Bridge Solitaire

Bridge Solitaire is a one-player variant of Contract Bridge invented by Stephen Rogers. In Bridge Solitaire, a player follows the typical flow of a Bridge hand, from bidding through play of the hand. The undealt cards in the deck serve as the player’s “opponent”.

Rogers shared the game with us at our Card Game Night event here in Norman in December 2016. It borrows some play mechanics from Natty Bumppo’s Euchre Solitaire game, published on John McLeod’s Pagat.com. Rogers created the game as a response to the difficulties finding three other willing participants for a true Bridge game. He bestowed the game with an alternate title, You People Suck, in reference to those who would rather spend time on their phones than play a game of Bridge!

Object of Bridge Solitaire

The object of Bridge Solitaire is score as many points as possible playing a game of Contract Bridge against the deck stub. Points are scored by accurately predicting the number of tricks in excess of six that you will be able to win. The ultimate goal is to thus win two games, which constitute a rubber.

Setup

Bridge Solitaire uses the same standard 52-card pack that Contract Bridge uses, plus two jokers. We’re not certain if Bridge Solitaire was invented with a pack of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. We’re pretty sure they’re the cards the game is most frequently played with, though!

You also need a typical Bridge scoring sheet. Pre-printed ones exist; they’re ruled into four quadrants, the columns headed by ‘WE’ and ‘THEY’. If a pre-printed scoresheet isn’t handy, you can easily make one by simply dividing a sheet of paper with a vertical and a horizontal line. (‘WE’ and ‘THEY’ seem a little pretentious if you’re playing solitaire, though. ‘ME’ and ‘IT’ are probably more appropriate, or ‘PLAYER’ and ‘HOUSE’ if you feel like being more serious about it.)

Shuffle and deal seven cards face down without looking at them. Then, deal thirteen cards face up in front of you. The deck stub becomes the stock, which will serve as the player’s opponent for the rest of the hand. For the sake of clarity, we’ll refer to the theoretical player the deck is representing as the house.

Game play

Cards rank in their usual order, with aces high. The jokers (★) do not have any rank and cannot win or lose a trick.

Determining the player’s hand

The player begins by choosing their hand. The seven face-down cards will be part of their hand no matter what, and they cannot change any of these cards. Before looking at them, though, they do get to choose the other six cards in their hand from the thirteen face-up cards available to them. If there are any jokers in these thirteen cards, the player is obliged to take them. Otherwise, the player is free to select cards however they see fit.

The unchosen cards are discarded in a face-up discard pile, and the face-down cards are turned up. The chosen cards are added to these previously-unknown cards, allowing the player to see their full thirteen-card hand. The discarded cards (save for the top card of the discard pile) cannot be inspected after this point; if a player wishes to use information from them, they must commit it to memory.

Bidding

After the hand has been determined, the play proceeds to bidding. Bids function the same as they do in Contract Bridge. Each bid consists of a number of odd tricks (tricks in excess of six) that the player is committing to take. This is combined with a suit that the player is proposing to make trump, or “no trump”. From lowest to highest, the suits rank clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades, no trump. Therefore, the lowest bid is 1♣, which would be overcalled by a bid of 1♦, and so on up to 1♠, then 1NT, which would be overcalled by 2♣.

The house always bids first; its bid is determined by the contents of your hand. The house will bid the suit that the player has the least cards in. The numerical content of the bid is calculated by examining each suit and counting the number of “winning tricks” the player can make. For example, in diamonds, the player has A-Q-10-9. The A♦ would win a trick (being the highest diamond), the 9♦ would lose to the K♦ (which is held by the house), the Q♦ then wins a trick (being the highest unaccounted-for diamond), and the J♦ would take 10♦, so the player has two winning tricks in diamonds. The sum of the values from each of the four suits is subtracted from six. If the result is zero or negative, the house passes. Otherwise, the resulting value (combined with the player’s short suit) is the house’s bid.

No Trump bids may only be made when the player holds one of the following suit distributions: 4-3-3-3, 3-3-3-3-★, 3-3-3-2-★-★.

If the house passes, the player is required to make a bid. Otherwise, the player has the option to overcall the house and play as declarer. They may also pass, and play as defender.

If the player holds one joker, the contract is doubled. If holding two jokers, it is redoubled.

Play of the hand

The play of the hand is conducted according to the usual Bridge rules. Both the player and the house must follow suit if possible. If the player is unable to follow suit, they may play any card. The highest played card of the suit led wins the trick, unless a trump was played. In that case, the highest trump wins.

Whichever player is defending leads to the first trick. When the house leads, it does so by simply playing the top card of the stock. If the player leads, cards are turned over from the stock until a card that can be legally played is exposed. The trick is then placed in one of two discard piles (one for the player and one for the house), face down. Since it is important to keep track of the number of tricks captured, it may be helpful to place each trick onto the pile at right angles. This allows the tricks to be easily separated after the hand. The player that won the trick leads to the next one.

A special rule applies during No Trump contracts. When the player leads, the house may play a maximum of only four cards from the stock. If, by the fourth card, the house has not made a legal play, the player wins the trick by default. They then lead to the next one, as usual.

Jokers have a special role in the game. If the player cannot follow suit, they may respond with a joker instead of playing any other card. If the house leads a joker, the player may play any card they wish. The house wins any trick containing a joker, with one exception. Should the player respond to a joker led by the house with the other joker, the player wins the trick instead. (A player may presumably lead a trick with a joker as well. There seems to be little point in doing so, however.)

The hand ends when thirteen tricks have been played, meaning that the player has run through their entire hand. In the event that the stock is exhausted before the hand is completed, the last card of the stock is the house’s play for the last trick. Each remaining card in the player’s hand is considered a trick won by the player.

Scoring

Scoring is done according to typical Contract Bridge scoring rules.

Example hands

The following hands, and the accompanying commentary, were given to us by Rogers to help illustrate the game:

Example 1

After shuffling, a player deals out seven face-down cards face down into a pile, and then thirteen cards face-up, setting the rest of the deck aside to form the stock. The thirteen face-up cards look like this: J-10-7-2♠, 9♦, A-K-10-8♣, Q-8-5-4♥.

The player, not particularly thrilled with this draw, begins weighing their options of which cards to keep. The 9♦ is an obvious throwaway, while A-K♣ will automatically give them two winning tricks against the stock. Taking Q-8-5♥ would also guarantee a third trick in hearts, but taking half the potential draw for a single trick seems unwise, and going J-10-7-2♠ for a single trick in spades is right out. The player ultimately selects A-K-10-8♣, Q-8♥, throwing out the other face-up cards into a face-up discard pile with the J♠ on top, a reminder that they threw away one of the honors in that major suit. This gives them two tricks for sure and a potential third if the face down cards include at least one lower-ranked heart.

The player then picks up the seven face-down cards and, having looked them over, happily adds them to their hand—the final disposition of their hand is: A-K-Q-J-10-8♣, Q-8-7♥, 9-4♠, 3♦, ★.

Next, they need to evaluate their hand for the deck bid—here it’s an easy thing to determine. With five honors in clubs, they have five winning tricks in that suit. They were also given another heart, so the queen is good for a trick there. Diamonds and spades are duds, but it doesn’t matter—the player has six tricks in hand, so the deck will pass. The player decides to play conservatively since they have two suits without stoppers in them, and bids 1♣. Thanks to the joker in their hand, the final bid is 1♣ Doubled.

Since the player bid to play, a card is dealt off the top of the stock, in this case the 3♣, which the player counters with 8♣, winning the first trick. The player then leads the A♣ and draws the next card off the stock, which is the 7♦. Since this is neither a trump nor a card of the suit led, it is ignored and another card is dealt, the 5♦. This is also invalid—the A♥ is turned up (something of which the player takes note) before the deck finally yields up 9♣, a valid play. Player wins the second trick.

The player plays their next three trump honors in sequence, forcing the deck to cough up high cards in other suits while running it out of trumps. The player decides to wait to play the 10♣, which at that point is their last trump, opting instead to play the Q♥, since the A♥ has already fallen. The deck responds 10♦ before coughing up 4♣, winning the trick.

The deck leads the K♠ next, which player must respond with 4♠; next comes the 4♦ which player must answer with 3♦. The Q♦ is led out of the pack next. Since player is out of diamonds at that point, they decide to use the joker in their hand, losing the trick but keeping other options open. The deck’s next lead is 2♥; here the player answers with 7♥, winning a trick they didn’t expect.

Player next leads the 9♠, only for the deck to answer with a joker, costing the player that trick. The next card out of the deck is 6♦, which the player collects with their last trump. On the final trick, the player leads the 8♥, the last card in their hand, which the stock collects with the 5♣. In all, the player won seven tricks during the course of game play, sufficient to make the contract, earning them 40 points below the line, 150 above the line for five honors, and 50 above the line for insult.

Example 2

After dealing the cards, a player winds up with this face-up set of cards: A-10-3-2♥, 7-6-2♦, K-4-2♣, 10-5-4♠. There’s not much to work with here—the diamonds and spades don’t offer up tricks, while the K♣ is only good if the player takes one of the other clubs. Ultimately that’s what that player chooses to do, taking all four hearts in the hope of getting something with some length to it. The player picks up the face down cards, and winds up with this hand: A-Q-10-3-2♥, 3♦, K-4-3♣, A-9-3♠, ★, receiving precious little help there.

The K♣ is a winning trick, as is the A♠. In the hearts suit, the player has the A♥, would lose the 2♥ to the K♥, making the Q♥ good, and would lose the 3♥ to the J♥, making the 10♥ good, so three winning tricks there. The player has five tricks in their hand and their short suit is diamonds, so the deck bid for the hand is 1♦. The player isn’t entirely confident in their hand, but still elects to go ahead and bid 1♥. The final contract is at 1♥ Doubled.

The deck opens play with J♥, which the player counters with the Q♥. Going for broke, the player plays the A♥. The deck answers first with Q♦, an invalid play, but the next turn up is the other joker, which goes to the deck. Needless to say, this particular hand winds up going very badly for the player, who might’ve been better off had they decided to defend rather than bid…

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Black Hole

Black Hole layoutBlack Hole is a solitaire game that was invented by the British game expert David Parlett and first appeared in his 1979 book, The Penguin Book of Patience. It has a fairly simple premise, namely, moving cards of consecutive rank to the center of the layout. It is considerably easier to win than the similar Golf; a player can expect to win 86% of the time.

Object of Black Hole

The object of Black Hole is to move the entire deck to the foundation pile in the center of the layout.

Setup

Black Hole is played with one standard 52-card deck, like a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. Remove the A from the deck and place it in the center of the table, forming the foundation pile. Then shuffle and deal seventeen piles of three in a circle around the foundation. (Refer to the image for a sample layout). All of these piles, other than the foundation pile, are referred to as the tableau. Keep the tableau piles spread out slightly so that the indices of all three cards are visible.

Game play

There is only one valid move in the game, and that is to move cards from the tableau piles to the foundation. A card may be played to the foundation if it is one rank above or one rank below the top card of the foundation pile. For example, if top card of the foundation is a 5, a 4 or a 6 may be moved to it. Direction may be change at any time; one may play, for example, 6-5-4-3-4-5… The ace is considered consecutive to both the king and the 2.

The game continues until either all 52 cards are moved to the foundation (a win) or no more moves are possible (a loss).

External link

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FreeCell

FreeCell layoutFreeCell is a popular solitaire game that, like several games of that category, achieved popularity by being included in the Microsoft Windows operating system. FreeCell appears there as a more strategic alternative to the popular Klondike (which is simply titled “Solitaire”); it is sometimes said that every FreeCell deal is winnable. While this is not exactly the case, and luck does play a factor, FreeCell is certainly a game in which skill is necessary to pull off a win.

Object of FreeCell

The object of FreeCell is to move all 52 cards to the foundation piles.

Setup

FreeCell uses one standard 52-card deck of playing cards. It would be pretty awesome if you used Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. Just sayin’.

Shuffle and deal a row of eight cards. Then deal another row of eight cards overlapping the first, and so on until the entire deck is exhausted. You will be left with a tableau with four columns of cards with seven cards each and four columns with six cards each.

Above the first four columns are four empty spaces referred to as free cells. To the top right are four empty spaces called the foundations. Refer to the diagram for an example layout.

Game play

The majority of the game involves moving cards within the tableau and to and from the free cells. The free cells, as their name implies, are free to contain any card; a card may be moved from the tableau to the free cells at any time, and cards may be moved from the free cells to any other legal location at any time. Each free cell can only contain one card at a time (so a total of four cards may be in the free cells at any given moment).

Card movement in the tableau follows similar rules to those in Klondike. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces low (K, Q, J, 10, … 2, A). Face-up cards may be moved so that they are on top of a card of the opposite color and one higher rank. For example, the J♦ may be placed on either the Q♣ or the Q♠. Empty spaces formed in the tableau may be filled by any card.

Cards may only be moved one at a time. To move a series of cards, the cards must be moved one at a time into the free cells, then moved back out in reverse order. For example, to move a 5-4-3 run onto a 6, the 3 must be moved into a free cell, then the 4 into a cell, then the 5 moved onto the 6, then the 4 from the free cell onto the 5, then finally the 3 onto the 4. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep the free cells as clear as is practical to make the movement of long strings of cards possible.

The first card that is moved to each foundation pile must be an ace. Foundation piles are built up by suit and sequence thereafter; the A♣ may have the 2♣ played upon it, then the 3♣, and so on up to the K♣. The game is won when the entire deck has been played to the foundations.

See also

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Klondike

Klondike layoutKlondike is probably the most popular solitaire game played, and is what most people are referring to when they simply say “Solitaire”. Klondike is included under the name Solitaire in Microsoft Windows, thereby becoming the bane of office managers everywhere. Despite Klondike’s popularity, it is fairly difficult to win; the vast majority of games are unwinnable before the player has made a single move.

Object of Klondike

The object of Klondike is to move all 52 cards to the foundations.

Setup

Klondike uses one standard 52-card deck of playing cards. As always, we heartily recommend using Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards.

Shuffle and deal a row of seven cards, with the first card face up and the rest face down. Then, deal a second row of six cards, overlapping the first, starting with a face-up card on the second column and face-down cards in the remaining columns. Continue in this manner, starting with the third column, and so on until there is a face-up card on each column. (Refer to the diagram for an example layout.) These seven cards form the tableau. Place the deck stub at the upper-left, above the first tableau pile, forming the stock.

Game play

The majority of action in Klondike involves movement of cards in the tableau. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces low (K, Q, J, 10, … 2, A). Face-up cards may be moved so that they are on top of a card of the opposite color and one higher rank. For example, the J may be placed on either the Q or the Q. A series of cards so matched may be moved as a unit; a combination of the Q and J may then be moved together onto the K. When face-down cards are uncovered, they may be flipped up and used as part of regular game play. Empty spaces created when an entire column’s worth of cards have been moves can only be filled by a king (or a stack of cards with a king on the bottom).

As aces are revealed, they may be moved up to the four foundation piles in the upper-right of the layout. The foundations are built up in sequence, with all cards of the same suit. For example, when the A is uncovered, it may be moved to form the spade foundation pile, then the 2 may be moved on top of it, then the 3, and so on up to the K.

Cards may also be drawn from the stock to be made available for play. Cards drawn from the stock may be immediately moved to any legal location (i.e. in the tableau or the foundation piles). Otherwise, they are placed on a discard pile next to the stock. When the stock is exhausted, the discard pile may be turned face-down to replenish it.

Game play continues until all 52 cards have been moved to the foundations or no further moves are possible.

House rules

Two of the most common variations of Klondike impose additional restrictions on drawing cards from the stock. This makes the game more challenging, although it could be argued that winning Klondike is enough of an achievement already that adding more obstacles is kind of unnecessary.

One variation on Klondike requires that three cards be drawn from the stock at a time, and they are immediately placed on the discard pile. Since only the topmost card of the discard pile is playable, two of the cards drawn are inaccessible until the cards on top of them have been moved.

Another rule that can be played with is to limit the number of times the stock can be gone through, usually to three. After the third run through the stock, the game ends.

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The Clock

Layout of The ClockThe Clock is one of a few solitaire games with the gimmick of having a layout that resembles some real-world object, in this case a clock (Pyramid could also be said to fall in this category). The Clock is entirely based on luck; once the deal is done, the game plays out as it must, and there’s nothing the player can do to influence the outcome. It might be apt to say that you don’t play The Clock, it just happens to you.

Object of The Clock

The object of The Clock is to turn the 48 cards other than kings face-up before the four kings are turned face up.

Setup

The Clock requires the use of one standard 52-card deck of playing cards. While the only one you can impress by using your Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards is you, you might as well use them for something, right?

Shuffle and deal thirteen piles of cards. Arrange twelve of them into a circle, then place the thirteenth pile in the center, as shown in the diagram at right.

Game play

The twelve piles making up the main circle of The Clock’s tableau each represent one of the hours on a typical clock face. The pile at the top of the circle represents the 12, the one to its right the 1, and so on around the circle (clockwise, natch). Each of these piles also has an associated rank of card, with the aces being represented by 1, the jacks by 11, and the queens by twelve, with the twos through tens represented by the same number as their face value. The central pile represents the hands of the clock, as well as the kings. Here is where The Clock’s game play begins.

Draw one of the face-down cards from the king (clock hands) pile and turn it face up. Place that card face-up at the bottom of the pile belonging to that card, and draw the top card of that pile. Then, move that card to its appropriate pile, and so on.

The game is lost if the fourth king is exposed when there are still other face-down cards in play. If the fourth king is the last card revealed, the game is won.

 

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Spider

spider
Spider, also known as Spider Solitaire, is one of the most popular two-deck solitaire games. Like many other solitaire games, including Golf and Pyramid, Spider owes a part of its modern popularity to being adapted by Microsoft for inclusion in its Windows operating system.

Spider is said to be one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite games. Apocryphal sources say Roosevelt found playing the game a way to relax from the stress of being President during the Great Depression and World War II and that he would sometimes play with as many as five decks shuffled together.

Someone who is afraid of playing Spider is called an arachnophobe. I think? That doesn’t sound right…

Object of Spider

The object of Spider is to remove all 104 cards from play by assembling sequences of thirteen cards of the same suit.

Setup

Shuffle two decks of playing cards together. Since it’s a solitaire game, it’s up to you to decide how important it is that the backs match. If it isn’t, one set of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards is all you need.

Shuffle and deal ten cards, face down. Then deal another row of cards, overlapping the first. Repeat this until each column has four cards. Deal a fifth card to the first four columns, then one face-up card to each column. (Refer to the image at right.) When you are finished, you should have a 54-card tableau; set the remaining 50 cards aside, forming the stock.

Game play

Cards can be moved to other positions in the tableau, so long as the card they are placed upon is one rank higher. So a 9♠ can be placed on the 10♦, which can be placed on the J♥, etc. However, cards may only be moved as a unit if they are all of the same suit—so of the aforementioned J♥-10♦-9♠ sequence, only the 9 would be able to be moved. A J♣-10♣-9♣ sequence, however, may be moved together onto a queen. Aces are low and can only be played on twos; kings are high and cannot be played on any other card (but can be moved to an empty space).

When face-down cards are exposed, they are turned face-up. If an empty space is formed in the tableau, it may be filled by any card (or sequence of cards).

When no further moves are possible or desired, ten cards are dealt from the stock, one on each of the tableau piles. No empty spaces may be present in the tableau in order for cards to be dealt from the stock.

If a sequence of thirteen cards of the same suit, from king down to ace, is built, the entire sequence is removed from play. The game is won when the entire deck is discarded in this manner. Game play continues until the game is won or no useful moves are possible.

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Seahaven Towers

Seahaven Towers layoutSeahaven Towers is a solitaire game that was invented in 1988 by Art Cabral. Similar to FreeCell, the game offers wide latitude for strategy; a good player may be able to win up to 75% of the games played with careful decision-making.

Object of Seahaven Towers

The object of Seahaven Towers is to move all 52 cards to the four foundation piles.

Setup

Seahaven Towers requires one standard 52-card pack of playing cards. While solitaire games are nowhere near as demanding on a deck of cards as some other games (we’re looking at you, Slapjack), if you’ve got a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, there’s no real reason not to use them.

Shuffle and deal ten columns of five cards each, face up, overlapping so that the indices of each card are visible, but it’s still clear which card is on top. This forms the tableau. Place the remaining two cards above the fifth and sixth columns, forming the second and third towers (the first and fourth towers are the imaginary spaces to the left and right of these two cards). The foundations are, at the start of the game, empty, but the spade foundation will go above the first column, the hearts above the second, the diamonds above the ninth, and the clubs above the tenth. Refer to the image accompanying this post for assistance in setting up the layout.

Game play

As in most solitaire games, the object of the game is to move all cards to the foundations, which are built up in sequence, starting from the ace and ending with the king.

The four tower slots serve as holding spaces for cards, much like the free cells in FreeCell. Any available card can be played to them at any time, and any card in a tower may be removed from a tower and played at any other legal spot at any time. Towers should be sparingly used, however, as they facilitate moving cards around and serve as a valuable storage space for cards which block other cards which are needed more immediately.

A card in the tableau is only available for play if it is free of overlapping cards. For example, in the image, the 6♥ in the first column is available for play, but the 4♠ below it is not. Tableau piles are built down in a descending sequence of the same suit. In the image, the 4♦ may be moved on top of the 5♦. Strings of cards may not be moved as a unit, although such a string can be moved by way of moving the cards up into the towers, then pulling them out again.

Any vacancies in the tableau caused by clearing an entire column of cards may only be filled by a king.

 

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Pyramid (a.k.a. Tut’s Tomb)

Pyramid solitaire layoutPyramid is possibly the solitaire game with the most interesting layout. Like Golf, interest in Pyramid was revived by Microsoft, who included a program called Tut’s Tomb in their Microsoft Entertainment Pack 2 add-on for Microsoft Windows 3.1. Also like Golf, Pyramid is mostly luck-based, and difficult to win.

Object of Pyramid

The object of Pyramid is to entirely dismantle the tableau, which forms the titular “pyramid”, by matching pairs of cards whose values total thirteen.

Setup

Grab a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, shuffle, and deal 28 cards in the shape of a pyramid, as shown at the image to the right. One card goes on the top row, partially overlapped by two cards on the second row, followed by three in the third, and so on down to the seventh row. This pyramid forms the tableau. The deck stub becomes the stock. Set aside room for two discard areas, one for waste from the stock, and one for out-of-play discards from the tableau.

Game play

All game play revolves around the numerical value of each card, which is devised in the most natural way—aces are one, all number cards are their face value, jacks are eleven, queens are twelve, and kings are thirteen. Any accessible pair of cards may be paired with another card and discarded, so long as they add up to thirteen. Kings have a value of thirteen and thus can be discarded whenever they are available. Examples: a queen and an ace, a jack and a 2, an 8 and a 5, etc.

Cards are considered available if they are not overlapped by any other card. In the starting configuration, only the seven cards in the seventh row of the pyramid are considered accessible. As cards are removed, upper rows of the pyramid are gradually uncovered and become available for play. For example, in the image at right, when the two kings are discarded from the bottom row, this leaves the J♥ without any cards blocking it, and thus it is available for play.

Variation: In Microsoft’s Tut’s Tomb implementation of Pyramid, a quirk in the programming causes a card that is part of a matched pair to be disregarded for the purposes of determining availability for the second card. Therefore, if the Q♦ had been previously cleared, the 9♥ and 4♦ would be able to be matched, because the 4♦ is disregarded by nature of its being part of the pair. This is an extreme edge case that doesn’t really matter in the majority of games, but we recommend allowing yourself to match in this way if you wish, because, let’s face it, anything that makes a win in Pyramid more likely is probably a good thing.

When the player cannot make any more moves from the tableau alone, they may draw cards from the stock, one at a time, and match those cards with any accessible cards on the pyramid, if able. When the stock is depleted, the player may flip the unused cards from the stock face-down and run through them again.

Game play continues until all of the cards in the tableau have been paired off (which constitutes a win) or no further moves are possible (which is a loss).

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Golf

Golf layoutGolf is a simple solitaire game played by playing cards in sequence to the discard pile. It is so called because the number of cards left in play are considered the player’s score, and as in the other, non-card game of golf, the lower the score, the better. As with several other card games, the game gained prominence in the 1990s due to a software adaptation by Microsoft; Golf appeared in the first Windows Entertainment Pack for Windows 3.1.

Golf is a game of mostly luck and is very difficult to win.

Object of Golf

The object of Golf is to move all cards in the deck to into the discard pile, earning a score of zero. Barring that, obtain the lowest score.

Setup

To play Golf, you need one 52-card deck of playing cards. If you use anything other than Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards we will be really, really sad, and you don’t want that, do you?

Shuffle and deal seven piles of five cards each, face up, with enough of each card showing so as to be identifiable. These 35 cards form the tableau. The remaining 17 cards are placed in a pile, face down, forming the stock. Turn the top card of the stock face up, forming the discard pile.

Game play

Move cards from the tableau to the discard pile, as allowed, one at a time. Only the topmost card of each tableau pile (i.e. the one without any other cards on top of it) can be accessed.

A card from the tableau may only be discarded if it is consecutive in rank with the top card of the discard pile. Aces are considered low, and can only be played on twos (and thereafter only twos may be played on Aces; there is no “wraparound” from ace to king). No card may be played on a king. Suits are irrelevant to the proceedings.

When no further plays are possible, draw a card from the stock and place it on the discard pile. Further plays may now be made with the new card on the discard pile.

Game play continues until the stock is depleted and no plays are possible. The remaining number of cards in the tableau is considered the player’s score. If the tableau was cleared, earning the player a score of zero, the game is won.

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Canfield

Canfield is a popular solitaire game similar to Klondike, which is the familiar solitaire game most people know from Microsoft Windows. Canfield takes up much less space than Klondike, which is a good thing because software adaptations of Canfield are less common than those of Klondike.

Object of Canfield

The object of Canfield is to move all of the cards up to the foundations.

Setup

You will need one standard 52-card deck. Are you using Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards? If no, why not?

Shuffle and deal as follows:

  1. Deal 13 cards face down. Square up the pile, and turn it face up, so you can only see the top card. This forms the reserve.
  2. Deal one card above and to the right of the reserve. This forms the first of the four foundations.
  3. Deal four cards in a line to the right of the reserve. This forms the tableau.
  4. The remainder of the deck is the stock.

Refer to the image at the top of this post for an example layout (click to enlarge).

Game play

In Canfield, the king, ace, and 2 are considered consecutive, i.e., the ace is below the 2 and above the king, and both ascending and descending sequences can wrap around from low to high.

The foundation piles are built up by suit, in ascending rank order. The card dealt to the first foundation sets the card that each foundation pile begins with. In this case, since a 3 was dealt, each foundation pile will begin with 3, and will be completed when the 2 of that suit is played upon it.

The tableau is built down by alternating colors (red cards are played on black cards and vice versa), in descending rank order. When a card is moved, all cards on top of it are moved as well. In other words, the tableau in Canfield works pretty much exactly like that of Klondike.

The top card of the reserve is available to be moved to any legal location at any time. Cards beneath the top card are not accessible and should not be known to the player. When an empty spot appears on the tableau, the top card of the reserve is moved to fill the vacancy. If the reserve is depleted, empty spots in the tableau can be filled by any card.

Cards may be drawn from the stock and placed in a discard pile, from which they may be moved to any location. For a more challenging game, draw three cards at once (with only the third card available for play, freeing up the second card when the third is played, etc.) After the stock is depleted, the discard pile is flipped over to replenish it.

Game play continues until no legal moves are possible or all four foundation piles have been completed.

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