Solitaire Varieties

When most people think of the game solitaire, the first thing that comes to mind is the age old computer game with seven stacks of playing cards and aces in the upper right hand corner. What is unknown to many, however, is that the name of this game is Klondike and it is only one of many games that fall under the classification of solitaire. What qualifies a game to be called solitaire? Easy. Solitaire is any single player game that is played using at least one regular deck of fifty two playing cards where the object is to place the cards in a predetermined order. There are an innumerable number of these games because the possibilities of solitaire are practically endless. However, there are some variations that are more well known. Four of these include: Klondike, FreeCell, King Albert and Pyramid.


As previously stated, the most familiar solitaire game is Klondike. The aim of Klondike is to arrange the deck of cards in ascending order according to suit. The game can be broken down into three primary locations, each of which have their own mini-objectives. In the upper right corner of the playing area is where the suit stacks will remain. Initially, only an Ace can be placed onto these stacks but they are eventually built up in ascending order. The bottom half of the playing area will have seven stacks of playing cards. The stacks will begin with one card and increase by one moving from left to right. The top card in each stack is turned face side up. Chronologies are formed with these cards in descending order with alternating colour. Once a stack has been completely eliminated, only a King may be placed in the blank space. The third and final portion of the game is a stack that contains the remaining cards that are not in play. These cards are revealed, either one or three at a time, and can be played on both the ascending and descending stacks.


Similar to Klondike, the aim of FreeCell is to arrange all of the cards in ascending order by suit. The set up, however, is starkly different. The entire deck is laid out in eight stacks with all of the cards visible to the player. Like Klondike, the game is played by arranging the cards in descending order while alternating colours. While all of the cards are visible, only the top card of each stack or the highest card in each run of descending cards may be moved. In FreeCell, however, there are four free cells where any four cards from the deck can be placed temporarily. The number of available free cells also determines how many cards may be moved at one time. Each cell can only hold one card at a time, so up to four cards in a descending stack may be moved in one turn if all cells are empty. The exception occurs when a stack of cards has been cleared. Unlike Klondike, any card may be moved there rather than a king. If it remains empty however, it counts as a fifth free cell and allow more cards to be moved at one time.

King Albert

King Albert is almost an exact combination of Klondike and FreeCell. The bottom portion of the playing area is occupied by nine stacks of cards. Like Klondike, these cards range from one to nine from left to right in each stack. Similar to FreeCell, however, each card is face up and visible to the player. The remaining eight cards are the reserve stack and they also remain face up. Again, the sole objective is to move all of the cards into ascending stacks based on their suit. This is done by arranging the nine stacks into runs of descending cards with alternating colours. The main difference when playing King Albert is the number of cards that may be moved in one turn. King Albert lacks free cells, so, unlike FreeCell and Klondike, only one card may be moved at a time. The exception to this is when one column of the nine has been cleared. Then, this empty place may act as a free cell, allowing the movement of two cards. Alternatively, any card may be placed there as well.


Pyramid is a variety of solitaire that does not resemble Klondike in the least. In this game, twenty eight cards are arranged in a pyramid that consists of seven rows. The object of this game is to get eliminate the cards in the pyramid by making pairs that equal thirteen. Aces count for one, Jacks equal eleven, Queens have a value of twelve and Kings, who equal thirteen, can be eliminated without another card. One card cannot be removed if it is being covered in any way by another card. The remaining twenty four cards are kept in a separate stack and are revealed one at a time. These cards can be used to continue eliminating cards from the pyramid.