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Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire game
The above screenshot shows the start of an example game, which I will call XP KH JS 7S QS.

 

Download this game: XPKHJS7SQS.zip
This zip file contains the single file spider.sav which is for XP and should be put in your My Documents folder.

Comparison of Spider Solitaire with Freecell

Spider Solitaire and Freecell appear to be superficially similar and both have features in common with other games of solitaire or patience played with cards. The details of playing the game are of course different, but the main concern here is this:

The Spider games are not numbered!

This makes it difficult to go back to a particular game to play the same game again. Perhaps equally important is that the lack of game numbers makes it much more difficult for people to exchange experiences with other players, especially over the Internet. (This is a very popular aspect of Freecell). However, these problems can be overcome and this page will show how.

Another significant difference between Spider and Freecell is that in Freecell you can see the whole task ahead of you. Nothing is hidden. In Spider, most cards are hidden. However, it is interesting to observe that even if you know what they all are, from notes made on a previous time the game was played, the information is of surprisingly little help.

Some observations

The first thing a new player will notice is the option of difficulty level. The Easy level is trivially easy, whereas the Difficult level is prohibitively difficult, and I would say almost impossible. This page will confine itself entirely to the Medium difficulty level.

There are differences between the XP version and the Windows 7 version. In XP there are restrictions on the ability to backtrack through the game. You cannot go back to a point earlier than the last deal or clearance of a whole suit. This makes the game potentially more difficult to win, but my impression is that the games in the XP version are intrinsically easier. This is difficult to assess. Another important difference is applicable to the saving of the games. The file formats are totally different.

I discovered by chance that a game appeared more than once, and so looked into it. It seems that on my PC at least, in the Windows 7 version of the program, the same games frequently appear again, but in the XP version I have not known a game to be repeated.

Saving and retrieving a Spider Solitaire game

The differences between the XP version and the Windows 7 version are particularly evident in regard to file saving. The XP version of the game allows games to be saved and retrieved manually at any time, but does not allow the filename to be specified, hence by default only one game is ever saved.

In both versions of Spider the essential method is to save the game, copy the saved file to a new name, and then when the game is required to be retrieved, rename it back to the default name.

This description will apply to the Windows 7 version of the game.

Set the options in Spider to "Always save game on exit" and "Always continue saved game". This has the effect of saving the game IF it has been started. (One move is sufficient). On newly opening Spider, it will load up the saved game if such a game exists. If not, it will use a new random game as it would normally.

To play a game, but also to save the game for subsequent replays of it, proceed as follows:

  • Start Spider
  • Make a single move
  • Exit
  • Find the saved file, copy it and rename the copy.
  • Start Spider again. (It should continue the game as it was when the program was exited).

To play a previously saved game proceed as follows:

  • Find the saved file, copy it and rename the copy to the default filename that Spider expects.
  • Start Spider. (It should load up the saved game).

 

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