Card Hopper

A physical solitaire game using a deck of playing cards

I'm on vacation with only a smart phone, so I decided to design a physical game. It turned out so abstract that there is no connection to the theme. I think it's quite interesting already, but maybe too short, and would love your feedback on how it could be improved!

Web version (added 2022-07-01)

There is now a web version! Since this is an unranked entry, I won't hesitate to recommend that over the physical version to save yourself some time and hassle. Note that it uses the numbers 1-9 instead of 2-10.

You can change the random seed added after the # in the URL, then reload the page to start the game with this seed. Remove the seed and reload for a fresh random seed.

Run crunch() in your browser console for juicy statistics on how many games are winnable. It seems to be about 87.5%. Most of them are winnable in the minimum 14 steps, but I've seen one that requires 29 steps!


  • A deck of 52 standard playing cards
  • Three pawns (or coins, or stones, or jaffa cakes)


  1. Remove everything from the deck that is not a number (2-10).
  2. Shuffle the number cards.
  3. Lay out the number cards in a triangle. Start with a column of 8 cards. Then 7 cards to the right of it, shifted half a card, and so on.
  4. Remove the middle card in the 4th column.
  5. Place a pawn on each of the three corners.


Move all three pawns into the hole.


You can move a pawn to an adjacent card if another pawn is on a card whose number differs by exactly 1 from your destination. This "wraps around": 2 and 10 are also considered to differ by 1.

Cards are adjacent if they share at least part of an edge. Each card has up to 6 other cards that are adjacent to it, like in a hex grid.

Example. In the starting setup shown above, the right pawn can move to the 7 because the bottom pawn is on a 6, or to the 4 because the top pawn is on a 5. The top pawn can move to the 5 because the bottom pawn is on a 6. The top pawn can not move to the 2, because neither of the other two pawns is on a 10 or a 3. The bottom pawn cannot move at all.

A pawn can move into the hole whenever it is adjecent to it.

Comments (3)

 • 2 years ago • 

Quite impressive to design a functioning Card game in the time limit. The game is interesting and pretty fun, though there does seem to be an issue of randomly placing an unbeatable board state. Does make me curious what a digital version would look like with Undo and card highlighting. Still, it's simple to set up and easy enough to play, good job =)

Also Gameplay in Tabletop go Brrr

 • 2 years ago • 

Tried to play this twice through I couldn't get close to finish on either try. If I had a deck of cards I'd try again but placing cards and jaffa cakes on a mouse is pretty tedious. I can see the appeal here. It's a novel way to use the standard deck of cards and the puzzle is fun. Way beyond my expectations of a card game :D
I hope you didn't get too much chocolate on those cards :S

 • 2 years ago • 

That was fun! Simple rules, but quite original.

I played it three times. In my first game, I couldn't move any of the tokens. The second game was an easy one, and the third game was a bit longer and hence more fun.
Well done! :D

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