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Are Solitaire Games Rigged?

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Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

You have probably played a game where you felt like the game developer was cheating you in some way. It has happened before! In the game Destiny 2, the developer was caught cheating players of XP. The game said that players were earning a certain amount of XP, but in actuality their XP earned was getting throttled to be lower and lower the more they played. People were justifiably angry when this was discovered! 😡

Destiny 2 cheated players giving them less and less XP for activities even while it said it gave normal XP.

Most solitaire games are probably not rigged.

You see most solitaire games are dealed out entirely randomly, and with random deals it is possible to make hands which are unwinnable in normal circumstances (unless the game has powerups of some kind).

It is possible to make solitaire which is possible to win every time — at least if the player plays their cards perfectly. Usually in various solitaire games this is done by dealing cards backwards randomly from a winning position.

Unless you are playing a solitaire game made by someone entirely chaotically evil then the solitaire game was probably not coded to be rigged. Instead it is probably just that the Random Number Generator in the game gave you an unlucky deal.

Some solitaire games brute force layouts, and then save the RNG seeds which generate deals that are possible to be won with this method in order to guarantee winable layouts.

Many F2P / P2W games do certainly cheat their players.

But do some solitaire game developers cheat their players? Probably yes, but you would have to look at the game’s code to know for sure. There are other dirty things which go on in modern F2P games such as when they have players paying for access to in game powerups with real money. The game may intentionally put you against statistically challenging deals over and over again trying to get you to use your powerups, and make you want to pay for more. Then if you rage quit and later return, it may then give you an easier time for a while until it builds you back up to a brick wall of difficulty — and monetization! It doesn’t happen just in card games, nor only F2P casual games, but even in core games most notably in the mobile market. Of course if people continue to vote with their wallet for these kinds of games they will continue to exist.

How can you tell if a game (not only solitaire) is probably cheating you in some way?

If the game lets you pay for power in game then there are perverse incentives going on. Paying for power (Pay 2 Win / P2W) means either paying directly for consumables or items, or watching ads to acquire these powerful items indirectly. You probably won’t know for sure if the developer is cheating you, but if they are willing to enable you to buy power with real money then they may be willing to make it harder and harder, more and more expensive to get as much money out of you one way or another. In multiplayer games, P2W mechanics are even more insidious and can get people to spend thousands of dollars in those games which allow buying power — this is why so many gamers loathe P2W games, they turn a game from being fair and honest into a game where the only thing that matters is how willing someone is to pay the developer.

If the developer has no perverse incentive to cheat you why should they? Why would they? In the previously mentioned game Destiny 2, the likely reason they cheated their players on XP was to keep them playing longer (and to gate rewards level ups granted for longer and longer periods hoping no one would notice). More players playing longer = the publisher is happier as higher player numbers helps to sell more copies through social proof and makes investors more confident in further investing. In the case of Destiny 2, it was probably one manager or employee who added the XP throttling, and when other team members found out they were likely just as pissed off as the players. That game did rebound from those early blunders, had a high time with its expansion Forsaken, but is now trending down again with giving players raw deals compared to their competitors.

Destiny 2 is sadly on the decline again with its anti-consumer practices.

Sometimes even if the developer has no incentive to cheat you it can still happen by accident. For example, in the original version of our game Faerie Solitaire there were 32 eggs. Now, the way we do egg drops these days is much more fair (with a so called pity timer to guarantee a new unique egg drop if one does not drop randomly after so long), but the way the original code worked was once you started the game when you “found” an egg it would roll a virtual 32 sided dice and if it landed on an egg ID number you did not have yet it would give you that egg, but if you rolled an ID you already had you got nothing. See the problem? The more eggs you got, the harder it became to get a new one. When players got to 30 or 31 getting that last egg was hell! And for years until I did a full code review we thought it was just RNG — well, it was RNG, but a very punishing method of RNG! We all make mistakes. 🙂

We goofed big on FS Classic, but the Remastered version was coded right!

In summary, is the solitaire game you are playing rigged?

No, probably. 😇

If you think something is unfair in a game you are playing make sure you tell the developer of that game. They may not even be aware that something was coded improperly. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s just a fact that certain random scenarios never give you a real chance to win.


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