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WAR for the White House

November 29th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Oh, politics…no matter where I turn, you’re there to remind me that the system currently employed by the US Government is broken.  I could be browsing the net, walking down the street, or cooking dinner…it doesn’t matter.  Hey, don’t hate…I’m not the one who let Donald Trump get as far as he has.  Money talks, I suppose.  ANYWAY, we’re not here to talk about my political views (or lack thereof)…rather, we’re here to look at “WAR for the White House”.  It’s a card game that essentially plays out like “War”, but with a political twist.  Before we get started, I’d like to thank John Kaiser III from GPAC, LLC. for providing me with a free press copy for review purposes.

 

WAR for the White House

WAR for the White House: 2-4 Players, Ages 6+, Average Play Time = 15-20 Minutes

 

Components

There are actually two versions of the game:

WAR for the White House ($9.99) – The game includes 52 playing cards and 4 intel cards.

WAR for the White House: Hardball Edition ($16.99) – The game includes 52 playing cards, 4 intel cards, and 100 chips (red, white, and blue).  In addition to the game mode that plays out like “War”, there’s a poker variant (hence where the chips come into play).

I received a copy of the former, so I’ll be covering that version below.

Setup & Gameplay

Setting up the game is as simple as shuffling the cards (minus the four intel cards which contain the instructions) and dealing them all out.  Players keep their cards in a face-down stack without looking at them.

The game is played over a series of rounds.  On each round, players draw their top card.  When a player draws a primary or secondary objective, the player continues to draw cards face up until an ordnance card appears (any card other than an objective).  The player with the highest card wins/captures all the cards in play.

Primary and secondary objectives are placed off to the side into a player’s score pile while the rest go face-down on the bottom of their deck.  A player who draws the fortunes of war card must place their top three cards face-down on the table and surrender them to the winner of the round.  While captured objective cards remain face-up in front of the player who captures them, they can be taken by others when certain cards are played.

WAR breaks out when there is a tie between the cards.  In that event, players continue flipping cards until the tie is broken.  The winner (highest card) captures all of them.  Only the winning card has any effect in a WAR.

The winner of the game is the person who can win two games (called campaigns).  To win a game, a player needs to do one of three things:

1. Capture 5 primary objectives.

2. Capture 1 primary objective and 5 secondary objectives.

3. Knock out all the other players by making them run out of cards (called attrition).

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

 

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The Review

While “WAR for the White House” is a different take on the card game of “War”, it’s not without its problems.  First of all, the deck’s box lid was fastened shut with a sticker that was a pain to remove.  While the sticker itself was nicely themed (being an unofficial “Department of Political Warfare” seal), I had to rip both it and part of the lid to shreds just getting it off the box so that I could access the cards.  I could have done without the sticker and really, found it to be more trouble than it was worth.

There were some also some small hiccups with the manual…or rather, the intel cards.  The same rule is listed twice on two separate intel cards, but under different sections.  More specifically, intel page 2 states, “Only the winning card has any effect in a WAR” near the middle of the card while intel page 3 states, “Only the winning card has any effect in a WAR” under the WAR section on the bottom of the card.  So did the rule on page 2 intend to mean that if two ordnance cards of different values are flipped (not resulting in a WAR), then only the winning card’s ability takes effect?  Or do both cards activate, meaning the above rule was accidentally/intentionally listed twice?

A quick email to the developers confirmed that it was the former…that is, only the winning card’s ability activates (WAR or not). The instructions, in my opinion, could have simply said something along the lines of “WAR or not, only the winning card activates” instead of listing a rule twice that still fails to address what happens when a WAR doesn’t occur.  While there is an instructional video, it’s absurdly long for how simple the game is and full of sound effects that repeat themselves to the point where you just want to close the browser and never watch “Patton” again.  As a side note, the rules state that captured numbered cards go to the bottom of the deck…I found this to be rather silly and instead created a face-up discard pile for captured cards to be flipped over and used as a new draw deck once the current one runs out.

That’s not to say that “WAR for the White House” is all bad.  The artwork is eye-catching and the card quality fairly good.  While there are references to things like the “War on Education” and “Carpet Bombing”, there’s nothing here that would offend anyone politically or personally. That is, these references are in words only with nothing underneath them indicating that the player should support or reject any particular issue.  I also like the fact that you don’t have to understand politics at all to be able to play the game…meaning you could probably have slapped a different theme on it and everything would still play the same.

“WAR for the White House” is a neat idea, but unfortunately it didn’t strike me as unique or outstanding in any particular way.  Part of me suspects that this was probably the intent considering that the game doesn’t require any political knowledge to play.  In other words, its simplicity makes it accessible to everyone.  For that reason, it’s “OK” enough to recommend as a quick filler or if you’re looking for an alternate take on the game of “War” (despite the problems I had with the rules and box).  The price tag of $9.99 is on par with other card games on the market though as mentioned above, there is a poker variant via the “Hardball Edition” should you want more out of the game.

Final Verdict: 5/10

Purchase: http://wftwh.com/

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