One-Deck Solitaire

So you've built the world's best SPELLFIRE deck, and you want to test it out. Your problem is that you can't find anyone to play with just now. The solution? Solitaire SPELLFIRE games! Playing the game solitaire is also a great way to test out a deck. It's also a lot more fun than a regular game of solitaire.

Solitaire SPELLFIRE games are played against an imaginary opponent. The cards themselves work just as they do in any other game. However, rules are needed to direct the card play of the imaginary opponent.

This version of the solitaire SPELLFIRE game needs only one deck. You layout realms normally, but the imaginary opponent does not. He has no realms of his own. He attacks your realms and razes them. You attack your own razed realms, which he defends. If your attack is successful, the realm is rebuilt. It is possible to affect two realms in the same turn. You can lay down a new one and regain a razed realm during combat, all in the same turn.

The game is over when you run out of cards in your deck or have six unrazed realms on the table. You can keep playing until you are out of options, but you may not reshuffle the discard pile unless allowed by card play, such as with the Myrmidons (61/1st) ally card. Since both you and your imaginary opponent are drawing from the same deck, the game is shorter than you might think (most games run about 15 minutes). All of the other basic game rules are unchanged.

Rules for the Imaginary Opponent

1. He always draws his cards one at a time, not in a group. The order in which they are drawn can affect how they are played.

2. His realm cards and holding cards are discarded immediately. If your deck has 10 or fewer realms, there is a good chance that the game will end without six realms on the table.

3. Event cards are played as soon as they are drawn unless the card itself indicates otherwise. In that case, the event is played as soon as possible. For example, the Calm (400/1st) event must wait until you throw a harmful event, and The Caravan (319/lst) event must wait for the end of the imaginary opponent's turn. Events that are useless to him, such as Labor of Legend (108/1st), are discarded immediately.

4. The imaginary opponent always puts all of his champions in his pool during step 2 of his turn. Those excluded by the Rule of the Cosmos must remain in his hand. Put his pool of champions to the left of the realm formation and yours on the right. Your champions in the Abyss should go farther to the right and are turned face down. His champions in the Abyss go farther to the left and are turned face down.

5. When he draws a magical item, he places it on the champion with the fewest magical items in his pool. If more than one champion has the fewest magical items, see the Rule of Ties below. A magical item is never placed on a champion that already has that exact same power. For example, a Viper Hand (103/lst), which allows the champion to cast wizard spells, is never placed on a champion that can cast wizard spells.

6. Artifacts are also attached to champions as soon as they are drawn. They are placed on the champion with the lowest total level, abiding by same-world restrictions. However, some artifacts must wait until a champion of the proper world is available.

7. Spells castable before and after combat (steps 3 and 5) must be cast the same turn they are drawn. If they cannot be cast that turn, they are cast on the first turn possible, for example, the Banishment (395/1st) spell forces a monster to be discarded. If you don't have a monster in your pool, the imaginary opponent holds the Banishment card until you do.

8. The imaginary opponent must attack each turn. He always attacks first with the champion that has the highest overall level. In case of ties, see the rule below. He always attacks the foremost exposed realm that it is legal for him to attack (even with flyers). For realms in the same row, see the Rule of Ties below. If the imaginary opponent razes a realm, he gets spoils of the victory card.

He does not attack with a champion that is guaranteed to be defeated. This may mean that he doesn't attack at all. For example, if you have the Lovely Colleen (22/1st Chase) in your pool, he does not attack with a monster. (The Lovely Colleen automatically defeats all monsters.) He attacks in the face of what would seem like insurmountable odds, as long as failure isn't automatic. The best measuring stick is that if you would have to play even one card from your hand, or if the attack can force even one other card in play to be discarded, he attacks.

9. In combat, the highest level spells and allies are played first. In case of ties, see the Rule of Ties below. Spells that have no effect due to events, realm powers, champion powers, etc. are never cast. Your imaginary opponent isn't stupid, just mechanical. The imaginary opponent adds support cards (allies and spells) as long as it puts him in a winning position for the moment. If the imaginary opponent is losing, and adding all his remaining support cards to the combat does not change that, he gives up without using them. He pays no attention to whether or not he can win the battle as a whole. It may be obvious to you that he doesn't have enough muscle to beat you, but he still tries. His mechanical strategy forces you to play your support cards to win.

10. The imaginary opponent defends razed realms using the same rules he uses to attack. The razed realm uses its power normally when he is defending. If he defeats one of your champions, he gets spoils of victory.

Rule of Ties

The imaginary opponent always uses the highest level card first. However, it is easy to have two cards with the same level to choose from. All ties are resolved by card number. Lower numbered cards are chosen first. When dealing with booster sets, cards are chosen in order of publication first, then by card number.

Rule of Selection

Many cards require the player to pick a champion, realm, magical item, etc. If the imaginary opponent is required to pick, he always chooses the card that adds (to his side) or subtracts (from your side) the highest number of levels. This is not always the card with the highest individual level. Remember that level includes all adjustments for artifacts and magical items. In the case of ties, see the rule above.

Some cards allow the player to choose to act whenever he wants. The imaginary player always chooses to use his power at the first possible moment. For example, the Mind Flayer (83/1st) can steal an ally. If you have not played any allies yet, the imaginary opponent steals the first one you play.

If the imaginary opponent gets to choose a card from your hand or draw pile, as with the Discovery of SPELLFIRE event (401/1st), using levels to pick doesn't work. Instead, he picks the card based upon its type. Use the order below to decide which card is picked. If only allies or spells are available, then use the level-based rule described above.

Order to pick: Realm -> Champion -> Rule -> Event -> Holding -> Artifact -> Magical Item

Random Draws

Some cards require you to draw randomly from the imaginary opponent's hand, or for him to draw from yours. For such random draws, turn the cards face down and shuffle them, then draw the appropriate number of cards.

Winning

Like any solitaire game, winning at a solitaire SPELLFIRE game is tough. To win completely, you must have six unrazed realms on the table. Most of the time you will not win. Bruce Nesmith (the designer of solitaire SPELLFIRE) scores his games by how many unrazed realms he has when he runs out of cards in his draw pile. A score of 0 or 1 is pathetic. Having 2 or 3 realms unrazed is average. Managing to keep 4 or 5 realms unrazed is a good game.


Two-Deck Solitaire

This game is played with the same basic rules as one-deck solitaire. However, you have a deck, and your imaginary opponent has a deck. He plays his own realms, and you play your own realms, just as in the regular game. The major drawback of two-deck solitaire is that it requires a lot of table space.


Solitaire Variations

You will find that the imaginary opponent can be beaten too easily with some deck configurations. These optional rules are a little trickier to play but can make the game more challenging.

Razed Realms: When the imaginary opponent draws a realm, he plays it into the formation as an already razed realm. If there are no more empty positions left in the formation, he plays it over the leading unrazed realm. Any holding attached to the previous realm is discarded.

Brilliant Opponent: Instead of using the mechanical rules for the imaginary opponent, play him yourself. Use your judgment for how and when attacks should be made, but to maximize his result. Place magical items and artifacts as if you were on his side.