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Hot Four Play
Card games for one player date back to the existence of cards
themselves; that fact alone attesting to the deep-rooted
tradition of filling downtime with meaningless activity.
Solitaire, along with other genteel pastimes, served adequately
for generations. However, the twentieth century phosphoresced
with electronic venues that brought wasting time to a new
zenith. By the millenium’s eve, media networks had primed the
world for the next higher plane: watching other people survive
About the same time in history emerged this simple card game
Scrolitaire. Arguably more colorful and slightly more compact
than its traditional card predecessor, Scrolitaire may very well
become the next overnight sensation. Currently, a modest
following has come from the ranks of business travelers who are
enjoying the first solo card game played comfortably on an
airline tray-table, still leaving room for a plastic cup and
miniature bag of pretzels. But the standards by which quality
and value are judged are at levels never before encountered.
Experts agree, whether Scrolitaire merely fizzles or erupts to
cult status remains squarely in the palms of adolescents with
unchecked discretionary income.
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Following a win of Four Play,
successfully reorder into 13 four-letter
words a deck that has already been arranged
into a stack of 13 four-letter words.
- Base: A location at each of the corners of an imaginary
miniature baseball diamond that surrounds the playing field. First,
Second and Third Bases are the right, top and left corners
- Walk: To place a card face-up just below First Base by
itself or add it to other cards already walked.
- Slide: Cards may be "slid" by keeping them facedown and
moving them to the back of the deck. Normally, a player counts off
the desired number of cards to be slid with the thumb and moves them
as a group, without disturbing their arrangement.
Successful completion of
will leave a "Completed Word" stack that is
ordered precisely from top to bottom as 13
four-letter words. The top four cards on the
deck are used to begin the new Playing Field.
The remaining twelve words are divided into
three equal stacks of four words each, remaining
facedown and placed respectively at First,
Second and Third Bases. The player then picks up
the first mini-stack of four words from First
Base. Holding this stack still facedown in hand,
he may 1) "play" a card, 2) "walk" a card or 3)
"slide" a card or cards. When four four-letter
words have been created, the playing field is
cleared, those cards re-stacked on First Base.
The player is said to have "reached First Base."
Second and Third Bases are reached similarly.
Home plate is reached when the remaining four
cards (after Third Base has been reached) also
spell a word. This game is an advanced level of
Scrolitaire, intended for the committed
- Standard 52 Card deck, ordered from top to bottom as 13
- The top four cards are dealt face-up into each of the four
vacant spots of the "Playing Field" (as defined in Four Play).
- The player lifts (intact) the next 16 cards from the top of the
deck and places them facedown on First Base. (These should be the 9th,
10th, 11th and 12th words added to
the stack during Four Play).
- The next 16 cards (the 5th – 8th words
from Four Play) are similarly placed on Second Base.
- The remaining 16 cards (the first four words added during
Four Play) are likewise placed on Third Base.
- The stack of 16 cards sitting on First Base are then picked up
and held in the hand facedown to begin play.
- Advanced players will develop strategies for winning Baseball
that begin as early as the beginning of Four Play. Since
there is no requirement in Four Play to immediately remove
completed words from the playing field, a bit of flexibility in the
final order of stacked words may be achieved. Probably the greatest
advantage may be gained by allowing the last four words to remain
displayed in the playing field before choosing which one goes to the
- A Four Play player that is planning to play Baseball
afterwards may also opt to create the mini-stacks of completed words
directly on their appropriate bases. A player conducting this
"on-the-fly" type setup may send his completed words to whatever
base he cares to, provided that he does not move any cards from base
to base and when the 12th word is added, all three bases
have exactly four words on them. The last word picked up during
Four Play always becomes the first four letters in the
Baseball Playing Field.
- Once the top card in the hand has been turned over, it must be
either "played" in the playing field or "walked."
- The walked card
array may not exceed four letters.
- Cards played are vertically arrayed in the Playing
- No letters may be moved from one array to another.
- When the field of play has been successfully filled with four
words, all four words are picked up from
left to right and placed face down in a "Completed Words" stack on
First Base. The four remaining cards, either in the hand or walked,
become the new first letters of the yet to be created words in the
Playing Field for a second round of play.
- The second round of play proceeds as the first with the
exception that the cards to be played come from Second Base, and the
completed words at the end of the round go back to second Base.
- The third round proceeds similarly, but ends differently. Once
the last word is completed on the Playing Field, no more cards may
be walked. The words are gathered and placed on Third Base. Any
cards that have been walked during that round are picked up as an
array and placed facedown on top of any cards that are in the hand.
The fourth round begins.
- During the fourth round, the player attempts to create a single
four-letter word. Cards may be only played or slid until all four
cards have been vertically arrayed in the Playing Field.
- Reached First Base: The player successfully completing one
round of play and put four completed words back on First Base.
- Reached Second Base: The player successfully completing two
rounds of play and put four completed words back on Second Base.
- Reached Third Base: The player successfully completing three
rounds of play and put four completed words back on Third Base.
- Reached Home: The player successfully completed four rounds
of play, and finished by successfully wording with the four last
cards in his hand.
- Hit a Homerun: The player successfully completed four rounds
of play, and finished with four walked cards that already spelled a
word. He merely moved the last completed word into the Playing
- Hit a Grand-slam: The player "Reached Home" without having
walked a single card throughout any of the rounds.
- Successful navigation of this game begins during the ordering
and noting of the words as they are completed during Four Play.
Grouping words with some sort of relationship to each other can aid
in the recall of them.
- A novice should not worry about controlling the content of the
"walked" cards and treat "Reaching First Base" like a win for a
while before attempting extra bases.
- Sliding cards in groups of four can be helpful for skipping
words or getting to the first letter of a forgotten word to refresh
the memory and determine the usefulness of the underlying couple of
- Considering the number of vowels available during a given round may
help determine the best starting word. In general, words with three
consonants provide better starting letters than words with only two or
one in them.