When I was a kid my parents sent me away to summer camp almost every year. During these summers at camp I learned several very useful skills, like how to catch non-poisonous jellyfish with my bare hands or which toilet paper is best for wrapping up your counselor while she sleeps. One of the most important life skills I learned was how to play a card game we called War.
The rules are simple: split a deck of cards between two people, and each player turns over the top card on the pile at the same time. The higher-number card wins and that player collects their partner’s card, and the event that both players slap down the same number, a “war” is started. Three additional cards are chosen and placed face-down by each player, and the fourth card is turned up to see who wins. The game continues until one player collects the whole deck of cards and wins.
Well, the folks over at Duckie Deck must have spent a few summers at camp too because they just released an app version of the game called Card Wars. Game play is the same as the “old-fashioned way” of playing; the screen is split and instead of turning over cards players tap their piles to display a new card.
My kids love this game and have already asked for a deck of cards to play “for real”. Admittedly my 4-year-old needed a little help to learn the game play but my 6-year-old picked it up very quickly. We count the numbers of objects on the cards, which helps to boost early-learning math skills. I love that they not only play together, but they’re also interested in moving to the off-screen method now that they have learned the rules.
Card Wars is not just another game for the iPad, though. True to Duckie Deck form, it’s intuitive and free of instructions that will prevent young non- or pre-readers from being able to play. Visual hints will help those who have never played the game before, and the musical soundtrack is knightly and definitely sets the mood. Multi-player also encourages off-screen interaction, and once kiddos learn how to play they can graduate to a real deck of cards.