your three worst cards to get rid of them. Which opponent you pass to varies, you start by passing to the opponent on your left, then in the next game you pass to the opponent on your right, third game you pass across the table and in the fourth game there is no card passing.
- Each turn starts with one player playing a single card, also called leading. The suit of that card determines the suit of the trick. The other players then play one card each. If they have a card in the same suit as the first card then they must play that. If they don't then they can play one of their other cards. Once four cards have been played, the player who played the highest ranking card in the original suit takes the trick, i.e. he takes the four cards on the table and he then starts the next turn. Any penalty cards in the trick (hearts or queen of spades) are added to the players penalty score. So you want to avoid taking any tricks that have hearts or the queen of spades.
- The player who has the two of clubs at the start of the game leads in the first hand, and he MUST lead with the two of clubs.
- You cannot lead a trick with hearts, until hearts has been broken (played on another suit). So if it is your turn to lead and no heart has been played yet then you may not select a heart as the card to play first. In some variations of the game you can't play the queen of spades until hearts has been broken as well, but in this version you can always play the queen of spades and she doesn't break hearts.
- In the very first round you may never play a heart or the queen of spades, not even if you don't have any card in the suit of the lead card.
- Once all cards have been played the penalty points are counted and the player with the fewest points wins that hand. When one or more players reach 100 points or more then the entire game is finished, and the player with the least points win. If points are over 100 and there are two or more equal with the least points then play continues until there's only one winner.
- Shooting the Moon! Generally it's bad to get penalty cards, but there is one extra twist! If you get ALL the penalty cards (13 hearts + Queen of spades) then you get 0 points and the other 3 players get 26 points each! This is called Shooting the Moon. Trying this can be a really risky move though, since if another player gets just one of the hearts you'll end up with a lot of points...
As of 21.02.2014 I've changed the game so the Queen of Spades no longer breaks hearts. I used to get complaints that it didn't, then when I changed it to make sure she did break then I got even more complaints about that. So, it looks like most people want the Queen of Spades to not break hearts, so that's the way it'll be from now on. Please do not write to me requesting that I change this again!
This online version of the classic card game Hearts was made by me. My name is Einar Egilsson and over there on the left is my current Facebook profile picture! Hearts is the third card game I've made, the other two are Shithead and Crazy Eights. I used to play Hearts a lot when I was younger, it was one of the games that came with every version of Windows. I wanted to be able to play Hearts online, and just didn't think all the hundreds of other versions of Hearts would do! Of the card games I've made, Hearts is probably my favorite. At least I play it a lot more than the others.
Any comments, questions, ideas for other games or anything else can be sent to [email protected]
War Card Game Online Friv
This is version 2387 of Hearts.