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Squaressi Kings

Contributed by Bill Perkins (bilihara@agora.rdrop.com)

Introduction

SQUARESSI KINGS is a variation of a game named KINGS IN THE CORNERS. I learned to play KINGS IN THE CORNERS when I was about 13 years old and not long after I came up with this variation of a game by playing it to the opposites of the original game. I believe that it has a little better play in playing it because it has more room for strategy unlike KINGS IN THE CORNERS which is a bit more easy and regular paced. Both are competitive patience games for multiple players. Try it and see for yourself. I highly recommend it.

IF YOU ALREADY CAN PLAY A GOOD "KINGS IN THE CORNERS" GAME SIMPLY CHANGE IT WITH THESE PROVISIONS:

  1. The first 4 face-up cards are dealt to the corners of the stock, and the Kings, when available at ones prerogative, (in contrast to immediate play) are placed on any of the open 4 sides of the pile when one wants to.
  2. It is permissible to draw more than one card in a turn (to get a matching play to the tableau).
  3. You must play at least one card to the tableau in your turn, unless the stock runs out and you have no playable cards.
  4. There is no scoring: the first player to run out of cards wins outright. (Of course a second or third place finish in the game also counts).

NOTE: This may very well be all you need then to start playing SQUARESSI KINGS and if not clear now please read the following for the definitive game:

BASIC AND AVERAGE PLAY:

THE PLAYERS AND THEIR CARDS:

There can be two or more players. The game is said to be good for two players as well as maybe four and perhaps as many as five can play it. A standard 52 card pack is used. For SQUARESSI KINGS the cards rank K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A (ace low). At the start of a game scenario the players need to decide how many hands will be played to get an overall winner. In the game players need to police and referee each other in case a misplay/mistake happens in contrast with these rules that needs to be corrected.

THE DEAL:

The first dealer is chosen at random and the turn to deal passes clockwise after each hand. I suggest shuffling the cards at least 6 times before playing and between gamerounds. Deal seven cards to each player. Put the rest of the cards facedown in the center of table with its 4 corners pointing North, East, South, and West respectively to form the stock. Flip four cards face up from the stock, and place them North, East, South, and West from the stockpile, to start four foundation piles.

THE PLAY:

Players take turns clockwise, starting with the player to dealer/s left. At your turn, you may take any number of the following types of move:

  1. Play a card from your hand on one of the foundation piles. The card you play must be the next lower in rank and opposite in color. EXAMPLE: Playing a black 10 on a red Jack. The cards on the foundation piles are overlapped slightly so that all can be seen in their sequences. Since aces are the lowest cards, nothing can be played on a foundation pile that has an ace on top.
  2. Place a King from your hand to start a new foundation pile in an empty space on one of the four square sides of the tableau (with respect to the stock: NE, SE, NW, SW).
  3. Move an entire foundation pile onto another foundation pile if the bottom card of the moving pile is one rank lower and opposite in color to the top card of the pile you are moving it onto. EXAMPLE: a pile consisting of black 3- red 2 may be moved on top of a pile consisting of red 6- black 5- red 4.
  4. Play any card from your hand to any of the original (N, E, S, W) foundation piles that has become empty (because the card(s) that were originally in it have been moved to another pile).

If you manage to play all the cards from your hand, you have won, and any more than 2 players in the game continue play for second place finisher, etc. (if any other positions of finishing). A player in turn must fill the requirement of playing at least one card to the tableau each turn. If it is the endgame when all the cards have been exhausted from the stock only then may he pass in play and choose not to play at least one card for a play. If he has no matching card/s in his hand at the start of his turn he must draw from the stock a required number of card/s to get at least one match. Then he may proceed to play his turn as in the above requirement for a turn. Cards may only be added to a hand by drawing from the stock. Cards may only be subtracted from a hand by playing them to the tableau.

If in the original layout a King is dealt on any of the original foundation piles (N, E, S, W), it can be moved to a side position of the stock. The player to the left of the dealer will have the benefit of making this move and playing a card from hand to replace the moved King.

It may also happen that one of the dealt foundation cards will immediately fit on another, being one rank lower and of opposite color. In this case the player of the left of the dealer will be able to move this card and replace it with a card from their hand.

If the center stock runs out, play continues without drawing. In the circle of the players in the game a full rotation between the players of play may be permitted at such a time in the endgame without a play of a card/s from any players hand. After that in the next rotation one must perforce play a card/s for a turn as well as any other player in such a situation in the case of an endgame if it so continues.

Players may hold back any card/s they wish in the course of a game for their own strategy.

The play ends after someone manages to get rid of all the cards from their hand and any other placing finishers do the same and go out if more than two players are playing the game. An impasse reached where the stock has run out and everyone is unable to play any further cards is not to be entertained nor does it ever necessarily figure in any case of a game. It may well be understood that normal play allows that all players may conveniently play all their cards from their hands to a games tableau until just one player is left in the game as the last place finisher.

For each completed sequence in the game from King to Ace they may be condensed into their own packet of cards and turned backside up on its foundation space when finished as a "book". For best strategy a player should play any ace in his hand when available in this level of the game.

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL OF PLAY

To be an intermediate level player one should master the forms of play known by the word as "INSERTS".

An INSERT is a card that is played up in sequence to another arm of the tableau when one of the original 4 foundation card or cards are removed from the tableau resulting in a GAP. (Such as what would result when the pile of black 3- red 2 got moved in a previous example). More than one GAP is possible in practice of play at any one time in a given game. EXAMPLE: There is a GAP in the tableau with one of the 4 starter foundations in the game. In another arm of the tableau are a short run of a 5 of Hearts and a 4 of Clubs. The present player has a 6 of Spades and plays it as an INSERT in back of the 5 of Hearts to make a sequence of 6 of Spades, 5 of Hearts and 4 of Clubs. He finds a 7 of Hearts in his hand and so may continue playing card backs and INSERT it behind the 6 of Spades. INSERT card plays in such a sequence are, in effect, playing up in ranks with the game as compared with the more often practiced playing in descending order which is more typical.

A GAP may be kept open for making INSERTS in the game until a GAPFLLER card replaces the once vacant space foundation. A good example of such a GAPFILLER card may be an Ace of any kind or an alternate play of 3 or more cards in sequence for a good strategy. No further INSERTS may then be permitted in the game unless another GAP opens later on in it. INSERT cards are not allowed to be played when all the 4 starter foundations are occupied with cards that are GAP FILLERS. Several GAPS may be kept open for making INSERTS in the game until all the GAPS are filled with GAP FILLER cards and then no more INSERTS are permitted unless another GAP or GAPS open later on in the game.

squaressi kings diagram

ADVANCED OR EXPERT LEVEL OF PLAY

Advanced or expert level of play is mostly a set of good and best strategies to give the player a possible advantage in playing SQUARESSI KINGS. Strangely enough many of these good strategies may also be used in playing its variation KINGS IN THE CORNERS.

When you have lots of cards in your hand arrange them in sequences for play when available and consider that with more cards there may be perhaps more chances for play and if lucky an advantage when put into practice.

Hold onto some cards and digress from playing them immediately in your first opportunity: such may be beginning player's mistakes. When it means you have an advantage without having to draw cards for a match in a turn and your opponent/s will have to draw for theirs it may be considered a success. A King card is a typical example for a holdback.

When your opponent/s have more cards in their hands and you have less than they do on the average you may be that much more ahead of them and able to go out of the game before them. Play accordingly for best effect.

CONTROL CARDS: As certain cards are played to the tableau the duplicate same color cards that come into your hand may be sorted to one side of it as CONTROL CARDS. These are pairs of the same color and the same numbers or perhaps 3 or 4 of the same numbers, which in effect, which may be, called CONTROL CARDS. They may easily control parts in the rest of the game of play by perhaps controlling connections of sequences. Also cards that in the course of play that may only conveniently be played by your opponents in relation with the CONTROL CARDS you may have in your hand at any one time may figure. Holding on to them and playing them judiciously will give the player certain possible advantage/s in effect if played correctly and successfully. Of course if you don't play them when you need to they can't do you any good. It takes finesse and between 2 players trying to do the same the best one has it. Sometimes just a couple well used CONTROL CARDS used at the right time in relation to a game may be enough to decide it in ones favor. I've seen it happen. Try playing with the CONTROL CARDS method. I recommend it.

If you are playing with the CONTROL CARDS in your hand you may find that other sequences you may arrange in your hand that connect with one or more of them figure as CONTROL SEQUENCES. Playing the sequences to the tableau as normal conduct of play for a turn as a player in the game will give one some possibilities if you hold on to the CONTROLLING END SEQUENCE CARD at one end of them and use it as a CONTROL CARD. Thereby you may thwart your opponents from connecting certain sequences in the game and playing certain cards for their side/s in the game.

When your opponent/s have an average of say less than about 3 cards in their hands you may do one of the following for good play:

  1. Play a low sequenced arm down to the ace thereby blocking your opponent/s by not allowing a change of cards for them to play to the tableau.
  2. Play just one card for your turn thereby allowing the least amount of change in cards in the tableau that may be possible and perhaps making it easier for your opponent/s to have to draw more cards and lengthening the games amount of time for play.

When only a few cards are left in the stock and it is your turn to go perhaps overdraw from it to get the cards you need to go out if you may manage it. I call this the SQUARING OFF part of the game. Sometimes it may be practiced sometimes in the endgame when perhaps opponent/s will have few cards in their hands. Expert players should expect it and play accordingly.

© Copyright Bill Perkins 1999, 2000, 2001

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Last updated 5th January 2002