Donald Rumsfeld helped create an iPhone game app for a difficult version of solitaire handed down from Winston Churchill.
The controversial secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush is doing the media rounds this week to tout the new app that was taught to him decades ago from an associate of Churchill.
The game is simply titled “Churchill Solitaire” after the Churchill family agreed to lend its name to the game. It is branded as the “most diabolical version of solitaire ever devised” and already has a 4.5 star rating in the app store with nearly 600 reviews after debuting last week.
“Most people have played some version of Solitaire in their lives. The Churchill version, like the man himself, is far more demanding and complex,” Rumsfeld wrote on Medium. “Instead of using a single deck of 52 cards, Churchill Solitaire uses two decks. Instead of the traditional 7 rows of cards, there are 10. Instead of simply moving cards so that they fit back into single-suited piles from Ace to King, Churchill Solitaire includes an extra row of six cards — the Devil’s Six — that a player has to liberate as well.”
Rumsfeld said he learned the game from Belgian diplomat André de Staercke in the early 1970s when Rumsfeld served as ambassador to NATO. De Staercke learned the game from then-British Prime Minister Churchill during World War II.
The game debuted in Apple’s App Store last week. It is free to play, but a series of in-app purchases are necessary if a player wants hints, the ability to undo moves or extra game packs. All the profits will go to charity, according to Rumsfeld.
The game is only available on Apple devices but is “coming soon” to Google Play for Androids. It is rated 12 and up for “infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco or drug use or references.” That likely relates to the app’s cartoon picture of Churchill smoking a cigar.
“I can’t say if this is the last app I’ll ever be involved in — after all, I’m only 83! But it is safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg has nothing to worry about,” Rumsfeld wrote.