Rules for TriPeaks

Family: Pyramid
Categories: Popular, Thinker's, Rewarding, Large, Pretty, Unusual
Also Known As:  

TriPeaks is reminiscent of Pyramid. Like Pyramid, it has an elaborate scoring system that rewards early progress. It is immensely popular on Windows computers, and has become a crossover hit on the Mac. A good player should be able to keep a positive running score over time.


Shuffle the deck and lay out 28 cards in a four-row pattern that resembles a three-peaked mountain range. Lay three cards face down in the top row, leaving space for two cards between each pair. In the next row, lay a pair of face-down cards overlapping each of the three top cards: that makes six cards in all in the second row, in pairs, with a one-card space between each pair. In the third row, lay three cards face-down overlapping each pair of cards in the second row, so the third row has a total of nine cards with no gaps. Finally, lay ten face-up cards in the fourth row, with each card (except the end cards) overlapping two cards in the third row. The result should look like three overlapping pyramids. This is the tableau.

Below the tableau, place one card face-up to start the discard pile. The remaining 23 cards are kept face-down in the deck.


Available tableau cards can be moved to the discard pile, which builds up or down circularly without regard to suit. For example, if there is a King atop the discard pile, you could discard a Queen or an Ace. As face-down cards are uncovered, they are turned face-up.


When you can play no more tableau cards, deal one card from the deck onto the discard pile.


The goal is to discard all tableau cards.


The first tableau card you discard wins you one point. Each subsequent discard without dealing gets you one more point than the last one; so your second discard gets you two more points, your third gets you three, and so on.

Dealing subtracts 5 points from your score and breaks the sequence so that you start over with 1 point for the next discard.

You also get 15 extra points the first time you discard the top card of any peak; 15 points for the top card of the next peak; and 30 points for the final peak (which will completely clear the tableau and win the game).

There is a penalty for ending the game before the deck is empty: 5 points subtracted for each card left in the tableau. But if the deck is empty, there is no penalty. In the Solitaire Till Dawn X status bar, a score of “21/-95” means that your current score is 21 points but that 95 points will be subtracted if you end the game now. Once the deck is empty, no penalty is shown.

Your statistics show the number of won/played games as usual, but in place of a percentage of games won, it will show you your total accumulated score from your previous games.

To the right of your normal scores and statistics, you can see a display of “recent events.” For example, Streak: 3/6 (Next: +4) means that you have played 3 goal cards in a row, adding 6 points to your score during this streak, and your next goal play (if you don’t deal first) will be worth another 4 points.


Play as many cards from the tableau as you can before dealing.

It’s usually best to simply go for the highest score you can get, but it’s also important to uncover face-down cards as quickly as possible. So when you have a choice, move the card that exposes as many face-down cards as possible.

This means you should not clear a peak if you can move some other card instead. Peak cards won’t reveal any other cards, and you want as many uncovered cards as possible to improve your chances. But very late in the game, if it seems likely you won’t be able to clear the entire tableau, then you should aggressively clear peaks to get the scoring bonus.

If you’d rather play for highest points than for wins, sometimes the penalty for ending the game early is worthwhile. When you have a lot of cards in the deck and not many in the tableau, ask yourself whether you think you can clear the last peak. If not (and sometimes even if so), ending the game early can save you a large loss of points from uselessly emptying the deck.

But most people will prefer to play for wins. With careful play, you should be able to win games and keep your total score above zero. Don’t be discouraged by occasional runs of bad luck; it happens, but eventually the cards will turn your way again.

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