The premise is simple. The execution is not.
In Solitaire 13, your goal is to eliminate all of the cards from the pyramid by finding pairs of cards that add up to 13. Figuring this out with the numbered cards is pretty easy (get a calculator, amiright?), but the lettered cards can be trickier.
Starting from the top:
Kings are worth 13 on their own, so they can be discarded singly. In some variations of this game, in fact, Kings aren’t even used.
Queens are worth 12 so you need to pair them with that magic non-existent 1 card. Well, the Ace card is worth 1 in this game. That’s how we get around this dilemma.
Jacks are worth 11. If you can’t figure out
what + 11 = 13, then I can’t help you.
playing solitaire 13 by hand
First, you’ll need a fairly sizeable playing area even though this is only a single deck game.
If you’re playing on the Zolitaire site, currently there is no option to remove the Kings, but if you’re playing by hand, you have that option. Why would you want to do this? Given that Kings can be discarded on their own, they’re basically freebies, so they make the game easier to win (especially if all 4 land on the pyramid). For this reason, you may choose to leave Kings out to make things more interesting. If you’re going to do that, do so now.
Like every other card game under the sun, shuffle your cards fully.
Now you will build the pyramid.
You start with a single face-up card at the top and center of the playing field. Eventually you will have built 7 cards down and 7 cards across (for the final row). All cards on the tableau (the pyramid) will be face up.
So, row 1 is your single, centered card.
For row 2, place 2 cards on top of your very first card (the row 1 card). One card will cover the left corner of the first card. The other will cover the right corner of the first card. This is the beginning of your pyramid shape and also why it was so important to start in the center.
When you cover that first card, make sure you leave enough space such that you can still see the rank (number) and suit (diamonds, spades, etc) of that very first card.
For row 3, you’ll add 3 cards, continuing to build the pyramid in the opposite direction of how it would work in real life (though in zero G, maybe you could pull this feat off).
This pattern continues until you get to row 7. Row 7 will contain 7 cards. Thus completing the 7 cards down (the rows) and the 7 cards across.
Once you have done this, you will have cards left over. Now, here is where you have another choice. By default, all remaining cards become part of the stock pile, but you may choose to have optional reserve cards. What’s the difference? For the reserve cards, any of them are playable at any time. For the stock, only the top most card is ever playable (like the stock pile in the classic solitaire game Klondike). If you choose to play with reserve cards, deal them out onto the table now (or configure your game preferences on this site). This site allows up to 7 reserve cards. In real life, you can make as many reserve cards as you want really.
At this point, any cards leftover will go to the stock pile. The default rules here are for the stock pile to deal 1 card out at a time and to allow for unlimited redeals. However, if you’d like to play with more traditional pyramid solitaire style rules, set the amount of stock deals to 1 (meaning no redeals allowed). We find unlimited redeals to be more fun, but you may be looking for more of a challenge (and of course, a game more based on luck!).
In Solitaire 13, only the cards in the pyramid that have no cards on top of them are playable. So initially only the 7 bottom cards of the pyramid are playable.
Strategy can come into play when you have multiple options available. In these cases, pay closer attention to what cards are above the playable cards, as choosing one option over another may have an obvious advantage based on the future moves it will unlock.
It’s almost always a better idea to discard cards from the pyramid together, though you may combine a pyramid card with a reserve card or a pyramid card with a card from the stock in order to get to 13. Heck, you can even combine a card from the stock with a card from the reserve. This won’t get you any closer to winning, but it does give your score a boost, if you like that sort of thing.