Playing With Cards

OK.  How to adapt Bruce Scheiner’s Solitaire for use with a Tarot deck¹?

The easy way to do it is to make the Tarot deck into a deck of playing cards.  Take the page out of each of the Minor Suits, and read clubs/wands, diamonds/pentacles, hearts/cups, spades/swords; use Majors for the jokers (I’d go with the Fool and the World for simplicity, but you could pick whatever you liked).  Simple, but not really what I want to do.

Instead, I’d like a way to integrate the extraneous cards.  There are a few ways I can think of that might work, but I welcome additional ideas.

First idea: The pages and the Majors are included in the deck, but they’re nulls except for the two Majors doing duty as jokers.  When you land on one, at any step, you disregard it and keep going till you hit a non-null.  This adds a bit of complexity to the deck because you have to specify in your deck setup where the nulls go; I think that’s good.

Second idea: For this version, the kings get pulled from the alphabetical symbolism rather than the pages.  If you land on a king or a Major when determining a letter, treat it as above and keep going till you hit a card that isn’t.  But if you land on one during a non-letter step, use its numerical value as normal: kings are 14, the Majors go by their numbers (and I strongly suggest using the Fool as a joker in this setup to avoid problems with zero).  Again, it makes the deck more complex, which is good.

Third idea: Pull the pages, use the Fool as one of your jokers.  Any card hit during a numerical step uses its numerical value; Minors hit on a letter step are determined as in vanilla Solitaire, and a Major hit on a letter step gives a letter by its number–which, yes, means that there’s a third, truncated run of the alphabet that leaves out V-Z and one other letter for the second joker (or you could use one of the pages as the second joker).  I don’t know nearly enough about cryptology to know if having a truncated third alphabet would skew the encryption in a good or a bad way, and if bad whether the increased complexity makes up for it.

1: Solitaire keys the 52 regular cards of a standard deck to two run-throughs of the alphabet, with the two jokers as important markers.  Tarot has four suits of 14 cards each, the Minor Arcana, plus a fifth “suit” that’s numbered 0-21 as the Major Arcana.  That’s 24 extra cards.

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