|Skills required||Counting and card values|
|Card rank (highest first)||A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2|
|Playing time||10–40 min.|
War (also known as Battle in the United Kingdom) is a simple card game, typically played by two players using a standard playing card deck — and often played by children. There are many variations, including the German 32-card variant Tod und Leben ("Life and Death").
The objective of the game is to win all of the cards.
The deck is divided evenly among the players, giving each a down stack. In unison, each player reveals the top card of their deck—this is a "battle"—and the player with the higher card takes both of the cards played and moves them to their stack. Aces are high, and suits are ignored.
If the two cards played are of equal value, then there is a "war".Both players place the next three cards face down and then another card face-up. The owner of the higher face-up card wins the war and adds all the cards on the table to the bottom of their deck. If the face-up cards are again equal then the battle repeats with another set of face-down/up cards. This repeats until one player's face-up card is higher than their opponent's.
Most descriptions of War are unclear about what happens if a player runs out of cards during a war.In some variants, that player immediately loses. In others, the player may play the last card in their deck as their face-up card for the remainder of the war or replay the game from the beginning.
Game designer Greg Costikyan has observed that since there are no choices in the game, and all outcomes are random, it cannot be considered a game by some definitions.However, the rules often do not specify in which order the cards should be returned to the deck. If they are returned in a non-random order, the decision of putting one card before another after a victory can change the overall outcome of the game. The effects of such decisions are more visible with smaller size decks as it is easier for a player to card count; however the decisions can still affect gameplay if taken in standard decks.
Being a widely known game, War has many variations. Recorded variants include:
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All Fours is a traditional English card game, once popular in pubs and taverns as well as among the gentry, that flourished as a gambling game until the end of the 19th century. It is a trick-taking card game that was originally designed for two players, but developed variants for more players. According to Cotton, the game originated in Kent, but spread to the whole of England and eventually abroad. It is the eponymous and earliest recorded game of a family that flourished most in 19th century North America and whose progeny include Pitch, Pedro and Cinch, games that even competed with Poker and Euchre. Nowadays the original game is especially popular in Trinidad and Tobago, but regional variants have also survived in England. The game's "great mark of distinction" is that it gave the name 'Jack' to the card previously known as the Knave.
President is a westernized version of an originally Japanese card game named daifugō or daihinmin. It is a game for three or more, in which the players race to get rid of all of the cards in their hands in order to become "president" in the following round.
Euchre or eucre is a trick-taking card game commonly played in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the United States. It is played with a deck of 24, 28, or 32 standard playing cards. Normally there are four players, two on each team, although there are variations that range from two to nine players.
Cheat is a card game where the players aim to get rid of all of their cards. It is a game of deception, with cards being played face-down and players being permitted to lie about the cards they have played. A challenge is usually made by players calling out the name of the game, and the loser of a challenge has to pick up every card played so far. Cheat is classed as a party game. As with many card games, cheat has an oral tradition and so people are taught the game under different names.
Slapjack, also known as Slaps, is a simple standard-deck card game, generally played among children. It can often be a child's first introduction to playing cards. The game is a cross between Beggar-My-Neighbour and Egyptian Ratscrew and is also sometimes known as Heart Attack. It is also related to the simpler 'slap' card games often called Snap.
Golf is a card game where players try to earn the lowest number of points over the course of nine deals.
Rummy is a group of matching-card games notable for similar gameplay based on matching cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit. The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build melds which consist of sets, three or four of a kind of the same rank; or runs, three or more cards in sequence, of the same suit. If a player discards a card, making a run in the discard pile, it may not be taken up without taking all cards below the top one. The Mexican game of Conquian is considered by games scholar David Parlett to be ancestral to all rummy games, which itself is derived from a Chinese game called Khanhoo. The rummy principle of drawing and discarding with a view to melding appears in Chinese card games at least in the early 19th century, and perhaps as early as the 18th century.
Briscola is one of Italy's most popular games, together with Scopa and Tressette. A little-changed descendant of Brusquembille, the ancestor of Briscan and Bezique, Briscola is a Mediterranean trick-taking, Ace-Ten card game for two to six players played with a standard Italian 40-card deck. The game can also be played with a modern Anglo-French deck, without the eight, nine and ten cards. With three or six players, twos are removed from the deck to ensure the number of cards in the deck is a multiple of the number of players; a single two for three players and all four twos for six players. The four- and six-player versions of the game are played as a partnership game of two teams, with players seated such that every player is adjacent to two opponents.
Domino, also known as Card Dominoes, Spoof, Sevens, Fan Tan (US) or Parliament (UK), is a card game of the Eights group for 3–7 players in which players aim to shed cards by matching the preceding ones or, if unable, must draw from the stock. Cards are played out to form a layout of sequences going up and down in suit from the agreed starting card. The game is won by the player who is first to empty their hand. The game is a cross between dominoes and patience and is suitable for children who have learnt the various card values.
Yaniv, also known as "Jonny" "Dhumbal", "Jhyap", “Jafar”, "Staki", in Québec or "quién va?" in Mexico and “Caramba” in Australia, is a Nepalese card game popular in Israel. It is similar to Blackjack, with several notable differences: one variation of the game involves five players, rather than the two-player standard of traditional Blackjack. the game is considered a backpackers game in Israel, and it's popular among soldiers and young adults returning from long backpacking trips.
Twenty-eight is an Indian trick-taking card game for four players, in which the Jack and the nine are the highest cards in every suit, followed by ace and ten. A similar game known as "29" is played in north India, both games thought to be descended from the game 304.
Stud poker is any of a number of poker variants in which each player receives a mix of face-down and face-up cards dealt in multiple betting rounds. Stud games are also typically non-positional games, meaning that the player who bets first on each round may change from round to round. The cards dealt face down to each individual player are called hole cards, which gave rise to the common English expression ace in the hole for any hidden advantage.
Tapp Tarock, also called Viennese Tappen, Tappen or Tapper, is a three-player tarot card game which traditionally uses the 54-card Industrie und Glück deck. Before the Anschluss (1938), it was the preferred card game of Viennese coffee houses, for example, the Literatencafés and Café Central. Even today Tapp Tarock is played sporadically. The exact date when it appeared is not possible to identify; some sources suggest it may have been developed in Austria in the early 19th century, but its mention in caricature operas in 1800 and 1806 suggest it was well known even by then and must have arisen in the late 18th century. The oldest description of the actual rules is dated to 1821. Tapp Tarock is considered a good entry level game before players attempt more complex Tarock forms like Cego, Illustrated Tarock or Königrufen.
Watten, regionally also called Watteln or Wattlung, is a card game that is mainly played in Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol. There are several main variants: Bavarian, Bohemian, South Tyrolean (Stichwatten), (Austrian) Tyrolean, Kritisch and Blind Watten. It is usually a 4-player game, which is "by far the most interesting", but it may also be played by 2 or 3 players. Parlett says that "though hard to describe, Watten is fun to play and easy to learn."
Dreierschnapsen, Talonschnapsen or Staperlschnapsen is a three-hand variant of the popular Austrian card game, Bauernschnapsen. The rules are very similar to those for Bauernschnapsen except that, instead of two teams of two players, one player bids to become the soloist against the other two who form a temporary alliance. Another difference is that the game makes use of a talon with which the soloist may exchange cards to improve his hand, hence its alternative name of Talonschnapsen. The game is usually played with William Tell cards.
Droggn, sometimes called French Tarock is an extinct card game from the Austrian branch of the Tarock family for three players that was played in the Stubai valley in Tyrol, Austria until the 1980s. Droggn is originally local dialect for "to play Tarock", but it has become the proper name of this specific Tarock variant. An unusual feature of the game compared with other Tarock games is the use of a 66-card deck and that there is no record in the literature of a 66-card game and no current manufacturers of a such a deck. The structure of the game strongly indicates that it is descended from the later version of Tarok l'Hombre, a 78-card Tarock game popular in 19th-century Austria and Germany, but with the subsequent addition of two higher bids.
Bettelmann, Tod und Leben or Woina Wize is a simple, trick-taking card game for 2 players that is suitable for children. Bettelmann is of German origin and is mentioned as early as 1841. It closely resembles Battle.