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Strategy Guide by action52

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 09/09/2009
Highest Rated Guide

    _______     _______     ______    ______     _______     _______
   /       \   |       \   |      |  |      \   |       \   |       \
  /  _______|  |   __   |  |_    _|  |       |  |   _____|  |   __   |
 |  /          |  |__>  |    |  |    |  |\   |  |  |        |  |__>  |
 |  \______    |        |    |  |    |  | |  |  |  |___     |        |
  \        \   |    ___/     |  |    |  | |  |  |      \    |     __/
   \_____   \  |   /         |  |    |  | |  |  |   ___/    |     \
         \  |  |  |          |  |    |  | |  |  |  |        |      \
  _______/  |  |  | \(.)/   _|  |_   |  |/   |  |  |_____   |  |\   \
 |         /   |  | /(o)\  |      |  |       |  |        |  |  | \   |
  \_______/    |__/        |______|  |______/   |_______/   |__/  \__|


Spider Solitaire strategy guide V1.0

by action52




***************************************************************************
			I. INTRODUCTION
***************************************************************************

Spider Solitaire. A game that almost all of us know, but very few of us
have mastered. In spite of the fact that this game comes bundled with
Windows, very few people have actually beaten it on the hard difficulty
setting. Most people beat it on easy a few times, but give up in
frustration when they try the medium or hard difficulty settings.

I used to be one of those people. I've been playing this game for over a
decade, but it wasn't until a year or so ago that I finally beat it on
medium. I didn't beat it on hard until less than a month ago. It took me a
long time--even finding help was difficult. Most guides and video
playthroughs only help you on the medium or easy setting. But after
scrounging the internet for tips and guides, I was finally able to work
out a strategy good enough to get me through.

In this FAQ, I am putting together all the gameplay tips and tricks I
have found, both online and from my own experience. Hopefully this will
help some people that always wanted to beat this game but never worked out
how.



***************************************************************************
			II. GAMEPLAY BASICS
***************************************************************************

Spider Solitaire uses 104 cards. That's 2 of each card on hard level, 4 of
each on medium, and 8 of each on easy. When you start a new game, the
computer lays out 10 piles of cards. The four left piles have five cards
face down and one card face up. The six right piles have four cards face
down and one card face up. The remaining 50 cards go into a pile in the
lower right hand corner.

Click the cards and drag them to other piles. Cards can be stacked in
descending order. For example, if you have a King you can put a Queen on
it, and a Jack on the Queen. Cards can be placed on each other regardless
of suit. However, if you have a series of cards of the same suit in order,
you can move those cards together. If the cards are not the same suit, you
will only be able to move one at a time.

If you move the card directly over a face down card, it will be turned
face up. You can now move that card or put other cards on top of it. If
you manage to move all the face-down cards in a stack, you can move your
other cards into the empty slot.

Clicking on the stack of cards in the lower right will deal out 10 cards
face up, one on each pile. These cards will go on top of every stack, so
you will have to move the new cards around before you can use the cards
below them. You cannot deal a new card to each stack unless all slots
have at least one card in them. If you have any empty slots, you must move
cards onto them before you click on the stack in the bottom right.

If you manage to build a stack of all 13 cards from King to Ace, all the
same suit, that stack will be moved to the bottom left. Those cards are
gone for the remainder of the game. If you move all 104 cards onto 8
stacks, you win the game.

Sider solitaire Has three difficulty settings: Easy, Medium, and Hard.

EASY: There is only one suit of cards, usually spades. Ridiculously easy.
I can't remember ever losing on easy unless I had to quit in the middle of
a game. In fact, it's actually kind of difficult to lose on easy. When you
start out, It's a good idea to do a game or two on easy just so you can
learn the way cards move and stack in this game. But it gets boring pretty
quick, so you'll probably want to move on soon.

MEDIUM: There are two suits of cards, usually spades and hearts. This is
considerably more difficult, because now you have to deal with stacks that
cannot be moved. Most players give up at this level. It can indeed be
frustrating for beginners, but with a little patience you'll find it's not
as hard as it seems. Skillful players can win almost every game. Even
without any tips or strategy, if you keep at it long enough you should win
eventually. It's just a matter of not giving up.

HARD: All four suits are used. This is very hard. If you don't have a
strategy worked out you may never win. I remember once I was on a plane
that let you play this game (hard level only) using the video screen. I
played for five hours but never even came close to winning. Even the best
players have a difficult time on hard setting. I've never heard of anyone
being able to beat this more than 50% of the time.




***************************************************************************
		II. WINNING STRATEGY
***************************************************************************

Okay, enough of the easy stuff. You want to know how to win, right? Well, I
would say the most important thing in winning this game is priorities. You
need to know what takes precedent over what. When I play this game, I put
my priorities in this order:

1. Open up slots so you can put other cards on them.

2. Expose face down cards so you can use them.

3. Build same-suit stacks.

4. Build stacks of cards with different suits.

First, open slots. Open slots are your most valuable resource. I can't
stress that enough. Getting an open slot is good. Getting two open slots is
great. Getting three or more open slots means that with skillful gameplay
you will probably win this game, as long as you don't run into any really
bad luck later on.

Exposing cards is also important. The more cards you have face up, the more
you have to work with. This will make you better equipped to deal with the
cards that the bottom right gives you, and let you build stacks of the same
card.

Finally, you want to build descending order stacks of cards wherever you
can. Stacks of the same suit are obviously better than stacks of different
suits, but getting the cards stacked is helpful no matter what.

So basically, when you look at the cards you have to keep those priorities
in mind. Let's say, for example, you have a 6 of diamonds with 5 face-down
cards under it, and a 6 of clubs with 4 face-down cards under it. Next to
them is a 7 of diamonds. A beginner might move the 6 of diamonds, but the 6
of clubs is better in this case. Bringing yourself closer to a free slot is
better than having cards stacked in the same suit.

If you do get any open slots, the first thing you should do is what most
Spider Solitaire sources call "clean-up." Move the cards around so that
cards of the same suit are stacked together as much as possible. If you can
expose any face down cards or open up a slot, that's even better. But
whatever you do, while you're cleaning up make sure to LEAVE THE SLOT OPEN.

Once you are sure you've done as much clean-up as you can, put something on
the empty slot. Again, use the priorities list. If you can expose some face-
down cards, do so. One tip: try not to put stacks of cards with different
suits on empty slots. If you make sure that all cards on a slot are the same
suit, it will be easier to open up the slot later.

Finally, once you cannot move any more cards, it's time to click the bottom
right card pile. This is the part I hate. You have to close up your
precious open slots, and you have no way of knowing what will come. All your
best-laid plans can be destroyed in one mouse click. I once managed to open
up THREE slots on my first round of cards. Then, when I clicked the bottom
right, all three of those slots got a king placed on top of them. >_<




***************************************************************************
		IV. VARIOUS TIPS AND OBSERVATIONS
***************************************************************************

-Be patient. Even skillful players lose most of the time, so expect to take
a long time before you experience your first win. Just keep at it, and hone
your strategy, and eventually you should be able to beat this game.

-No matter how good you are, luck plays a big role. And bad luck affects
you more than good luck. Even if you get off to a great start, one bad deal
from the lower right can turn the tables in an instant. A terrible start,
on the other hand, will usually not turn around no matter what cards you
get later on. Accept this.

-I think every game is technically winnable. By which I mean, it would be
possible to win every time if you played the cards in the right way. But
since you don't know what order the cards will come in, it's pretty much
impossible to know which order to play the cards you're dealt.

-There's really not much you can do to prepare yourself for a click on the
lower right hand card pile. You either get lucky or you don't. The more
cards you can stack and uncover, the better your chances are, but there
are no guarantees.

-This is a game where a lot of little things make a big difference later
on. That's why getting all the cards exposed and using free slots to line
them up by suit are so important. When you do that stuff a lot in the
beginning you find yourself with a lot more options in the midgame.

-Be thorough. Take your time, and make sure you aren't forgetting anything.
Playing this game properly takes a lot of time. When you are cleaining up
cards using free slots, especially, you might find yourself moving cards
back and forth a lot to get cards of the same suit lined up as much as
possible.

-Kings suck. If a stack has a King on it, that means you can't touch the
cards below it unless you use up a precious empty slot. Of course, if you
manage to clear away a whole suit you can get rid of the King, but by the
time you reach that point you're usually close to winning anyway.

-Aces kind of suck too. Not as much as Kings, but you can't stack other
cards on them which is annoying if you draw a lot of them.

-I recommend you stay away from the "hint" function. If you don't already
know, most versions of Spider Solitaire come with a "hint" function in
which the computer will highlight two cards for you to move on top of each
other. The problem is, the hint function only thinks one move at a time.
So it will miss a lot of the options which involve moving multiple cards.
It also will not tell you to "clean up" your cards using empty slots, which
is key to winning. On easy level, the hint function will get you through but
on the higher difficulty levels it will steer you wrong. Don't use it.




***************************************************************************
		V. THE "UNDO" FUNCTION
***************************************************************************

The undo feature in this game is very powerful. It can allow you to go back
many moves, and even put back face down cards you have exposed. I recommend
that you do use the "undo" feature. It may feel like cheating, but keep in
mind that this is a deliberate design aspect that is present in every
version. It's obvious that the developers meant for you to be able to do
this. Your score is penalized for using the undo feature, and there are
limitations on it. For example, when you click the bottom right and
distribute a card on every pile, that cannot be undone. When you clear a
suit off the board, that also cannot be undone. Hell, even WITH the undo
function this game is plenty hard. I have never heard of someone having
even a 50% victory rate, whether they use the undo function or not.

Of course, you're free not to use the undo feature if you want, but be
warned that you will have to be really lucky in order to win without
using undo. There are just too many places where you can screw yourself
over because you don't know what's coming next. So don't think of the
undo feature as a cheat or an exploit. Think of it as an aspect of
gameplay that you would give up only if you want to give yourself an
extra challenge.

Recommended ways to use the undo function:

-If you have two different piles to choose from, check both piles and go
with the one with the most useful cards under it.

-If you come across a King while trying to work your way down to a free
slot, undo it and work on another stack of cards.

-If you have an empty slot or two, try experimenting with various ways to
use it until you find the one that takes care of the most cards.




***************************************************************************
			V. THE END
***************************************************************************

Well, I don't know how helpful this guide will be, but I hope that some
people read it and play this game through to the end. It may require you to
adjust your gaming philosophy--we're used to games that allow you to win
every time. But the fun of this game is in rising to the challenge, and
playing every game to the best of your abilities. When you do manage to
beat the odds, and everything's sorted into neat piles, and cards are
disappearing off the board, it's a very satisfying feeling.

Hopefully this guide will spread a little of the enjoyment around.

THANKS TO:
-All the various people who wrote FAQs that helped me get through this game
-The person who invented this game, whoever (s)he is
-Microsoft, for publishing this game and giving it to us for free with Windows
-GameFAQs, for hosting such a treasure trove of game information and help





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This FAQ is copyright (c) 2009 by action52. This strategy guide has been made
with the
intent of posting on GameFAQs. Feel free to copy this and use it however
you want. You may post this on other websites, but please post the WHOLE
document, unedited. If you want to modify this strategy guide, or have any
questions,
please email me at kirmite@hotmail.com.

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