Syed ArhamSyed Arham06.04.2024

    Solitaire Games You’ve Never Heard of Before Which You Should Try

    Solitaire Games You've Never Heard main

    Anyone who picks up Solitaire for the first time typically plays Klondike, thinking it’s the only way Solitaire should be played. Furthermore, if they’re like me, they end up sinking 20 hours into Klondike before realizing Solitaire is a universe of different kinds of games. Then, they try out all the mainstream variants like Spider and FreeCell, one by one, unit they are left craving for more.

    If you find yourself in a similar position, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll be discussing different kinds of Solitaire games that are so obscure you’ve probably never heard of them. To say the very least, I had no idea what they were when I heard them for the first time, so you might find yourself in the same boat!

    Clock Solitaire

    Clock Solitaire

    Almost all Solitaire games you’re acquainted with have some degree of skill involved which influences which of the many different possible outcomes of the game you’ll get. But what if I told you there exists a Solitaire game that is completely based on luck, where the outcome is already pre-determined and you just have to do a little work to uncover it? That’s Clock Solitaire for you!

    Objective

    The objective of Clock Solitaire is to complete all 12 non-King piles before completing the King pile, but if the game is lost, the number of face-down cards forms your score. The lower the score, the better.

    Setup

    Follow these steps to set up a game of Clock Solitaire:

    1. Take a deck of 52 cards and shuffle it up.
    2. Deal out the entire deck into 13 piles of four cards, all face-down.
    3. Arrange 12 out of the 13 piles in a circular fashion, as if representing a clock.
    4. Place the last pile in the middle and you’re done!

    How to Play

    As I said before, Clock Solitaire is a deterministic game, meaning it is played in a very linear manner as follows:

    • Your first move will always be to flip up the topmost card of the center pile and move the card revealed to its corresponding pile.
    • Generally, the top card of the pile unto which the card in the previous move was moved is played next. This means your second move will be flipping up the topmost card of the pile where the original topmost card of the center pile went.
    • Every flipped-up card is specifically placed at the bottom of its corresponding pile face-up.
    • To understand how cards are mapped to piles, check out these mappings:
      • Ace cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 1st hour
      • Two cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 2nd hour
      • Three cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 3rd hour
      • Four cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 4th hour
      • Five cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 5th hour
      • Six cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 6th hour
      • Seven cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 7th hour
      • Eight cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 8th hour
      • Nine cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 9th hour
      • Ten cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 10th hour
      • Jack cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 11th hour
      • Queen cards are supposed to be played on the pile corresponding to the 12th hour
      • King cards are supposed to be played on the middle pile

    Wasp Solitaire

    Wasp Solitaire

    While Clock Solitaire is about having a lot of luck, Wasp Solitaire is the opposite, in the sense that it is quite difficult and requires a lot of skill. My first time playing Wasp wasn’t the most pleasant as some of the rulings are quite unforgiving, but eventually, when I won my first game of Wasp, the ecstasy was unmatched!

    Objective

    Wasp Solitaire aims to build four foundation piles of each suit (Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds) in ascending order. In other words, each foundation pile will go from Ace, Two, Three, and Four to Jack, Queen, and King.

    Setup

    Follow these steps to set up a game of Wasp Solitaire:

    1. Take a deck of 52 cards and shuffle it up.
    2. Deal out the Tableau by setting aside 7 piles of seven cards. Specifically, the first four piles have the top four cards face-up while the rest are face-down. The last three piles, however, are completely face-up. The Tableau should soak up 49 out of the 52 cards.
    3. Set aside the remaining cards (should just be 3) as the Stock.
    4. Leave some room for the four foundation piles and you’re done!

    How to Play

    Wasp Solitaire has some pretty tricky rules to get around, so read carefully:

    • A face-up card can be moved from one pile to another as long as it is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and one rank lower. 
    • A group of cards can be moved from one pile to another as long as the first card in the group is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and either one ranks lower. Of course, the rest of the cards in the group need to be in sequence, just like in Klondike.
    • If a face-down card happens to be at the top of a pile, it is flipped up.
    • If there is an empty pile in the Tableau, any card or group of cards can be placed there.
    • You can not move individual cards to the Foundation piles. Instead, you need to complete a full sequence of a particular Suit (from Ace to King) and then move it to the Foundation pile. Sounds tricky, doesn’t it?
    • You can only draw from the Stock once. Since it contains three cards, drawing from the Stock means taking all three cards and distributing them across the first three piles in the Tableau. Remember that this is only a one-time move so use it timely and wisely.

    Aces Up Solitaire

    Aces Up Solitaire

    Now we’re delving into some really uncharted territory! If you liked Clock Solitaire in the sense that it was quite different from your typical Klondike, then you’ll love the gimmicky nature of Aces Up Solitaire as well, also known as Idiot’s Delight. It’s a relatively fast-paced game that typically ends in less than five minutes, so it’s also perfect if you’re looking for a quick bang for your time.

    Objective

    The objective of Aces Up Solitaire is to get four Aces, one of each suit lined up in the Tableau. There are no Foundation piles in this game, so the game primarily takes place with the Stock and a Tableau consisting of four empty spaces. If you end up in a position where the Stock has been exhausted as well as no other moves can be made, but the Tableau does not consist purely of four Aces, then you lose.

    Setup

    Follow these steps to set up a game of Aces Up Solitaire – it’s quite straightforward.

    1. Take a deck of 52 cards and shuffle it up.
    2. Deal out the top four cards in the deck into each of the four empty spaces on the Tableau.
    3. Set aside the remaining 48 cards in the form of the Stock and you’re done.

    How to Play

    While Aces Up Solitaire is mostly based on luck, there is a little bit of skill involved that could maximize your chances of winning. So, keep reading to learn how to play:

    • At any point, if there are two or more cards of the same suit on the Tableau that are in the top-most position of their respective piles, you can keep the highest-rank card and remove the rest.
      • For example, if you start the game with an Ace of Spades, King of Spades, Seven of Hearts, and Jack of Diamonds, you can remove the King of Spades as a card of the same suit but of a higher rank exists face-up and top-most on the Tabelau, i.e. Ace of Spades.
    • In this game, Ace has the highest rank, that is, it is also ranked above King.
    • At any point, you can draw from the Stock. Drawing from the Stock means drawing the top four cards of the Stock and distributing them across each of the four Tableau piles face-up.
    • Any of the topmost cards in any pile can be moved to an empty pile.

    Alternations Solitaire

    Alternations Solitaire

    If you want something closer to home that’s not as difficult as Wasp or as luck-reliant as Clock Solitaire, then check out Alternations Solitaire, a variant whose layout will get etched into your mind! Aside from the layout and Stock usage, Alternations doesn’t have too many gimmicks and does resemble Double Klondike – so let’s learn all about it!

    Objective

    The objective of Alternations Solitaire is to build eight foundation piles of each suit (Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds) in ascending order. In other words, each foundation pile will go from Ace, Two, Three, and Four to Jack, Queen, and King.

    Setup

    Follow these steps to set up a game of Alternations Solitaire:

    1. Take two decks of 52 cards and merge them into one big deck.
    2. Shuffle this 104-card deck up real good. The better the shuffle, the better the experience.
    3. Deal out the Tableau by dealing 7 piles of seven cards, but only flipping up alternate cards. This would mean that, in each pile, four cards will be face-up while three cards will be face-down. A good way to double-check is that if the top-most and bottom-most card of each pile is face-up, that means you’ve set up the Tableau correctly.
    4. Leave some imaginary space for the eight foundation piles and set aside the remaining 55 cards face-down – this will make up your Stock.
    5. You’re good to go!

    How to Play

    Alternation Solitaire bears much resemblance to Double Klondike, so you should have an easier time absorbing the following information:

    • A face-up card can be moved from one pile to another as long as it is of the opposite color as the card being moved onto and one rank lower. Specifically, Spades and Clubs (black Suits) are both opposites to Hearts and Diamonds (red Suits).
    • A group of cards can be moved from one pile to another as long as the first card in the group is of the opposite color as the card being moved onto and either one ranks lower.
    • If a face-down card happens to be at the top of a pile, it is flipped up.
    • If there is an empty pile in the Tableau, any card or group of cards can be placed there.
    • The Stock functions similar to one-turn Solitaire, where you draw individual cards and put them in the Waste pile for usage. However, the gimmick is that you can only cycle through the Stock once. So, if you have a bad habit of over-relying on the Stock while there are strong moves available on the Tableau, it’s time to break that habit!

    Josephine Solitaire

    Josephine Solitaire

    When you hear the word Josephine, you might be thinking of a woman’s name, such as Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonapart, but it’s also the name of a pretty interesting Solitaire variant. Moreover, if you’re relatively new to Solitaire and have played some Klondike, then you can try out Josephine Solitaire as your first double-deck variant.

    Objective

    The objective of Josephine Solitaire is to build eight foundation piles of each suit (Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds) in ascending order. In other words, each foundation pile will go from Ace, Two, Three, and Four to Jack, Queen, and King.

    Setup

    Follow these steps to set up a game of Josephine Solitaire:

    1. Take two decks of 52 cards, merge them, and shuffle them up.
    2. To set up the Tableau, simply deal out ten piles of cards, each containing four cards completely face-up. This means that the Tableau contains 40 out of the 104 cards.
    3. Set aside the remaining cards into a deck, completely face-down. This will serve as the Stock, and what a big stock it is, containing a whopping 64 cards!
    4. You’re all done!

    How to Play

    Josephine Solitaire is a pretty easy game to learn the rules of, so check them out:

    • A face-up card can be moved from one pile to another as long as it is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and one rank lower. 
    • A group of cards can be moved from one pile to another as long as the first card in the group is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and either one ranks lower. Of course, the rest of the cards in the group need to be in sequence, just like in Klondike.
    • If a face-down card happens to be at the top of a pile, it is flipped up. This typically happens when you move a card or group of cards across the Tableau or into the Foundation piles.
    • If there is an empty pile in the Tableau, only a King or a group of cards starting with a King can be moved on it.

    Crescent Solitaire

    Crescent Solitaire

    If you liked Clock Solitaire’s quirky layout but not its luck-based nature, then let me present you with Crescent Solitaire. Although relatively less known in the family of two-deck Solitaire games, veterans consider it to be one of the harder variants to contend with. So, if you’ve played Spider, even if it was with just one suit, I won’t discourage you from trying out Crescent Solitaire.

    Objective

    The objective of Crescent Solitaire is to build eight foundation piles of each suit (Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds), where four are built in ascending order and four are built in descending order. In other words, each ascending foundation pile will go from Ace, Two, Three, and Four to Jack, Queen, and King while each descending foundation pile will go from King, Queen, and King to Three, Two, and Ace.

    Setup

    Follow these steps to set up a game of Crescent Solitaire:

    1. Take two decks of 52 cards and combine them into a larger deck of 104 cards. Shuffle this deck to the best of your abilities!
    2. Before dealing out the Tableau, remove one Ace and King of each suit from the deck. This is because, in Crescent Solitaire, the first card of each foundation pile is already present and you just have to worry about building on top of them.
    3. Set up the Tableau by putting down sixteen piles of cards, each containing six cards with the topmost card face-up. Then, align the piles in a purely semi-circular fashion or somewhat semi-circular fashion (sort of like a square but with three sides). 
    4. Set up the foundation piles within the confines of the crescent-shaped Tableau by placing the aforementioned Ace and King cards.
    5. You’re all set! There is no Stock in Crescent Solitaire as all cards in the deck are dealt out in the Tableau and foundation piles beforehand.

    How to Play

    Although not necessarily daunting, Crescent Solitaire has an interesting set of rules:

    • A face-up card can be moved from one pile to another as long as it is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and either one ranks lower or higher. 
    • A group of cards can be moved from one pile to another as long as the first card in the group is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and either one ranks lower or higher. The rest of the cards in the group can be in any sequence.
    • If a face-down card happens to be at the top of a pile, it is flipped up.
    • If a pile becomes vacant, any card or group of cards can be placed on it. 
    • If you run out of moves to make, you can make a special “Shuffle” move, which, instead of shuffling each pile in the Tableau, only brings the bottom-most card of each pile to the top. How many shuffles are afforded to the player depends on the difficulty level being played. Typically, nine Shuffles are allowed in easy mode, six in medium, and three in hard.

    Russian Solitaire

    Russian Solitaire

    Russian Solitaire is a relatively less known game of Solitaire, partially because it is a variation of a much more famous variant known as Yukon Solitaire. While they share the same objective and setup, there are differences in rules that make Russian Solitaire slightly more tricky to contend with. Hence, my recommendation would be to try out Yukon Solitaire before coming to Russian Solitaire.

    Objective

    The objective of Russian Solitaire is to build four foundation piles of each suit (Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds) in ascending order. In other words, each foundation pile will go from Ace, Two, Three, and Four to Jack, Queen, and King.

    Setup

    Follow these steps to set up a game of Russian Solitaire:

    1. Take a deck of 52 cards and shuffle it up.
    2. The Tableau consists of seven piles that soak up the entire deck of 52 cards. You can deal it out as follows:
      • On the 1st pile, place one card face-up; no other card will go on this pile.
      • On the 2nd pile, place one card face-down and stack five cards face-up on it.
      • On the 3rd pile, stack two cards face-down and five cards face-up on it.
      • On the 4th pile, stack three cards face-down and five cards face-up on it.
      • On the 5th pile, stack four cards face-down and five cards face-up on it.
      • On the 6th pile, stack five cards face-down and five cards face-up on it.
      • On the 7th pile, stack six cards face-down and five cards face-up on it.
    3. You’re done! Since all the cards in the deck go into the Tableau, there is no Stock in Russian Solitaire.

    How to Play

    If you’ve played Yukon Solitaire, you’ll find Russian Solitaire’s rules to be mostly easy to understand. But if you haven’t, then read carefully!

    • A face-up card can be moved from one pile to another as long as it is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and one ranks lower. 
    • A group of cards can be moved from one pile to another as long as the first card in the group is of the same suit as the card being moved onto and one rank lower The rest of the cards in the group do not matter.
    • If a face-down card happens to be at the top of a pile, it is flipped up. 
    • If there is an empty pile in the Tableau, only a King or a group of cards starting with a King can be moved on it.
    Solitaire GameDescription
    Clock SolitaireA pure luck-based variant that’s perfect for players looking to divorce themselves from the strategic aspect of Solitaire
    Wasp SolitaireThis is the most difficult variant on this list, with some rulings that are particularly unforgiving. Imagine only being allowed to move complete sequences (from Ace to King) to the Foundation piles instead of individual cards.
    Aces Up SolitaireThis game is perfect for players who want to play a quick game that isn’t as luck-based as Clock Solitaire. Try it out – you’ll be done in less than five minutes max!
    Alternations SolitaireIf you want to spice things up with a very twisted Tableau layout, try out this game. As the name implies, each pile in the Tableau is dealt out face-up and face-down alternatingly.
    Josephine SolitaireTwo-deck Solitaire variants typically get a daunting reputation due to games like Spider, but Josephine is actually pretty easy! In fact, I’d recommend it as the first two-deck Solitaire game for anyone to try out.
    Crescent SolitaireTo step things up, this game is perfect for those who want both the gimmicks and the skill-demanding gameplay. You can probably figure out one of the game’s gimmicks – hint, it’s mentioned in the name!
    Russian SolitaireNot many Solitaire games have variants of themselves, which is why Russian Solitaire is likely the first of such games you’ve just heard of. It’s a less-known variation of Yukon Solitaire, both of which are worth checking out!

    Conclusion

    And there you have it! These are seven Solitaire games that are relatively less known and you should definitely try them out if you haven’t heard of them. The beauty of Solitaire is that has so many different variants, to the point that it doesn’t get boring at all – that’s why I’ve been able to consistently play Solitaire for the past several years!

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