Spite & Malice

The Rules

Spite & Malice has two players and uses 3 decks of playing cards. At the start of the game each player is dealt a stack of 27 cards with the top card facing up, and a hand of five cards. The remaining cards are placed as a stack between the players. The players take turns playing their cards according to the following rules:

Main Rules

  1. The goal is for a player to use up all the cards in their stack.
  2. Up to four columns of cards can be created next to a players stack.
  3. Up to four pools of cards can be created around the main stack.
  4. When the cards in the center stack run out, the cards in the stack of used cards (see pool rules) are shuffled and used as a new main stack. If there is no used card stack then the game at a draw.

Player Hand Rules

  1. At the start of a turn cards are taken from the main stack until a player has five cards in their hand.
  2. If a player uses up all the cards in their hand during a turn they five more cards are taken from the main stack and placed in the players hand.
  3. Players can place any card from their hand, the top card from a column, or the top card from their stack on a pool according to the pool rules.
  4. When a player plays the top card on their stack the card that was under it is turn over and can now be played.
  5. To end a turn a players places a card from their hand on one of their columns according to the column rules.
  6. A player may place two or more cards from their hand with the same number on a column at the same time.

Player Stack Rules

  1. Only the top card can be played from the stack.
  2. Cards from the stack can only be placed on a pool.

Pool Rules

  1. Cards must be placed on a pool in numerical order, A, 2-10, J, Q, K.
  2. When a King is placed on a pool, the pool is removed from the playing area and added to a stack of used cards. The space the pool occupied may now be used for a new pool.
  3. If a player has any 2's and there are aces in any pools, the 2's must be played before the players turn can end.

Column Rules

  1. Cards are placed in empty columns first.
  2. Cards with the same number as a card in a column may be placed on that column even if there are empty columns.
  3. The cards in a stack do not have to be in any order and there is no limit to the number of cards in a column.

Playing The Game

Figure 1Figure 1.
When the game first starts you will be asked for your name. After you enter your name you will see a window that looks like the one in Figure 1 except without the color highlighting. The light green areas are the player columns, red is the main stack and pools, the blue are the player stacks, and purple is the player's hand. You can only see your hand, the other players hand is hidden.

Just above the pools and main stack is a counter that keeps track of what round the game is on, and button used to generate a hint.

To pick up a card, place the mouse pointer over the card and click and hold down the left mouse button. Now you can drag the card around the screen. When you want to place it somewhere, release the mouse button. The card will be dropped wherever the mouse pointer is, so make sure the mouse pointer is inside the area where you want to drop it.

If you have two or more cards in your hand of the same number and you want to put all of them on a column, then click and hold down the right mouse button over one of the cards. When you drag and drop the card on a column all the other cards with the same number in your hand will also be placed on the column.


Figure 2Figure 2.
If you are not sure of what move to make, then all you have to do is click the hint button. Each time you click the hint button, a different move will be shown, see Figure 2 for example. When the game can't find any more moves no hint will be shown, until the hint button is clicked again, then the game will start with the first move it showed.


Figure 3Figure 3.
There are two parts to playing Spite & Malice. The first is to try to use up all the cards in your stack before the other player. The second is to try and block the other player from using the cards in their stack. In Figure 3, player 1 has a few interesting moves he could make. He could put the six in their bottom column on to the pool with the five, thus blocking player 2 from using the six on their stack. He could also put the four in their hand on the pool with the three, making it possible to play the five on their stack. But that move would allow player 2 to use the six on their stack during their next turn. So player 1 needs to decide if it is better to use the card on their stack right now and possibly help player 2 use one of his stack cards, or wait until a later turn. There is also the possibility that player 1 could have a six as the next card on his stack, or he could end up using all the cards in his hand and get a six when the game deals them another five cards. In the example shown, it is possible for player 1 to use all of the card in his hand, here's how:

  1. Place the four in the hand on the pool with the three.
  2. Place the two in the hand on the pool with the ace.
  3. Place the six in the bottom column on the pool with the five.
  4. Place the nine that was under the six, but is now exposed, on to the pool with the eight.
  5. Place the ten in their top column on to the pool that now has the nine.
  6. Place the jack, queen, and king in his hand on the pool that now has the ten.
Now all the cards in player 1's hand have been used so the game will deal him five more cards.

Questions & Answers

Q:I drag a card from someplace to another place and when I let go of the mouse button the card goes back to the spot I dragged it from. Why doesn't it go where I am trying to put it?
A:There could be a few reasons:
  1. If you are dragging to a pool, then the card on the pool must be one less than the card you are dragging. For example, if you drag a three then the card in the pool must be a two.
  2. A card can't be dropped into your hand, your stack, the other player's stack, or the other player's columns.
  3. The mouse pointer wasn't over an area where you can drop the card. For example, if you want to drop the card on a pool then make sure the mouse pointer is over the card you are trying to drop onto. If just the corners of the two cards are touching, then the mouse pointer will not be over the other card.
Q:Why did the pool card disappear?
A:When the pool has one of every card, A, 2-10, J, Q, K, it is taken off the playing area an put into a used card stack that will be used as a main stack once the current main stack runs out of cards.
Q:Why can I only see some of the cards in my columns?
A:There is a limited amount of screen space, so only the first few cards are shown.
Q:Why did a card I dropped over a certain column end up being put in an empty column instead?
A:All empty columns must be filled before you can place cards on top of each other. There is one exception, if the card you are dropping is the same number as the card you are dropping it onto, then the empty columns rule is ignored.
Q:I have an ace of spades and the other player has one too, what's wrong?
A:Nothing, the game is played with three decks of cards.
Q:How do I put all the cards in my hand with the same number on a column?
A:Click and hold the right mouse button instead of the left mouse button when selecting a card. Only one card will be dragged, but when you release the right mouse button over a column the game will move all the cards in your hand with the same number on to the column.