Most readers will have heard of “solitaire” – simply because that’s a game that Windows gives you for free. Others may have heard of solitaire diamond jewelry, where “solitaire” simply means “one” or “single”. The word “Klondike” just seems to complicate things.
Well, the complication is unnecessary. Klondike solitaire is the very game that you see when you click “solitaire” from your Windows Programs menu. It is a card game designed for one person – hence “solitaire” – and depends heavily on luck, though the rules are fairly simple.
The game setup contains a deck of cards called stock facing downwards on the top left, four blank spaces called foundations on the top right, and stacks of one to seven cards with the last card on each stack turned up. These seven stacks are dealt by dealing seven cards, then skipping the first card and dealing on top of the next six, skipping the first again and dealing on five cards, and so on until only one card is dealt on the rightmost stack. The topmost card on each stack is turned upwards, and the remaining cards form the stock.
The objective of the game is to get all the cards into the foundation stacks, which are usually arranged according to suits in an Ace-to-King order. You have to do this by unearthing the required cards from the stack and the stock.
The stacks can be arranged in cascades of alternating colors, from Kings downwards to Aces. Putting a black card on a red one or vice versa is forbidden, and so is putting higher valued cards on lower valued ones. You can only use the topmost card of each stack, and cards from the stock, to form the cascades. Every time you move a card, the one below it is automatically turned upwards. Empty columns can be filled by Kings.
The stock is used by players when there are no possible moves that can be made using the cards in the stacks. Trust me, this happens quite often.
The stock can be used in a few different ways. Typically, one card is turned up at a time to put into the “wastepile”. The wastepile can be turned over, thus replenishing your stock, an infinite number of times until you win the game or give up. In other variation, two or three cards can be turned up at once, and only the topmost card from those two or three can be used on that turn. Yet another form of variation is the “quick” mode, where the wastepile can be turned back only three times, or cannot be restored at all.
There, you have it. Keep arranging the cards in red-black alternating cascades – suits don’t matter here – and then move them into the foundation stacks when you gain access to Aces, Twos, Threes and so on.
Free Klondike Solitaire games are available both for download and for online gaming. Whether you are waiting for a page to load, an update to turn up or simply wanting to kill time, just begin a Klondike solitaire game and enjoy.