War 20XX

War.  Possibly the best example of a game that you play solely for the experience.  Of course, that implies that the main reason we play a game isn't *always* for the experience, but that's a topic for another time.  As anyone who remembers playing War can tell you, the actual wars are pretty much the only reason to play.  Granted, there's naturally some satisfaction in taking a card with a not-much-higher card, but that part's basically filler.  Despite that though, i've found myself hankering for a game not long ago, but knew that nostalgia could use a bit of a boost in this case.  So, to that end, i've updated it.  As a placeholder, i named it War 20XX (twenty exty-ex).

Even more so than Risk 2210AD, War 20XX is based on the parent game, but i'll go ahead and list all of the rules just for the sake of completeness (though not in a "describe how to tie a shoe" way).

0-  One player is Black (Spades/Clubs); the other is Red (Hearts/Diamonds).  Jokers are one step above aces (assuming you play ace-high) and should be divvied evenly.  (my go-to deck is missing them, which means i should choose another go-to deck, but i like its style.)

1-  Each player plays a card face up.

2-  Compare the ranks of the (top) face up cards.  If the cards are more than one rank apart, the winner gets all the recently-played cards.  Go to Step 1.

3-  If the cards are exactly one rank apart, a Small War occurs.  Each player plays a card face up**.  Go to Step 2.

4-  If the cards are of the same rank, a Big War occurs.  Each player plays two cards face down and one card face up**.  Go to step 2.

A-  All captured pairs go on top of the player's inactive pile, face down.  (i feel the hidden Big War cards should remain so.)

B-  When a player empties his active pile, his inactive pile immediately becomes his active pile.  At this time, the other player places his inactive pile underneath his active pile and begins a new inactive pile.

** If a player doesn't have enough cards to complete a Small or Large War, that player has just succeeded in failing to win the game.

Now, some people will read that and go, "well that's not all that different", and they would be absolutely correct.  Of course, that's why i named it War 20XX and not SomethingCompletelyDifferent.  Still though, don't underestimate the Small War.  I was surprised how often they occur, and they sometimes set up some nasty chain reactions.  I had a game end Double Small War > Big War > Small War > Big War > Red ran out of cards.  Had it been played with those same cards using old school rules, Red would've had six left, one of which was an Ace.  My longest combo is Small War > Big War > Triple Small War > Big War > Small War.  Not surprisingly - though not guaranteed - that game clocked in below fifteen minutes.

Time-wise, War 20XX *can* be a barn burner, but it could just as easily last near the half-hour mark.  (Even the winner isn't too thrilled about a five-minute rout, so i recommend considering those a skirmish.)  For the full War 20XX experience, you definitely need the entire deck, but playing with less cards would be good when little kids or a time crunch is in the equation.  Around the twenty-minute mark of a particular game i was comfortably ahead, but then the pendulum swung the other way and i couldn't pull it back in time.  It ended with me losing a Double Small War.

I chose to go Black vs Red because while losing a queen to an ace is bad, losing a queen to an ace of your own color is even worse.  That and it just seemed to make sense.  I added Rule B as a way to keep people from using a just-won card and to stir the leader's deck ever so slightly.  I've noticed that with won pairs, we tend to grab *our* card first.  It's minimal tactics, but mixing that up would keep your deck from alternating low/high, though the Small Wars play a role in that as well.  And that's about it.  Well, one more thing: if you get the grail Quad Big War or any super-interesting combos, let me know.  I had a Quad Small War once.  That was pretty cool.

No comments: