Scorpion solitaire is another exciting addition to our patience game cannon. A true solitaire is a fun, strategic game that starts off with more cards revealed from the outset, giving you greater freedom to plan ahead. But be careful, there are still plenty of opportunities to make a dangerous mistake!
In this article, we’ll teach you how to set up a game of scorpion, how to play (in accordance with its various rules), and how to win – with some excellent top tips.
If you already know what it takes to get to grips with scorpion solitaire and simply want to get playing, you can find free scorpion solitaire games ready to play right here on our website.
The Goal of Scorpion Solitaire
Before you start playing scorpion solitaire free online, it’s best to know how to win! The goals are simple, taking the ‘foundations’ of Klondike solitaire and approaching them with a slight twist.
In short, the goal of scorpion solitaire is to take 52 shuffled cards and rearrange them back into order, by making four foundations (one from each suit) that run from king down to ace.
In order to explain that further, we’re going to need to do a quick rundown on some of the terminology. If you’re new to patience games, you might not have heard the term Klondike before, it’s simply another name for the ‘classic’ type of solitaire popularized in the nineties by Microsoft.
Klondike usually features seven piles of cards on the table, with the ultimate goal of moving these cards to create four new piles; each of a single suit and ascending from ace to king. These four plies are what we refer to as the foundations. Once you’ve completed all your foundations, you’ve won the game.
Scorpion solitaire has the same objective, but in reverse. Your foundations will still have to be of one suit each, but running in descending order from king to ace. Also unlike classic solitaire, you’ll be preparing them directly on the tableau. What’s a tableau? Let’s take a glance at our glossary.
Scorpion Solitaire Terms
Tableau – The tableau is where most of the action happens. In classic solitaire it’s made up of seven piles and features some cards turned over, some facing the player. In most solitaires, you’ll be taking the cards facing you and arranging them in columns of a specific order (descending, and switching between red and black, for example). You’ll then look to move the columns between the different piles so that you free up those overturned cards. The particular order can vary between games. The number of piles in the tableau also varies between game types.
Foundations – as mentioned above, these are four piles of cards, one for each suit, which the player looks to build in a particular order. In order to complete these piles, you’ll have to free up those unavailable cards on the tableau. Often, once the foundations are completed, a game of solitaire is won.
Draw – once you’ve ran out of moves, you can add fresh cards from a draw pile which consists of the remaining deck. The amount of remaining cards depends on how many are in play on the tableau from the game’s setup. In scorpion solitaire, you’ll only have three cards left to use. These three ‘lives’ can create exciting opportunities once in play.
Waste – the waste is the pile where your draw cards go when they cannot be played. Once all draw cards are in the waste, you can flip it over to create a new draw pile.
Rank – the number (or figure) ascribed to the card. For the sake of most solitaire games, the highest rank is king, the lowest is ace.
Runs – also called cascades, meaning the columns of forward facing cards on the tableau that are arranged in a particular order.
Patiences – a category of card games in which solitaires are a member.
Klondike – the ‘classic’ layout of solitaire known to most people.
Scorpion Solitaire Rules
With these terms understood, we can go over the particular rules of scorpion solitaire.
Scorpion solitaire uses a single deck of fifty two cards and features four foundations corresponding to each suit.
Foundations in scorpion solitaire run in descending order – meaning king down to ace.
Foundations have to be completed on the tableau. This means that the runs you make will eventually serve as your foundations. A completed tableau will feature four piles corresponding to each suit, in comparison to traditional solitaire where foundations are completed away from the table.
Because of this, cards can only be moved between piles on the tableau if they are directly one rank below and are of the same suit. When a card is moved, all cards underneath it must move with it.
Once a table-facing card has no more cards under it, it can be turned over and therefore put into play.
If you can no longer move any cards, you’ll have to draw from the pile of three remaining cards. Depending on your chosen variant, these will either be placed directly at the base of the first three columns, or can be drawn upon one at a time as in Klondike solitaire.
If you can no longer make any more moves, even when using your draw pile, you have lost the game.
Layout for a Scorpion Solitaire Free Game
As we referenced in our introduction, part of what makes scorpion such an exciting, strategic game is the fact that you can see the suit and rank of so many of the cards to begin with, and plot your moves accordingly.
The layout employs an entire deck of cards, fielded onto seven piles of seven cards each to make up your tableau. The amount of cards turned over is unique and varies by column. Here’s a brief guide to setting up.
Take your deck of cards and shuffle them. You can do this seven times if you want to achieve maximum randomness. Take out any jokers if you have a new pack.
Start putting cards onto your tableau - here’s the unique bit. Place down seven cards in a row, the first four facing away from you, and the final three facing towards you. This is the start of your tableau.
Below this row of cards, place another seven in the same configuration. To save space and to make faster moves later, allow them to overlap onto the cards above.
Create one more row with this configuration. This should leave a total of three rows in which the first four cards in each column face away from you, and the last three face towards you.
From then on, until there are seven cards in each column, fill out the remaining rows with every card you place facing towards you.
You’ll be left with three remaining cards. These will be your draw pile, so place them to one side facing away from you.
As with all solitaire games, we’d advise you do this on a flat surface that allows for plenty of space if possible. Of course, when you play scorpion solitaire online, we do all the setting up for you!
Strategy for Free Scorpion Solitaire Card Game
All solitaire games are about freeing up those hidden cards so you are able to complete the foundations. A traditional game of Klondike will have four components to consider:
Moving cards from the draw pile onto the tableau.
Moving cards around on the tableau.
Moving cards from the tableau onto the foundations.
Moving cards directly from the draw pile onto the foundations.
With scorpion solitaire, all the action is going to take place on the tableau. You have to plan your moves with a specific focus on creating runs of cards and moving them around in order to free up those table-facing cards. You’ll also be relying far less on your draw pile, as there are only three cards available for you to use.
While we consider all that larger context to be important for a beginner, we thought we’d put together a series of quick instructions for those more familiar with games of patience. Here’s a quick guide to play scorpion solitaire online free and with a physical deck.
Scorpion solitaire – Play Free Online
Visit our site and select scorpion solitaire.
Click on a card to immediately make an available move, or drag and drop it onto your chosen spot.
Continue to move cards from one column to another, which will be possible so long as they are of the same suit and one rank below. When a card is moved, all cards underneath it must move with it.
A turned over card will become available when there are no longer any cards beneath it.
Once you have run out of moves, take a card from the draw pile and see if it can be used in play, if not, return it to the waste. In many variants, the draw pile will be immediately added to the first three columns of cards.
The game is completed either when the player runs out of moves completely, or has completed consecutive runs of cards from king to ace of the same suit.
Scorpion Solitaire – A Quick Setup with Cards
Lay seven rows of shuffled cards with seven columns in each, facing away from you.
Take cards from the final three columns of the first three rows and turn them towards you.
Take every card in the last four rows and turn it towards you.
Place the remaining three cards in a draw pile next to the play area.
Move cards from one pile to another - with the goal of creating a descending run of cards of the same suit, from king to ace.
You can only move cards if they are of the same suit and a direct rank below the card they are being moved to. When a card is moved, all cards underneath it must move with it.
A turned over card will become available when there are no longer any cards beneath it.
Once you have run out of moves, take a card from the draw pile and see if it can be used in play, if not, return it to the waste. Be aware that in many variants, the draw pile is immediately added to the first three columns of cards.
Continue until you have run out of moves or have created four foundations – one for each suit - of cards running from king to ace.
Tips to Win Scorpion Solitaire
Tip 1 – Unlike Klondike solitaire and many other patience games – don’t attempt to draw from your stock at the beginning. You should use these as a lifeline to free up more available options, otherwise you will simply be dragging the extra cards around. Take your time and be patient, and don’t be afraid to click the hint button if necessary.
Tip 2 – Look to make moves that will clear turned over cards. This means taking runs of cards from the first three columns and moving them onto the latter four.
Tip 3 – Scorpion has much more freedom of movement compared to traditional solitaire games, you’ll be able to pick up any card from the tableau so long as it’s a legal move (as in, it’s being moved under a card of the same suit and a higher rank) and all the cards under it go with it. Use this opportunity to place down any kings in an open spot when it becomes available.
Tip 4 – Try to make moves which carry as few cards as possible over. This is a good tip for planning ahead potential moves, keeping the tableau uncluttered.
Summing Up: What Is Scorpion Solitaire?
Scorpion solitaire is a relatively unique patience game, with its small draw pile and number of available cards.
Patience games simply refer to card games where the aim is to return a shuffled deck of cards into the pack in a particular order. They were historically used to pass the time during courtly life, and as such many can be played solo. When personal computers and the internet arrived, they were transmuted onto our screens for similar reasons.
It’s the single player variants of such games which have led to the genre of ‘solitaires’, from the French word for solitary. Though nowadays, the two terms are used interchangeably, with ‘solitaire’ being preferred by American English speakers and ‘patience’ being opted for on the other English speaking side of the Atlantic.
Scorpion solitaire is one of many patience games. We’re not quite sure on the etymology – where the name ‘scorpion’ comes from – but we can guess that it’s a reference to the similar game of spider (though spider features two decks and eight foundations, alluding to a spider's eight legs). In practice, the game is more similar to Yukon, as it features only one deck and uses an irregular layout for the number of available cards.
Scorpion solitaire is also seen as a generally more difficult solitaire variant, so perhaps its name is also a reference to the generally more venomous arachnid.
In conclusion, scorpion is a challenging, exciting and simple to set up solitaire variant, relying on just one deck and a lot of flexibility when it comes to movement.
You can dive straight into a game through the magic of online play. Our scorpion solitaire is pre-set and ready for you to make your first move, or put into action a grand plan. Just try not to get stung!