Spider Solitaire is one of the most popular variations of single-player card games. The game is played with two decks of cards. Like traditional solitaire, the goal is to clear away all cards from the table. However, there are some key differences.
First, let's define some terms:
Tableau – The tableau refers to the rows and columns of cards where most of the gameplay takes place. In traditional solitaire, the tableau is composed of seven columns. Each column contains a single card placed face up atop a stack of face-down cards. Solitaire is usually played with seven stacks in the tableau, but in Spider Solitaire, there are ten stacks.
Foundation – This is where the cards in the tableau are moved to as you proceed through the game. The goal is to get all cards in the foundation area.
Stock – These are the remaining cards that are not dealt when setting up the game. When you can make no more moves with the existing face-up cards in the tableau, you can draw from the stock.
Now let's look at some more differences between solitaire and Spider Solitaire:
Suits – In normal solitaire, all four suits are used. In Spider Solitaire, this may or may not be the case. Most games offer three difficulty levels: Easy (One Suit), Medium (Two Suits) and Hard (Three Suits.) Make sure you are a master of the single suit game before levelling up to the more difficult games.
Sequencing Cards – In both games, players rearrange the cards in the tableau in descending numerical order. In Spider Solitaire, cards must be of the same suit in order to place them in sequential order. This is in contrast to traditional solitaire, in which the sequenced cards must be of alternating red and black suits.
Stock – In the usual solitaire game, players deal a single card from the stock when stuck. In Spider Solitaire, drawing from the stock means dealing a single card to each column in the tableau. This has both pros and cons. The benefit is that you have more cards to work with. The downside is that the cards dealt will go on top of the sequences you have already established, meaning you will have to move some of them out of the way to continue to building upon established sequences.
Difficulty – Spider Solitaire is often considered one of the most difficult of all solitaire games. Depending on how the cards are dealt, many games are impossible to win. In fact, it has been estimated that the most expert players can only win about half the time. Keep that in mind and do not focus on your score – just concentrate on playing the game as best you can.