Tips on Playing Microsoft Solitaire

By Beth Bartlett
the screen, a solitaire game

One of the most popular single-player card games, solitaire, is included on every version of Microsoft's operating system. Not only is Microsoft Solitaire a fun way to spend time, it's also an excellent teaching method for those learning how to use a computer mouse. Whether you just want to win or are looking for a challenge, Microsoft Solitaire can be adjusted with scoring and draw options to create a compelling game.

Objective

Just like the real life-version with playing cards, the object of solitaire is to build four descending lines of cards alternating red/black suits from seven "row stacks" and the main deck, then match each suite of spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds in numerical order at the top of the screen on "suit stacks." Once you match every card and win the game, the cards will bounce down and dance across the screen.

Card Draw

The computer game has two modes for drawing cards: drawing one at a time or drawing every third card. While the game's default is three, if you're a beginner, choose the single-card draw. This will allow you to pass or play every card in the deck and gives you practice at dragging the cards to the proper line. Single-card draws also give you a better chance of winning because you can attempt to place each card. Once you have a few games under your belt, try the three-card option; this requires more strategy because you can only use each top card in the three-card draw.

Scoring

Microsoft Solitaire has two scoring modes: standard and Vegas style. The Vegas scoring adds dollars to your score every time you place a card on the top stacks, but this scoring method will only allow you to go through the deck once with single-card draw and twice with three-card draw. Standard gives you points each time you place a card on a descending line or on the top stacks. To get the best score, fill out the descending lines as much as possible before dragging each card to the top stacks. You'll get points twice for each card.

Strategy

a card, the suit stack, a play

Don't be afraid to move cards around on the row stacks if you need to access a certain card. For example, if moving the two of clubs from a line and stacking it on the ace gives you an opening to play the two of spades, take it. But if you have to move a card from the top and place it on the row stack, you will lose points; only bring down a card from the top stacks if it's absolutely necessary to fill out a line. Sometimes you'll have an opening, and there are two small lines on row stacks that can be played. When that happens, always take the cards from the stack that has the most uncovered cards in it until all cards are uncovered. Also, if you realize that you've just made a mistake, there's always the "Undo" option in the game menu that reverses the last play.