Give & Take

Contributed by Jordan Goldstein

Players: Preferably 2-4.
Deck: Basic 52 card deck is best. Anything else will do.
Category: War Group

Object: To be the last one standing by ridding your opponent of the cards in one of their piles.

1. Starting Out

Deal out 2 face-down draw piles of equal size to each player; leave the remainder aside. Arrange the piles so that each player has a pile to their right, and a pile to their left, such that between each pair of adjacent players are two draw piles. Do not pick up the cards! If there are remaining cards, put them in the center. At any point in the game, cards in the center of the ring are card "leftovers". The pile to a player’s left is their give pile, and the pile to a player’s right is their take pile. Also, choose a player to be the director. Now, you are ready for the first turn.

2. Taking a Turn

To start, the director cues the beginning of a turn by saying, "3, 2, 1, Go!" or some other cue decided on at the start of the game. Then, each player places a card from the top of their give pile face-up in front of it, while simultaneously doing the same for their take pile. One’s "duet" of cards is the pair that comprises the card from one's take pile and the card from the give pile of the player to one's right, i.e. the pair of cards between you and the player to your right is your duet.

Each card has a corresponding point value. Ace is worth either 1 or 14 (depending on which is favorable), King is 13, Queen is 12, Jack is 11, and the numbers 2-10 have the corresponding values.

After the cards are played, each player evaluates the difference between the point values of the cards in their duet. Then, the player whose duet has the lowest difference takes all of the duets, and the leftovers (if there are any) and puts all of the cards at the bottom of one of their draw piles. This is called a capture. If a duet contains an ace, both differences are evaluated (With Ace is 1 and Ace is 14) and the lowest one is chosen. If two players tie for the lowest difference, all the cards remain there and are played on top of. This process is repeated until no players tie for the top, and is called a fight. The capturer then captures all played cards and any leftovers, as usual.

3. Losing

If a player is incapable of playing a card from either his/her give or take pile, i.e., has no cards in his/her give or take pile at the beginning of a turn, then that player is out, and all of his/her cards in his/her give or take pile are put in the center as leftovers. That player is then OUT, and play continues with the remaining players. If a player runs out of cards in his/her give or take pile during a fight, the cards in his/her give or take pile as well the cards he/she played during the fight all go in the center as leftovers. Then, the person with lowest difference is evaluated, and the fight continues if necessary.

4. Winning

If a player is out when there are only two players left, the one player remaining wins, or at least gets first place. Second, third, etc. can be determined by the order in which the players lost.

5. Tie Case

If all get out at the same time, all played cards and leftovers are ignored (Played card are only on the board in this situation during a war) and the player with the most cards wins. If there is a tie for the most cards, the game ends in a draw.

6. Example Turns


In this case, Jack would capture because the difference between the cards in his duet (7 and 5) is 2, which is smaller than the difference between the cards in Jane’s duet (K and 3) which is 10.


In this case, Jack’s difference is 3, Bob is 7 or 6 because of the ace, thus; Bob is 6, Jane is also 6, and Jill is 1. Thus, Jill captures.

Last updated: 4th September 2006