Monday, August 23, 2010

App O' The Mornin': Spite and Malice (Two-Handed Solitaire)

I was surprised to find this game in the App store, since it's fairly obscure. Oddly enough, my wife had just asked if there was such a thing as "two-handed solitaire," so I was in the process of learning its rather unusual rules.

Spite and Malice, also known as Cat and Mouse, is indeed an oxymoron: solitaire for two. It's worth checking out if only for the unique play. A variant of the game is marketed under the title of Skip Bo, but why buy special cards for something you can play with a couple of standard decks?

The regular game is played with two 52-card decks. The goal is to be the first to deplete a "pay-off" pile of 20 cards. This is done by playing solitaire to the center of the table, where either player can unload cards by playing sequences from Ace to Queen, Kings wild. When a sequence is complete, it's removed from the table and another can take its place. Up to four of these sequences can be played simultaneously.

Players draw 5 cards each to form a hand from a common stock, building whatever sequences they can, and drawing on the pay-off pile whenever possible. Each turn ends by playing a card to a side stack, which is a holding area for cards that might be needed later.

The full rules can be found at the inimitable Pagat.

The App from Trivial Technology is a completely straightforward version of the game. You get a few options, but no real surprises. It does the job quite well, providing a decent challenge and usable controls.

For a buck, it should be an easy call for anyone who likes unusual card games.


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