Computer solitaire can cure boredom caused by a work meeting, airplane ride or evening in spent doing work in front of a laptop. In fact, solitaire is the most used program on computers running Microsoft Windows, explains Slate senior editor Josh Levin. Electronic solitaire has a particular appeal because it removes the burden of card shuffling and dealing. Although Klondike is the most popular form, there are actually hundreds of types of solitaire games dating back to the 18th century.
Open Solitaire Games
Solitaire games that begin with all cards dealt face up are referred to as open games. Winning open solitaire games relies on skill and strategy rather than luck. Freecell, one of the best known open solitaire games, involves arranging cards by suit and in ascending number. A deck of cards is divided into eight piles. There are four free cells for holding cards, and four foundation cells. Baker’s Dozen is similar; however, cards are dealt into 13 piles, and there are no free cells. Beleaguered Castle Solitaire begins with all aces already placed in the foundation piles. The remaining cards are arranged into eight piles.
Solitaire Games with Card Draws
Most solitaire games start with some cards dealt face up, others hidden and a pile of cards, known as the stock, to be drawn when no more moves are possible. Klondike, for example, has seven columns with the top card in each column face up. Cards are drawn from the stock pile when all open moves are completed. Pyramid solitaire and Tri-Peaks solitaire also involve revealed cards, hidden cards and a stock pile. Cards are arranged into pyramid shaped layouts instead of columns.
Two-Deck Solitaire Games
Some variations of solitaire use two decks of playing cards. In Spider, one of the most popular two-deck games, cards are arranged into 10 columns and a stock pile. There are no foundation stacks. The goal is to arrange the cards by suit and from king to ace. Other two-deck solitaire games include Forty Thieves, Double Klondike, Aces and Kings, Interchange and Great Wheel. Solitaire games that use more than one deck of cards are usually played electronically to avoid shuffling and lengthy organization.
Although solitaire is traditionally a single-player game, competitive multiplayer versions exist. Nertz Solitaire combines the game play of Klondike with Speed. The goal is to discard all 13 cards first, and call “Nertz.” In some cases, players will choose to play two separate single-player solitaire games at the same time. The first player to complete a hand wins.