How to Play the "War" Card Game
"War" Is Very Easy to Play
My elderly uncle was staying with us for a few days, and he and I were sitting around wondering how to pass the time. I suggested we play cards, but he balked at that idea, saying he had a hard time understanding card games and learning game rules. So I suggested we play the card game "War": I told him it was easy to learn and I always had fun playing it as a kid. Before long, he had mastered the game and had a great time playing this "new" card game with me!
The Basics of the Game
The “War” card game is a simple game that is played using a regular deck of 52 cards. It is a game that has been played by young and old for many years, and it’s something that is very easy to learn, making it a great card game choice for young children.
It is generally played between 2 people, but variations of the game exist allowing more than two people to play at a time. The concept of the war card game is straightforward, and the rules are a piece of cake!
Have You Played War?
How to Play
- Remove the jokers from the deck.
- Start the game by shuffling the deck to ensure that the cards are mixed up.
- With the cards facing down, deal out the cards to yourself and to your opponent, so that you each have half of the deck (each player receives 26 cards).
- Once the cards are dealt you can begin to play the game.
- The value of the cards is based on their numbers: twos are the lowest value in the game and aces are the highest cards. The values from lowest to highest are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A (Alternatively you can play with aces being the lowest value).
- Cards are kept face down until used, and players are not supposed to look at their cards until they play them.
- You and your opponent play at the same time. You both flip over the top card of your deck, so that it is face-up and visible to each other.
Depending on what number value you have flipped over, one of two things will happen: If you or your opponent’s flipped card is higher than the other person’s card, you win the round: you keep your card and collect their card as well. These cards are placed at the bottom of your deck to be used again. If there is a tie (meaning that when the cards are flipped over, you both have the same card value) there is war.
Having a "War" With Your Opponent
War occurs only when you and your opponent flip over a card with the same value. For example, if I turn over a king and so does my opponent, this is called war.
What to Do When "War" Occurs
- To fight the war, both players place the next card on their deck face down. Then they take the next card from their pile and flip it over so that it is face-up.
- Whoever has the highest value on their face up card wins the round: the winner collects all the cards that were used in that turn by them and their opponent. That means that you collect both of the cards that were placed face up, the cards that were placed face down and the cards that started the war (A total of 6 cards).
- Place these cards at the bottom of your deck and continue playing.
How to Win
Players continue to play the game until one person runs out of cards. The person who manages to take the entire deck away from their opponent wins the game.
How to Play With More Than 2 People
Generally, “War” is played between two people, but it can be played with more people. Divide the deck equally into as many people that are playing the game. This means that you will need to discard some cards.
If you are playing with 3 people each person will get 17 cards and 1 random card from the deck will be discarded. If you are playing with four people, each person gets 13 cards. When two or more people in the game turn over the same card, there is a war as usual, but all the players will participate.
An Alternative Way to Play
There are always variations of every card game. In this card game, when there is a war and you are playing the face down card, some people prefer to play 3 face down cards instead of just one. This means that more cards are being played, won or lost when there is war.