Spider Solitaire (Windows)

Spider Solitaire (Windows)

Infobox VG
width =
title = Spider Solitaire

caption = Spider Solitaire in Windows Vista
picture format =
developer = [http://www.oberongames.com/ Oberon Games] (Windows Vista version)
Microsoft (older versions)
publisher = Microsoft
distributor =
designer =
license = Proprietary software
series =
engine =
version = 6.0.6001
released = June 25, 1998
genre = Spider
modes = Single-player
ratings = ESRB: E
platforms = Microsoft Windows
media =
requirements =
input = Mouse, Xbox 360 Controller

"Spider Solitaire" is a card game that is included in recent versions of Microsoft Windows. It is a version of Spider. It was first included in Microsoft Plus! for Windows 98 and has since been included in Windows Me, Windows XP and subsequently Windows Vista.


This version allows the user to choose one of three difficulty settings. Easy mode is played with eight sets (Ace through King) of Spades; Medium mode uses four sets each of Hearts and Spades; and Hard mode is played with two standard decks.

"Spider Solitaire" allows moves to be retracted, except when dealing a new row or completing a run (ace-to-king sequence, which is then removed.) Any number of moves can be retracted, back to the last non-retractable move. Therefore, a possible strategy is to expose as many face-down cards as possible, retracting afterward, before choosing a move. The version of "Spider Solitaire" included in Windows Vista allows any move, including row deals to be retracted.


A player's score for a game is calculated by subtracting the number of moves from 500, then adding 100 times the number of completed runs removed. Thus, a game requiring 100 moves to complete would result in a score of (500 - 100) + (8 * 100) = 1200. A perfect game will result in a score of 1254. This is calculated by:

*Taking the total number of cards (104) and subtracting the eight Kings. The Kings do not need to be placed anywhere specific.
*The remaining 96 required moves can now have 50 subtracted from them, since there are a total of 50 cards brought up from the five stacks of 10. This is because all the cards brought up from these stacks could be placed in the right location. This is extremely unlikely.
*The remaining 46 moves can be subtracted from the sum of 500 (the starting score), and 800 (the total score obtained from all eight runs). 500 + 800 - 46 = 1254.

Examples of wasted moves:

*Moving a card (or stack) to an empty pile, for example, by moving a King.
*Moving a card that is already in sequence.
*Moving a card (or stack) onto a card of non-matching suit.
*Creating an empty pile before the next deal, forcing a wasted move later on.

Games requiring fewer than 96 moves to complete have been achieved. This can occur during the five deals when a card lands by luck in proper sequence (e.g. a 2 lands on a 3), saving the player a move.

It should be noted that doing one's best to win games is much more challenging than playing for record high scores. The game's complexity comes from branching paths: different possible moves. A good strategy is to explore all branches as deeply as possible without making a non-retractable move. In doing so, the number of branches in some situations can get out of hand rapidly. However, wasted moves constitute the vast majority of possible moves, and only "non"-wasted moves need to be considered by a player going for a perfect game. This narrows the options down immensely, as the number of possible non-wasted moves is quite often one or zero. Thus playing for a perfect (or near-perfect) game requires much less decision-making than playing for a win. However, keep in mind that retracting a move also counts as a move for scoring purposes, therefore even if you play a perfect game, you won't have a perfect score unless you play without retracting any moves.

It's also worth noting that the version included in Windows Vista has a number of bugs. It 'informs' the user if a state in the game is reached in which no more moves are possible - sometimes incorrectly so. Also, if you chose to re-open Spider Solitaire after having 'ended' a lost game, it re-opens the game that you ended, leaving you no choice but to re-lose it, and skew your statistics (with additional lost games). Vista SP appears to have resolved the above issues in the program.

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