Holding the Cards

Games & Cards

How to Play I Declare War Card Game: Rules for 2 or 3 Players

How to Play I Declare War Rules
How to Play I Declare War Card Game: Rules

The card game “I Declare War”, or just simply “War”, is popular with kids. It’s an easy card game to learn and doesn’t require any skills other than basic counting and recognizing the value of the cards. This article will tell you how to play “I Declare War”. Rules for the 2 and 3 or more player versions are very similar.

How to Play I Declare War Card Game: Rules

In War, players “battle” with their cards. The highest card wins the battle and these battles continue until one player wins all the cards.

War is played with a regular deck of 52 cards, usually by 2 people.


  • Add the Jokers and assign them a value of your choice.

I Declare War: The Deal

Anyone can deal, or the players can draw a card and the highest card deals. The entire deck is dealt out, with each player getting 26 cards.

I Declare War: Gameplay

Players stack their cards in a pile. Each player turns over their top card. The highest card wins both. The player who wins the cards takes them and puts them at the bottom of their pile.

If both players turn over the same value card (for example, 10♠ & 10♥) the tie has to be broken. This is where the players often say, “I declare war.” Each player lays down another card face down and then another card face up, for a total of 3 cards each in the center. The highest face up card (the last one) wins all 6 cards. If the tie-breaking cards are also the same, the process is repeated (1 card face down and 1 face up) with the highest last card winning all 10 cards.


  • To break a tie, each player can lay down 4 more cards—3 face down and the last one face up. Players can spell out W-A-R as they lay each face down card. The highest face up card wins all 10 cards. If it’s still a tie, players lay down 4 more cards in the same way.

Play continues like this until one player wins all the cards. If a player runs out of cards during a war tie-breaker, they play as many cards as they have and the other player matches the amount. If the tie happens on their last card, they lose the game.


  • A player who doesn’t have enough cards to play the tie-breaker automatically loses.

How to Play I Declare War for 3 or More Players

For 3 or more players, the game is basically the same. Each player turns over their top card and the highest one wins. If there’s a tie for highest card, all the players (not just the ones who tied) lay down their cards for the “War” tie-breaker as described above, with the highest one winning all the cards.

Each player is dealt:

  • 17 cards in a 3-player game (remove one of the 2s)
  • 13 cards in a 4-player game
  • 10 cards in a 5-player game (remove two of the 2s)
  • 8 cards in a 6-player game (remove all the 2s)

As you can see, the main thing is for each player to get the same amount of cards. The deck can be adjusted for as many players as you want. For even more players, just use 2 decks.

I hope this look at how to play I Declare War rules was helpful. Now that you know how to play I Declare War, go have some fun!

Scroll to top