Original Patience Games by David Parlett
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Cards 52   Type Open spider   Success 50/50?

The Spider family of games, so called from the title of its oldest member, is distinguished by the fact that the required suit-sequences are built up within the tableau instead of separately on Ace or King foundations. Maybe the originator found the mechanism reminiscent of web-spinning. It has become traditional for other members of the family to bear titles relating to the theme, such as Scorpion, Tarantula, Black Widow, and Miss Muffet. The distinctive mechanism put me in mind of spooning curds and whey (or at least the form of it that I was brought up on, namely junket.) It proves to be a very busy game that always looks as if it is going to come out but often lets you down at the last minute. Perhaps you will have more success than I normally have.


Deal all cards face up in four overlapping rows of thirteen, making thirteen columns of four.



To build within the layout four descending suit sequences from King to Ace.


Exposed cards are available for packing on one another in descending suit sequence ("whey") or rank on rank ("curds"). For example, heart5 can be packed on heart6 or on any other Five.

Any length of packed sequence may be shifted for packing provided that the join follows either rule, as may any packed number of cards of the same rank. For example, you could take heart5-4-3 and pack it on heart6 or any other Five, or you could take heart5-club5-spade5 and pack it on heart6 or diamond5.

But you may not take a whole batch of cards which combines a sequence with a group. For instance, you could not shift as a whole heart6-heart5-heart4-spade4-diamond4 - though you could shift to or three of the Fours in one or more moves, and then shift the whole heart sequence on to heart7 on your next turn.

Emptying columns

A space made by clearing out a column may be filled only with a King, together with any length of properly packed sequence or group of Kings that it may head. It is always permissible to pack a card of the same rank as the exposed card of a sequence headed by a King, but of course it will have to be moved off again before the game can be got out.