A Farewell to Kings

This is a patience card game that I have ported onto the Yaroze from the Macintosh. The original version was written by Rob Steward and the screen shots here are from his version (only because I don't know how to take screen shots from the yaroze). [Screen shot]

The game begins by placing the four kings horizontally in the centre of a playing grid. The rest of the cards are then shuffled and four cards are draw. The four card are you "hand". The remaining cards will be drawn into the hand as needed : whenever your hand is empty or whenever all the cards in your hand are unplayable. (Four unplayable cards is rare, but it's one way to lose the game.) When more cards are needed, just press x to deal a new hand.

One at a time, in any order, cards are moved from your hand to the grid according to two basic rules:
1. The card played must be placed in the grid adjacent horizontally or vertically to at least one other card.
2. The card played must match all adjacent card in either suit or rank. (Clubs match clubs, jacks match jacks, etc.)

For example if a position in the grid has adjacent to it an ace of hearts a seven of hearts and a nine of diamonds then the only card that could be legally played would be a nine of hearts.

The goal of placing cards in the grid is to arrange them in "books". A book is composed of four cards of a single rank arranged in a square (a rectangle, actually). Completing books is the object of the game.

Books are removed from the grid in sequence. (I.e. once the four aces are formed into a book, they are removed from the grid and taken out of play. Then a book of twos may be removed, etc.)

Books may be completed out of sequence, but those books cannot be removed from the board until all the lower ranking books have been removed first.

On occasion, the removing of a book from the grid will leave one card (or possibly more) in the grid non-adjacent to any other cards. The single, unattached cards are called "orphans". Any orphaned card must be moved immediately to another place in the grid according to the same two rules described above. In very rare circumstances an orphan (or orphans) will be unplayable, which results in a loss.

Removing all twelve books from the grid (ace through queen) wins the game and the kings are automatically removed from the grid. (Hence the name of the game.) ---


Game Download game(v1.0)(27k)
Source codeDownload source code(37k)

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Strategy for playing the game

[Screen shot]
  1. Don't keep your cards together early in the game. Try to spread out as far as possible. This gives you more "breathing room". Specifically, make straight lines of cards away from the kings as soon as possible. This will keep your options open for as long as possible.
  2. Learn how to plan ahead which cards will be orphaned, and when. In most games, you will have at least two books that are completed by cards that have been orphaned (sometimes several times). Remember that cards of lower rank must always be removed first, so attaching a five to a book of jacks will never result in the five being orphaned, since the fives must be removed before the jacks.
  3. If you draw several cards of the same suit on the first or second hand, in general it's good to play the higher card first, and then the lower card. This is because the lower cards will need to be completed into books first (which will, in turn, open up room to complete the books for the cards of higher rank).
  4. The suits are not equal, especially early in the game. The clubs and diamonds have much less freedom than the spades and hearts. If you get multiple diamonds or clubs on the first few hands, it is sometimes wise to leave either the top side or the bottom side of the four kings "open" in case you get a difficult run of clubs or diamonds in the next hand or two.

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(This page was last updated on 19/11/99)