Rules for Little Spider

Family Spider
Categories Challenging, Small, Thinker's
Also known as

Little Spider is not much like its namesakes in the Spider family, but that’s a good thing: it’s a unique take on the Spider theme. A good memory will help you to win this interesting game. Morehead & Mott-Smith state that two out of three games can be won; but if that’s true, they know something about Little Spider that we do not. So far, we’ve found that this game is quite difficult and that wins are rare.


Deal one card onto each of eight tableau piles, all face up. The tableaus should be in two rows of four, with space between them for the four foundations, which start out empty. Keep the remaining cards in the deck, ready to deal.


There are two parts to each play of Little Spider, with different rules in each part.

During the first part, you may move single cards from the tableaus onto the foundations. Two of the foundations start with Aces and build up in suit to the King. The other two start with Kings and build down in suit to the Ace. Both Ace piles must be the same color, and both King piles must be the other color, but you may decide which are red and which are black.


The usual rules for Little Spider add a restriction for playing cards to non-empty foundations. The restriction is that cards taken from the lower row of tableaus may only be played to the foundation directly above them, while those taken from the upper row may be played to any foundation. Solitaire Till Dawn does not enforce this rule (we feel that the game is hard enough already, and the rule is kind of finicky) but you may play with this rule voluntarily if you prefer.

When you are stuck, or when you please, deal eight more cards from the deck, one onto each tableau pile, face up and without regard to any cards already there. Then continue playing available cards to the foundations.

In the last deal, there will be only four cards in the deck; deal these onto the top four tableaus. This triggers the second part of the game.

During the second part of the game, you may no longer deal (because the deck is now empty) but you may move cards among the tableaus. You may pick up the top card of any tableau and drop it onto any other tableau by building up or down without regard to suit. That is, you may drop a 5 onto either a 4 or a 6, without caring about the color or suit of the 4 or 6.


Click the deck to deal one card onto each tableau. When the deck is empty, no more dealing is allowed, and you may now begin to move cards among the tableaus.


The goal is to move all the cards onto the foundations.


Try to arrange the tableaus by suit, and try to get them in proper ascending or descending order. For example, if two of the foundations start with the Kings of Spades and Clubs, try to arrange black cards in the tableaus so that they are in order from the low-ranking cards at the bottom to the high-ranking cards on the top (and vice-versa for the red cards).

Don’t be in a hurry to play cards to the foundations! If the foundations start with red Aces and black Kings, then the only time you can play a red King to a foundation is near the end of the game. This means that a red King (or a black Ace) in a tableau will block your access to the cards underneath. Remember that you cannot play any card to an empty tableau: so you will have to move a blocking red King onto a Queen in another pile in order to get at the cards beneath. But beware! If you have already played the black Queens to the foundations, then you can only place red Kings on red Queens, and that will permanently block the cards underneath them. So keep the black Queens in the tableaus until you have ordered the tableaus as well as you can.

Of course, the same logic applies for black 2s in this example, and it applies in reverse when the foundations start with black Aces and red Kings.

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