Pyramid is possibly the solitaire game with the most interesting layout. Like Golf, interest in Pyramid was revived by Microsoft, who included a program called Tut’s Tomb in their Microsoft Entertainment Pack 2 add-on for Microsoft Windows 3.1. Also like Golf, Pyramid is mostly luck-based, and difficult to win.
Object of Pyramid
The object of Pyramid is to entirely dismantle the tableau, which forms the titular “pyramid”, by matching pairs of cards whose values total thirteen.
Grab a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, shuffle, and deal 28 cards in the shape of a pyramid, as shown at the image to the right. One card goes on the top row, partially overlapped by two cards on the second row, followed by three in the third, and so on down to the seventh row. This pyramid forms the tableau. The deck stub becomes the stock. Set aside room for two discard areas, one for waste from the stock, and one for out-of-play discards from the tableau.
All game play revolves around the numerical value of each card, which is devised in the most natural way—aces are one, all number cards are their face value, jacks are eleven, queens are twelve, and kings are thirteen. Any accessible pair of cards may be paired with another card and discarded, so long as they add up to thirteen. Kings have a value of thirteen and thus can be discarded whenever they are available. Examples: a queen and an ace, a jack and a 2, an 8 and a 5, etc.
Cards are considered available if they are not overlapped by any other card. In the starting configuration, only the seven cards in the seventh row of the pyramid are considered accessible. As cards are removed, upper rows of the pyramid are gradually uncovered and become available for play. For example, in the image at right, when the two kings are discarded from the bottom row, this leaves the J♥ without any cards blocking it, and thus it is available for play.
Variation: In Microsoft’s Tut’s Tomb implementation of Pyramid, a quirk in the programming causes a card that is part of a matched pair to be disregarded for the purposes of determining availability for the second card. Therefore, if the Q♦ had been previously cleared, the 9♥ and 4♦ would be able to be matched, because the 4♦ is disregarded by nature of its being part of the pair. This is an extreme edge case that doesn’t really matter in the majority of games, but we recommend allowing yourself to match in this way if you wish, because, let’s face it, anything that makes a win in Pyramid more likely is probably a good thing.
When the player cannot make any more moves from the tableau alone, they may draw cards from the stock, one at a time, and match those cards with any accessible cards on the pyramid, if able. When the stock is depleted, the player may flip the unused cards from the stock face-down and run through them again.
Game play continues until all of the cards in the tableau have been paired off (which constitutes a win) or no further moves are possible (which is a loss).