Red: Two easy “empties” but with no obvious follow-up. Best seems “ge,gd,if,ie,ie” guaranteeing two turnovers, but spurning the dopamine rush that comes with the temporary possession of two empty columns. Note that many columns rot13(fhpx), requiring us to spend both empties just for one turnover.
Green: We can also get two spaces in columns 5 and 6. Then we can turn over column 8 at the expense of only one empty column. I prefer “hd,ha,fd,fd,hd,ea,eb,hg” over Red’s decision. The Seven of Spades is an important card with several Sixes already in play.
Blue: Well spotted by Green. Actually further improvement is possible with: “hd,fj,fj,ha,hj,(d1=h3), hf” retaining the option of clearing column 5 and reaching the same position as Green – or an outside chance that something even better turns up. Note that the meaning of the “supermove” d1=h3 is easily guessable and I believe this notation shortcut becomes useful in future rounds when we have to handle a rot13(fuvgybnq) of cards.
A very good round. But there is still a lot of work to do – for both the good guys and the impostor!
Three columns sans face-down cards – check. Many turnovers – check. In-suit builds – check. Lady Luck – hmmm, even I haven’t figured out a way to get her on our side 100% of the time yet. And there is still that pesky impostor to deal with. Nevertheless, I would fancy our winning chances with expert play.
There have been no complaints about my “improved format”, including the happy star spoiler-blocker thingy inspired by that stupid short-story competition when my best efforts weren’t enough for even an Honorable Mention. I especially like how Bart and SA try to come to their own conclusions before consulting the Kolourfull Kibitzers. This is an excellent way to improve your game.
I was slightly concerned with the possibility that one or more rounds will involve lots of turnovers making for a very long blog post with many comments, but fortunately this didn’t eventuate (yet) with approximately 10 turnovers per round so far. Ergo, I have no need for any shenanigans like splitting a round into two separate blog posts etc.
It would be really awesome-on-a-triple-word-score-plus-fifty-points-bonus-for-using-all-seven-letters if Bart/SA could make an effort to encourage other readers to join in, but that may be asking too much. At least we didn’t finish this round with a horrible Spider GM joke (with the stop-it-dad meme) so things are looking up!
Green: I’ll start with the obvious: “jc,fj,fd” yields three in-suit builds. We have two guaranteed turnovers, including the important column 6 if we can’t clear column 7.
Red: The good cards are 2,4,5,6,7,9,J,K (i.e. allow at least one more turnover). If we wish to turnover column 4 then column 6 must wait because the 2-A in column 4 is off-suit. Therefore “jc,fh,fd” costs a turnover if we get a Four. But “df,di” costs a turnover if we get a Seven. Oh well, so much for over-analysing the situation – “jc,fj,fd” it is.
Blue: Over-analysis FTW! I prefer “df,dc,jd,fj,fj”. This leaves column 4 atomic, which would not be possible if we went the Captain Obvious option. Admittedly this exposes an Ace – but if our next card were bad, we have to expose an Ace anyway.
Actual play (decision 13, 10 Oct): df,dc,jd,fj,fj → 8 of Hearts
Green: Not much to say here. Move “di”
Blue: “di” is correct. Taking a turnover in column 9 is horrible, exposing another Ace and destroying flexibility.
Red: “di” is obvious. The real decision probably comes later when we have no more turnovers and must improve as much as possible before dealing a new row.
Actual play (decision 14, 12 Oct): di → 2 of Spades
Actual play (decision 15, 13 Oct): dh → K of Diamonds (trivial)
Somebody (sotto vote): rot13(shpx)!
Blue: Who said that? Not me! I vote “gb,gd,fg”. Two (potential) empty columns are better than one!
Green: Me neither. “gb,gd,ag,ae” is a strong alternative – as is often the case we can “sell” an empty column for a turnover plus an in-suit build. It also makes future turnovers in column 1 easier. We could build in-suit with 3s-2s in column 9 but at the cost of exposing the Ace of Diamonds. I don’t like that at all.
Red: I didn’t say rot13(shpx). I vote “gj,gd,fg,ch” – may as well build in-suit in Spades before we forget to do it later! This wins an extra turnover if the next card is a Six. If it’s not a Six then we at least retain the option of “be” next turn, which may be useful once the Kings and Jacks which are very likely to appear soon.
Actual play (decision 16, 15 Oct): gb,gd,fg → 9 of Hearts (SA and Bart go with Blue)
Blue: Great card! But we still have to take maximum advantage of our strong position. I like the simple “gf,jg”
Red: “gf,jg” for me also. I don’t like “gf,dg” because shifting a King negates the advantage of digging in a column with two face-down cards.
Green: Groupthink wins this time. With two empty columns we are not forced into a last-minute decision re columns 1 or 9. I also vote “gf,jg”.
Actual play (decision 17, 17 Oct): fa,ga,ea,ef → 4 of Hearts (Bart’ choice. SA suggested fa,af,ae, but Random Number Generator likes Bart’s choice)
Green: I vote “eb”
Blue: Not much argument. “ib,ie” is horrible, exposing an Ace just for the sake of tidying up the 3-2 of Spades. “eb” it is.
Red: Not to mention that loses the option of “gd”. I also vote “eb”. Note that we don’t lose the option of “ba” since we still have a Six in column 10.
Actual play (decision 18, 19 Oct): eb → 10 of Spades (too easy)
Green: I vote “eg”. It’s tempting to tidy up with “hb”, but then we risk polluting a column that doesn’t contain a king. Better to play long-term instead of cashing in a few in-suit builds.
Red: “hb, he, hf, hg, fh, eh, ef” for me. If the next card rot13(fhpxf) then we must take the opportunity to tidy up Q-J-T of Hearts now or never. Also, we are more likely to draw a Seven than a Three. Obviously we must break T-9 of Spades in case the next card is a Jack.
Blue: I like “hb, he, hf, hg, fh, eh, ah, af, ah”. This tidies up 7-6-5 in Spades and prepares to turn over many cards in Column 1 in the near future. The Five of Spades is useful since we are more likely to draw a Four than a Six.
Actual play (decision 19, 21 Oct): hb, he, hf, hg, fh, eh, ef → 4 of Clubs.
Let’s see what the Kolorfull Kibitzers have to say:
Red: And it’s all over, bar the shouting and last-minute tidying up before dealing the next round. I vote “ie, cb, ah”
Blue: “ie, cb” is obvious and “ah” is good since we wanna increase our chances of getting that precious 5 of Spades. But what about adding “ec”? Probably not a good idea since if we get an off-suit Ace we would rather have junk on column 3 than column 5. “ie, cb, ah” it is.
Green: There may be some point in omitting “ah” on the theory that if we manage to shift the T-9-8-7 then we automatically get an in-suit build plus turnover in column 1. But that’s probably too clever by half if you pardon the terrible cliché. I’ll go with “ie, cb, ah” and leave the too-clever-by-half analysis to SA and Bart!
Actual play (decision 20, 23 Oct): ie, cb, ah → deal cards
And that completes the round. Round 1 summary and next round coming soon!
We managed to uncover 11 face-down cards in this round, which can be considered par assuming the same number of face-down cards are turned every round – this may be a strong assumption, but it does suggest our game is not terrible. We did not uncover an empty column but column 7 has no face-down cards which is nice. Most of our decisions were trivial so far, although the Kolorfull Kibitzers still managed to find ways to place themselves under suspicion. At least dealing a new row of cards now implies I don’t have to worry about having too many comments for a single blog post.
On the negative side, we didn’t manage to attract any new readers, but that’s not something I have control over. And the pun at the end wasn’t the greatest either.
The main interest centred on the format of the blog after discussion in the comments. My decisions included, but are not limited to: (1) include a screen dump after every new turnover (2) have screen dumps in chronological order instead of reverse-chronological order (3) SA’s last minute request to insert “spoiler-blockers” (for lack of better term) so he can analyse a game state independently with more chances of suggesting something stupid and (4) adding links to previous rounds – but obviously not applicable for round 0.
With the format of the blog sorted out we should now be in a position to focus on the Stuff That Is Important. With more cards in play (and not in numerically descending sequence!) I expect our decisions to be much more interesting and will give the three Kibitzers more chances to show off their true Kolors 😉
Thanks to Bart and SA for their valued contributions!
One quick question: as the blog creator I do not know how to add a new comment to my own blog post for some reason. I only know how to reply to an existing comment. Can I prove the WordPress editor is stupid if I look into the mirror at a 45-degree angle – or is it more straightforward than that?
Blue: I vote “fe”, building in-suit and turning over in a column with only four face-down cards.
Green: I like “dj”, also building in-suit and we have two Tens. Better to keep flexible and don’t commit all our efforts to a single column.
Red: I lean towards “fe” because we also have two Nines cancelling the effect of two Tens. But if someone flipped a coin and chose dj I wouldn’t say “coin is sus”.
Actual play (decision 1, 30 Sep): fe → 8 of Clubs (readers tie 1-1, blobs vote 2-1 in favour of fe)
Note: I had to rot13(haqb) a few moves because my readers requested a screen dump after every move.
Red: I’m tempted to dig further with “fa” but it’s better to build in-suit with “dj”
Green: Just take “dj”. With two aces exposed I’m not liking our chances of clearing column 6 any time soon
Blue: Remove one face-down card from column 6 and I might be swayed towards digging – “dj” it is.
Actual play (decision 2, 1 Oct): fa → 6 of Diamonds (readers vote 2-0 against Kolorfull Kibitzers)
Red: I vote “dj”. The alternative is gh but now the difference is 5 face-down cards versus 4 instead of 5 vs 3 in the previous move. May as well take the in-suit build.
Green: I agree with Red. Our prospects are good with three turnovers and odds-on to get at least one more.
Blue: I prefer “gh”. Even though it’s off-suit, KQ is still the best possible off-suit build because there is no rank higher than a King. In other words we never lose a turnover regardless of our next card.
Actual play (decision 3, 4 Oct): dj → 3 of Clubs (readers vote 2-0, Kolorfull Kibitzers vote 2-1)
Blue: “gh” is clearly best. The real question is whether we play the supermove “ac” or “ed” next unless something special happens with the next card
Red: “gh” it is. If the next card is A, 6, 8, T or Q of any suit then play “ac” next, since “ed” costs a turnover if we expose a Four.
Green: Play “gh”. Hopefully the next card is any Jack or any in-suit build (except Eight of Diamonds) giving us an easy decision.
Actual play (decision 4): gh → J of Hearts (Well done to SA who nearly guessed correctly with the J of diamonds!)
Actual Play (decision 5): gh → T of Hearts (trivial)
Actual Play (decision 6): gh → 5 of Spades (trivial)
Green: Just play “gf”. Even if we don’t get the empty column, having the last card in column 7 face-up is much better than having it face-down.
Red: I like “gf”. Any Seven doesn’t cost us a turnover because we already get the empty column!
Blue: I like the supermove “ah” since there are two Tens vs one Nine. If we can get an empty column then “ah” only delays our dopamine rush. The advantage is clear if column 1 reveals a Seven of any suit.
Actual play (decision 7): ah → 2 of Clubs (readers vote 2-0)
Blue: Another friendly card. Just build in-suit with “ad”.
Green: We may lose the empty column if the last card in Column 7 is a Two, but the chances are small. I also like “ad”.
Red: If we knew e.g. the next card in Column 10 was the Jack of Spades then there would be more incentive to chase the empty column. But here we must make the simple play of “ad”.
Actual play (decision 8): ad → 6 of Spades (unaminous)
Actual play (decision 9): ga → Q of Diamonds (trivial)
Actual play (decision 10): id → 3 of Spades (trivial)
Actual play (decision 11): ei → Q of Hearts
Blue: Deal a new row of cards.
Green: Not so fast. We have a supermove “he” to consider before dealing a new row. It increases our in-suit builds by 1. But I’d rather keep the junk pile in column 8 and deal.
Red: Come to think of it, I prefer “he”. Even if a King turns up in the next round, we have fair chances of good things happening in columns 2 or 7.
Actual play (decision 12): Deal cards (readers vote 2-0)
NOTE: This will be the final decision of round 0. Round 1 will see a fresh blog post in the same format as Round 0. If you have suggestions for improving this format, please let me know in the comments.
And that completes round 0. Now let us finish things off with a bad pun 😊
It’s official – after some robust discussion with my trusted readers Bart and SA, I have decided to abort the current game and start a new hand with only three coloured blobs instead of 12.
The rules are as follows:
The blobs shall be Red Blue and Green, all of whom are experts. One of them is an impostor (not a stooge since the “three stooges” pun no longer applies).
For each (non-trivial) decision, all three blobs will suggest a course of action and the readers have to choose the best or suggest their own.
You get 100 VP for removing all eight suits and 100 VP for ejecting the impostor. You can only eject someone after the game as ended (victory or resignation). Your final score is therefore gonna be 0, 100 or 200 VP. There is no reward for partial victory (e.g. removing only 2 suits) or minimising the number of moves.
There will be six rounds for this game: each round corresponds to dealing a row of 10 cards (including the initial position). We assume all six rounds are played since it is very rare that the game is mathematically lost before the last round.
There will be six blog posts, one per round. Each of these posts will be edited after each new decision, until a new round of cards is dealt. Each blog post will contain a pointer to the previous blog post. One can therefore think of a blockchain where each round corresponds to a block and each decision corresponds to an individual transaction. (Thanks to Bart for bringing up the possibility of using Blockchain as an analogy).
I will aim for two game-decisions per week – at least in the early stages. In later rounds a more careful analysis may be warranted (because there are more face-up cards in play and decisions are more likely to be “critical”, where a wrong play can have serious consequences). There may also be other “irrelevant” posts for my blog if something else turns up.
Looks like sharing files isn’t gonna work. Bart is now complaining of having three different google accounts for different purposes and he isn’t the only one logged in. Ergo, I will not play around with google-docs any further. If I had a thousand readers following this blog then maybe I can afford to throw Bart under the bus … okay maybe I could have phrased that better ☹
Instead, I have decided to have a spreadsheet summarising the state of play. There are 50 rows. Each row corresponds to an “action” which I define as a sequence of moves that reveals at least one more card (by turning over a face-down card or dealing from the stock). Note that clearing an empty column or removing a suit is not an action (unless you also happen to turnover a card). This is desirable because we know the maximum number of actions in a game is 50 – the game starts with 44 face-down cards and we deal six rounds, counting the initial ten face-up cards as our first action. If we win the game, then we must have exactly 50 actions. The converse is false since it is theoretically possible to reveal every card and still lose. But that’s a pathological situation most unlikely to occur. If you’re playing half-decent (and not a stooge), you can consider exposing all cards tantamount to winning.
Apologies for the lousy formatting but this will have to do for now.
Deal 3c 5s 2h 5d 9s 6c 6s As 2s Kh
hi -> 7d
bg -> 7c
fb -> Kc
db -> 9c
ia -> 9s
gh -> Jd
Deal 2s 6d 4c 3d 2c Td Js 7s 8h 9c
fg,ij,jg,jg -> Tc
The current spreadsheet has only ten rows filled. Obviously when we get to the middlegame I would have a similar spreadsheet but with less empty rows. That is assuming the card gods are kind enough to actually let us reach 30 actions! Therefore no “indexing” is necessary. If I update the spreadsheet after (say) every fifth action then you only need to read the latest blog post to say up to date.
For each action I have recorded whether each blob played the chosen action (blank), suggested a different action (other) or offered no action (pass). A question mark or indicates at least one of the readers flagged the blob as sus. A double question mark indicates very sus (since not all mistakes are created equal!). Note that most of the actions so far are trivial, so many cells will be blank.
I have not recorded (1) if a blob accuses another blob of being sus or (2) the moves of alternative actions. There is only so much information the spreadsheet can have without becoming too cluttered. Recording any extra information is the responsibility of my readers. For instance, you might wanna keep notes on which players are experts, novices or somewhere in between.
In other words, I will be responsible for updating the basic spreadsheet and my readers will keep private records on whatever additional information they think will be useful.
Note that no action does not imply failure to contribute. For instance, Red may (1) give a specific reason why Blue’s action is inferior or (2) say “our long term goal is XYZ”. Either of these can be a valuable contribution, even if Red fails to give a specific sequence of moves. Of course, it could also be a not-so-valuable contribution if Red is a stooge 😊
Please let me know if this is a viable plan. If yes, then now is a good time to point out any errors in the spreadsheet 😊
Bart suggested I can use a google-doc so anyone can edit it. I s’pose I had better go with the flow to avoid howls of “Spider GM is SUS”.
Here is an embed link for a word document. Please bear in mind I am learning Google Docs for the first time, on top of attempting to mash up Among Us (App Store, not BoardGameGeek) with Spider Solitaire for the first time. At the risk of quoting someone else’s famous last words, what could possibly go wrong? 😊
Here’s a video of someone claiming it’s the smartest he has been in Among Us.
I have no idea what’s going on, but for some reason I did find it amusing. I suspect I would be absolutely terrible at games involving social deduction, and Jack would be equally terrible at Solitaire card games.
WARNING: contains coarse language
Hopefully we can return to some actual Spider Solitaire content soon …
In view of recent developments, I think it would be wise to review the proceedings so far. I also intend to have similar reviews in future for this game, if my readers are happy with that.
One possible problem is when the number of game-related posts increases it will become important to index these posts for ease of reference. It is easy enough for the blog author to locate said posts (WordPress automatically takes care of the indexing), but I just realised (AFAIK) readers don’t get the same luxury. Obviously I don’t wanna force my readers to get a WordPress account just to find out if this really is an issue or not. Ergo, I have decided to summarise the game proceedings into a single post.
Admittedly I am making things up as I go along, but that tends to happen when you mash up 4SSS sans Z-key with Among Us with absolutely no clue if this concept is going to work or not 😊
IMPORTANT: If you think there is anything missing from the following review, please let me know ASAP before I proceed.
Another question: is the pace of this blog too fast, too slow or just right? Obviously I have to take into account that readers are trying to work out who is sus on top of finding the correct moves!
Game score (moves without comments indicate trivial decisions):
Move hi → 7d
Move bg → 7c
Move fb → Kc
Move db → 9c
Bart says: db is White’s idea seconded by Purple and Orange. Previously, Blue/Purple/Yellow made easy decisions.
SA says: make the next two moves automatically if the turned-over cards are useless
Move ia → 9s
Move gh → Jd
Move fg,ij,ig,jg → Tc
Bart says: Orange’s “fg,ij,ig” was not quite precise. White’s “turnover column 4 or 5” is bad. Brown’s “ij,if” is much better than White, close to Orange’s option and a good move. Red is terrible (*) Purple correctly objects to Blue’s “bg,bg,bi”, Dark Green suggested illegal move of turning over column 1, Black’s “ij,bh,bh,bj” is fairly bad. Pink doesn’t see Dark Green’s illegality.
If criterion was “in favour of clearly inferior plan” then Black/White/Blue/Red/Dark/Green/Pink are sus.
(*) Spider GM meant to say Red didn’t suggest any move sequence such as “hi,hi” but was only mentioning the future possibility of building a complete Spade suit.
SANITY CHECK: The current game state should be as follows: