Math Solitaire for Two

What You Need:

  • Deck of cards
  • Paper and pencil for keeping score

What You Do:

  1. Begin the game by shuffling the deck and dealing 20 cards to each player in the following manner:
    • Deal 4 cards face-down to each player. Position the cards straight across in a row.
    • Deal 4 rows of 4 cards face-up to each player. Line them up under the previous rows as you would in solitaire.
    • After dealing, there should be 12 cards left in the deck. Divide them evenly and give each player a face-down deck of 6 cards.
  2. Player 1 begins with his first column (moving left to right) and mentally adds all of the face-up cards in the column. The goal is for your total to be as close to 20 as possible. Face cards (Ace, King, Queen, Jack) count as 10.
  3. Once the cards in the first column are added, Player 1 must choose to turn over the remaining card in the column or the first card in his deck of 6. Once he turns over the card, he must choose whether to add or subtract the card in order to have the column total be as close to 20 as possible. For example, if Player 1’s face-up cards total 14 and he chooses from his deck and turns over a 10, the column total is 24.
  4. Player 2 follows the same process with her first column. Once Player 2 gets a column total, the players compare answers. The player with the total closest to 20 “wins the column”. In the event of a tie, mark it as a tie. Play continues moving left to right across the columns until one player wins 3 out of 4 columns to win the game!

In the event of a tie for the grand total of columns (i.e. both players win 2 columns), players add their remaining face down cards (cards in their decks and those at the top of the columns). The highest total wins!

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