When it comes to passing the time with a single-person card game, Solitaire is where it's at. This list of solitaire card games includes solo games from many eras. While a complete list would include hundreds and hundreds of variations, these solitaire card games are some of the more popular ones played around the world.
What Is a Solitaire Card Game?
The very basic definition of solitaire is a card game you play by yourself. Most of these games involve various "tableau" stacks you build on in different ways. For example, you may start with an ace and need to place other cards on top of it in ascending or descending order.
Other types of solitaire games might have you simply clearing cascades while using the main deck. The one thing solitaire card games don't have in common is how solvable they are. Some are very difficult, and others rely on complete random luck to succeed.
Quick History of Solitaire Games
Solitaire is a relatively new type of card game, discovered in a game rule book in Germany around 1780. Over the years, solitaire, or patience, as it is sometimes known, became more and more popular. Many of the games in this list came about in the late 20th century.
List of Solitaire Card Games
The complete list of solitaire card games would fill a book! Dive into a list of a few of the most popular ones.
This is the most common solitaire game people know. There are seven columns. Starting with column one, there is one card facing up. From columns two through seven, there will be that column number minus one cards face down, and the bottom card face up. For example, in the sixth column, five cards will be face down and the last card face-up.
Your goal is to build four discard piles in ascending order, starting with the ace. You are allowed to use the face-up cards from the tableau, turning the next subsequent card over when you remove the face-up card. From your deck, you can turn over every card (going through the deck once) or every third card (which allows you to go through the deck three times). When you clear the tableau and use all your cards in the deck, you win.
Using an entire deck, you stack the cards in a pyramid, with each row slightly covering the row above. The goal of pyramid is to use any uncovered cards to build foundations. There are also several variations of this game.
This is one of the harder solitaire games. You place the four queens in a circle pointing in different directions and one pair of 5's and 6's near each queen. Using the deck, you place other cards in descending order on the 5's and in ascending order on the 6's.
Trefoil is one of the hardest solitaire games to win. The base piles are started with the four aces, with 16 tableau piles of three cards each. You must build from the base piles in each suit, completing the piles with kings on top. This game has other names like Alexander the Great, Midnight Oil, The Fan, or Three Shuffles.
FreeCell is a solitaire game where most of the deals will win. All the cards are dealt face-up. The "cell" part comes in because you can move a card in the tableau to uncover another card you might need for the foundations. It's one of the most popular basic games on computers.
Other Popular Solitaire Games
You can find various solitaire games you can play online and with a standard deck to pass time on a rainy day.
- Accordion - Dealing cards from left to right, you can play any card of the same suit or rank on the card to its left or three cards to its left. All moves are made in piles until you have one complete pile.
- Aces Up - In aces up, the point is to get all the cards into one pile. You start with four face-up cards and a deck you can manipulate. When you run out of moves, four new face-up cards are dealt until all you are left with is the Aces.
- Alteration - A creative mix of Klondike and FreeCell solitaire, Alteration starts the game with half the cards face up, and half the cards face down on the tableau in 7 columns of 7 cards. The objective is to build your foundation pile by suit in descending order from ace to king.
- Amazon - This solitaire game takes a simplified approach by only having you build the four foundation piles from ace to 7. You start with four cards face-up on the board to build from.
- Bristol Solitaire - Start with 8 columns of 3 cards on the tableau. You can move cards only to those that are larger. You must build a foundation of all four suits from ace to king.
- Carpet - The aces are separated into four foundations decks. You must move the cards over from the tableau to the foundation decks.
- Castles in Spain - You start with 13 columns of 4 cards with only the top card face up on the tableau. You must uncover the cards to create the four foundation decks by moving the cards on the tableau to those of an opposite color, one rank below (9 of spades to 10 of hearts).
- Clock Solitaire - A unique solitaire game that relies on luck to win. In this solitaire game, you arrange the cards like a clock's face and try to match up all four suits before revealing the 4th king.
- Colorado - With a slightly different twist, Colorado has 20 cards on the tableau and 8 foundations piles. Four foundation piles must be built to win the game.
- Concentration - In this solitaire game, you are looking to find matching pairs of cards regardless of suit. All the cards are dealt on the tableau face-down in 4 columns of 13 cards.
- Deuces - Per the name Deuces, all the foundation piles start with the 2 cards. This game also uses 2 decks of cards for play.
- Four Seasons - Also called Vanishing Cross, the tableau and foundations sections form a cross. Harder to beat than most solitaire games, you must get all the cards to the foundation decks before your pile runs out.
- Fourteen Out - This solitaire game is a pyramid solitaire where all the cards are dealt with 12 piles on the tableau. Five piles have 5 cards, while the rest have four. The goal of the game is to make pairs equal to 14.
- Gate - A fun and interesting solitaire game, you have 8 tableau piles of cards and 2 reserve piles with 10 cards face up. You also have a deck of hidden cards; you move the cards around the board to create 4 foundation decks.
- Joker Klondike - The jokers get their heyday in Joker Klondike. This follows the same rules as regular Klondike, but the Jokers are added into the mix.
- Laggard Lady - Laggard Lady uses 2 decks of cards and builds 16 foundation decks from 6 to jack and 5 to the king, alternating. The interesting thing about this game is that your foundation piles only follow number order, not suit. To start, a queen gets the ball rolling on the tableau.
- Octave - With 2 decks and 8 columns of 3 on the tableau, you need to build 8 foundations decks. The first 4 foundations follow suit to 10. But the final foundation piles are the royalty of alternating color.
- Portuguese Solitaire - With 13 columns face up on the tableau; players should create 4 foundation decks of the same suit. Players can add cards to the tableau piles as long as they are one lower and the same suit.
- Streets - A long game designed for advanced players, Streets has you creating 4 ascending foundation decks of the same suit. Players can add cards to the tableau, but they must be one lower and a different color. Players have no re-deal available.
- The Herring-Bone - This game is played with 2 decks and offers one re-deal. To win this game, you need to create foundations piles of kings, queens, jacks, all the way to aces.
- Three Blind Mice - You run a bit blind in this average solitaire game, with 3 of your 10 tableau columns having face-down cards. The goal of the game is to uncover those hidden cards and create 4 foundation decks following suit.
- Wasp - Online and standard versions of this game are pretty easy to play. You've got to move cards around on the tableau by following suit and ascending order. However, the trick of this game is the 4 columns of hidden cards you must uncover to win.
- Yukon - You don't have a stockpile in Yukon Solitaire. All the cards are dealt onto the board in 7 columns with various numbers of hidden cards. You need to create 4 foundations decks starting with an ace by placing different colored cards on a lower value, like a red 5 on a black 6.
Playing Alone Is Fun With Solitaire Games
Since some solitaire games might have different names, it's important to pay attention to the rules when you encounter a new one. Now that you have a few games in mind, try playing one. Good luck!