Even the most dedicated Solitaire players get the urge to try something new. Thanks to dozens of Solitaire variations, you can change things up without leaving your favorite single-player card game behind. This article explains the various Solitaire card games that you can play directly on SolitaireBliss’s website.
Get step-by-step instructions on how to play different types of Solitaire games, including Classic, FreeCell, Pyramid, Golf, Yukon, Forty Thieves, Spider, and Canfield.
When you mention the game of Solitaire, most people think of Classic Solitaire (also known as Klondike Solitaire). Using one standard deck of playing cards, this original version of Solitaire aims to get all of the suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades) by placing cards into their foundation piles from ace to king.
To create the tableau (or “table” where you lay out your cards to begin the game), start by dealing seven cards in a row from left to right. Lay the first card on the left face up and the other six face down. This layout forms your initial seven columns.
Starting with the second column to the left, deal one card face up and five more facedown. Continue this way until you have seven columns with a face-up card on top.
The cards that remain after you set up the tableau make up the stockpile. To start the game, you draw cards from the stockpile to play into your columns or foundation piles. Cards you don’t use from your stockpile are placed into a discard pile.
Play the face-up cards by moving cards of the opposite color in descending order on top of other face-up cards or move them into your foundation pile. For example, a three of hearts could go on top of a four of spades. When you remove a face-up card from a column, you can flip over the facedown card underneath.
The foundation piles, which form a row above your columns, start with the ace of each suit. You win the game by getting all of the foundation piles from ace to king in ascending order (ace, then two, then three, etc.).
A very winnable version of Solitaire, FreeCell also uses a single standard deck of cards and requires building up the four foundation piles by suit (from ace to king) to win. Two major differences characterize this variation: the main tableau consists of eight columns rather than seven and all cards face up.
To create the tableau, deal seven cards each into the first four columns and six cards each into the remaining four columns. Remember that all cards in FreeCell face up.
Just like in the classic version, you start playing FreeCell Solitaire by moving cards from one column onto another in descending order by alternating color. Start each of the four foundation piles with an ace of each suit, and continue to add cards of the same suit in ascending order.
FreeCell distinguishes itself from other Solitaire versions by having four empty spaces above the tableau. You can use these “free cells” to hold cards you need to move out of the way to access playable cards stacked underneath.
As in Classic Solitaire, you win the game when you assemble cards by suit into their foundation piles. Each pile starts with an ace and is stacked in ascending order, ending with the king.
Although Pyramid Solitaire also requires a single standard card deck, the tableau and game rules are quite different. To create the pyramid layout that characterizes this variation, deal one card face up at the top, followed by two face-up cards slightly below (but overlapping the first row), and so on until there are seven rows of face-up cards making a pyramid. The rest of your cards form your stockpile from which you can draw at any time during gameplay.
Play Pyramid Solitaire by grouping available cards in pairs that add up to 13 and then removing them from the pyramid into the foundation pile. Aces are valued at one, jacks at 11, queens at 12, and kings at 13 (and kings therefore can go directly to the foundation pile without needing a pair).
Available cards are any cards that have no card overlapping them from the row beneath.
The color of the cards doesn’t matter. For example, you can pair a five of hearts with an eight of diamonds and remove them from the pyramid.
To get to 13, you can pair two cards in the pyramid or you can pair one card from the pyramid with one card from the stockpile.
You win this variation of Solitaire when you empty all the cards from the pyramid into the foundation.
Using a standard deck of cards, Golf Solitaire starts with five face-up cards dealt into seven columns in the tableau and one face-up card dealt directly into the foundation pile. The rest of the cards remain in a stockpile for later use. The goal of the game is to move all of the cards from the tableau into the foundation pile. To build the foundation pile, the cards from the tableau should be one higher or lower than the top card, regardless of suit.
To play the game, you must move cards from the tableau into the foundation pile, by placing a card from the tableau that is either one number higher or one lower than the top card showing in the foundation pile.
If you can’t make any more moves, then you can draw a new card from the stockpile to go face up in the foundation pile. You cannot move cards from the foundation pile.
To win, you must move all the cards from the tableau to the foundation pile.
Yukon Solitaire appears similar to Classic Solitaire, except that instead of having a stockpile, the remaining 24 cards go into the seven columns in the tableau—most of them face up. To win, you must build up the four foundation piles from ace to king by suit.
To start, you will deal 21 cards facedown and 31 cards face up. The tableau is made up of seven columns. Deal the facedown cards starting with one in the second column, two in the third column, three in the fourth column, and so on. Deal the face-up cards by placing one in the first column and five on each of the remaining six columns.
Like Classic Solitaire, you win Yukon Solitaire by moving cards from the tableau into the four foundation piles by suit from ace to king.
Unlike Classic Solitaire, if the face-up card you want to move has other cards on top of it, you can move the whole group at once. For example, if you have a five of clubs you want to place on a six of hearts, but the five of clubs has a nine of diamonds on top of it, you can move both the five of clubs and the nine of diamonds onto the column on top of the six of hearts.
You win when you get four ordered suits from ace to king in the foundation piles.
Involving two standard decks of cards, Forty Thieves Solitaire gets its name from the 40 cards dealt into the tableau—10 columns of four cards each. To win Forty Thieves, you must build all eight suits into the foundation piles in ascending order from ace to king.
To start, deal 10 columns of four face-up cards each into the tableau.
Keep the rest of the cards in the stockpile until game play starts, at which point you can draw cards from the stockpile.
Because Forty Thieves uses two decks of cards, you end up with a second pile for each suit for a total of eight foundation piles built from ace to king.
Unlike Classic Solitaire, where you move cards of opposite colors in descending order, Forty Thieves requires you to move cards of the same suit in descending order.
To win, you must move all tableau cards to their corresponding foundation piles.
Although you can play Spider Solitaire at varying levels of difficulty, with one suit considered the easiest and four suits considered the most difficult. Generally considered a complex game suited for intermediate players, Spider Solitaire, like Forty Thieves, uses two regular decks of cards and shares the end goal of building eight foundation piles by suit from the tableau.
The tableau consists of 10 columns. Starting on the left, the first four columns have six cards each: five cards facedown and the final card face up.
The remaining six columns have five cards each: four cards facedown and the final card face up.
Instead of placing aces into the foundation piles and building upwards from there, you must build the foundation piles within the tableau. To build a foundation pile, you must first build a run (a sequence of cards) in descending order from king down to ace within the tableau.
Unlike some other versions of Solitaire, Spider Solitaire allows you to build tableau runs of the same suit or different suits, depending on how many suits you play with. Once you’ve completed a run, you can move that sequence of cards from tableau into the foundation and continue playing until you’ve collected all eight sequences.
Like Classic and FreeCell, Canfield Solitaire involves one standard deck of cards and aims to build four foundation piles. Each suit gets its own foundation pile that starts at ace and ascends in order to king. This challenging game, however, has a twist—the first card played on the foundation pile forms the base for the other foundation piles. For instance, if the three of diamonds is the first card played to the foundation pile, then you must begin the other three foundation piles with the three of the relevant suit (hearts, spades, and clubs).
A reserve pile of cards to the left of the tableau contains 12 cards facedown and the 13th card face up.
Beginning with four cards face up on the tableau, build on the piles in descending order with alternating colors. Any card can replace an empty tableau column—try the reserve pile first, then the tableau, then the stockpile.
After dealing the tableau piles and the reserve pile, the remaining cards go into a stockpile from which you can draw cards three at a time.
To win, you must build the foundation piles to collect all the cards from each suit. Remember that the first card played sets the base for all foundation piles. For example, if a six of hearts starts the first foundation pile, all of the other foundation piles will start with the six of the corresponding suit. Next, you will play a seven, and the columns will continue to build all the way through the face cards and end with a five.
If you want to shake up your Solitaire game, SolitaireBliss makes a great place to start. With so many versions of Solitaire in one place, you can play as long as you want without ever getting bored.