Solitaire SolitaireGames Week
Every week a new solitaire game

  #9 - November 6, 2001 - by Thomas Warfield


Scorpion Screen shot of the game Scorpion from Pretty Good Solitaire.

Scorpion is an interesting one deck solitaire game with similarities to the games Spider and Yukon. At the start of the game, 7 cards are dealt to 7 tableau piles. In the first 4 piles, the first 3 cards dealt are dealt face down, all other cards are dealt face up. This gives a tableau of 49 cards in 7 piles, with 12 cards face down. The 3 remaining cards are set aside face down for later use.

Building in the tableau is down by suit. Groups of cards are moved like in the game Yukon. You can move groups of cards in the tableau regardless of any sequence. This means that any face up card, no matter how deeply buried, can be moved by picking it and all the cards on top of it up together. Empty spaces in the tableau can be filled only by a King, or a group of cards headed by a King. If all play is blocked, the remaining 3 cards are dealt to the first 3 piles to add more possibilities.

There are no foundation piles in Scorpion. Instead of moving cards up to foundations, all building takes place in the tableau. The objective is to arrange all the cards into 4 piles of 13 cards each, in sequence from King down to Ace in suit. This is much like the game Spider, except that the completed sequences are not removed from play.

The strategy to winning Scorpion is like that of Yukon. It is very important to uncover the face down cards, because only the face up cards are in play. Once a card becomes face up, it can be accessed, so getting the cards face up is the key.

A good player can win Scorpion about 20 or 25% of the time. Because it is difficult to win in pure Scorpion, often it is played without the rule requiring a King to start empty piles, and instead is played allowing any card to start a tableau pile. This makes the game much easier, and in fact it can be won every time this way.

Scorpion is not in any of the solitaire books from the early 1900s, but appears in Albert Morehead & Geoffrey Mott-Smith's book _The Complete Book of Solitaire and Patience Games_ in 1949. They state that it is a well known game, but that they named it Scorpion because of its Spider like properties.

There are a few variations of Scorpion. Scorpion II is the same game with only 3 piles of 3 face down cards instead of 4. This makes the game easier. Double Scorpion is the same game with 2 decks.

Scorpion is one of the 400 solitaire card games in Pretty Good Solitaire.

Scorpion Links

Rules to Scorpion
See the rules of the game

Scorpion Statistics
See the Scorpion statistics of Pretty Good Solitaire players.

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