So I have no idea why it took me four or five years to learn that One-Minute War, a two-player, one-card bluffing game exists :D (And, no, while I am prepared to accept a very broad and flexible argument about what is a war game (or a train game or an RPG, etc), I can not call this a war game)
The whole game consists of one card with ten foldable tabs, one row of five for each player. Each turn, you simultaneously throw one to five fingers to indicate which tab you’re using.
One lets you bring back a dead soldier. Two beats five. Three beats two and one. Four beats one, two, three. And five beats one, three, four.
A beaten soldier gets folded down. There is a special rule to throw zero fingers, sacrificing a soldier of your choice to win the turn. The game ends when someone runs out of soldiers/tabs or there is a stalemate or an agreement to end.
Okay. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The whole one card with ten tabs is just a cute alternative to having ten cards. That said, it makes for a super portable game and it makes it easy to play as an in-hand game, standing in line or such. So it’s a gimmick that actually has a point.
More than anything else, One-Minute War reminds me of R, a micro game that came out a few years earlier. R had eight cards with more complex powers (not that takes much) One-Minute War is simpler than R in almost every way and, let’s be honest, not as good a game.
Which really begs the question, why play One-Minute War when R is out there? Which can be a question for a lot of PnP games but feels particularly striking due to the similarities between these two games.
The first and most obvious answer is that it’s not only free to download but such an easy build that is virtually free from a component standpoint too.
And the novelty of it being one card is actually its biggest selling point. Yes, it’s cute but it also makes it ridiculously portable, as well as an In-Hand game that can be played anywhere. That’s a legit selling point. One card and you’re good to go.
One-Minute War isn’t the first game I’ve seen that’s just one card but it might be the best I’ve seen. No, there’s not a lot of competition. If you let me throw in dice or coins or such, that one card gets more interesting. And you know I’m going to end up carrying a copy everywhere.