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How to play
Spider Solitaire is a game you can learn relatively quickly, especially if you are already familiar with Solitaire.
In all versions of the game (1 Suit, 2 Suit, and 4 Suit) the game is played with two decks with no jokers, or 104 cards, shuffled before every game. Following this, the cards are laid out in 10 piles or columns along a horizontal line, with 6 cards in each of the first four piles, and 5 cards in each of the last six piles. The last card in each pile is placed face up. The cards are placed one at a time in each pile, i.e., the first card dealt goes to the first pile, the second card to the second pile etc. The 11th card would go to the first pile, and you continue the process until all 54 cards are dealt.
After the face up cards are drawn, the rest of the cards are left as the Stockpile and will be used to draw cards into the game. The line of 10 piles is known as the Tableau. Leave enough room for eight more piles above or below the Tableau, and this will be known as the “Foundation”, which is where you will be moving your piles of cards after you have completed the King through Ace descension.
As shown by the image, the layout of the cards is not too difficult to grasp and is very similar to the original Solitaire game.
Goal of the game
When it comes to Spider Solitaire, there are different variations that can be enjoyed. These will increase and decrease with difficulty depending on the type (1 Suit, 2 Suit, and 4 Suit). For the sake of clarity, we’ll first discuss the standard beginner version of one suit.
Your goal is to arrange or sequence the cards in the columns along the tableau in descending order from King to Ace. For every completed sequence, you move those cards out of the tableau and game into one of the eight foundations. When each foundation is completed, with cards of suit stacked from King to Ace, and there are no more cards left, the game is won.
- Begin by laying out your 10 piles in a horizontal line, as mentioned.
- Place the correct amount of cards in each pile (6 each on the first four piles, 5 on the last six, with the last card on each piled turned face up).
- Leave the rest of the cards (a total of 50), face down, as the stockpile. You’ll draw from the stockpile when there are no more moves to make in the tableau.
- Build a sequence of cards in the piles by moving any face up card on top of a card with the next-highest value, such as a 9 of spades moving onto a 10 of spades.
- You can move a bunch of cards in a row as a single unit to another pile if they are all in descending order of the same suit.
- If only face down cards remain in a pile as face up cards are moved, turn the last face down card over. This will reveal a new card, which can then be sequenced.
- If you can not sequence any more cards on tableau, draw out 10 more cards, face up, to each of the 10 piles, in order to keep the game moving. You’ll draw from the stockpile five times over the course of the game, drawing 50 cards.
- When cards are drawn from the stockpile, you may have sequences that are no longer ordered. In the below example, you’ll see there is an Ace on top of the 10. The 10 and the Jack can only be moved once the Ace is moved. All three of these cards cannot be moved together because they are not in sequence.
- Even if a card is blocked, you can still continue to sequence below the blocked card. In the below example, even though the Queen needs to be moved, you can still put a Jack on top of the Queen. Once this is done, you need to move the Queen and the Jack to unblock and access the 9.
Throughout the game, if a column or pile is empty, you can move new cards to that pile, which can then be sequenced.
As you complete all of the necessary moves, begin to construct rows of cards in descending order from King to Ace of the same suit, moving them to the Foundation once fully completed. After the eight foundation piles are filled, you win. If all the cards have been drawn and there are no more moves left, the game is over and you lose =(
This style of play is closely related to how regular Solitaire is played, except with regular Solitaire, you place the cards in descending order switching alternating red and black suits.Check out this post to learn some tips and tricks to get better at the game.
2 or 4 Suit Spider Solitaire
One suit Spider Solitaire is a great way to begin to learn how the game is played. With some experience under your belt, you can challenge yourself with 2 or 4 Suit Spider Solitaire.
Luckily, in 2 and 4 Suit Spider Solitaire, the general layout is the same, and the rules do not vary too much. Again, two decks will be used. In 2 Suit, 54 cards of two suits are used. In 4 Suit, 26 cards of each suit are used. Layout the cards the same you would for a single suit. After this, follow these general rules:
- Apply the same card-moving rules from single to multi suit
- You can only move groups of cards as a single unit if they are in sequential order and of the same suit
- You can sequence cards of different colors or suits. However, you can only move cards together, or as a bunch, to other piles if they are of the same suit. If you move a 4 of Hearts on top of a 5 of Spades, the 5 of Spades is blocked until the 4 of Hearts is moved. They cannot be moved together as a group.
Empty columns or piles can be filled by any card, just like single suit
The rest of the same rules apply 1 Suit, and the game is won when the foundation piles are filled. In 4 Suit, this means 2 foundation piles of each suit is completed, and in Two suits, 4 foundation piles of two suits are completed.
Adding more suits adds more difficulty to the game. More suits mean more careful thinking when planning out your next move, because a small accident can trap in a card that you needed desperately! There is also higher likelyhood that you won’t win the game as more suits are added.
History of Spider Solitaire
As a variation to the original Solitaire, Spider Solitaire is a single player card game, with multiple variations, having grown very popular after its inclusion in Microsoft Windows.
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The game is called “Spider” Solitaire due to the relation of spiders having eight legs, and the eight discard piles in the foundation that need to be filled out in order for the game to be over. Originating in 1949, it is not the oldest among Solitaire and other card games, but it certainly has become popular over the years, solidifying itself as a classic card game.
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After viewing this guide, you should be more than familiar enough with the game of Spider Solitaire to get the ball rolling, and to try out your first game as soon as possible. With practice and patience, you can become a very skilled player at this game in a relatively short amount of time; it’s all up to you!
Being a great way to pass the time, engaging your brain, and helping to promote your competitive spirit, Spider Solitaire is a card game that can be built upon over the casual progress of your skill. As a single player game, it comes down to you to determine which variation is the best to play, and to which level of difficulty is the most appropriate.