What’s Donald Rumsfeld been up to ever since he resigned as George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense in 2006? Apparently, 83 year-old Donald Rumsfeld’s been keeping busy by developing an app.
Yes, you read that correctly. Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has developed an app since retiring from politics. Rumsfeld’s app is a new version of Solitaire available now on the App Store.
Dubbed “Churchill Solitaire”, the app is a new twist on the classic card game said to be based on a version of Solitaire played by former UK prime minister Winston Churchill during his time in office.
According to Rumsfeld, Churchill taught his unique version of Solitaire to Belgian government aide and eventual NATO ambassador André de Staercke. Three decades laters in 1973, Staercke passed on Churchill’s version of Solitaire to Rumsfeld.
“I can remember de Staercke sitting across from me on a plane somewhere over Europe playing the curious game, dizzying columns of miniature cards arrayed on the table between us,” Rumsfeld reminisced on Medium. “I asked him what he was playing and he proceeded to tell me the origin of the game he called Churchill Solitaire after the man we both very much admired, and the diabolical rules that make it the hardest game of solitaire – and probably the most challenging and strategic game of logic or puzzle – I’ve ever played.”
What makes Churchill Solitaire unique is that it uses two decks of cards, rather than one, and is played across 10 rows instead of seven. “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,” the former US secretary of defense explained. “Churchill Solitaire is not a game for everyone. It takes patience and perseverance, cunning and concentration, and strategy and sacrifice.”
Rumsfeld is not a coder, so to say that he developed the app is a bit misleading. He did work on the project as a consultant and a playtester, having played through 172 different builds of the app before reaching this version that met his standards. Worried that Churchill’s game would be lost to the ages, Rumsfeld was approached by app developer WSC Solitaire, LLC and received the OK from Churchill’s great-grandson to share the game with the world.
“It’s a card game that can frustrate even the most skilled player because a single move can make or break an entire game. A number of hands are simply unwinnable. But the most steadfast players will gamely soldier on to find their way to victory,” Rumsfeld said of Churchill Solitaire. “As my friend Andre de Staercke once put it to me, ‘What one needs in life are the pessimism of intelligence and the optimism of will.’ Play a couple hands of Churchill Solitaire, and you’ll know precisely what he meant.”
Whether you’re a fan of Donald Rumsfeld, Winston Churchill, Solitaire or just want a new mobile game to pass the time with, get Churchill Solitaire for free on the App Store.
There are microtransactions for undos and hints, mind you. However, all proceeds between Rumsfeld and the Churchill estate will go to charities supporting wounded military veterans.