Spider is a challenging (and time-consuming) game using two decks which was supposedly the favorite solitaire of FDR. While Spider has the usual objective of arranging all suits in order, Spider does not provide a stack for each suit to be assembled in. Instead, the suits must be ordered in the building stacks and are then moved to a discard pile. The game is won when all cards in both decks are in the discard pile. Stacks in Spider can be built with any suit, but multiple cards moved between stacks must all have the same suit. Several non-standard options have been implemented to make the game less daunting for beginners.
There are four areas of the screen: Building Stacks There are ten building stacks which occupy the bottom half of the screen. Only the top card of each stack is face up, with the others being turned over when the card above them is removed. An empty building stack can accept any card. The default number of cards initially in the building stacks is six for the first four stacks and five for the remainder. These values can be varied, with a smaller number resulting in an easier game.
The stock is found in the upper left corner of the screen and contains the cards which are not initially in the building stacks. When there are no more possible moves in the building stacks, clicking on the stock will deal an additional card to each building stack.
The discard pile is located to the right of the button panel and is initially empty. All thirteen cards in a suit can be moved to the discard pile if they are arranged in descending rank from king to ace. (An ordered suit will be moved automatically unless the automatic moving option is turned off.) The game is won when all four suits for both decks have been moved to the discard pile.
If the "# of free cells" option in the options windows is set to a non-zero value, the free cells will appear on the right side of the upper row. The free cells are used to temporarily hold a card from a building stack. Up to four free cells can be used. The free cells are an original modification and are not found in the standard rules of Spider.
To move a card, click on the card (which will highlight it) and then click on the destination. Clicking on a card below the top will select all cards from the clicked card to the stack top if the cards have the same suit and are in descending order. Clicking twice on a stack selects all cards in descending order with the same suit. The term natural build is defined as a sequence of cards with the same suit at the top of a building stack in which each card's rank is one less than that of the card above it. The following rules indicate how cards can be moved between stacks: A card at the top of a building stack or free cell can be placed on top of another stack if the card's rank is one less than the rank of the card at the stack top. The suit of the cards does not matter. A natural build can be moved to another building stack if the card at the top of the destination stack has a rank one more than that of the highest ranking card in the natural build. Any card at the top of a building stack or natural build can be moved to an empty building stack. Any card at the top of a building stack can be moved to an empty free cell (if free cells are used.) Clicking on the stock will move a card from the stock to each building stack (if the stock does not become empty first.) Each stack must contain at least one card before a card from the stock is added to it (unless the allow empty spaces before draw option is set.) A natural build containing all thirteen cards in the suit can be moved to the discard pile. (This will be done automatically unless the automatic moving option is turned off.)
If you are unfamiliar with the game, play with beginner-friendly options until you have a feel for the strategies used in Spider. These options are using free cells, a small number of cards initially in the building stacks, and allowing kings on aces and empty spaces before dealing. Try to rearrange the stacks so that the length of the natural builds is maximized. If cards are swapped between stacks, a free cell can be used to temporarily hold one of the moved cards. If free cells are not used, or more than one card is to be swapped, an empty building stacks must be created. At least two empty spaces must be used if significant rearrangement is to be performed. After drawing cards from the stock, do not make the first move you see. Hold back and try to figure out the optimal way to deal with the new cards. Undo is your friend. Don't be afraid to use it.
Click on the button labeled options to bring up a dialog box with the following settings: # of cards in stacks This option determines the number of cards initially in the building stacks. The default is six in the first four stacks and five in the remainder. The number can be varied from between 2 and 7. A smaller number will result in a more winnable game. A new game must be started for this option to take effect.
# of free cells
This option sets the number of free cells. The free cells will appear on the right side of the upper row. Up to four free cells can be used. Using free cells will facilitate rearrangement of the stacks into natural builds. Allow unfilled spaces before draw Setting this checkbox will not require that all building stacks contain at least one card before accepting a card from the stock. Allow kings on aces If this option is set, the ranks will wrap around and kings can be placed on aces. Normally, no card can be placed on top of an ace.