Top 5 Different Solitaire Games to Play

Solitaires Team • March 1, 2024

Many different types of Solitaire that are enormously popular today. But in all the variety of these patience card games, there are a handful of forms of the game which remain by far the most popular. There are lots of reasons for the popularity of each that set them apart and today we’re going to explore five of the best Solitaire games.

Klondike Solitaire

Solitaire Klondike

Starting with what is, undoubtedly, the most popular and well-known form of the game, first we have Klondike Solitaire. Klondike Solitaire is what’s also known as “classic” or “standard” Solitaire. The game involves moving cards around the tableaus to form sequences in alternating color and descending value. The cards are then moved to the foundations by suit, and when all cards are arranged in the foundations, the game is won.

For many people, Klondike and Solitaire are more or less synonymous. When most think of Solitaire, the variation they are likely thinking of is Klondike Solitaire Turn 1.

Several key factors have influenced the overall popularity of Klondike. To put it simply, the Solitaire rules are extremely easy to learn, so it easily draws in new players. But at the same time, the game is quite difficult to master, which keeps players engaged for a long time. Even knowing winning Solitaire strategies, it is still statistically quite difficult to win—meaning you’ve always got room to improve your game.

Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire

Following closely behind Klondike in popularity is Spider Solitaire. Typically, Spider Solitaire is played with two decks, usually with one suit, or if you want a more complex version, then with 2 suits. For those who want a bigger challenge, there is also Spider Solitaire 4 suits, which is quite difficult to win even for experienced players. The basic aim is the same as Klondike: you must arrange the cards into sequences on the tableau, although by suit rather than color. When they are arranged into complete sequences, they will move into the foundation piles.

One reason Spider Solitaire is so popular is that it is often quite a lot harder than classic Solitaire. There is a much steeper learning curve, and even a single wrong move can completely lock you out of winning. This added challenge makes the game a much more stimulating mental task. It helps improve your memory and forward-thinking, and winning is all the more rewarding as it will almost certainly take you longer to achieve it.

FreeCell

FreeCell

Whereas lots of forms of Solitaire involve a great deal of luck, FreeCell is much more a game of strategy. The basic principles are once again very similar: you must build sequences of cards in the tableaus so that you can fill four foundations with each card in every suit, starting at ace. The main difference in FreeCell is that you have four “free cells” into which you can move any card temporarily to give yourself a more advantageous spread.

FreeCell places all cards in the tableaus face up, whereas other forms have a lot of the cards hidden at first. This gives you a full view of your spread, allowing for many steps of strategic thinking. This makes FreeCell much more likely to be winnable—computer simulations have estimated all but 0.001% of deals are winnable.

Pyramid Solitaire

Pyramid Solitaire

Pyramid Solitaire is a very different type of Solitaire. This is known as a pairing form of solitaire, in which you must find pairs of cards whose value adds up to 13. Twenty-eight cards are arranged into a “pyramid”. Cards from the stockpile are turned face up, and you can make pairs with any two cards that are not covered by another in the pyramid. 

Pyramid Solitaire tends to be much quicker-paced, and strategic thinking plays a smaller role. You must of course still think several steps ahead, prioritizing uncovering cards in the pyramid. 

Scorpion Solitaire

Scorpion Solitaire

Scorpion Solitaire is a challenging and engaging card game that falls within the Spider family of Solitaire games. This game utilizes a standard 52-card deck, aiming to create four sequences within the same suit, arranged in descending order from king to ace. Unlike different Solitaire games, Scorpion allows for the moving of stacked cards together as a unit, as long as they are in descending order and of the same suit, adding a layer of strategy and complexity.

The unique feature of Scorpion Solitaire is its namesake rule, the "Scorpion Tail", which comes into play when dealing with the remaining cards not initially laid out in the tableau. This element of surprise and the need for strategic planning make Scorpion Solitaire particularly intriguing for Solitaire enthusiasts. Mastering Scorpion offers a rewarding challenge and a delightful variation from the more traditional types of Solitaire.

Though they are all based on one or two sets of core principles, different Solitaire games are popular for many reasons. Whether you want the slow, highly strategic brain exercise of FreeCell or Klondike, or the punchy, second-to-second rush of Pyramid, there’s a type of Solitaire that will fit everyone’s tastes. Start playing your first game and enjoy the variations.


Solitaires Team

Solitaires Team

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