Spider Solitaire is a game that belongs to the larger category of Solitaire card games. As with the other games in this category, it is designed for a single player (thus the Solitaire designation), although it can also be adapted to include other players.
In its traditional and most common version, it uses two standard decks of 52 cards and 2 suits. The number of suits and decks may vary depending on the difficulty of the game. Regardless, the goal is always to build 8 foundations by suit and in ascending order (from ace to king).
The game gets its name precisely from these 8 foundations as they resemble the 8 legs of a spider.
Although the first Spider Solitaire game dates back to 1947, it was only after its inclusion in the Microsoft computer software in 1998 that the game met its boom in popularity. Since then, it has become a favorite among Solitaire games, even challenging the prominent Solitaire Klondike for the top spot.
How to play Spider Solitaire
You can play this Spider Solitaire game using 1, 2, or 4 suits at the same time. The more suits you choose to play with, the more difficult the game becomes.
The basic rules are the same regardless of the number of suits you choose. Only a few details change.
In a game of Spider Solitaire , the tableau is divided into 3 main areas: the Stock Pile, the Foundations, and the Piles (also known as Columns).
The cards are arranged into 10 piles. Starting from left to right, the first 4 piles contain 6 cards, while the others only have 5 each. All the cards are facing down, except for the upper one in each pile which is facing forward and visible to the player.
The Stock Pile contains all the cards that were not dealt into the piles. The Foundations start as empty spaces set aside to build the needed sequences to win the game. There are 8 Foundations and there are normally placed on the right side of the tableau, above the piles.
The tableau arrangement in a game of Spider Solitaire is always the same, regardless of the difficulty level you choose.
The goal of Spider Solitaire is to transfer all the cards, including those in the Stock Pile, into the Foundations.
Unlike other Solitaire games, it is not possible to move individual cards into the Foundations. The players must complete sequences by suit on the tableau first, and these will be automatically sent to the Foundations and rearranged into ascending order.
The player wins the game when there are no more cards on the tableau.
The Stock Pile
Players cannot sift through the Stock Pile in a game of Spider Solitaire.
Instead, clicking on it will add 10 cards to the tableau automatically (one card per pile). Players should analyze the game carefully before using it, as the new cards may prevent accessing sequences already in place in the piles.
The Stock Pile can only be used when there are no empty piles on the tableau.
How to play with 1 suit
When the game starts, the players can only see the upper cards in each pile and only these are movable. They must then start transferring the cards within the piles to reveal those immediately below and unlock their use.
The cards can only be moved around the piles in descending order, that is, from King to Ace. For example, it is possible to place a 7 on top of an 8, but the opposite is not allowed. Partial sequences can also be transferred within the piles.
To win the game, the players must reveal all the cards and create descending sequences by suit with them. Each completed sequence is automatically sent to the Foundations.
How to play with 2 or more suits
Playing with 2 or more suits increases the game difficulty because the rules to move the cards around the piles are stricter.
As with the case of using only 1 suit, the players can only transfer the cards within the piles to create descending sequences. These can have more than one suit in them. However, it is not possible to move partial sequences when they are mixed. As a result, if such a sequence is built, the player will have to deconstruct it to reach the hidden cards under it.
For example, you can move the 8 of spades and the 7 of spades together into another pile, but it is not possible to move a mix sequence with an 8 of spades and a 7 of hearts.
Additionally, players must also build the Foundation by suit now.
Spider Solitaire Strategy Tips
Spider is a game that combines strategy with a dash of luck. The chances of winning a game are normally of 1 in every 3 games, but it is possible to increase one odds of victory using the following simple strategy tips:
Build suit sequences: whenever you have a choice, try to build pile sequences by suit. Remember that these sequences can be moved around, but mixed ones cannot, and they will block the hidden cards under them.
Go for empty spaces: empty spaces on the tableau can be used as placeholders. Any card can be moved into an empty space which can be a precious help to rearrange your sequences or to reveal a hidden card.
Uncover cards quickly: the more cards you uncover and become visible, the better you can plan your sequences and moves. If possible, try to arrange them by suit right away so they can be moved around.
Use the Stock Pile as a last resource each time: the Stock Pile is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it adds more cards to the tableau which may help players in building the pile sequences. On the other hand, the fact that it adds a card to every pile can also prevent accessing existing sequences and even create a deadlock.
Avoid moving the King to empty spaces: to reveal the cards underneath a King, you must transfer it to an empty space. However, by doing so, you can never vacant that space again unless you complete its sequence. It is a matter of preferring to go for the hidden cards in one single column or to put it in standby and use the vacant spot to help you move around more cards and increase your chances of uncovering those facing down in other piles. Generally speaking, the latter is a more profitable strategy.