End Times 2021: Solitarot

Solitarot is one of the simplest games you can play with a deck of cards. It's almost embarrassing to admit I like it as much as I do... It has minimal decision space and relies mostly on luck of the draw. Somehow I find it enjoyable though, and recommend it as a relaxing activity if you have a tarot deck in your collection.

To start playing, you shuffle the deck and lay out 5 cards. As you may know, tarot has four suits - Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles - plus the Major Arcana which here acts as its own suit. If you have two or more cards of the same suit on the table, e.g. a 2 of Cups and a 10 of Cups, you remove the highest value, that is the 10. You do the same for any other suit as well as for the Major Arcana, since it's also numbered: e.g. if you have The Empress (3), The Devil (15), and The Star (17), you will first remove The Star as the highest of the three, and then The Devil, and leave The Empress intact.

When you're done removing what you can remove, you lay out another set of 5 cards on top of the previous row and repeat the process. If you have an empty space in the row because you managed to get rid of all the cards in it, you fill it with any card from the row. This is where the player agency comes in: you can choose which card to move in the empty space, so it's wise to pick one that will let you manipulate what is revealed when you move it.

Your goal is to be left only with the Ace of Cups, the Ace of Wands, the Ace of Swords, the Ace of Pentacles, and the Fool in the end. From what I've seen so far, session outcomes can vary widely: in my last two plays, I almost won the first time but lost miserably with piles of cards the second time. Still, the game is so lighthweight, that losing won't really bother you. Give it a spin (I played with the Samiramay tarot), here is a video display to get you started.

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