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Thieves & Kings: House of Cards

John Ottini | Handheld PC Reviews
December 25, 2006

Paul DeWolf of Thieves and Kings has been creating great computer card games since as far back as 1991. If you have Desktop PC, Laptop, Palm, Windows Mobile devise or a Windows CE Handheld PC then they have some excellent card games for you!

Currently you can download free trial copies of three separate games for your Handheld PC – Thieves, Kings Corners and Fortitude. You can also checkout some of the best scores registered from around the world, learn more about the rules of the games and of course purchase registration keys and CDs, right from the Thieves and Kings website.

If you are a card lover, then be forewarned that this review will introduce you to three very addictive card games for your Handheld PC.

Thieves 1.0

In Thieves, you are dealt seven columns of five cards face up. The next card is dealt face up in the Stack (center, bottom of the screen) and the rest of the deck is displayed face down on the bottom left corner of the screen.

Figure 1: Thieves

The object of this game is to remove all 35 cards off the table. Use the face up card on your stack to take any card (along the bottom line of the table) which is one card higher or lower than the card on the stack. For example: 5's can take 4's or 6's, Queens can take Jacks or Kings etc. Remember that, Kings cannot take Aces or vice-versa and Jokers can take or be taken by any other card.

Cards are moved by tapping on the stack card and on the table card. Points are awarded whenever you take a card off the table, unless it is a joker. If you can’t use one of the cards on the stack, just tap on the stack to display the next card. If you run out of cards without clearing the whole table, then the game is over. If you do clear the table then you move on to the next level of play. The game maintains a list of the ten highest scores and the players’ names.

I have a real love/hate relationship towards this card game. It is so easy to play, yet so difficult to master. There are times when I play 5 or 6 games before I can get past the 1st Level (that’s the frustrating part) but once I get past that 1st Level I get a surge of excitement always believing that now the sky is the limit. Unfortunately, there is little room for error, so it’s very easy to find myself having to start all over again at the beginning. This can drive you crazy, but you will have so much fun getting there!

Kings Corners 1.0

In Kings Corners, the object of is to deal all the cards from the deck onto the board, while maintaining the 4 rules listed below:

  1. You can only place one card per open slot, you cannot put a card on another card.
  2. Kings must be placed in the corner spaces.
  3. Queens are placed in the left and right non-corner slots.
  4. Jacks go in to the top and bottom non-corner slots.
Figure 2: Kings Corners

As each card is dealt, tap on the slot where you want to place the card. Once all the slots filled, you must then remove any 10’s or pairs of cards which add up to 10. You do this by tapping on the cards and they are automatically removed for the board, otherwise they inverted and you will need to tap on another card totaling 10.

Once you’ve removed all the cards possibilities, tap on the deck and new cards will be dealt for you to refill the remaining card slots.
The game can end in 3 ways:

  1. You are able to place all of the face cards successfully on the board.
  2. You can't place a face card in any of its appropriate slots.
  3. You can't remove any cards (equaling 10) after the slots are filled.

This is a really nice version of this popular card game, but I was a bit disappointed that the developer decided to only show partial card faces. Had the cards been the same size as the ones used in Thieves, this would not have been necessary. In any case, this is an interesting game which relies on equal doses of luck and strategy, and to the delight of even the most impatient card player, it provides very fast and entertaining game play.

Fortitude 1.0

The object of the game in Fortitude is to move all the cards from the table and the stack to the foundations piles. The foundations stacks (run along the top of the screen) must follow suit, beginning with aces and grow to jacks, queens or kings, depending on which level you reach.
To begin Fortitude, you are dealt six columns of four cards each (bottom, left of screen) face up and two empty columns (bottom, right of screen) on the table. The rest of the cards remain in a stack next to the discard pile (top right – last card).

Figure 3: Fortitude

Tap on the new card stack and try to move the last card from the discard stack to either one of the columns or to the foundation piles. Moves to a column or foundation pile are only legal if the card to be moved is the next-lower rank card and opposite color of the bottom card of the column. Cards can also be moved from column to column using the same criteria. Any blank column will accept any card, and can be built up just like any of the other columns.
Cards are automatically moved to the foundation if the card you turn over in the stack is the next in sequence. Cards can be move up to the foundation, by either clicking on the card, then clicking on the destination foundation, by double-clicking on the card (automatically goes to foundation) or by dragging the card to its destination.

There are multiple levels in this game…if you’re able to move all cards to the foundations, then game will re-deal the cards and your score will continue on to the next level. The game maintains a list of the ten highest scores and the players’ names
This is the most challenging of the 3 card games and involves quite a bit of strategy in order to reach the next Level. Unlike Thieves or Kings Corners this is a slow moving and thought provoking game, which requires close attention to all the cards laid out on your screen. Getting past that 1st Level is tough, but very rewarding and you will be amazed how quickly the hours pass and how addictive this game can be?

Final Thoughts

There you have it, three excellent cards games for your Handheld PC. My personal favorite is Thieves because it seems so deceivingly easy to play and yet is so frustratingly difficult to accomplish and move on to the next level.
If I’m going to waste some time playing solitaire games, then I want them to be challenging and entertaining, and this trio of games is that and more.

Where can I find Thieves & Kings software?

Thieves, Kings Corners & Fortitude are provided as shareware and are available to download from the developers website.
Single games are $10 USD (£5.30 GBP, €7.60 EUD, ¥1060 JPY est.) or you can purchase all 3 for just $15 USD (£7.90 GBP, €11.29 EUD, ¥1580 JPY est.).

System Requirements

Windows CE 2.0 or higher
SH3, SH4, MIPS, StrongARM

More information on Thieves & Kings Fortitude, Kings Corner & Thieves can be found at


Cost: 5- Star Rating
Usability: 4- Star Rating
Built-in Help: 5- Star Rating
Customer Service: 5- Star Rating
Overall: 5- Star Rating

Further Discussion

Let us know what you thought of this review and the Thieves & Kings Fortitude, Kings Corner & Thieves in the Community Forums!