Fan Tan

A row of stop signsFan Tan, also known as Parliament, is a member of the Stops family of card games. Like its cousins Newmarket and Crazy Eights, the game is characterized by play continuing until a necessary card is unavailable, thus stopping play. In fact, this mechanic is so well-associated with Fan Tan that another alternate name for it is simply Stops. Fan Tan is best for three to eight players.

Object of Fan Tan

The object of Fan Tan is to end play with the most chips. Players win chips by being the first to run out of cards.

Setup

Fan Tan requires the use of a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. As is customary, we remind you that we recommend Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.

Fan Tan accounts for scoring with some form of counters, such as poker chips. If you like, each chip can represent some amount of money, in which case players are given chips equal to the value of their buy-in. Otherwise, give each player an equal amount of chips.

Shuffle and deal the cards out as evenly as they will go, starting with the player to the left of the dealer. All players ante one chip to the pot to begin play. Any players that happen to have received fewer cards than others due to the deck dividing unevenly between the number of players in the game ante an additional chip to make up for the advantage.

Game play

Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Initially, the only card that may be played is a 7; if the player to the dealer’s left cannot play a 7, they add one chip to the pot and play continues to the left. Once a 7 has been played, it is placed in the center of the table, and the 6 and 8 of the same suit may be played by subsequent players, with the 8 being placed to the left of the 7 and the 6 to its right. Plays continue in sequence, with descending cards being placed in a stack on top of the 6 and ascending cards played on top of the 8. As the 7s of the other suits are played, they form new rows underneath the first 7, with the 6s and 8s being placed alongside them, forming a three-by-four grid in the center of the table.

Note that play is compulsory—any player that can play a card cannot elect to simply pass. If a player is found to have been able to play but passed instead, they pay an additional three chips to the pot; if they held a 7 at the time, they pay five chips each to the players holding the 6 and 8 of that suit. However, if a player has multiple options on a turn, they of course are not penalized for selecting one option over another (even if this means that a 7 goes unplayed for awhile).

Game play continues until one player runs out of cards. Each other player counts the number of cards remaining in their hand and pays one chip per card to the pot. The pot is then collected by the player who ran out of cards.

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Pirate

Pirate ship
Pirate is essentially a two-person solitaire game, because the two players basically play their own games and only interact at certain points in the game. Gameplay is quite simple, making it a great game for children.

Object of Pirate

The object of Pirate is to capture more ships (sequences from king down to ace or vice-versa) than your opponent.

Setup

Pirate requires two standard 52-card decks of playing cards. The two decks are not intermixed, at least initially, and it doesn’t matter if their backs are different. A two-deck set of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards will fit the bill perfectly. Because there are no turns in Pirate, with players making their plays simultaneously, cards can unintentionally get bent, meaning that the added durability of plastic cards will be handy.

Each player shuffles the other’s deck, and then cuts their own deck, exposing the bottom card of the top half of their deck. The player with the lower exposed card is the low player and the other player is the high player. Players then shuffle their own decks, each deck forming their own personal stock, which they keep held in their hand.

Game play

Players begin turning cards face up from their deck into a face-up waste pile. When the low player encounters an ace, they place it in front of them as the keel to a new ship. Likewise, the high player may lay a keel to a new ship with a king. New keels are placed across the table from a keel of the same suit on the opponent’s side, if there is one. Upon these keels, players may build upon their own ship with cards of the same suit, in sequence, with the low player building up from the ace and the high player building down from the king. Players may not play to their opponent’s ship. When the stock is exhausted, the waste pile is turned face down to form a new stock.

When two ships meet up to form one uninterrupted 13-card sequence, the ship is captured by the player that played the card that connected them, and the ship is squared up and put aside next to the capturing player to be scored later. If, however, both players attempt to capture the ship at the same time, it is sunk and the entire ship is discarded, with no score being awarded to either player.

After a ship has been captured or sunk, a new ship of that suit is built, with the players laying the opposite keels as before—the high player lays the ace and the low player lays the king.

When a player exhausts both their stock and waste pile, they cease normal play, but continue to observe their opponent. If the opponent draws any cards that the observing player could use to build upon their own ships, they may claim the cards as their own, provided they do so before the opponent plays the card or draws another. If a card is drawn that would capture a ship, the first player to claim it gets the capture—or, if both players claim it simultaneously, the ship is sunk.

The first player to capture five ships—or four, if a ship has been sunk—is the winner.

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Spider

spider
Spider, also known as Spider Solitaire, is one of the most popular two-deck solitaire games. Like many other solitaire games, including Golf and Pyramid, Spider owes a part of its modern popularity to being adapted by Microsoft for inclusion in its Windows operating system.

Spider is said to be one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite games. Apocryphal sources say Roosevelt found playing the game a way to relax from the stress of being President during the Great Depression and World War II and that he would sometimes play with as many as five decks shuffled together.

Someone who is afraid of playing Spider is called an arachnophobe. I think? That doesn’t sound right…

Object of Spider

The object of Spider is to remove all 104 cards from play by assembling sequences of thirteen cards of the same suit.

Setup

Shuffle two decks of playing cards together. Since it’s a solitaire game, it’s up to you to decide how important it is that the backs match. If it isn’t, one set of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards is all you need.

Shuffle and deal ten cards, face down. Then deal another row of cards, overlapping the first. Repeat this until each column has four cards. Deal a fifth card to the first four columns, then one face-up card to each column. (Refer to the image at right.) When you are finished, you should have a 54-card tableau; set the remaining 50 cards aside, forming the stock.

Game play

Cards can be moved to other positions in the tableau, so long as the card they are placed upon is one rank higher. So a 9♠ can be placed on the 10♦, which can be placed on the J♥, etc. However, cards may only be moved as a unit if they are all of the same suit—so of the aforementioned J♥-10♦-9♠ sequence, only the 9 would be able to be moved. A J♣-10♣-9♣ sequence, however, may be moved together onto a queen. Aces are low and can only be played on twos; kings are high and cannot be played on any other card (but can be moved to an empty space).

When face-down cards are exposed, they are turned face-up. If an empty space is formed in the tableau, it may be filled by any card (or sequence of cards).

When no further moves are possible or desired, ten cards are dealt from the stock, one on each of the tableau piles. No empty spaces may be present in the tableau in order for cards to be dealt from the stock.

If a sequence of thirteen cards of the same suit, from king down to ace, is built, the entire sequence is removed from play. The game is won when the entire deck is discarded in this manner. Game play continues until the game is won or no useful moves are possible.

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