King’s Corner is a multiplayer version of the “Patience game” Solitaire. King’s Corner, also known as Four Corners Solitaire, King in the Corner, or Four Kings, is a game with the object of creating Tableaus, or stacks of cards in descending order from King to Ace.
It is differentiated from other forms of Solitaire both because it is a multiplayer game, as opposed to a single player one, and cards do not have to be from the same suit in order to form a tableau. Instead, in the King’s Corner card game, suits must alternate. A spade or club must follow a heart or a diamond in the tableau.
How to Play Kings Corner?
King’s Corner is playable with 2-5 players, and uses the standard Anglo-American 52-card deck. This guide will simply explain how to play King’s Corner with cards specifically using that standard deck.
The Jokers, it should be noted, are not used in this game.
Instructions for King’s Corner are very simple.
Dealing & Setting Up
Traditionally, At the start of the game, the deck will be shuffled and each Player will be dealt 7 cards, regardless of the number of players. The remaining cards in the deck will be placed in the center of all Players.
Four cards will then be drawn and placed in the four cardinal directions, with the deck still remaining in the center.
Starting the Game
These four cards, labeled North, South, East, and West, will determine the playfield for the remainder of the game. These four cards are the “start” of the tableau, and determine the plays available to each player.
Furthermore, at the start of each turn, a Player must draw one card from the center deck. For example:
- North is an 8♠
- Player 1, starting the game, draws one card. Player 1 has a 7♦ in their hand, and places their 7♦ beneath the North 8♠
- Players will make as many valid moves as possible during their turn. Once there are no more cards to discard into the 4 tableaus, the next Player will take their turn.
Additionally, the “King” in King’s Corner derives from the fact that at any time during a Player’s turn, that Player may take a King in their hand and play it “In the corner” of one of the cardinal cards.
Continuing with compass directions, this means Kings may be played Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast.
Once a King is played, it can be considered a new tableau, another playfield for cards to be stacked in descending order for the purposes of play.
The game continues until one Player has discarded all of the cards in their hand. Once a Player has an empty hand, they are declared the winner.
How do you play King’s Corner single player?
King’s Corner, although not designed to be a single player game, can be played singlehandedly like any other patience game.
- Deal the cards as normal, with 8 cards to yourself and four cards turned up in each cardinal direction (North, South, East, West).
- Then, play the game normally as though there are no other players.
- The game ends when the Player has discarded all of their cards.
- A “score” could be determined by the number of cards remaining in the deck. The more cards in the deck once you have emptied your hand, the better you played.
Kings Corner Rules
- The rules of King’s in the Corner dictate that cards cannot be placed on cards of the same color. Alternating colors must be used. This is different from normal Solitaire. A play-legal tableau in King’s Corner consists of cards with alternating colors, black and red. If the first card is black, the second must be red, the third must be black, the fourth must be red, etc.
- All valid plays must be taken in a given turn. Make sure to study the board carefully and discard all possible cards during your turn. As there can only be a maximum of 8 playfields, assuming all four Kings have been played, it is unlikely that a missed opportunity will remain by the time it is your turn again.
- Completing a tableau will also empty a pile. A completed tableau will be set off to the side, away from the play area. As above, the empty space remaining on the play area from a completed tableau may be filled by any card in the Player’s hand on their turn.
- If an entire tableau is in sequence with another tableau, the entire tableau may be taken and moved as part of the player’s turn.
- North has a tableau of 7♦, 6♣, 5♦, 4♠
- South has a tableau of 10♠, 9♦, 8♣
- The North Tableau must be taken in its entirety, and placed beneath the South tableau, creating one unbroken chain of cards.
In this scenario, the section designated “North” will be empty. When a tableau pile is empty, the Player whose turn it is may play any card in their hand on the empty tableau.
You might also be interested in reading our guide on the rules for Nerts. It is somewhat of a similar game.
Scoring & Points
There is no traditional way to keep score in King’s Corner. The only “score” that is kept is whether a player Won, or Lost.
If you empty your hand of cards, you score a win. If you did not empty your hand before another player, you have lost.
Imagine this play area:
Player 1 has the following cards in their hand, after their draw:
A♦, 6♣, 8♥, Q♥, Q♣, A♠, 4♠, 3♦
Then the A♠ can be placed on the 2♥, the 4♠ and 3♦ can be played on the 5♦ sequentially, and the 8♥ can be played on the 9♣. This leaves Player 1 with only four remaining cards in their hand, a great starting sequence.
- Do not hastily make your plays. Look at the board, and determine the optimal play for yourself. There may be an obvious opening, but further study of the play area might elucidate a play that can discard more cards.
- Save your King cards until there are no other valid plays to be made on the board, and try to play Kings when you have other cards in your hand to complete a sequence immediately.
- Don’t hold onto normal sequential cards. Numerical cards should be played immediately when there is an opening on the board. Face cards should be saved for when a King is open.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many cards do you start with?
King’s Corner uses all 52 cards in the Standard Anglo-American deck. Each player begins the game with 7 cards in their hand, and then four cards are dealt out from the deck to represent North, South, East, and West.
Can you play Kings in the Corner with 2 players?
Yes, King in the Corner can be played with 2-5 players. The only difference in rules between a two-player and a five-player game is the number of cards in the deck at the start of the game.
Are Aces high or low in King’s Corner?
Aces in King’s Corner, like most versions of Solitaire, are played as though they are low. This is because Kings are considered the top card in all forms of Solitaire.
How many cards can I play in one turn of King’s Corner?
As many cards in your hand as are playable. For example, if you have a 2♦ and an 8♣, and there is a 3♠ in the North section, and a 9♦ in the South section, you are able to play your 2♦ and 8♣ at the same time, on the same turn.