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How To Play Spite & Malice




How do I play Spite & Malice?


Spite & Malice is a two-player, turn-based game that can be played against a real opponent or a computer opponent. The goal is to be the first player to get rid of the cards in your pay-off pile by placing cards in the 4 Center Stacks.




The player whose first pay-off card is higher plays first, and thereafter the players take alternate turns. If you have fewer than five cards in your hand you begin your turn by drawing cards from the stack to bring your hand up to five cards.

You may then make a series of moves:

  • Place an Ace in an empty Center Stack.
  • Place the next card in the sequence of a Center Stack that's already begun.
  • Place a card from your hand face-up on top of one of your side stacks, ending your turn.
You may play as many cards to the stacks as you are able, but as soon as you place a card in a side stack your turn ends and your opponent can play.

Suits are irrelevant and Kings are Wild.

The game ends once you remove all of the cards from your pay-off pile.

How do ratings work?

  • Players initially start with a rating of 1500. This can only be affected by playing.

  • Players can choose to rate or not rate their game by checking "Make this game rated" in the Table Options window when setting up the table. Note: In games that permit robot players, you cannot play rated games against robots. Choosing a rated game deselects the "Start game with robots" option and vice versa.

  • Players can limit their opponents to players of a certain rating level by clicking the colored rating level buttons in the Table Options window.

  • Our rating system takes into account the difference between two players' ratings. If you have a much higher rating than your opponent, a win actually will lower your rating (and a loss will lower it a lot). To avoid this, make sure you only play opponents with a rating that is similar to yours.

  • In a rated game if your opponent Quits, Stands Up, Leaves or is cut off, the game does not immediately end and ratings do not change. This allows your opponent to return to the table and continue the game in the event their computer becomes disconnected from the Internet.

What happens if someone quits during the game?

  • If the player returns, then the game continues as if there was no interuption.

  • If the remaining player Quits, Stands Up or Leaves, then the remaining player gets the Win. The first person out is credited with a Quit and a Loss. Ratings are adjusted accordingly.

  • If the remaining players allows someone else to join them in the place of someone who has left, the one who left has no changes in their player stats or in their rating. The new player accepts responsibility of finishing the game.

What about bad sports?

Just like in real-life, some players are not good sports. If you encounter a player who abandons games, your rating may be affected. You may wish to avoid that player in the future and make use of the timer option, if available.