Game on (18 April 2021)

The obvious option is to clear all the cards in column 6 and then turn over a card in Column 2. We can improve this plan slightly by turning over column 2 first since the empty column isn’t running away regardless of the new card. Clearly the minimum guaranteed turnovers is 2.

A closer look reveals that we can obtain two turnovers in a completely different manner. We get the empty column, then dump the Eight of Spades in column 8 into column 6. This gives us two turnovers in columns 7 and 8.

Well done to Bart for finding both options.

One problem with the second plan is we will have an off-suit 8-7 in Column 6 so it will be much harder to recover the empty column. Also, the Three of Clubs is not as useful as it looks. There are plenty of Threes left in the deck and two of the Deuces are in a junk pile in Column 3 anyway. Yes, the obvious plan reveals an Ace, but we have plenty of Twos floating around. Still one can argue that in a poor position it makes sense to play for “best-case scenarios” and any Nine puts us right back in the game.

It’s hard to judge. Rot13(shpx vg). I’ll just roll the dice, or more precisely, use the Random Number Generator on my phone. RNG votes for the funky play. Funky play it is.

It’s time for the second knowledge bomb from this blog:

If you use the random number generator and lose you can at least blame the results on something other than what’s in the mirror

Knowledge Bomb from Edifying Thoughts of a Spider Solitaire Addict

We get the Ten of Spades. No turnover but at least we can use Column 4 and avoid having an off-suit 8-7 in Column 6. We get the Six of Spades, Three of Diamonds and Three of Hearts. That’s too many Threes so we don’t get our empty column back! But at least we have no more face-down cards in column 8 and from the previous knowledge bomb we know there is a fair chance of column 8 becoming a new free space in the future. At least we can get an extra turnover in column 7, but that gives us an offsuit 8-7 in column 6 – so now any Nine would be “right card wrong timing”. Them’s the breaks, if you pardon the terrible cliché.

Still, our position could have been a lot worse. How would you continue?

2 thoughts on “Game on (18 April 2021)

  1. From two weeks ago, I’m still baffled by the revelation, “An empty column will never contain face-down cards for the remainder of the game.”

    Back to the game. Interesting to see how it developed. We had two guaranteed turnovers, but only took one of them before that other series of cards was revealed. So now we’re down to taking our second turnover that we had planned on from the beginning — or a replacement.

    We could turn over column 1 instead, and in fact that allowing “ah” move is appealing for a variety of reasons. it leaves column h in-suit, and it reveals a 5 steppingstone.

    After “ah”, we have steppingstones of 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. That hints at considerable clean-up even without a space, and indeed we can do that.

    But after the clean-up, turn column a or g? In “a” we’re digging in a 4-card pile instead of a 2-card pile, and getting another space is higher priority. I think “g” is clearly better, but surely “undo” might reveal “a” is a better option.

    But first the clean-up. I’m not claiming to put it all together confidently (can’t think that far ahead), but I think we can do these things (or at least some of them):

    1. Instead of 7 of hearts on the 8 of spades, do the 7 of diamonds from column i, so the 78 of hearts is in-suit in column i.

    2. Move that 6 of hearts from column a onto that 7 of hearts to extend the in-suit run.

    3. We could move the 3-6 in column c, but I’d rather not and instead leave that 7 free for use as a steppingstone next time. You’ve said a few times how column c is really pretty bad news with ‘dead end’ vibes, and I agree.

    4. I would however like to move the 2-5 from column e onto our spare 6 (now in column a). That lets us put the 56 of spades together, A2 of hearts together, the 23 of clubs together. Can’t move the 4 of spades, but in the future we can hope to, as there is a receiving 5 of spades in column i, not too deep. (I have a glimpse of the idea that this might be incompatible with doing the “a” column turnover instead of “g”, but it’s late… If so, another reason to do the “g” turnover.)

    Note: We have all the hearts showing except the 4, and none of them are TOO badly hidden. Highly speculative for removing a suit but worth moving in that direction, and it all starts with the king in column e.

    As for order, we’re going to use up our 8 and 6 steppingstones. So we do step 1 before 4. So steps in order 1, 2, 4. Then do the turnover with gc and hope.

    Though I probably got at least a detail or two wrong, in addition to whatever shortcomings in strategy.


  2. Sorry for any confusion, but first of all, “knowledge bomb” is basically a Cracking-The-Cryptic in-joke: Simon or Mark often likes to point out a bleedingly obvious fact which is useful because of blah blah blah.

    If you have something like 8-5 off-suit in a column then you only need two good cards (9 and 6) somewhere to get an empty space. Conversely, if you don’t have a 9 and 6 then at least you know you’re not getting the empty column immediately – in other words you don’t have to trash your position chasing something that isn’t there.

    But if you had ?-5 in a column where ? represents a face-down card then it’s much harder to plan ahead for the empty column. Perhaps it’s a 4-5 in which case moving the 5 automatically takes care of the 4, or the last card could be the dreaded King of any suit 🙂

    In other words, our first knowledge bomb is useful because it makes it easier to plan for getting empty columns.

    Hopefully that should clear things up


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