What is Solitaire?
Solitaire, sometimes known as Patience, is a group of card games designed for single player play. Unlike other competitive card games, Solitaire is less of a
How to Play Solitaire with Cards?
Solitaire is generally a single-player affair, but different players can play cooperatively by helping each other through discussions. All you need to play Solitaire are the standard Anglo-American 52-card decks that are commonly available.
The goal of the game is to sort out cards into sequences based on their suits and rank, and this is done by moving cards around.
The initially shuffled deck will eventually be sorted into cards in the order of K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A, from high to low, with no mixed suits. At the end of a game of solitaire, the deck will be sorted neatly.
This seems simple but can be extremely challenging, thanks to the 4 different suits.
In Classic Solitaire, the board has 4 different sections. These are the Table, the Foundations, the Draw pile, and the Talon. The following section also discusses how to set up solitaire.
The Table/How to Deal
The Table is the 7 piles of cards which are the main area of activity. Players will move cards around, and the Foundations will be formed in this area.
From left to right, a card is placed face up on the first pile, followed by 6 cards face down on each subsequent pile.
On the next cycle, beginning with the second pile, one card is placed face up, followed by 5 cards face down on the next piles.
This continues until each pile has an increasing number of cards, with a single card placed face up.
The Foundations are the 4 main piles where a suit is built up. Each Foundation will be of a certain suit, be it hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs. Once a sequence is completed, it is removed from play, clearing the board of that suit. Each Foundation begins with an Ace, and builds towards a King. Foundations begin empty.
The Draw Pile
Sometimes known as the stock or hand, the draw pile is the remaining cards after all cards are dealt onto the Table. These cards can be drawn and brought into play in accordance to the rules, which can differ greatly from the different variations.
The Talon is also known as the discard pile. These cards will be laid face up, away from the table.
The focus of the game is to move cards individually from the table to the Foundations. This means carefully unveiling and drawing cards, as certain cards may be blocked, and you can only begin a Foundation with an Ace. If an Ace is available on the beginning board, they should be moved onto the Foundations.
If a card is removed from the Table, and a pile is left with the last card unrevealed, the card is unveiled.
To move cards around, one can move lower-ranked cards to higher-ranked cards, provided that the cards are of a different color. As an example, if there is a 3♥ and a 2♥ card on different piles on the Table, one cannot move the 2♥ card to the 3♥ pile, since they are of the same color.
On the contrary, one can move a J♠ to a pile ending with a Q♦. However, this might not always be the best idea.
One cannot move multiple cards if suits are mixed. Since suits are always mixed in Solitaire, that means that moves are always made one card at a time. For example, in the previous example, the Q♦ cannot be moved if the J♠ is below them.
The top card of the draw pile is unveiled to the talon, and if the card cannot be played onto the board, then it remains in the discard pile. Only the top card of the discard pile can be played.
To win the game of Solitaire you will have to transfer all cards from the Table to the Foundation. The game will end if either no more moves are possible, or if all cards are cleared and sorted out.
It is possible to fail a game of Solitaire with some wrong moves, resulting in a locked board. This will be common for beginners, but with experience, a player can deal with any board.
Rules & Instructions
The Solitaire card game rules exist to prevent overly easy puzzles. The main rules are regarding the ordering of the stock and the suits.
The draw pile has to be maintained in order. Only the top card of the discard pile can be played. When an extra draw is done while there is still a card on the discard pile, the new top card will cover the previous card, repeated for each extra draw.
Moving cards around the Table can be done regardless of suits, however, mixed suits will limit your movement possibilities. In the case where one has moved cards into an order or: 8♠ 7♦ 6♣ 5♥, players can only move the 5♥ card, then the 6♣ card once there is no blocking.
Empty Table Pile
If there is an empty pile on the Table, only a King can be used to start the pile. In other words, cards such as 6♦ cannot be placed on empty piles.
Summary of Rules
In conclusion, the traditional Solitaire rules are:
- Cards are dealt in order, forming an ascending number of cards from left to right, with the bottom-most card of each pile being placed face-up.
- Players move cards from the Table to the Foundations, beginning with the Ace of each suit.
- The draw pile is revealed one by one.
- Cards of a lower consecutive rank can be moved below a card of a higher rank, provided the cards are of a different color.
- The game ends when all cards are cleared or if no more moves are possible.
Scoring & Points
Solitaire scoring is based on timing, particularly for solitaire games played digitally. These games can be seeded to provide every player with the same deck order and configuration, removing the random aspect.
Hence, most players will play competitively by racing to complete each seed. This is made particularly popular through the online solitaire gaming community, where the fastest times are made publicly available on a leaderboard, and new records can be added in real-time.
The basics of Classic Solitaire play are easily understandable. An example board state, with each pile being truncated to being the last revealed card is provided below.
In this case, the draw pile has unveiled an Ace. Whenever a card can be moved to the Foundation, it is a good idea to do it immediately.
Here, on the 6th pile on the Table, the 2♠ can be moved to the Foundation, since the Ace of the suit is already available. This unveils the following card on the 6th pile.
Now, we see that we can move the 5♥ from the 6th pile to the 7th pile, which further unlocks move possibilities.
With another Ace A♦ unveiled, and one that coincidentally has an available 2♦, we move both to the Foundations, starting the ♦ foundation.
Since there are no obvious moves to work from, we can temporarily set the 4♠ from the draw pile to the 7th pile, since the 4♠ follows rank of the 5♥.
Since a 3♠ is unveiled, we can move that into the Foundation, and then that can be further extended with the 4♠ from the 7th pile. The game will continue with moves being made to solve the overall puzzle.
Strategy & Tips
- Always unveil the card from the draw pile before making any moves, a good solitaire strategy means the more possibilities the better.
- Always place an Ace to the corresponding foundation when possible. As previously stated, this unlocks further possibilities for moves.
- Do not empty piles if you do not have access to a King. An empty pile disallows all cards but the Kings.
- Unveiling hidden cards is generally a good idea since they unlock more possible moves.
- For empty piles, be careful when choosing what King to place onto the pile, since choosing the wrong suit might result in blocking.
- Do not mix suits if there are other possible moves. The last thing you want to do is limit your possibilities.
Solitaire Card Game Variations
Played with a single deck, the game seeks to sort an entire deck into one pile, similar to the look of an accordion. Dealing is unique as cards are dealt at random numbers when no moves are available.
A western solitaire game that is difficult to win, deliberately designed like that. Cards are dealt in piles of 4, which limits possible moves. You can play Canfield here.
Hailing from China, cards are dealt differently, in 7 piles of 7 cards each. The first 3 piles have all cards face-up, whereas the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th pile have 4, 3, 2, and 1 cards face-up respectively.
Designed for 2 players, this requires two decks. There are 8 Foundations, and each player has 9 piles on the Table instead.
Designed to be fast-paced and simple, 7 columns of 5 are laid out, and all cards are face-up. This allows for more quick gameplay thanks to more information being available.
The most popular of the Solitaire variations, Klondike Solitaire follows the standard rules that award experience and skill.
Titled for the shape of the cards, 6 overlapping rows are arranged in the shape of a triangle. Six cards are then deal to the reserve. The blocked cards must be removed before the deeper cards can be played.
Instead of the draw pile being drawn one at a time, each of the 10 piles are dealt one card each, making it a difficult game of managing the board.
Another challenging variation, cards are dealt like regular Solitaire, however, cards can be moved as a unit, including those which don’t follow suit.
Similar to Russian Solitaire, Yukon allows for unique moves, but the arrangement is different, and there is no draw pile. All cards are dealt at the start of the game.
Frequently Asked Questions
When was Solitaire invented?
Traditional Solitaire, or Patience, was born in Europe in the 18th century, tracing back to mid-1700s Britain and Germany through writing.
How many different versions are there?
There are hundreds of variations of Solitaire out there with differing rulesets, but all focus on the same goal.
Is every game of Solitaire winnable?
As Solitaire has been part of coding sport for AI training, people have found that 79% of games are winnable assuming a perfect player under the usual rules.
How many rows are there in Solitaire?
There are 7 rows in regular Solitaire, and each row has an increasing number of columns during the deal phase.
How many cards are in Solitaire?
Normal Solitaire uses all 52 cards from the standard deck without Jokers.
What is a good score in Solitaire?
The best score in Solitaire is the fastest time to solve the game.
What is the Solitaire world record?
Since the most popular version of Solitaire was the one bundled in Windows XP, record times are as fast as 5 seconds, though the validity is questionable.
How to play by yourself?
In essence, Solitaire is designed to be played individually. There are no special requirements. There are also Solitaire-style games that can be played by multiple players like the Spite and Malice game for example. In case you don’t mind playing online, have a go at this game below!
If you like this game then have a look at Online-Solitaire.com to play more variations.