Kings Corners is a great game for two or four players. It is an extremely simple card game, with rules that only initially sound complicated. Basically it asks the players to understand how cards would rank in order from the king and downward. For example, Kings Corners follows the K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A order.
Additionally, the game requires that the player distinguish between red and black cards. Other than that, the rest of the game is simply paying attention and making the strongest moves.
A game of Kings Corners begins with the dealer handing out seven cards to each player. They will then place the remainder of the deck into the center of the table. Following this, they flip four cards face up from this central pile and set them along each side of the deck. This looks like a cross, or “plus” sign.
The name of the game reminds the players that a king ends up in each corner of the table. This means that should the dealer reveal a king in the four central cards, the player who has won the right to go first (by choosing the highest card prior to play) can take that card and set it in the corner of the table nearest to themselves.
If one of the foundation/central piles begins with an ace, there is nothing that can be placed on top of it.Play continues in a counter-clockwise motion around the table.
To play, players must stack up the cards from highest to lowest, alternating from red to black. This is done in several ways:
- A player may lay one of their cards on the foundation/central piles, making sure to slightly overlap the cards so that the whole stack can be seen.
- This allows for another way that a player can make a move, which is to place an existing pile atop one that it would naturally belong to. For example, during a player’s turn they may simply move a red five and black four over to another pile that is showing a black six at the top.
- A player may lay a king from their hand in one of the empty corners of the table, and this can serve as the base for a new stack of cards as well. For instance, a black king can have a red queen placed upon it, and so on.
- Any player who has a turn following the relocation of a foundation/central pile may place any of their own cards in its place.
- The player who plays all of their cards wins the hand and the game stops. If, however a player has no card which can be played, they must take a card from the center stack. This completes their turn. Alternately, someone who simply does not wish to play a card may also draw a single card as well.
Once the center pile is gone, play must continue until one player runs out of cards. There are times when players have cards remaining, but no further moves are possible, and it is at this point that players must agree to end the game.
All players with cards remaining in their hands at the end of a game will receive penalty points. A king costs the player ten points, and all other cards are a single point. The game ends when someone exceeds a previously agreed upon limit. The winner is the player with the lowest score.
How to Play Kings in the Corner
The Kings in the Corner game is also referred to as King’s Corner, Kings Around, Kings Corners or Spider. It is basically a multiplayer version of Solitaire and was invented by the Grey Family in the 1910s.
The game requires a standard deck of 52 playing cards (without jokers) and requires two to four participants.
These days, you can easily play Kings In The Corner card game online if you want to practice.
- Shuffle the cards accordingly and distribute 7 cards to each participant. Make sure to deal the cards always to the left of the card dealer.
- Place 4 cards in the middle and lay them out facing up. Arrange them in a manner that each card faces north, south, east and west. If a king comes up, move it to an available space between the 4 cards (the open space of the cross). Draw another card to replace the space that was meant for the king, lay it down facing up.
- The non-king form the foundation piles. The rest of the deck should be placed in the center of the foundation piles.
- Players may now pick the initial seven cards that we’re dealt which is essentially their hand. The hand should be concealed from other players.
- Decide who’s the player to take the first turn. You can use any rules to decide whoever goes first. The most common methods used are drawing straws, rock-paper-scissors, or just the player to the left of the dealer.
- The first player to have his or her turn must pull up a card from the middle pile. Drawing a card from the middle pile is how each player should start their turn. The first player can start discarding cards. The goal of the game is get rid of all the cards first before the other participants do.
- There are two rules where a player can discard a card. First, if a participant has a king on hand, he or she can place it in an empty space between the foundation pile (hence the king in the corner), this forms the king foundation pile.
- The other method to discard cards onto any foundation pile is when the card is the opposite color of the topmost card and should be one lesser in value.
- In this game, the King has the highest value while an Ace is the lowest (1). For example: When there’s a black queen, you can only discard a red king. With a red seven, you can only discard a black six.
- When discarding cards on the top of the foundation pile, ensure that the cards overlap in a way that the bottom cards are still visible. If a foundation pile has an ace, the pile can’t be played anymore since it’s the lowest valued card. The only option left is to merge it with another stack.
- Any of the players can combine piles once a sequence has been completed. Once the foundation pile has been merged, the player who did the merging can start another pile with any card on hand.
- For merging piles, the piles must adhere to the red-black alternation rule and must complete a sequence. For example, if a pile has 7, 8 and 9, it can be merged with another pile with 10 as a top card, provided that it follows the red-black opposite rule.
- Once a pile becomes complete (meaning all cards from the king to the ace), it can be shuffled back to the center deck.
- The second player will now have his turn. He can do all the steps as player one as long as it follows the rules. If at any turn that a player can’t discard a card, the play resumes with the next participant.
- The game is won when a player manages to discard all cards from his hand.
Starting from the left of the dealer, play moves clockwise. On a single turn, players have the opportunity to make any number of these moves and in any order:
- Play on the foundation piles from your hand. If you play a card, it must be the next lower rank and the color opposite. For example, you can play a red Jack on a black Queen. Slightly overlap cards in the foundation pile so that they all can be seen. Aces are the lowest card and no other card can be played on top of it.
- Use a King to start one of the King’s corners. These cards go in the diagonal corners of the foundation piles (NE, NW, SE, SW). Kings may be built upon like any other foundation pile.
- Move one foundation pile onto another. You may do this if the bottom card of one foundation is one rank lower and the opposite color of the foundation it’s being moved to.
- Play any card on an empty foundation spot (because the pile had been moved).
The first player to empty their hand is the winner and the game ends. After you have played as many cards as you can or wish in a turn you must draw one card from the stockpile. If you are unable to make a play, simply draw a card from the stock pile and the next player’s turn begins.
Kings dealt into the foundational piles may be moved to the corners. Player left to the dealer has the opportunity to replace the King in the foundational pile layout. Cards in the foundational pile that may be consolidated (one of the cards is one lower rank and the opposite color). Player left of the dealer can consolidate and replace that card in the layout.
In the event, the stockpile runs dry, continue playing without drawing.
The play ends when one player manages to play all their cards or there is an impasse, no cards can be drawn or played.
Players receive penalties (in the form of points) for cards left in their hands.
- King = 10 points
- All other cards = 1 point
Points are summed from deal to deal until a player reaches or passes the target score. Target scores are agreed upon before game play, typically they are between 25-50 points. The winner of the game is the player that has the lowest number of points.