FAMILY TREE SOLITAIRE (version 1.0)

This is a single player solitaire-like game, played with a single deck of cards plus two jokers, where the object is to build a family tree and gain a high score.  Try to beat the computer’s score too.

There are elements of poker and solitaire, and the game will test your memory skills as you try to put together a family.  If you like genealogy (family tree research), give Family Tree Solitaire a try.

 

TERMS AND RULES

TREE - The tree is the foundational layout of the game.  It is made up of playing cards from the deck that are laid out in the form of a family tree.  The computer version of the game displays a single level in the tree – a couple and their children.  Below we see a MARRIED COUPLE (4 and King) and their children (some of their children are married too) and one grandchild (the 10 of spades).

 

TREE TOP – The top of the tree always has a MARRIED COUPLE to begin the game.  See below for special rules for the MARRIED COUPLE at the TREE TOP.

BRANCH – This is a single branch or lineage of the TREE.  The view on screen is always a single level of the branch: a single person, a MARRIED COUPLE, or a MARRIED COUPLE and their children.

 Example of how the STOCK PILE looks, depending on the picture on the back of the cards.

STOCK PILE – Like most solitaire games, these are the cards remaining in the deck that have not been played yet.  When the next card is selected from the top of the STOCK PILE, it becomes the CURRENT CARD.  In the electronic version of the game, the computer will automatically select the next card after the player has played the CURRENT CARD to the TREE or selected the STOCK PILE to indicate that the CURRENT CARD cannot be played.  If the CURRENT CARD can be played, it must be played.  If the CURRENT CARD cannot be played then, when the player selects the STOCK PILE to get the next card, the CURRENT CARD is placed at the bottom of the deck to be played later (if possible).

 or  through  but not Ace, 2 or Jack.

-FAMILY CARD – Any 3 through 10, Queen, King, or JOKER (see below) of any suit can be played to become a child of a MARRIED COUPLE, following the rules for MARRIED COUPLE below.

CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD – The King or Queen are the only CELEBRITY cards.  They provide extra points when married (see below).

MARRIED COUPLE (also known as PARENTS) – Any FAMILY CARD can marry another FAMILY CARD or CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD.  Additionally, there may be an EXTENDED FAMILY CARD (see below).  A MARRIED COUPLE, that is not DIVORCED (see below), and where neither of them is DECEASED (see below), can have up to 3 children unless they have an EXTENDED FAMILY CARD (see below). 

 plus optional EXTENDED FAMILY CARD

EXTENDED FAMILY CARD – Any card value of 2 of any suit can be played on a MARRIED COUPLE if they are not DIVORCED (see below) and neither of them is DECEASED (see below).  Once the EXTENDED FAMILY CARD is played on a MARRIED COUPLE, then the MARRIED COUPLE can have up to 5 children (instead of up to 3).  The EXTENDED FAMILY CARD is also used in determining the FAMILY POKER HAND.

 

plus optional EXTENDED FAMILY CARD

DIVORCE CARD – Any Ace of any suit can be played on a MARRIED COUPLE if they are not already divorced and both of the family members are LIVING (see below).  Once played, no matter which member of the couple selected, the Ace covers up the spouse (card on the right of the MARRIED COUPLE) since the other person remains as part of the family no matter what.  The EXTENDED FAMILY CARD and DIVORCED CARD can still be used in determining the FAMILY POKER HAND (see below), but the covered up card (the spouse) will no longer count in the FAMILY POKER HAND.  Note that you cannot divorce a couple that’s already divorced, and it is not possible in this game for a divorced member of a couple to remarry.  The MARRIED COUPLE at the TREE TOP is special and cannot be divorced unless they have at least one child.

DECEASED CARD – Any Jack of any suit can be played on any living FAMILY CARD or CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD.  Note that you cannot play a DECEASED CARD on another DECEASED CARD.  You cannot play the DECEASED CARD on a TREE TOP MARRIED COUPLE unless they have at least one child.  You cannot play the DECEASED CARD on the DIVORCED CARD or EXTENDED FAMILY CARD.

-JOKER – There are 2 JOKERS in the deck.  A JOKER is played just like any other FAMILY CARD, except that when calculating the FAMILY POKER HAND, the JOKER counts as any card in the deck.  The game software will automatically determine the best 5 card FAMILY POKER HAND based on the best value to choose for the JOKER(s).  Note that even though the JOKER counts as any card in the deck, 5 of a kind is not counted in Family Tree Solitaire.

-FAMILY POKER HAND – For each family – parents, children, and associated cards – you should build the best possible 5-card standard poker hand that you can.  When you have more than 5 cards, the computer will automatically calculate the best 5-card poker hand for your score.  Note that some cards are hidden, as described in the other rules. Hidden cards do not count in the FAMILY POKER HAND, such as the card under a DIVORCED CARD.  FAMILY POKER HANDs with less than 5 cards are always worth 0 points, although there are a couple of other ways to earn points (see below).

-Poker hand scoring – 10 point for a pair; 20 points for 2 pair; 40 points for Three of a Kind; 50 points for a straight; 60 points for a flush; 80 points for a full house; 100 points for four of a kind; 170 points for a straight flush, 250 points for a royal flush.  5 of a kind is not counted in Family Tree Solitaire.

INDICATOR ICONS – These icons are displayed to help the player know where the CURRENT CARD can be played.  Normally, the game player should be able to determine what will happen if they play the CURRENT CARD on a card at the top of the screen.  But the player cannot see what cards are below the children on the screen, so these icons can help.  If an icon is present under a child in the family displayed on the screen, it indicates that the CURRENT CARD can be played at a level below that child.  Click or press on the child to see the family at that level in the tree.  The meaning of the icons is listed below.

Child can be added somewhere below this branch of the TREE.

Spouse can be added somewhere below this branch of the TREE.

The DECEASED CARD can be played on one of the family members below this branch of the TREE.

Child or Spouse can be added somewhere below this branch of the TREE.

There is at least one MARRIED COUPLE (not divorced) below this branch of the tree.

This icon indicates the number of children below this branch of the tree.

 

OBJECT OF THE GAME AND SCORING

To gain the most points possible for the TREE that you create from the shuffled deck (STOCK PILE).  The total points are the sum of the points scored as follows.

10 points times the number of the maximum level in the TREE.  For example, the FAMILY TREE shown below would be worth 30 points, since the maximum level in the tree is 3.

10 celebrity points for one CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD in a marriage (e.g. King and 3, 10 and Queen), but 30 points for 2 CELEBRITY FAMILY CARDs in a marriage (e.g. King and King, Queen and Queen, or King and Queen).  Note that you do not need to meet the minimum cards for the FAMILY POKER HAND for these extra points to be added.  However, if a CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD or their spouse is covered by a DECEASED CARD or a DIVORCED CARD, then no celebrity points are awarded for that CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD or their spouse.    Also, if there is a divorce, no points are awarded for CELEBRITY FAMILY CARDs in that marriage.

Sum of the points for each FAMILY POKER HAND in the TREE.

 

PLAYING THE GAME – COMPUTER VERSION

The computer will automatically shuffle the deck thoroughly, and then place the deck as the STOCK PILE. 

The computer will begin by showing a TREE TOP MARRIED COUPLE at the start of the game.  The computer will display the score (top right of screen), as well as a score to beat (bottom right of screen).  The score to beat is whichever is better, the computer’s score or your high score (if it is in your top 10 list) for the current game.

The computer will also display a game number that you can use at another time to play with the exact same shuffled deck.  This allows you to play against yourself (try to get a higher score than last time) or others (compare your score to their score).  See SETTINGS below for more information.

The computer will then automatically show the CURRENT CARD.   If the CURRENT CARD can be played using any of the rules for that card, then it must be played.  The player can only place the CURRENT CARD face down at the bottom of the STOCK PILE – by selecting the STOCK PILE – if the card cannot be played according to the rules.

If HINT is turned on, the player can act on the computer’s suggestion or choose to ignore it.

To play the CURRENT CARD click or press on any displayed card on the screen.  If the click or press is on a card at the bottom level of the visible part of the TREE, the display will change to show the BRANCH of the TREE below for the card selected.  The buttons at the bottom of the screen can be used to go back up a level or back up to the TREE TOP.  The CURRENT CARD will be played when a card at the top of the screen (either member of the MARRIED COUPLE) is clicked or pressed on, if it can be played there.  If the CURRENT CARD cannot be played there, nothing happens except for an audio clue.

To discard the CURRENT CARD (when it cannot be played anywhere) and place it face down at the bottom of the STOCK PILE, just press or click on the STOCK PILE.  However, if the computer determines that there is still a place in the TREE where the CURRENT CARD can be played, then nothing will happen except for an audio clue.

The game will end when you have gone through the STOCK PILE and none of the remaining cards can be played or there are no cards remaining in the STOCK PILE.

The computer will remember some high scores for the games you played so that you can try to beat those scores at a later time.  The current limit is 10 high scores.

Press UP TO TOP to view the top level of the TREE.  Press UP ONE LEVEL to view the family one level up from the currently viewed family.  The spouse’s family tree is never displayed, since that is not part of the game.  In SETTINGS, press NEW GAME to start a new game or CONTINUE GAME to go back to play.

In the computer version of the game it is easy to play a 2-person game by taking turns.  One person tries to maximize the score, while the second person tries to minimize the score.  The game can be repeated using the same game number, and that way the players can switch places and compare the final scores.

PLAYING THE GAME – STANDARD DECK OF CARDS WITH TWO JOKERS INCLUDED

-Shuffle the deck thoroughly, and then place the deck as the STOCK PILE. 

-Turn over the card at the top of the STOCK PILE and place it face up as the CURRENT CARD next to the STOCK PILE.  If the card is a FAMILY CARD or CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD, then you can start to build the TREE.  Otherwise, place the CURRENT CARD face up at the bottom of the STOCK PILE and continue to turn over cards from the STOCK PILE until you get a FAMILY CARD or CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD or else the CURRENT CARD is again placed at the bottom of the STOCK PILE face up.  Once you have a FAMILY CARD OR CELEBRITY FAMILY CARD, place that card at the TREE TOP.  You are now ready to continue to the next step.

-Turn over the card at the top of the STOCK PILE and place it face up as the CURRENT CARD next to the STOCK PILE.  If the card is one that can MARRY the card already at the top of the tree, the two cards form the TREE TOP MARRIED COUPLE, otherwise place the card at the bottom of the STOCK PILE and repeat this step until you find a card that can MARRY the card already at the top of the tree.

 -Continue to turn over cards at the top of the STOCK PILE and place them face up as the CURRENT CARD.  If the CURRENT CARD can be played using any of the rules for that card, then it must be played.  You can only place the CURRENT CARD face up at the bottom of the STOCK PILE if the card cannot be played according to the rules.  Note that if there is more than one place to play the CURRENT CARD, then you can choose whichever place you want according to the rules of the game.

-The game ends when you no longer can play any of the cards in the STOCK PILE according to the rules of the game, or there are no more cards in the STOCK PILE.  Without the computer, you will need to calculate the score according to the rules previously mentioned.

 


 

SETTINGS

In addition to the rules already explained, some can be seen in the instructional image above, there is a Settings button. 

When you press the Settings button, you see the buttons above, as well the Basic Rules in text on the screen.  These buttons have the following functionality.

INTERNET HELP (button does not appear in WebGL version) – Both screens display this button.  When pressed or clicked, it will bring up the author’s website.  That page will give you instructions on navigating to the Family Tree Solitaire help and associated information.  Note that this means you have to have a live internet connection for this button to function.  Also, any mobile communications fees associated with the internet connection are the responsibility of the game player.

CREDITS AND MORE – Press or click this button to get a help screen like the one shown above.  Then press CONTINUE.  The next screen shows a credits screen.  Press CONTINUE again, or press the RICKSLEVINE.com button (not in the WebGL version) to navigate to the author’s website.

HIGH SCORES – When a game ends, the software checks to see if this is one of the game player’s top 10 scores.  If it is, then it will be saved.  If there were already 10 top 10 scores, then the software will remove the lowest score from the list.  HIGH SCORES shows you your current top 10 list of HIGH SCORES.  Press it multiple times to scroll through the list.  Note that your high scores do not synchronize across devices or the WebGL version.

COMPUTER TREE – At any time during the game or after game over, you can display the family tree that the computer built.  This is to allow you to compare to the one that you built.  Pressing or clicking COMPUTER TREE again will show the next level up in the computer’s family tree.  To see the next level down in the tree, select or press on any of the children to see if they have children.

NEW GAME – To end the current game or if GAME OVER has been reached, press NEW GAME to start a new game.  This will exit the SETTINGS screen and start a NEW GAME.  If you have entered a game number in the input field (where it says Random Game), then NEW GAME will use that game number.  For example, you might want to beat a high score listed among your HIGH SCORES.  Just find the game number, enter it in the input field, and press the NEW GAME button.

CONTINUE – To continue to play the current game, press CONTINUE to exit the SETTINGS screen.

QUIT (button does not appear in WebGL version) – When QUIT is selected, if you have not finished the game you are playing, the game will not be completed and the application will close.  Note that there is no save game capability for saving incomplete games.