Scoudrel is a solo card game that simulates a dungeon crawl with a deck of cards. So if you're into that sort of thing, it's might be much more engaging for you than the traditional types of solitaire like Klondike or Spider. I struggle to enjoy most conventional solitaire games, but Scoundrel is a lot of fun.

These rules are adapted from the original rules by Zach Gage and Kurt Bieg available as a (very small) PDF.


A standard 52-card deck is used, with the red face cards and red aces removed. You'll need to track your health, which starts at 20. The goal of the game is to make your way through every room of the dungeon. A room is created by dealing 4 cards in a row face up from the dungeon (the deck) onto the table. You, the dungeon explorer, must play 3 of those cards in an order you choose to complete that room. The remaining fourth card is retained, and 3 additional cards are dealt to form the next room.

Card layout for Scoundrel

I tend to hold the dungeon in my hand and play cards with my other hand, so the pile to the left in the diagram above may not be necessary.

After a room is dealt, the player might prefer to skip it. If desired, a room may be skipped by collecting all four cards and placing them at the bottom of the dungeon and dealing a fresh set of four cards for the room. The player can do this as many times as they want, but never two times in a row.


Cards have a value corresponding to their order within the suit, Ace high. So number cards have a value equal to their number, and face cards have values consecutively starting at 11:

🂫 = 11 🂭 = 12 🂮 = 13 🂡 = 14


The clubs and spades are monsters, with damage equal to their ordered value (2-13). It would probably be pretty cool to print up a custom deck with awesome monsters (from small at 2 to huge at A) to make the game more immersive.


Diamonds are weapons. You can only equip one weapon at a time (equipping a new weapon replaces the previous), and a weapon must always attack an enemy that is weaker than the previous enemy it attacked. Like with monsters, if I were going to print these up, I'd use small weapons (like a dagger if the game was D&D themed, maybe an energy pistol if it were sci-fi), all the way up to a 10 (something like a vorpal blade or an energy cannon).


To defeat a monster, you select it and note its value. Let's suppose the card is a 🂫, with a value of 11.

If you have no weapon (or you can't or don't choose to use your equipped weapon), you can kill the monster (discarding it into the discard pile), but it will deal 11 points of damage to you before you defeat it. If you had 11 or fewer points of health, the monster would defeat you instead, and the game would be over.

If you have a weapon, you subtract the value of the weapon from the monster's value when calculating how much damage it deals to you. So if you had a weapon with a value of 8, the monster (with value 11) would only deal 3 damage to you before you defeated it (the weapon makes you more effective in combat). Note that when you first pull a weapon and equip it, it can attack a creature with any value at all. The limitation is that after it defeats one creature, it cannot be used to fight another creature with the same or higher value than the last monster defeated with that weapon. To track this limitation, monsters defeated by a weapon are placed, accordion-style, below the weapon card so you can how many it defeated and what their values were.

You may choose to fight without a weapon even if you have a weapon equipped that could be used to fight the monster. Of course, if you do so, the monster will deal its full value as damage in the fight.


Hearts are health potions. You can consume more than one health potion per turn, but any after the first have no effect. The first health potion consumed each turn adds the potion's value to your health.


The gameplay is simple: if you can exhaust the dungeon by playing through every room, you win! Otherwise, the dungeon defeats you. Don't worry, it's there for you to try again next time.