The Ideal Game of Spider Solitaire Among Us

You and five friends wake up on a deserted island. Luckily you have brought two decks of cards and all your friends are fanatics of Among Us and Spider Solitaire. How would you design the rule-set for a Spider Solitaire Among-Us mashup?

I came up with the following:

  • There are four cool mates and two impostors. Both impostors know the identity of the other impostor.
  • Cool mates win by removing eight suits or by ejecting both impostors.
  • Impostors win by stalemate (i.e. eight suits are never removed) or ejecting enough cool mates to achieve numerical parity.
  • At each “turn” all players discuss what is the best move or sequence of moves (it is not necessary to turnover one or more cards). Cards can only be moved after unanimous agreement by all remaining players.
  • Any player can call an ejection(*) if they believe someone is acting stupid.
  • You can call ejections as many times as you want! Beware that calling too many ejections without purpose will likely result in yourself “winning” an ejection
  • If an ejection is called, all active players have a minute to vote to eject any player of their choice or pass. The player with most votes gets ejected. Ties mean nobody gets ejected.

(*) We all know it should be “emergency meeting” but I can’t resist the bad pun!

Sanity Checking

To verify these rules are reasonable one can observe the following:

  • If the game is “guaranteed winnable” regardless of the distribution of unseen cards then the cool mates can force a win (unless the impostors already have numerical parity). All they have to do is agree on the same winning move and eject anybody who suggests a move that doesn’t guarantee a win.
  • If the impostors achieve numerical parity with cool mates then they can easily force a stalemate by always voting to move no cards and voting for the same cool mate in every ejection.

Spider Solitaire Among Us in Real Life

Of course, in real life it is not really possible to get an ideal game of Spider Solitaire Among Us. I can’t pull 6 random people off the street and demand they be expert players with plenty of spare time on their hands, so during the last few weeks I had to compromise somewhat by playing multiple roles of blogger, cool mate, impostor etc. On the other hand, it should be feasible to convert any solo-player game into an Among Us mashup – particularly if the game is already popular. For instance, you can have six Chess or Backgammon friends play as a team against an AI. If you’re really mad, I guess you can have two Chess teams of six players each but with one impostor per side. You’re really only limited by your imagination. Anything goes as long as it obeys the laws of physics!

Any thoughts on how to play an ideal game of Spider Solitaire Among Us are more than welcome!

3 thoughts on “The Ideal Game of Spider Solitaire Among Us

  1. I’m one of your loyal readers, and I don’t want your idea to be met with deafening silence. And yet… the problem doesn’t ring my chimes. A few years back, I played “The Resistance” several times, a game which includes secret bad guys and mostly good guys. I think maybe it was the start of a series of games of that kind. There is no judgment from a complicated game like Spider involved, just some secret decisions. I was OK at it back then. I tried to play it again a couple years ago and was hopelessly confused (partly I was playing with a group of young, very sharp people, partly I’m not as sharp as I used to be.) But putting that basic “among us” concept on top of a game of spider was… not something I actively enjoyed. I enjoyed the Spider itself, most of the time. So making it yet more complicated isn’t an idea I relish.

    I suppose in part you are looking for a theoretical solution even if it’s not practical, so here are a few thoughts.

    One thing you sort of imply is that the moles can consult with each other — for instance in deciding to vote to eject the same cool mate each time (I assume voting was simultaneous, but not secret — you know who cast which vote). In the Resistance, if I recall, the bad guys cannot have any secret conversations. No one can, in fact.

    It seems that calling an “ejection” could be quite perilous unless you discuss things beforehand and reach near consensus, because it would seem by chance alone you might get one of either the good guys or the bad guys ejected. And then the trick for the bad guys is to never make a move so bad that it leads the others to a consensus.

    But on the whole my interest isn’t so great. Spider judgment is hard enough, but there’s more judgment here. For a mole to give good advice when it is obvious is a good time for a mole to give to lead people astray, and yet deciding when there really is an important decision where you have an idea that seems reasonable but in fact would lead towards losing the game. It becomes in part a game of judging what’s going on the minds of your opponents, even the ones who are not the moles…

    There are various ways to make Spider more challenging. You could, for instance do it with your eyes closed, if you had a helper who told you what cards were uncovered, or which ones showed up in a deal. People do play blindfold chess. I wouldn’t touch it, because it’s all about memory — very complicated memory. But I’m sure there are some folks in the world who could do it.

    I find Spider, random deck, without the Z key plenty challenging as is.


    1. I agree the mashup of Spider Solitaire + Among Us is less than ideal. The fundamental problem is Spider is a game of “symmetrical information” e.g. Red knows there are exactly 32 cards exposed if and only if Blue knows the same. The genre of good guys vs impostors only really works with “asymmetrical information”. For instance in Among Us, only the impostors know the identity of other impostors. Another example of asymmetrical information is Poker since you can’t look at anyone else’s hand (but that’s not
      really an example of good guys vs bad guys).

      If you want asymmetrical information in Spider, you would need something like the impostors knowing the identity of some face-down cards – and it is likely none of us would enjoy that exercise 😛

      TLDR: I will take the blame for this one – I knew from the beginning it was a totally lame attempt at humour i.e. “this will almost certainly go wrong, but there’s only one way to find out” 😛


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