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Solitaire Game Descriptions

  • Klondike is almost certainly the most famous type of solitaire, but is probably not the most mentally challenging. To give strategy a bigger role, this implementation has a deck display option which will list the upcoming cards in the deck (after the initial pass through it). This will enable planning to obtain the optimal deck order in the subsequent pass. Other options are available which alter the difficulty of the game. (Klondike Instructions)
  • FreeCell has probably become at least the second most popular type of solitaire since its inclusion in Win95. Even though FreeCell requires considerable strategy, winning is still quite common for experienced players. The frequency of victory can be decreased (or increased), by setting the game’s options appropriately. The most notable variation is in the number of free cells, which can range from one to eight. (FreeCell Instructions)
  • Canfield is a classic variation of solitaire which originated in an upstate New York casino in the 1890s. Gamblers paid $50 per game and received back $5 for every card they moved to the suit stacks. As you would expect, the rules were designed so that players would remove, on average, fewer than the ten cards needed to break even. Removing all cards and attaining victory is quite rare, but can be made somewhat more common by using easier options. (Canfield Instructions)
  • Golf is a fast-moving game which has nothing to do with its title besides some of the terminology it uses. The quick pace of Golf facilitates playing several games in succession, with each game considered a “hole”, and the total number of cards remaining compared to “par”. The objective of Golf solitaire is to put all the cards in the layout in a single pile instead of placing the deck in four suit stacks. (Golf Instructions)
  • Pyramid has the objective of eliminating the entire deck by finding pairs of cards which total thirteen (Kings are eliminated singly). At the start of the game, only the cards in bottom row of the pyramid are available. The other rows in the pyramid become accessible as the cards below them are removed. (Pyramid Instructions)
  • Spider is a challenging (and time-consuming) game using two decks which was supposedly the favorite solitaire of FDR. While Spider has the usual objective of arranging all suits in order, Spider does not provide a stack for each suit to be assembled in. Instead, the suits must be ordered in the building stacks and are then moved to a discard pile. The game is won when all cards in both decks are in the discard pile. Stacks in Spider can be built with any suit, but multiple cards moved between stacks must all have the same suit. Several non-standard options have been implemented to make the game less daunting for beginners. (Spider Instructions)
  • Clock is an ideal game to play when you do not want an exceptionally strenuous mental workout. The game is entirely deterministic, meaning that there is only one possible move that can be made at all stages of play. If this is still too arduous, it is possible to make that move (and finish the game) automatically. (Clock Instructions)
  • Calculation has the usual goal of arranging the entire contents of the deck in four stacks of thirteen cards, but the suits of the cards in these stacks is irrelevant. Instead, the four stacks accept cards whose ranks differ by a specified interval. Even though the computer calculates the accepted sequences of cards, the game is still extremely challenging. (Calculation Instructions)
  • Shamrocks has the most building stacks (18) and the most generous building rules of any game on the site. To counter these advantages, the stacks cannot accept more than three cards and become unusable once all cards have been removed. (Shamrocks Instructions)
  • Scorpion allows cards other than kings can be moved to only one location, but the game is less mechanical and more challenging than it would appear. The Scorpion layout has two areas which represent the body and tail of a scorpion. When an impasse is reached, the stack representing the “tail” of the scorpion is moved to the building stacks. This will hopefully end the deadlock. (Scorpion Instructions)
  • King Albert is named after the Belgian monarch during World War I and is another “FreeCell without free cells” variation. It is necessary to obtain a free space by removing all cards from a stack. To facilitate creation of empty spaces, seven cards are available (representing King Albert’s reserve army) which can be moved to a building stack when the time is opportune. (King Albert Instructions)
  • Yukon begins with the same layout as Klondike, but the remaining 24 cards are placed face up on the stacks instead of being cycled through 3 cards at a time. Yukon has the most liberal card moving rules of any game on this site. Not only can an unlimited number of cards be moved at a time, the transferred cards do not even need to be in order. (Yukon Instructions)
  • Beleaguered Castle has the the objective of eroding away the contents of the “wall” stacks by placing their contents in the suit stacks in the middle. Despite the different layout, Beleagured Castle can be viewed as “Free Cell without free cells.” To compensate (partially) for this lack, stacks do not need to have alternating colors and the aces are removed before the start of the game. (Beleaguered Castle Instructions)
  • Flower Garden has a layout consisting of six columns which represent the “garden”. The 16 cards outside the garden compose the “bouquet” and are used to build the columns as needed. (Flower Garden Instructions)

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