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The Game of War and its Variations

Long before there were mobile apps and computer games on the internet, people played various board games to entertain themselves and each other. The game of war was one board game that presented a lot of fun for people. This particular casino game is based on a deck of 52 cards and it has been played for many years. Keep reading the following material to discover how to play this game and its different variations.

The Basic Rules for War

War is played by competitors dividing a deck of cards into even piles for each player. Since there are 52 cards in a deck, each deck can be broken down as follows:
2 Players = 26 cards for each player (no extra cards)
3 Players = 17 cards for each player (1 extra card will be left over)
4 players = 13 cards for each player (no extra cards)
5 players = 10 cards for each player (2 cards will be left over)
6 players = 8 cards for each player (4 cards will be left over)
7 players = 7 cards for each player (3 cards will be left over)
8 players = 6 cards for each player (4 cards will be left over)
All of the extra cards that are left over in a deck should be removed to make each player's hands even. When a person removes the extra cards they must get rid of the ones with a number 2 from a selected suite. It does not matter which suite is used to eliminate the number 2 card.

Dealing the Cards

When the cards are dealt, each player will receive their cards face down. In other words you will not see the numbers on the cards but only the design on the back. Once each person gets their cards they should arrange them in a neat pile. Extra cards should be set to the side.

The Battles of War

After each player's cards are organized into a neat pile they will turn over the top card on their pile. The person with the highest card will win the battle for that particular battle. In war the highest cards will win each battle. The cards are ranked A, K, Q, J, 10, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3 and 2. A is the highest and 2 is the lowest. Keep in mind that some people play with the big and little jokers. If the jokers are used they will be higher than the A.
Remember when each player turns over their card and they have the highest ranked card; they will take the other cards from the players that lost in that round. This process is designed to weaken the other player's pile and to add more cards to the winner's pile. Each round is played in this way until one person takes all of the other player's cards.
In the event that 2 (or more) players lay down the same same ranked card; they will have to declare war on one another. For example, in a 3 player game, if each player lays down a number 5 from their pile, they will all declare war.
When a player declares war, they will lay down 4 cards (face up – numbers showing) that corresponds to the phrase “I de clare war”. The player that has the highest ranked 4th card will win the round. For example a player can say “I de clare war” and lay down a 9, J, K and 4. If the other player(s) lay down a 2, 5,3 and 6; then the second player will win. If the 4th card from each player ends in a tie, then the players will continue to declare war until someone wins. At this point all players will continue to keep playing until one person captures all of the cards from the other players.

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Variations of War

There are variations of war that people can play. The Ducksters and Pagat websites list some of these different variations. Peace is one variation of the game of war. The “Peace” version of war allows for the lowest card to win. It's basically playing war in reverse. The 2's are the highest cards and A's are the lowest. In the event of a tie between two cards, each player will lay down 5 cards that corresponds to the letters in “p-e-a-c-e”. Slap war is played by the first player touching the card numbers 5 or 6 when they are laid down on table. Automatic War, Underdog and Beats Faces are three other types of war games that players can engage in for a different spin on this game.


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