Rules for Red-Black Spider

Family: Spider
Categories: Popular, Thinker's, Two-Deck, Large, Long
Variants: Spider, Spiderette, Will o' the Wisp
Also Known As: Two-Suit Spider

Red-Black Spider is an easier variant of the popular but difficult Spider, allowing you to follow color rather than suit.


Shuffle two decks together. Start the game by putting five cards face down and one face up in four of the tableaus, and four face down and one face up in the remaining six tableaus—a total of 54 cards. Keep the remaining 50 cards in your hand.


The tableaus build down, without regard for color or suit. Topmost card of each tableau is available; in addition, full or partial builds in color (that is, all red or all black) are also available. (Although you do not have to build by following color, there is an advantage in doing so because in-color builds can be moved while mixed-color builds cannot.)

Empty spaces may be filled with any available card or build. Note however that Kings can only be played into empty spaces because there’s no higher rank to build them on.


You may deal any time you wish, provided that no tableaus are empty. To deal, turn up ten cards from the hand and put one onto each tableau regardless of rank or suit. Usually you’ll deal when you’ve run out of other moves.


Completed King-to-Ace builds in color (all red or all black) may be discarded. You are not required to discard such builds, and there may be an advantage to leaving them in the tableau for a time to help in untangling other tableau piles. When all cards have been discarded, the game is won.


Build in color whenever possible. When you can’t build in color, build in mixed colors because it’s crucial to uncover the face-down cards.

Empty piles are precious. The more empty piles you can create and keep, the better.

Build on higher-ranked cards before lower ones, because those piles will stay useful longer: you can’t build anything onto an Ace.

A few long, tangled piles are okay if they help you empty out other piles.

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