ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Look At The Card Game War

Updated on November 10, 2014

The simplest card game I know is War. To play it, you need to know the rank order of standard playing cards. When two cards are played, you need to know which card ranks higher.

It is a two-player game that is usually considered a kid's game, although adults do sometimes play it. I played it once in a while when I was a kid.

How to Play War

The rules as I recall them are very simple. Take a standard deck of 52 playing cards, and deal them face-down, one at a time, back and forth until each player has 26 cards. Then on each turn, each player takes the top card and lays it face-up. The player with the highest rank card takes both cards and places them at the bottom of his or her deck. The cards rank, from lowest to highest, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. And the suits on the cards are ignored.

If the two cards have the same rank, then a war is fought. Each player lays two cards face-down, and a third card face-up. The player with the highest ranking third card takes all of the cards and places them at the bottom of her or his deck. If those two cards have the same rank, the war continues until one player's last-played card is higher than the other player's. The player who won the war usually flips over the face-down cards to show what the player losing the war gave up.

When one player runs out of cards, the other player wins the game. If a player runs out of cards during a war, the other player wins.


It can take a long time to finish a game of War. And there is not much strategy that can be used.

When you place two cards at the bottom of your pile, you can place the high card on top of the low card or vice versa. When you win a war, you can stack the cards in a certain order. Most players just grab the cards at random and stick them on the bottom of their pile. If you stacked your cards using a pattern, I don't know how much it would help.


It would make sense at the beginning of a game to give one player all of the red cards and the other player the black cards. That way, each player would start out even. But most people just shuffle the cards and deal them.

When a war is fought, some people lay one card face-down and a second card face-up. Others lay three cards face-down and a fourth card face-up. The more cards you lay face-down, the more high ranking cards you could lose, so there is a difference.

Some people play with Jokers where a Joker is the highest ranking card.

And some people play until there have been three wars, and then compare card counts. The player with the most cards winning. That cuts the playing time a lot.

Three Players

You can play War with three players. Deal the cards evenly, and lay the extra card aside. You can show the extra card or not. Then play as you would with two players. The highest rank card takes the other two cards.

If two or three players play the same highest rank card, a war is fought with all players. Continue until one player lays down the highest rank last-played card.

Alternately, if just two players both play the same highest rank card, a war could be fought between those two players. The third player would play all cards face-down during the war, and could not win the war.

War can similarly be played by four or more players.

Shorter Game

I've got to believe that someone must have created a computerized game of war. This could be played automatically at a very high speed, and it wouldn't take too long to finish. And it could tell you how many turns were taken during a game.

There is a way to shorten a game of War. During play, if someone plays a Two, that card is removed from play by the player who wins it. Continue until all four Twos have been removed. Then start removing the Threes.

Keep removing cards from play until someone wins the game. That would shorten the game a lot.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)