• Nivedita

A series on Solitaire - Solitaire variants: 4 of my favourites

Updated: May 15, 2020

As promised, here is Part 2 of the Series on Solitaire. Part 1 of the series listed some of the common terminologies used.


Now that you have had sufficient time (I hope) to go through and familiarize yourself with the terminologies used most commonly while explaining and playing solitaire, let us proceed to some of the variants of this wonderful game.


As I have mentioned earlier, there exist more than 50-odd variants of this game, but in this Part 2 of the Series on Solitaire, I am just going to list four of my favourite variants. In the weeks to come, more such variants will be listed here.



(Pic Courtesy: Wix.com)


And the best part about all these variants listed here in this post...all you need is yourself, a standard deck of playing cards and a little bit of space to spread out and arrange your cards in the requisite patterns. That's it!!!


P.S. When I say standard deck, I mean a deck of regular playing cards with the jokers removed.



Simple right.


So, let's begin with my all-time favourite variants of solitaire.


1. Four Seasons


Requirements: One standard deck of playing cards, one person.

How to play

Five cards arranged in a cross in the centre of the playing space forms the Tableau. The cards on the Tableau are stacked in descending order. Colour and suit do not matter, as long as the card that is stacked on top is one rank lower than the card that is face up. A random card is dealt to one of the four corners of the play space and becomes the first Foundation card. This will be the base card upon which the cards of the same suit are to be built up in ascending order. The other four Foundation spots will also have the same base card (of the other three suits) and be built up in exactly the same way, in ascending order.

The random card that forms the first base card of the Foundation comes from the Stock pile. The cards that are placed on the Tableau cards, or in the Foundation spots (as the case may be) come from this pile. The Stock pile is dealt one card a a time, and only the topmost face up card is available for play. The rest goes into the Waste pile. Only one round of dealing is allowed. After one pass through the stock, the game is considered over. If the Foundation spots have not been built up, the game is lost, or else it is considered a win.


2. Clock


Requirements: One standard deck of playing cards, one person.

How to play

Twelve sets of four cards each are placed in a circle resembling the face of a clock (Hence the name...Duh!). The thirteenth pile of four cards is placed in the centre of the circle. Each pile represents one number from 1 through 12 (just like a clock face). Jacks are 11, Queens are 12, Kings (centre of the circle) are 13, and Aces are 1. The other cards have the same values that is present on the card (e.g., 5 denotes 5).

The top card from the centre pile is turned face up. This card is then tucked under the pile the value of which it matches (e.g., if the card is a 7 of Spades, the card is tucked under the Pile 7 [based on the clock face]). The top card from this pile (the pile under which the last move was made) is taken and tucked under the pile that it denotes based on the face value if the card. The game continues on this way, till all the cards are stacked neatly in piles of 4 (i.e., four Aces in the 1 O'clock spot, four 2s in the 2 O'clock spot...4 Kings in the centre of the circle).

If the final face-down card in a pile belongs to the same one (face down 6 kept at 6 O'clock position) and no more cards are available in that pile, move to the next face-down card in the clockwise direction.Once all 13 piles are turned face up with the same sets of cards, the game is considered a win. However, if if the fourth King is turned face up before all the other cards are turned up, the game is over.


3. Cruel


Requirements: One standard deck of playing cards, one person

How to play

Two rows of six piles each with four cards (amounting to a total of 12 piles with four cards). Only the top card of the Tableau piles are allowed for play each time. The cards in the Tableau pile can be moved from one pile to the other if they are of the same suit and either one rank higher or one rank lower (e.g., 5 of Diamonds can be placed on 6 of Diamonds - descending order/ Jack of Hearts can be placed on 10 of Hearts - ascending order). There are four Foundation piles, each beginning with an Ace of each suit. The Foundation piles are stacked by colour and suit in ascending order. By moving the topmost face up cards in the Tableau piles, more cards are revealed that can be placed as appropriate on the Foundation piles in ascending order. The game is over when no moves are possible. Re-dealing of the cards is allowed. How is it done you ask? Well, the Tableau piles can be re-dealt, wherein the piles are collected from left to right in order and then re-stacked in twelve piles of four. No shuffling of cards is allowed. The game is considered won if the Foundation piles have been stacked from the Aces to the Kings of all four suits.


4. Beehive


Requirements: One standard deck of playing cards, one person.

How to play

An initial 10 cards is taken off the top of the deck (Beehive), with the topmost card facing up. The Tableau is made of 6 cards arranged in two rows of three each. This Tableau is called the Flower Garden/Garden from which the bees are captured. (This is one of the solitaire variants that has cute and fancy names for all the playing spots...) The rest of the cards form the Stock pile. The cards must be made into sets of four of a kind (i.e., 4 Jacks, 4 Aces...). This can be done in the Flower Garden space. If there are any matches within the cards in the Flower Garden space, they are made. The Flower Garden space is filled with cards from the Beehive when empty spaces arise.

The face up card in the Beehive is matched with any of the cards in the Flower Garden space, if possible. If yes, then another card is turned face up on the Beehive. Once no more moves are possible, the Stock pile is used. Three cards at a time are dealt and matching continues again. When a set of four cards of a kind has been made, it is removed from the Flower Garden and cards from the Beehive are used to fill in the empty spots. When the Beehive is empty, then use cards from the Stock pile to fill in the empty spaces. The Stock pile can be re-dealt any number of times. The game is considered lost when there is a turn where no move can be made from the cards in the Stack Pile. In such a case, no re-dealing is allowed. When all the 13 ranks have been made into piles of four, the game is considered a win



(Pic Courtesy: Wix.com)


So, there we go. These are my four top favourite versions of solitaire to play. Of course, I love many more variants as well. But I will keep those for yet another post as part of this Series on Solitaire.


How about you? Do you indulge in this pastime of playing solitaire? Try it...it keeps the mind active and also relaxes you...What versions of solitaire do you like to play?

7 views0 comments