Want to make sure your solitaire app stands out from the glut of mobile card games? Step one: Tie it to a famous historical figure like Winston Churchill. Step two: Enlist former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as your lead designer.
Rumsfeld is an avid fan of a particular variant of solitaire Churchill supposedly played during the war, and the retired politician teamed up with a D.C. design firm and an Indiana coder to preserve the game for digital posterity.
The Journal’s in-depth piece on the creation of “Churchill Solitaire” is full of amazing anecdotes from Rumsfeld’s brush with game design: his frustration with bug testing, his outrage when a server wipe erases his progress, his disdain for the cowardly undo button.
But now that Rumsfeld’s worked through the teething pains, we’re hoping he sticks with his new career as a game designer. Imagine a Rumsfeld-made management sim set in the Pentagon, for example. Or a hidden-object game about WMDs in Iraq.
“Churchill Solitaire” is available now on the Apple App Store and is free to download; the game sells levels and uses of the hint or undo buttons to get revenue. Rumsfeld says he’s going to donate his share of the proceeds to charity.