Although before now it was definitely an unknown unknown, Donald Rumsfeld’s interest in app creation now appears to be very much a known known.
How do we know this? Because digital agency Javelin tells us so, that’s why. The company recently teamed up with the controversial two-time defense secretary to help build Churchill Solitaire, a trickier version of the popular card game that the war-time prime minister apparently often played to help sharpen his strategic thinking.
Using two decks of cards, Churchill Solitaire is played against the clock and includes the added challenge of a “devil’s row” of six cards that the player has to eliminate.
So, why Rumsfeld? Well, he reportedly learned of the game in the early 1970s during a stint in Europe as the U.S. ambassador to NATO. A Belgian diplomat who claimed to have actually played it with Churchill taught Rumsfeld the rules, and he was soon hooked. According to the game’s website, the former defense secretary “would play the game many times over the next 40 years….while contemplating moments of war and peace, and traveling to many distant lands.”
And now 83-year-old Rumsfeld has finally gotten around to teaming up with a friend at the agency to help bring this particular version of the game to a whole new audience.
With creative input from not only Rumsfeld but also the Churchill estate, the game, which forces you to think two or three steps ahead right from the off, aims to reflect Churchill’s leadership qualities, with gameplay relying on “making sacrifices to attain a larger goal, taking advantage of luck and opportunity; and relying on guile, cunning, and total concentration in the quest for ultimate victory.” Its creators have also included “classic graphics, video and audio that pay homage to Churchill, his words, his wit, and his era.”
Churchill Solitaire features badges and ranks “from Sandhurst Cadet through Prime Minister,” Game Center integration with achievements and leaderboards, and audiovisual content featuring the late British leader. It’s free although includes in-app purchases, with a percentage of the profits going to charities that support veterans and their families.
The game is available now for iOS users, while an Android version is on the way. Its launch date, however, is a known unknown.