Card games have been played all over the world for as long as human beings can remember. Most of them are unknown in their origins, however, that does not deter us from playing them at any given moment and for any given reason. With so many games like kings in the corner to be played a simple deck of cards is all that is needed for you to escape boredom even if you find yourself without any companions. The War card game is among the best and most popular.

Several card games can be played by a solitary person and yet there are also many that involve far more participants. This game involves at least two, of course, like most card games, there are several ways to play that may involve more players if need be. This game also has a plethora of names, depending on the rules and the geographic location, the most common of which is War.

The War Card Game: An Introduction

​The War card game is incredibly easy to learn how to play. This is why it is often played by children as well as adults. While there is a basic understanding of the game, there is not really a right or wrong way to play it. There are many variations that are played all over the world and have been done so for quite a long time. Whether you are wanting to learn something new or just pass the time, this is an excellent way to do so.

playing cards six of clubs and six of heart

It does not take much skill or even a strategy to not only play but play well and win over and over. In fact, because of the lack of strategy and choices involved in most variations, many experts have concluded that the game of War can not really even be considered a game by many definitions. It is far too random for there to be much of anything but luck involved in winning.

However, some variations of the game prove this to be wrong. No matter the case, all you need is a deck of cards and at least one other person to be on your way to playing one of the popular card games in the world.

A History of War

​The War card game is one of the oldest known card games that are still in existence in one form or another. Much has been done to try to uncover its origins to no avail. No one seems to know where or when or why this game was invented, nor who was the first to play it. This is not uncommon when it comes to games that have been played for a long historical period.

Five People Playing War card game

It is thought that whatever culture it derived from did not put much importance on recording trivial information like this. Also, it is possible that it was created in a region and period when reading and writing was not a focus, and therefore, most of the population was illiterate. It has only been in the last 200 hundred years or so with the invention of the printing press and other products that people have been able to create detailed records of such knowledge for how to play poker. Before that, the only way it was passed around was by word of mouth and experience.

This is the reason that there are so many ways to play War and games that are similar in origins. As different cultures learned to play, they each did so in their own languages and adapted it to fit their needs and wants. And since there isn't a lot of structure when it comes to the rules, whatever way you want to play is fine and easily adapted.

The Art of War - Rules, Tips, and Strategies

​As the War card game has been a card game played for several centuries, it has a lot of variations and rules by which it can be done. However, in its basic form, it is very simple you don't need a card dealer to play this game.

​Two Player War

War is usually played by two players. The object is to win all the cards in a standard playing 52-card deck. The cards are dividing equally and therefore has the same amount, 26. The cards are placed in a downward facing stack or pile near the player. At the same time, each player flips a card over and places it in the center.

The owner of the highest played card, the suit is insignificant, wins both cards and gets to add it to the bottom of his or her stack. Cards are given a value of highest to lowest in the following order: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2.

ranking of clubs cards

When the cards played are of the same or equal value a "war" ensues. Each player must then place one card face down in the center, and another card faces up on top of it. The highest card of this war wins all six cards. If the cards are of the same value again, another set of a card face down and a card face up is required. This will continue until one player has a card that proves to be of a higher value than the other player.

The player that won the war gets to take all the cards involved in that war. The game continues with battles and wars until one player has all the cards and therefore wins the game.

​Three or Four-Player War

​When the game is played with three or four or more players, it is usually very similar. The cards are dealt so that each person has the same number of cards. Then all the players turn over a card so that it is face up. The owner of the highest card wins all the cards. When two or more players play cards with the same value, a war is required.

However, it is important to note that most variations of this include all players in the war, not just the two that have the same valued cards. All players place a card face down, and another one on top of it face up. This continues until one player has a higher valued card than at least one other player. The highest card wins all cards on the table. If a player runs out of cards, they give up and drop out usually.

The game continues until one player has all the cards and wins. With more players, the game is played much quicker. However, like the rest of the games, there are different variations of as well.


ranking of 8 cards

Almost every person or family plays a slightly different version of this game. For example, many people play three face-down cards when there is war instead of one. This means the total number of cards one per war is ten and therefore, there is a much greater risk.

In some War card games, like the Romanian version, the number of cards played by each player during a war is determined by the value of the cards of equal value. For instance, if both people play a five then five cards are placed face down, if an eight is used, then eight cards are played and so on.

In most of the variations that offer more cards to be played during a war, there is a rule that if one player can not play the required amount of cards, then all players must only play the number of cards available. However, some others still may force a player with not enough cards to drop out or give up the game.

Still, other variations include the use of the jokers into each game. These cards usually have a higher value than the Ace and are the most powerful card, occasionally even having other powers or gifts for the owner of such a card.

In other variations, some cards are not used at all. One Russian version play with 36 cards instead of 52. The German, Tod und Leban, only play with 32, usually A K Q J 10 9 8 7. Most of these versions still do not pay attention to the suit of the cards being played, but there are a rare few that note these, and they either add or subtract to the value of the card.

Four King Cards


So whether you are passing time in an airport terminal or just hanging out with friends on the weekend, War is an excellent game to play. It is very easy and can add many laughs to your day. All you need is to know how to shuffle playing cards. And if you get bored or tired of the most basic version of this game, there are a lot of different ones to try out. Most are very simple as well with just one or two differences or rule additions.

​Look up versions for three, four, or even five player games. Try out Strategy War card game, Scouts, or Prisoners of War for more complex games. There are also quite a few variations to be found that offer the benefits of being drinking games. The amount of fun and time spent on this popular and historic game is all your for the taking. Have fun and best of luck.

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