The former US defense secretary has been working on the project for two years, and even signed off on something they call "UX"
No, don't adjust your iPhone screen.
The 83-year-old former US defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has added "video-game developer" to his resume, after creating Churchill Solitaire - a two-deck take on the genre, inspired by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's version of the classic card game.
For the last two years, Rumsfeld, who presided over the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, has been working with a team of developers on an app to bring the World War II card game into the digital age.
Just check out that shot of him on NBC news (image: nbcnews.com). No wonder he's looking so pleased with himself.
<a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ySnY9HBUAxI" href="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ySnY9HBUAxI"><img data-cke-saved-src="http://img.youtube.com/vi/ySnY9HBUAxI/default.jpg" src="http://img.youtube.com/vi/ySnY9HBUAxI/default.jpg" width="425" height="350"><br/>Click here to view video</a>
Churchill's variant uses two decks of cards rather than one, 10 rows of cards instead of seven, and an extra pile of six cards called “the Devil’s Six” for the player to work into their strategy.
According to an FAQ for the game, Churchill Solitaire was first taught to Rumsfeld by Andre de Staercke, a young diplomat who became a protégé and confidante of Churchill's after he escaped his native Belgium during the Nazi occupation of World War II.
In his own post on Medium, says that the game is “probably the most challenging and strategic game of logic or puzzle” he has ever played, and that he was concerned that it would be “lost to the ages” if it wasn’t spread to more people.
And so, spurred on by his enjoyment of the game with his wife, Joyce, Rumsfeld took the obvious leap from politician to game dev, accepting an offer to turn the game into an app. Not that he was entirely sure of what he was getting into: “I can’t say I had much of an idea of what an app even was."
Now old Rummy is starting to walk and talk just like a dev, adding in his post: "I’ve reviewed wireframes and branding guides. I’ve spent countless hours on beta releases. I’ve signed off on something they call UX. I’ve put the game through its paces, offering suggestions and ideas to make it as closely resemble the game Churchill played."
The app is free to download but includes in-game purchases, the proceeds of which are going to charity. Churchill Solitaire is currently available for iOS, but soon to be rolled out across other platforms - so watch this space.