John’s Game of the Year #9: War

We’re on to Game #9 from my/John’s goal to play an average of one board or card game per week for the year of 2021. This one is as old as time itself—the very basic, traditional card game of War.

The Game: War

Playing cards

Players: 2… John and me

Date: 7:45-8:05pm, Saturday, February 6, 2021

Who among us hasn’t sat down and played a game of War with a deck of cards in a moment of boredom or cabin fever?

We were again at our quarantine buddy neighbors’ house hanging out with them on Saturday. The families match up pretty well—two dads, two moms, two girls born two days apart. But then there’s a newborn baby on their side, and poor John on our side, who never has anyone to obviously pair off with when we all hang out. I felt bad for the boy, who was pleading for someone to play something with him.

At the neighbors’ table was a deck of cards, so we decided to play a game of War. I’ve honestly only been a part of a couple games of War that actually ended. Normally people get bored and quit. In fact, in 2002 at a weekend visiting a friend in Omaha, I saw Casey Van Heel come back against Luke Katuin trailing 51 cards to 1. Not only did he come back and win, he did so in about 5 minutes.

How War Went

I was in clear control of the game from the outset. I was winning most hands, and every time there was a tie—the real big chance for someone to build a commanding lead where each person lays down 3 cards and then flips the fourth, at least in the version we play—I won those too. After a round I had at least 2/3 of the cards.

There was even a spectator for the big game!

Things didn’t get much better for John from then-on. He held steady for a bit, but soon I was pulling away with a very commanding lead. John had about ten cards left, none of them better than a jack. Down to his last few cards, John threw in the towel and conceded.

He was definitely very visibly upset, but perhaps due to the setting of it being our neighbors’ house, he held it together for the most part, avoiding a typical meltdown. I think he did scatter some cards around at the end, and there were a couple mentions of me cheating, but for him, it was a fairly big step forward.

The Stats

Ease: 10/10.

Entertainment: 2/10. There’s a reason this game is only broken out as a last resort.

Meltdown Likelihood: 5/10. A string of losing a bunch of hands in a row sure does get the emotions going.

Time: 2/10. There’s a reason I’ve only seen this game played to completion a few times ever.

Likelihood of Child Actually Beating Parent: 8/10. It’s all random!

Record

John falls to 6-2-1 on the year through 9 games played.

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