1. What Is Solitaire?
Staying true to its name, Solitaire is a tabletop card game that can be played by a single player. The game basically involves maneuvering a set of cards in a particular manner depending on the variant. With that said, players have to reorder the deck by rank or suit. Some variants of the game allow the reshuffling of the decks or placing cards in new or empty locations.
When it comes to the most common form of the game, players have to build up a row of cards going from Ace to King in each suit.
In spite of the solitary nature of the game, it is possible to play it competitively in a head- to- head race. Some players may also choose to play Solitaire cooperatively.
1.1 History Of Solitaire
The story of how the Solitaire card game came to be is unclear. However, there are a few accounts on its origins.
1.1.1 German Origins
There are some who say that the Solitaire card game started in Germany. In fact, one of the earliest mentions of the game was in a German book of games back in 1783.
In the book, it was described as a competitive tabletop game where players use separate decks of cards. Furthermore, the idea of playing in single player mode came from people who practiced by themselves.
1.1.2 Baltic Origins
In another account, it is said that the game originated in the Baltic region of Europe. It is possible that the card game was a form of fortune-telling. Some theories even claim that its popularity rose alongside cartomancy, divination, and tarot card readings.
1.1.3 Scandinavian Origins
Furthermore, in Scandinavian countries, the card game is called “Cabale,” "Kabal," or "Kabala." A few sources say that it is related to the word “cabal” which means “mystical interpretation of the Old Testament.”
1.1.4 UK Origins
Lastly, in the United Kingdom, a game called Patience was becoming popular at the same time as Solitaire. There were a few differences between the two games at first. However, the distinction faded after a while, and now, the two games are interchangeable. In fact, some people still prefer calling Solitaire as Patience.
2. How To Play Solitaire
2.1 What Do You Need To Play Solitaire?
The requirements to play solitaire are very basic. In fact, it is one of the most convenient games to play. All you need is a standard deck of 52 playing cards and a surface where you can lay the cards out.
Furthermore, if you are playing Solitaire online, all you need are a stable Internet connection and a device to play it on.
You don’t even need to find a few more people to play with you as the card game is meant to be enjoyed alone.
2.2 What Is The Goal Of Solitaire?
The player’s objective is to create four piles of cards, (one for each suit), in ascending order. To put it another way, the player should arrange the cards from Ace to King where each stack represents a suit. This can be done by moving cards to stock piles, foundation stacks, or to other columns.
When all of the cards are arranged in the desired manner, then the game is considered finished.
2.3 Rank Of Cards
From lowest to highest, here are the values of the cards: A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K. Jokers are not used in classic Solitaire.
3. Setting Up The Game
In the classic game of Solitaire, there are four types of piles you have to consider. Namely, these are The Tableau, The Stock, The Foundation, and The Talon. Below are their descriptions and how to use them.
Make sure to remember these terms as we will be using them later on.
3.1 The Tableau
The pile of Tableau consists of 7 columns and is located in the middle part. This makes up the main table.
For the setup, the first pile contains only one card, while the second pile has 2. The third pile has three cards and so on until you reach the seventh pile which has 7 cards. Only the card at the top should be faced up. The others are faced down.
3.2 The Stock
After laying out the Tableau, the remaining cards will go to the Stock pile. These cards are then placed right above the Tableau. Cards from this pile can be brought into the game when you run out of moves.
Place this pile just below the Tableau.
3.3 The Talon
This pile can also be called “The Waste.” As its name suggests, this is where the discarded cards from the Stock go to.
3.4 The Foundation
The Foundation is where you’ll set up the four rows of suits that will win the game. At the start of the game, it should be empty. Gradually, the player should be able to fill the four stacks of each suit from Ace to King. A space for four piles of cards should be reserved for the Foundation.
4. Game Proper
Now that we have laid out all the cards in their respective piles, let’s start the game. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to enjoy the classic game of Solitaire.
4.1 Arrange The Cards That Are Face-Up
At the start, you can only move the cards which are face-up. Arrange the cards in a sequence of descending value. One thing to note is that the pile should be of alternating color. For example, you can transfer your 3 of Hearts to another pile which has 4 of Spades. After moving a card, the one at its bottom can now be faced up and played.
Do this until you cannot move any more cards.
4.2 Aces Should Be Put In The Foundation Pile
Whenever an Ace card shows up, it should be put in the Foundation pile. As the game progresses, you should have all of the Aces, (Hearts, Spades, Clubs, Diamonds), there. Each pile should be built by suit in sequence from Ace to King.
4.3 Use The Stock Pile If You Run Out Of Moves
When you cannot transfer any more cards, you can play cards from the Stock pile. To do that, simply flip over the top three cards. Try to see if you can play the card on top. If you can play it, see if you can play the second one until the last card.
However, if you cannot play the card on top, these are then put in the Talon or Waste pile and another three cards are selected from the Stock pile. If the stock runs out, the Talon becomes your new Stock pile.
4.4 Fill The Vacancy
Once you’ve used a row of cards in the Tableau, it becomes a “space.”Whenever a space is created, it can only be filled in using a King. This is very important as it can unblock the cards that are faced down.
4.5. Continue Until You Complete The Foundation
Proceed with transferring cards until you complete all four of your Foundation piles. Once you’ve completed them, the game is considered finished.
5. Tips And Tricks To Win The Solitaire Card Game
The basics of Solitaire is pretty easy to learn. However, mastering the game is a different matter. Here are a few tips on how to dominate the game.
5.1 Play Aces And Twos In An Instant
Once you get Aces and Twos, put them in the Foundation stack. Putting them in the Foundation will help reveal more cards. These cards have no other use in the Tableau and will only block the other cards.
5.2 Avoid Leaving Empty Spaces When You Don’t Have A King
As mentioned in the rules above, only Kings can fill the spaces. With that said, the space will become useless when you can’t play any Kings. It is wise to wait until you have a King before creating a space.
5.3 Move Your Kings Carefully
Before moving your Kings to a space, think ahead. Which King will help reveal the most cards? To illustrate, if you have a Red Queen and no Black Queen, the logical move would be to use the Black King because it has more cards that you can play with.
5.4 Move Cards From Piles That Have The Most Hidden Cards
When transferring cards, choose the one that has the most hidden cards underneath. That way, you can potentially reveal more cards to play.
6. Other Variations Of Solitaire
Due to Solitaire’s popularity, it is inevitable for it to produce different variations. Here are a few versions that are as fun as the classic.
6.1 Spider Solitaire
One major difference is the size. In a classic Solitaire game, only one deck is used. However, in Spider Solitaire, players use two decks. Apart from that, the Tableau in this version consists of 10 stacks whereas the classic game uses only 7.
6.2 Pyramid Solitaire
As its name suggests, the Pyramid Solitaire resembles a pyramid in terms of layout. Only one card is placed at the top row. Meanwhile, a card is added to every row below it forming a triangle. In terms of gameplay, the objective is to remove pairs of cards that sum up to the value of the highest card in the deck. To be specific, the highest number is 13 -- the value of Kings.
With that said, players have to add the value of the card in their hand and the one in the playing area. If the sum is 13, then both of the cards may be removed. To win the game, you have to clear all the cards from the table and the deck.
6.3 Golf Solitaire
Like its namesake, the goal of this version is to get the lowest number of points. And compared with other Solitaire variants, this one has a higher ratio of skill to luck.
6.4 Mahjong Solitaire
Mahjong Solitaire is also known as Shanghai Solitaire, electronic or computerized mahjong. Unlike the other variants of Solitaire, this one uses tiles instead of cards. It can either be played on a computer or as a physical tabletop game.
In this game, the tiles are arranged face up in a four-layer pattern. Furthermore, a tile is considered open or exposed when it can be moved right or left without disturbing other tiles. Witdevh that said, the goal of Mahjong Solitaire is to match open tiles with identical ones and remove them from the board. Players finish the game when all pairs have been removed or when there are no more exposed pairs remaining.
Q.1 Where Can I Play Solitaire?
The awesome thing about Solitaire is that it is very convenient to play. All you need is a standard 52-card deck and you can play it anywhere. But don’t worry if you don’t have a deck. You can still play Solitaire online for free!
Q.2 How Long Will It Take To Play A Game?
It depends on the player and the difficulty of the game. However, a standard session should last about 10-15 minutes.