spite and malice rules title

OBJECTIVE OF SPITE AND MALICE: Play cards from your ‘payoff pile’ to the center stacks until they are empty.


NUMBER OF CARDS: Two 52 card decks

RANK OF CARDS: Q (high), J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A

TYPE OF GAME: Patience



Spite and Malice is a competitive game, like double solitaire, that also requires great patience. This race is not simultaneous- players take turns to win first. Kings are wild cards.


Both decks of cards are shuffled together. Players are dealt 5 cards to their hand. The dealer deals 20 cards to each player’s pay-off pile aka their goal pile. Cards that remain form the draw pile or stockpile. 

Player’s take turns flipping only the top card of their pay-off pile up, the player with the highest value card starts the game. If the cards are of equal rank, player’s shuffle their pay-off piles and try again.

At this point, player’s side stacks and the center stacks are empty.


The goal of Spite and Malice is to play all your cards from your pay-off pile onto the center stacks. You may only play the top card of the pay-off pile, you may not rummage through the stack. Once you play the top card from the pay-off pile flip over the next card so that it is also face-up on your pile.


The first card, the card that starts the center stacks or the discard piles, must be an ace. Cards are added to the center stacks in ascending order (A to Q), without skipping any ranks in between. There are no more than 3 center stacks permitted during gameplay.

Players are allowed to have up to four side stacks each.These stacks do not have to be in any particular order.

Taking Turns

After the first player takes their turn, players alternate turns for the rest of the hand. If a player does not have 5 cards in hand they must start their turn by drawing from the stock. A turn consists of these possibilities:

  1. Play an ace to start a center stack or add to a center stack. Cards you play may come from your hand, the top card of your pay-off pile, or a top card from a side stack. Cards are played face-up.
  2.  Play a card to your side stacks. This move ends your turn and play passes to the opponent. Players cannot exceed four side stacks. If there are no empty stacks, a card must be played on top of an existing stack- this makes the card below unavailable for play.

There is no limit to the number of cards that can be played on center stacks during a single turn. However, one card played to a side stack ends a turn, and you must play a card to a side stack to end your turn.

If a player manages to play all 5 of their cards from hand to the discard pile in a single turn without playing to a side stack, they may immediately draw back up to five and continue their turn.

Pay-off cards cannot be played on side stacks. Cards also cannot be moved from stacks to other stacks, such as from the center stack to a side stack.

Kings are wild cards and can be used to represent a card of any value.

If a center stack is completed, Ace to Queen, the player who didn’t finish it shuffles the stack and adds it to the bottom of the stock. This frees up space for a new center stack.


The game ends when a player plays the last card from their pay-off pile to the center stack- they are the winner. The game can also end if the stock pile is exhausted, in this case it is a draw, there is no winner.





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