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Mark G. Meyers (Markgm)
New Solitaire Player
Username: Markgm

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2010
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 2:43 am:   

About 30 years ago, when my older brother and I were teens, we knew how to play clock solitaire, and he went and created a thing called "around the world". ATW is dealt out in 9 stacks for 2s-10s, and 4 feeder stacks for A, J, Q, K. The 2s-9s work just like the 2s-Qs in clock. The other four stacks work like the Kings in clock, but all at the same time. As such, 2s-9s stacks can be blockd by face-up cards on top of them, and blocking cards have to be played where they go in order for the stacks they block to be playable again.

Each of the four feeder stacks has to be emptied FIRST before it can be used to accumulate cards of the player's choice of rank (A,J,Q,K) on each. Suddenly, with ATW I found that there was a choice. That really lit me up. The A-J-Q-K were player selectable as to which rank would be stacked where, and multiple lead-cards occured in tandem.

I was inspired and wanted more choices as a player, so I struggled with it, and came up with Boardwalk. With this game, the player has the power to pick which rank stacks where for all 13 ranks. There is quite a bit more skill in these hills.

It still stacks like ATW, but looks a little different. Since the player chooses which rank to accumulate at which location, each of the 13 locations is broken up, vertically, into a source stack and a separately visible "landing". Each of these 13 paired locations is called a "column".

The board is broken up into two rows of columns, or "walks". The upper walk is dealt in feeder stacks like Kings in clock or A-J-Q-K in ATW, and the lower walk works like the 2s-Qs in clock, or 2s-9s in ATW. The restriction to the player is that the lower walk must be declared lo-to-hi from left to right. Where Aces are low and Kings are high, the player cannot ("declare" and) stack a lower rank to the right, or a higher rank to the left of a rank already declared there.

I want you to be careful with what you might get yourself into, because I've been playing this game for 30 years. The original variation of Boardwalk, as for the most part described above (using a 5-column upper walk and an 8-column lower walk), is called "Hopscotch". I still wasn't completely satisified. I wanted more power to wrestle with the cards as a player.

I then came up with the idea of removing one of the columns of the lower walk, and turning it into a 4-card hand. In a hand play, a hand card could (legally) play to a lower walk column, where a face-up source card (or "flip") from the lower walk would then be returned to the hand. As such, the hand could be used to manipulate the lower walk. This game was called "Lucky Seven". To this day, Lucky Seven strikes me as the most recreational of the Boardwalk Solitaire bunch. The hand is to end as four-of-a-kind for a perfect game.

While I still play these variations to this day, I wanted more power to wrestle with the cards. Some 15 years later, an idea came to me for cards in the hand to play upon the upper walk as well. In such a play, a card from the hand (legally) stacks on an upper walk landing, and the player returns a card from the upper walk source row to the hand. Because this gives the player so much power over the cards, the upper walk in this game also picked up the requirement of having to be declared lo-to-hi from left to right. This game is called "Sqatsi", and this is where I found what I think I had wanted all along. The first couple of times I tried Sqatsi, I felt like there was blood coming out of my ears just to keep track of it, but I soon became accustomed to it. Still, I find Sqatsi quite challenging.

Over the years, I have shown friends along the way how to play these games, and this has picked up a few fans. Of course, these are solitaire players. In such cases, they really seemed to like it. Boardwalk does something I have not seen in other games. It combines great skill with great luck, as if pitting the two against each other. It is not all face-up and deterministic. It is also not all face-down and nondeterministic. It is both; it pits the two against each other.

There are two-player variations. You can pull another column off the lower walk as a second player's hand and deal "Lucky Seven for Two". In this game, players play in turn, or say pass, but if both pass in succession, then the game ends. The goal is to cooperatively achieve a win. Trick: Players are not allowed to reveal their hands to each other.

Over the years, I also wrote some software for these games. In the 80s, I made some DOS-based software for playing Hopscotch and Lucky Seven. In the 90s, I began to write software for all the variations for 16-bit windows (windows 3.1). I lost the source code for this before finishing, however; this game program works for playing all variations. It isn't fancy, but it knows all of the rules.

Lately, I made an animated powerpoint presentation on how to play. I put up a few web pages with the instructions, the old Windows program, and some other material; the game glossary (concepts of strategy) and game design/philosophy pages. Watch out - Boardwalk strategy can run pretty deep, and that glossary didn't accumulate overnight. It happened over years of playing.

In my experience, the easiest way for a person to learn, since it tends to be so "out of the blue" to people at the start, is to walk through actual play a couple of times. This seems to work by either trying to play oneself a couple of times, or by watching someone else do the same. Nobody scores well the very first time. Also, Hopscotch can seem a bit mean, depending on how easy one likes winning to be. As it turns out, I am also getting curious as to what it would be like to compete. Why not play the same deal of the cards among competitors, and compare scores? In fact, that is one thing I have not personally tried. And here I am, 45 years old and wondering.

For anyone who is interested in looking at a new and different kind of solitaire, Boardwalk is publicly available at
I would love to hear what folks here have to say about these kinds of games.

Cheers, and thanks for listening,
- Mark
Mark G. Meyers (Markgm)
New Solitaire Player
Username: Markgm

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2010
Posted on Thursday, October 28, 2010 - 11:11 am:   

I found archived copies of older web pages showing traditional Clock and Around the World...
Mark G. Meyers (Markgm)
New Solitaire Player
Username: Markgm

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2010
Posted on Friday, October 29, 2010 - 9:01 am:   

I've got the distinction into a single statement.

Boardwalk is the only game I have seen where the player(s) define which cards go where.

I have not seen another solitaire/co-operative game where this is the case. In every case I have seen, the destinations are all pre-defined.

Cheers, Mark

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