When most of us think about Solitaire, we’re thinking about Klondike, the version of the game that came bundled with Microsoft Windows for decades.
But there are over 500 different versions and variations of Solitaire, and Spider Solitaire is one of our absolute favourites. That’s why we’re delighted that developers Neal Taparia and Darshan Somashekar have brought Spider Solitaire Challenge to mobiles and browsers.
In the likely event that you’re not familiar with the variant, Spider Solitaire sees you taking two shuffled up decks of cards and organising them into eight neat stacks, all in numerical order.
At the beginning of each game you’re dealt 54 cards in ten piles, with the top card in each pile lying face-up. At any point after that you can deal yourself another ten cards – though you can only do this five times, since you’ve only got 50 left after the initial deal.
To play, you just move a card onto another card of the next number in ascending order – 7 on 8, ace on 2, etc. If you have a straight run of cards, e.g. 3,4,5,6,7, you can move the whole stack at once.
Unless, that is, you’re playing with two suits, in which case you can only move a stack if all of the numerically ordered cards that make it up belong to the same suit. Mixed stacks are immovable, trapping the cards behind them until you can untangle the mess you’ve got yourself into.
This clever twist means that Spider Solitaire can be extremely accessible, if you play with one suit, or extremely challenging, if you play with two or more. Like a spider, it’s either harmless or deadly.
Spider Solitaire Challenge would be an essential game without gimmicks, but it just so happens to have an absolutely fantastic added feature. Working in conjunction with institutions like MIT and Encyclopedia Britannica, its developers have created a range of custom decks celebrating incredible people past and present.
There’s a deck for the heroes of the civil rights movement, a deck for the world’s most inspirational inventors, a deck for the leading figures of the suffrage movement, and many others besides.
Plus, there are some iconic card designs to choose from, including several beautiful Jones decks and the iconic Parrots.
You can play Spider Solitaire Challenge on your browser, or by downloading it on the Google Play Store.