Devil’s Grip is a single-player card game in the Solitaire Genre of games. Considered to be harder than regular configurations such as Spider Solitaire or Klondike, the Devil’s Grip card game is challenging because of its emphasis on placing particular cards in particular rows.
How to Play Devil’s Grip?
Devil’s Grip uses a modified version of the Anglo-American 52 card deck. Two of these standard decks will have all of their aces removed and set to the side, with the remaining cards being combined. This will leave 96 cards in the Devil’s Grip deck.
In order to start the game, shuffle the remaining 96 cards in the deck, and then deal out 3 rows of eight for a total of 24 cards, with one row designated top, one row designated middle, and one row designated bottom. Each of these cards should be dealt face up.
The remaining cards in the deck will become the stock, and will be placed somewhere to the side of the 3 rows. The game may then begin.
The goal of Devil’s Grip is to form piles of cards that are all the same suit, in accordance with specific configurations for each row. As there are two decks of cards in a Devil’s Grip deck, each suit will be piled in the same row twice.
These instructions are crucial, because Devil’s Grips complicated win condition can be somewhat confusing.
Each row will be broken down into its own individual requirements, and remember, each one of your 8 piles must be the same suit.
- The top row of cards should be composed of 8 different piles in the following order: 2, 5, 8, J
- The middle row of cards should be composed of 8 different piles in the following order: 3, 6, 9, Q
- The bottom row of cards should be composed of 8 different piles in the following order: 4, 7, 10, K
Players may pick up and swap card positions on the grid as they see fit. As cards are piled up, starting with 2, 3, and 4 respectively, and ending with Jack, Queen, and King respectively, spaces will be opened up in the grid. When this occurs, deal one card from the stock face up into the empty space.
If there is no open space in the grid, and there are no further moves that can be made on the board, the player may deal out 3 cards into a discard pile. The top card of this discard pile may be played in any legal position on the board, but only the top card.
If the stock is exhausted, the Player may not reshuffle the discard pile. They must play as is, only able to use the top card once at a time.
No matter how you play Solitaire, there is a chance that you do not complete the win condition of 24 separate piles, and lose. As Devil’s Grip is a more difficult variation of Solitaire, the odds of failing to win are even worse than the most common Solitaire variant, Spider.
Devil’s Grip Rules
A short summary of the rules:
- Cards may swap their positions on the row.
- Cards may be dealt one at a time in empty spaces in the grid.
- If no possible moves exist, deal 3 cards from the deck into the discard pile. The top card from this discard pile may be placed.
- The game ends when no more moves are possible.
Devil’s Grip is a “low-score wins” game, where the closest to 0 the score the better the performance. This means Devil’s Grip has a maximum score of 0 points, and score cannot be improved upon.
Scores of 0 could be compared with a timer, so see how long it took to win the game.
In order to score a 0, a Player must win the game by correctly assuming each of the 24 piles required. If a Player fails this win condition, they must count the number of cards still remaining in their discard pile (As drawing 3 cards from the deck is always a valid move, so the game cannot end until the deck is emptied into the discard pile).
This number is the Player’s score, and the closer to 0 (The less remaining cards at the end of a game) the better a Player’s score.
In order to make it easier to visualize the orientation for a board setup, this section will demonstrate a grid of cards below that represents the opening board for a game of Devil’s Grip.
An opening board might look something like this:
9♦,6♣, 7♠, K♣, 6♦, 6♣, 2♥, 4♥
10♦, Q♣, 5♥, 10♠, 9♠, 3♠, 9♠, 5♦
Q♥, 5♥, 7♦, J♣, J♠, 5♠, 8♥, 8♣
Notice that the 6♠ and the 5♥ appear twice on the board, as the Devil’s Grip’s deck uses two standard decks (minus the aces), meaning there are two copies of each card.
Strategy & Tips
- Players should start the game by placing their 2s, 3s, and 4s in their respective rows, as they are the first cards of a particular pile.
- A whole pile may be moved at once, so long as it is swapping places with another card in the grid.
- Be sure to only deal 3 cards from the deck to the discard pile as a last resort. Make sure all other moves have been taken first, because once cards are in the discard pile, they may only be played top-card at a time.
- Kings, Queens, and Jacks should be swapped around the grid until they may be placed on top of a pile to complete it. Always complete a pile when it becomes available before making other moves, in order to free up more space in the grid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to get a negative score in Devil’s Grip?
No, the highest possible score is 0, and the score cannot be reduced further than that. The worst possible score in Devil’s Grip, a game that has no legal moves from the start of the game, is 72.
Why do I keep losing in Devil’s Grip?
Devil’s Grip is a more difficult version of Solitaire. Some Devil’s Grip games are simply unwinnable due to the layout of the deck and grid.
Assuming you are making no mistakes during play, your deals may just be consistently unlucky. As this game is a single-player timewaster though, there is no harm in simply starting up another game.
Where can I play Devil’s Grip online?
As Devil’s Grip is less popular than other Solitaire variations, it is not so easy to find online. However, World of Solitaire is a free website that offers browser versions of many Solitaire games, including Canfield, and the Streets and Alleys card game. These games are somewhat similar to Devil’s Grip.