Hocus Solitaire


Note: The image shown above is courtesy of Mike Mullins, one of our awesome testers. These are the new, fancy Euro-sized cards obtained from Printer Studio. Corey Young will be handing out TEN sets of these for FREE at Origins next week!

I've been so overwhelmed by work this week that I've neglected the blog. I'd like to cap off this week with a quick treat for those of you testing Hocus Poker. As always, you can find the PNP for Hocus Poker here. You can read the rules here.

Poker is such an incredible breeding ground of games. We have so many ideas for Hocus Poker we've had to put aside to focus on the BEST version of the game. But, something we'd love to see emerge is a home rule, variant driven community that loves to mod the game. To kickstart that, I created a twist on the classic game of Solitaire that uses Hocus Poker's cards.

My grandfather was one of the most influential people in my life. He loved to play cards. I would wake at 6 am at the ranch growing up to find him sitting at the couch, playing solitaire. He'd perk up and challenge me to a game of war. But, he'd always go back to solitaire. He just loved it. Inspired by this, I wanted to make a twist on Solitaire. Nothing ground breaking, but it meant something to me.

I began with the basic rules of solitaire, which I'll list here.

Setup: This is a game for a single person. You will need 48 Spirit cards from Hocus Poker.

  • Take the 48 Spirit cards (Froggles, Goblins, Ghosts, Hexis) for Hocus Poker and shuffle them.
  • Deal the cards in front of you in 7 columns. The left most column should have a single card. Each subsequent column should have 1 more card. Ex: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 cards.
  • Set any remaining cards above the column in a face down pile, or hold them in your hand. This is your reserve.
  • Flip the top card of each column face up.

The Goal: The goal of the game is to have an ascending stack of each suit, so 1-12 for each, each with their own foundation.

Playing: There are no rounds or turns in the game. You can do the following actions in any order until you win or lose. You lose when you're unable to take one of these actions.

  • You may place a 1 of each Suit on one of four foundations above the columns. Only one suit may be placed on a foundation, and they must be sequential in ascending order.
  • You may draw the top 3 cards of the reserve and place them on top of one another. You can do these, 3 cards at a time, until the reserve runs out. If you want to draw again, pick the reserve up, preserve its order, and deal from the top again.
  • You may move the TOP card of the dealt reserves onto the top card of any of the columns. Cards must be placed in descending order (ex: 12, 11, 10, 9). Cards of the same suit cannot be placed sequentially (ex: I cannot place a 12 of Goblins followed by an 11 of Goblins. A 12 of Goblins followed by an 11 of Ghosts is legal.)
  • You can move the TOP card of a column onto the top card of any of the other columns. You must follow the same two rules listed in the previous bullet.
  • You can move any number of sequential cards in a column to any of the other columns. All of the cards moved must be sequentially ordered obeying the rules listed in the previous bullets and their placement must be legal. (ex: I can move a legal 9, 8, 7 onto a 10. The 10 and the 9 can't be matching suits.)
  • If a column is empty, you may move a 12 (or any number of legal sequential cards beginning with a 12) into the open space. You always have 7 possible columns.
  • Whenever the top card of a column is face down, you immediately flip the card face up.

Essentially, you are trying to manage your cards to create descending stacks in the hopes that you can create ascending stacks in the foundation. Everything above is standard, except no suits may match. In traditional solitaire, it's a matter of color, as in you cannot place sequential reds or sequential blacks.

Here are the tweaks for Hocus Solitaire. These rules are unique to the Suits and ONLY trigger when you're using the top card, either of the reserve OR a column.

  • Goblin Hoard: Once per column, you may match two matching strengths sequentially as long as the second card is a Goblin. (Ex: I can place a 6 of Goblins onto a 6 of Ghosts. This can only be used once per column!)
  • Ghost Float: Ghosts can be placed within a column and don't need to be placed at the top of a column. (Ex: I move the 10 of Ghosts off the reserve and tuck him above the 9 of Froggles.)
  • Froggle Friendship: Froggles MUST be placed sequentially with other Froggles. Note that this is an exception to the rule that matching suits cannot be placed sequentially. Remember, this is ONLY if the top card is a Froggle.
  • Hexis: Your score is the highest Strength Hexis on a foundation. Typically, it'll be very low, or a 12.

I've played about 10 times and tweaked it. The above SEEMS to provide a challenging experience with a few neat twists. I'll keep testing as we go.

Enjoy, and tell me what you think!

You can find the PNP for Hocus Poker here. You can read the rules here.