rules for war card game

How to Play War

by | Jun 7, 2020 | Card Games

War is an easy card game involving 2 or more players.  It is generally played with a standard deck of 52 cards with Jokers, but any number of decks or types of decks can be used.  The object is to win all of the cards.  Continue reading to learn exactly how to play war.

rank of cards for war card game

The rank of card values for War are: Lowest is 2, then 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, and Joker is the highest.  Suits don’t matter.


Rules and how to play War 

  1. Deal all of the cards evenly to those that are playing the game.  Make sure they are face-down and that no one looks at any cards.  Each player should now have a stack of cards in front of them that are faced down.
  2. At the same time, all players take the top card off their stack and lay it face up in the middle of the table.
  3. The player that laid down the highest card wins that hand and takes all those cards that were laid down.  Winnings should be made into a new stack, faced up, by each player.
  4. Continue playing hands (repeat steps 2 and 3).  Once a player runs out of cards in their faced-down stack, they simply turn their winnings stack over and continue play from there.
  5. If there is a tie for the highest card in a hand, a war occurs.  For a war, the tied players draw 3 cards from their own stack and then place the 4th card face up.  The player who has the highest 4th card wins all of the cards that were played in that hand (this includes the original cards played in the hand, and all the cards involved in the war).
  6. Over time, players will completely run out of cards.  Once this happens, they are out of the game.
  7. The winner will be that last player left and should have earned all the cards in the deck.

Quick Answers to Common Questions

Are jokers used in War?

Yes, jokers can be used in the game but they are not needed.  It is considered a “house rule” as to whether or not Jokers are included.  When used, they have the highest value in the game of war.

Can you play War with more than 2 players?

Yes.  As in most games, the more the merrier.  It is best to add a second or third deck of cards if more than 3 people are playing.

Are aces high or low in War?

Aces are high.  They are the highest-valued card unless jokers are being used.  When a war breaks out with aces, the winner will often go on to win the entire game.

How do you win in the game of War?

The game is over once a player has all the cards. He/she with all the cards is the winner.


Where and how to play War card game online? – simple interface that allows you to play war versus the computer or another player. – play a computer bot in war.  This one is a little different because you drag any overturned card you want insead of just drawing from a pile.

war online at

Common Variations of War the Card Game

Since this game is very simple, there are many variations. Here are a few:

  • Math War – Instead of playing 1 card each, play 2.  Add the values of the 2 cards and the player with the highest takes all 4.  This is great for helping children improve their addition skills.  Speaking of math, you can use any operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) for the 2 cards.  This is a simple activity teachers can employ in the classroom for their students to practice math skills.
  • Betting War – Instead of flipping a card over and showing the table, players look at their own card and wager 1-5 (extra) cards as currency.  This is a great game to practice bluffing and for reading other peoples’ faces.  If a wager is offered by a player and denied by another, the player that denied the wager surrenders his/her one card.  If a wager is accepted, the agreed upon number of cards are added to the middle and each player shows his/her card to determine the winner of the hand (and receiver/winner of the wagered cards).  The wagering round is done in turns clockwise just like in most poker games.  If you like bluffing card games like BS, you will surely love this variation.
  • Clutter War – cards are not dealt but instead spread around in a heap on the table.  Players choose 1 card each and turn it over.  Just like the traditional game, the highest card wins the round and earns those 2 cards.  Once the heap of cards are all chosen and used, the game is over and the person with highest amount of cards, wins.
  • Reduction War – all rules are the same except cards are removed from the game as it advances.  It begins with removing any 2 that appears until all the 2s are gone.  So if one player lays down a 7, and the other lays down a 2, the 7 wins but instead of taking both cards, only the 7 is taken.  The 2 is removed.  Once the 2s are gone, move to 3s, then so on.  There will be more wars as the game advances and the game will end more quickly.