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How to Play 'War' Card Games for Children

Oct 9, 2007
Most games of the War Family call on the players to keep their eyes open and their brains sharp, but they don't require great skill in the play of the cards. The skillful players usually win, but even the youngest player has a very good chance.


Slapjack is one of the best fun games that can be played with a deck of cards. It is one of the very first games that my grandfather taught me, and he didn't complain when I won from him regularly.

Number of Players: 2 to 8. The game is best for 3 or 4 players. Each player is a lone wolf, since there are no partnerships.

The Deal: One at a time to each player until all the cards have been dealt out. It doesn't matter if they don't come out even. Each player straightens out his cards into a neat pile face down in front of him without looking at any cards.

Object: To win all of the cards.

The Play: The player at the dealer's left begins the play by lifting the top card of his pile and dropping it face up in the middle of the table. The next player (at the left of the first player) does likewise - that is, he lifts the top card of his pile and drops it face up in the middle of the table, on top of the card that is already there. The play continues in this way, each player in turn lifting the top card of his pile and dropping it face up in the middle of the table.

As soon as any player turns up a Jack, the fun begins. The first player to slap that Jack wins the entire pile of cards in the middle of the table! If more than one player slaps at the Jack, the one whose hand is at the bottom wins the pile.

Whenever you win any cards, you must put them face down underneath the cards you already have.

The play goes on until one player has won all of the cards. As soon as a player has lost his last card, he may watch for the next Jack and try to slap it in order to get a new pile for himself. If he fails to get that next pile, he is out of the game. Sooner or later, all of the players except one are "knocked out" in this way, and the cards all come to one player. He is the winner.


Number of Players: 2.

The Deal: Count out 26 cards for each player.

Object: To win all of the cards.

The Play: Each player puts his stack of cards face down in front of him and turns up the top card at the same time. These top cards start a new pile in front of the player. The player who has the higher of the two turned-up cards wins - both of them and puts them face down at the bottom of his own stack. The King is the highest card, and the Ace is the lowest. The full rank of the cards is:

If the two turned-up cards are of the same rank, the players have a "war".

Each turns one card face down and then one card face up. The higher of the two new face-up cards takes both piles (a total of 6 cards).

If the newly turned-up cards again match, there is double war. Each player once again turns one card face down and one card face up, and the higher of these two new face cards wins the entire pile of 10 cards.

The game continues in this way until one player has all of the cards.

This is a good game to play when you have a lot of time and nowhere to go. I used to play it with my brothers when one of us was getting over an illness. It's just the sort of game to play at such a time.
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