Card solitaire refers to a range of games you can play by yourself with one or more decks of cards. The cards are laid out face up or down on a table in a particular pattern. Your objective is to sort the cards by suit and number. People often refer to this type of game as solitaire or patience, but actually these terms aren’t strictly interchangeable. ‘Solitaire’ is also used to describe single-player games played with stones, tiles, pegs, and other items besides cards. ‘Patience’, however, refers specifically to solitaire games played with cards.
The classic solitaire: Klondike
The classic version of the game is called Klondike. The cards are laid out in 7 rows. This part of the game is called the tableau. In the left corner above the tableau you’ll see a stack of reserve cards. Depending on the difficulty level, you can draw either one card or three cards at a time. If you find an ace, you can place it on the free cells on the right side above the tableau. The aces are the foundation on which you will build up the rest of the suit. Within the tableau, you can sort the cards in descending order, alternating between red and black suits, before you move the cards to the foundation.
Solitaire fusion and other variations
To keep things exciting, we’ve also collected lots of fun game variations. On this page, you’ll find some cool fusion games that combine card solitaire with other games, like Twenty48. There are also a number of challenging variations on classic Klondike. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of some of the most popular types.
Spider is a version where all the building and sorting takes place within the tableau rather than in the empty cells top right. When a suit is completed in descending order, it’ll automatically vanish from the tableau and appear in the foundation cells.
In pyramid solitaire, the cards are arranged in a set of pyramid-shaped peaks. You can remove the face-up cards either by combining them to make 13, or, in some variations, by choosing a card with a value of one point above or below the previous card. Your objective is to reveal and remove all of the face down cards.
This challenging version uses two decks of cards. Sort the cards in the crescent and move them to either the descending or the ascending foundations. You must clear away all of the cards that make up the crescent to win the game. You're allowed to reshuffle the remaining cards 3 times.
Free cell is what is called an open game. That is, all the cards are facing up. However, you can only move the top ones (or the top sequence) from each column. Sort the deck of cards on the tableau and move them to the foundations.