The object of the game is to build a stack of cards in the same suit from King to Ace and remove the stack from the table to the stacks above. When all eight stacks have been built and removed, you have won the game. A more challenging version of this is to leave all eight stacks on the table until done instead of removing those that are complete to the stacks above.
One may move the next lower card onto a card of the same or different suit; however, one may only move contiguous cards of the same suit as a group. For example, one may move the 5 of spades into either a 6 of spades or a 6 of hearts. Moving the 5 of spades onto the 6 spades is a better move since now the 5-6 of spades group may be moved as a unit where the 5 of spades, 6 of hearts group may not. Also, moving the 4 of spades onto the 6 of spades is not a legal move. A King may only be moved into a space (or removed to the stacks above when the sequence K-Ace is complete) since there are no higher cards than a King.
For general strategy, one wants to try to create a "space" since this is the most flexible way to move cards around. A space is where all cards in the table have been removed. Note: before dealing the next round, all spaces have to have at least one card in them.
Also, when moving the cards, it is generally to your advantage to move the highest cards first and the lowest cards last doing the obvious moves first. For example, move a 5 of spades onto a 6 of spades, then Queen of hearts onto a King clubs before you move the 7 of clubs onto the 8 of hearts. Then you may choose to move 5-6 of spades group onto the 7 of clubs. The strategy is to combine the cards into same suit groups that may be moved as a unit. Once the group 5-6 of spades has been created, it may be broken up by using the middle mouse button on the lower card.
More details about the game are below...
THE INITIAL TABLEAU
Shuffle together two decks of cards (104 cards in all) and deal ten cards face down in a row. Deal three more rows face down on the first. Next deal one card face down on each of four piles (traditionally the leftmost four, but it doesn't matter; for aesthetic reasons some people prefer the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth piles), for a total of 44 face-down cards. Finally, deal one card face up on each pile. These 54 cards constitute the initial tableau. NOTE: In the description below, the card at the "bottom" of a pile is taken to be the last one dealt or played onto that pile, as opposed to the card that is underneath all the others in the pile. Thus the "bottom" card is the one displayed bottommost on the screen by the Spider program.
All building is done in the tableau, there being no separate foundations. On the bottom card of a pile may be placed any card of next-lower rank, regardless of suit. (Cards rank King (highest), Queen, Jack, 10, 9, . . . , 3, 2, Ace.) The bottom card of a pile is always available to be moved, as is any sequence of cards at the bottom of a pile that are consecutive and ascending in rank and of the same suit.
For example, suppose the 6, 5, and 4 of hearts are together at the bottom of a pile, with the 4 bottommost. They may be moved as a unit, or the 4 can be moved by itself, or the 5 and 4 can be moved without moving the 6. If the 6, 5, and 4 were moved onto a 7 of hearts at the bottom of some other pile, the four cards could then be moved as a unit onto any 8; if the 7 were not a heart, however, then once the hearts were placed upon it it would not be available to be moved until the hearts had been moved from it (to another 7 or into a space; see below).
When all face-up cards have been removed from a pile, the bottom face-down card is turned up and becomes available for play.
When all cards have been moved away from some pile, the resulting empty pile is called a "space" or "hole". Any card or sequence of cards available for moving may be moved into a space. A King, or sequence headed by a King, can be moved ONLY into a space, and once moved there can never be moved out (except into another space, which doesn't accomplish anything) unless it is being removed entirely as described below.
The 50 cards not dealt initially form the "hand". Whenever you wish (typically, whenever you get stuck), you may deal a new row of ten cards from the hand face-up upon the piles. NOTE: You are not allowed to do this if you have any spaces. You must first fill them in. Notice that these additional deals tend to introduce discontinuities in the piles; that is, you can get cards covering others that are not next-higher in rank. If you get stuck after having dealt the last of the five additional deals, you have lost.
OBJECT OF PLAY
When you have assembled a complete suit of thirteen cards, in sequence from King down to Ace, at the bottom of a pile, you may remove the thirteen cards from the tableau entirely. Cards so removed are never brought back into play; thus it is not always desirable to remove a suit when you have the opportunity (though it usually is), since it may pay to keep it around to aid in manipulating the other cards of that suit (recall that there are 26 cards in each suit). The game is won if you manage to remove all eight suits.
If you find that a game is going so well that you're sure you're going to win, you can spice things up by trying to finish with as many completed suits as possible still in the tableau. Hardest of all is to finish the game with each of the eight suits brought together in sequence from King down to Ace, with all of the cards still in the tableau. Note that, once you start striving toward such a goal, you may make such a mess of the position that you won't be able to win at all!
Spider is a difficult game to master, and some players like to be able to evaluate their progress by scoring unsuccessful games. No rules for scoring are in the literature, but the program implements the following rather arbitrary formula: 10 points for each initially face down card that gets turned over; 15 additional points for each column where all the face down cards have been turned over (even if you don't manage to get a space); 2 points for each card that is sitting atop the next higher card of the same suit; 50 points for each completed suit removed from the tableau (in which case you do not also score for the 12 cards sitting atop next higher cards). This yields a maximum score of 990. If you win the game with 4 or more completed suits still in the tableau, add 2 points for each suit after the first three. Thus winning with all eight suits still in the tableau yields a score of 1000.
[Copyright (c) 1989, Donald R. Woods and Sun Microsystems, Inc.]