Zapster Solitaire is a game made for taking just a few minutes to play something light, and I’ve been dogfooding it a lot in that capacity. In all my playtime, I’ve found a strong point in the game’s design as well as several weaknesses, in addition to the “false coin flip” I discussed previously:
- 👍 Jacks are by far the most interesting element of the game’s challenge. Their varying badness depending on which numbers you have, as well as their ability to introduce duplicate cards in your cells, creates a lot of space in strategizing how to use your zaps.
- 👎 However, they’re made a little less interesting when they use an ace and add only one card.
- 👎 It too often feels like the RNG (random number generator) just hates you and doesn’t want you to win. I accept this as inevitable to an extent due to this being a highly luck-based game, but I think things are tilted a little too strong in that direction right now.
- 👎 This is especially true in the early game, when all ranks are equally represented in the draw pile and you have only six cells.
I want not just to address the weaknesses, but build on that strength. I’ve got a draft of a redesign that could do all those things: Cards of rank 10 will be put back in the game, aces will go out, and starting cells will be increased to 7. In theory, the early game will be more survivable and the false coin flip gone with the extra cell, and the higher 10-cell maximum will improve overall survivability. Jacks will keep the game interesting despite that by drawing at least two cards, and an average of one more (when they have numbered cards to use at all).