Released on the 22nd of May, 1990, by the software team over at Microsoft, Solitaire (the digital version) is a legendary game that almost all of us have played at some point to kill time and be entertained.
Despite there being numerous games that have come after, Solitaire will forever have its name etched in the pages of history. It is certainly one of the most popular and widely recognized card games ever played.
The concept of Solitaire is fairly straightforward. Cards are put face down in a horizontal line, and the object of the game is to flip them over and create 4 foundation piles, 1 pile per suit. This is to be done in ascending order from Ace to King. If you finish all 4 foundation piles, in ascending order, you win!
This simplistic yet extremely fun game was simply perfect for playing casually in between work or studying. But there is so much more to this game. For example, were you aware that this game was developed by a mere intern in the early 90s? Crazy, huh? Guess what, there is a lot more where that came from!
These 30 facts that you likely didn’t know about Solitaire:
1. Solitaire Has One Of The Most Game Variations
Not many know this, but the Solitaire/Klondike game has more variations than any other card game. There’s Spider Solitaire, TriPeaks, Freecell, Pyramid, and many other variations.
2. Highest Achievable Score In Solitaire
In the most standard/default version of the Solitaire game, a player can achieve an incredible score of 24,113, which includes the cheeky bonus points you get for completing the game in record time.
3. Not As Tough As It Looks
Did you know that the majority of Solitaire games are indeed winnable? As long as you play your cards right, the chances of winning are actually quite high.
4. Developed By An Intern
The Microsoft Solitaire game was invented 2 years prior to the release of Windows 3.0 by an intern named Wes Cherry.
5. Origin Of The Name
The word Solitaire originates from the word Solitarius – derived from the latin and french words ‘Solus’ and ‘Solitas’. Solus means alone, and solitas means isolation. As it’s meant to be played by a single player, the name stays true to the game.
6. Is Patience, Solitaire?
Patience, a card game widely popular in the UK, is actually the original solitaire game in its traditional form.
7. Predicting The Future
Did you know there was a time when people predicted fortune with the help of Solitaire? No joke!
8. Making Digital Card Games Fun
Solitaire made digital card games’ great again’ by minimalizing the complications one would have to face when setting up the game in its traditional sense. Being digital, all it took was a couple of clicks, and you would be ready to play! No mess, no time-wasting, just pure fun!
9. Cashing In Your Luck
Did you know there have been several tournaments hosted by sponsors and organizers all over the world for players that have given their all in Solitaire? Who would have thought that was ever a possibility? Not us!
10. An Evergreen Game
Solitaire, made to be played alone, doesn’t ever get exhaustive. Every game is different and equally challenging.
11. More Than A Casual Fling
In 2002, Mary Dion won over $200,000 playing Solitaire on WorldWinner, which is a gambling site founded in 1999. Although none of her friends thought that was possible, she proved Solitaire to be more than just a casual game.
An actual deck of cards was made with the plans for the first Microsoft Solitaire, taking it full circle.
13. Decked Out
In the XP operating system, people realized that utilizing .bmp documents for backgrounds was conceivable. This got included in Windows 8’s Solitaire Collection, and allowed graphics, card styles, and card pictures to be added to make the experience even more fun!
14. She Also Did?
The artist that designed the card deck for the first Solitaire game in 1990, also designed the icons for the original Apple Macintosh. Small world, huh?
15. What Could Have Been?
According to an interview, Microsoft’s Solitaire had a boss button before release, but it didn’t get past management. Sad!
16. Solitaire Win Ratio
There’s an 80% chance of Solitaire games being winnable. For other variants of Solitaire, like FreeCell and Pyramid, the chances of winning are 99% for Freecell, whereas if you are looking for more of a challenge, Pyramid offers only a 0.5 to 5.5% chance of winning.
17. Why Solitaire Was Incorporated Into Windows
Solitaire wasn’t incorporated into Windows for our fun or entertainment. Its true purpose was to get people to become familiar with using a mouse.
18. Cheat Codes
Did you know that Wes Cherry also invented a little cheat code in the game that allows people to make their games more winnable? Holding down the Ctrl-Shift-Alt keys at the same time, when playing Draw Three (a variation of Solitaire), allows one to get one card making the game a lot easier to beat. Talk about sleight of hand!
19. An Embarrassment For Mathematicians
It is fascinating that until 2019, mathematicians around the world couldn’t compute how to dominate a game of Solitaire. This shockingly interesting equation known as the ’embarrassment of mathematics’ was finally addressed by a PC program called Solvitaire; decades after the game’s release.
20. Famous People That Played Solitaire
Albert, Queen Victoria’s significant other, was a very avid Solitaire player. So was Bill Gates!
Are you ready for solitaire trivia time?
21. Solitaire in England
In the United States, playing cards alone is called Solitaire. What is the name for the same task in England?
22. Variant of Solitaire
In which popular variant of Solitaire do you build in alternate colors and have a foundation that builds from aces up?
23. Vegas Solitaire Variant
The Vegas Solitaire variant, whereby paying $50 for a deck and likewise receiving $5 for every card used to build the foundation, was named after who?
24. A Type of Solitaire
Name the type of Solitaire where twelve card piles are laid out in a circle, where the thirteenth pile is in the middle.
25. A Variant of Solitaire on Windows
There was another variant of Solitaire that joined as part of the Windows operating system from Windows 95 and so on; what was its name?
Answer: Free Cell
26. Double Solitaire
What is the name of the solitaire game where the goal is to remove complete suits of 54 cards that are dealt in ten piles with all of them face down except the top cards?
27. Triangle Solitaire
A tableau shaped like a triangle, from which you have to remove cards in pairs that add up to 13 – Which Solitaire game comes to mind?
28. Three Pyramids
A game that starts with eighteen cards, forming three pyramids with each card dealt face down where you have to remove them in sequence onto the waste pile, is which variant of the Pyramid?
29. Multiplayer Solitaire
What multiplayer variant of Solitaire exists where one places cards on a five-by-five grid, wanting to get the highest value hands?
Answer: Poker Solitaire
30. Klondike Variant
Name the Solitaire game played out like Klondike, with the exception of there being twice as many cards and eight foundations having a layout of 9 across, which can be built up from aces.
Answer: Double Klondike
Solitaire is the one game that all of us have tried in one form or another. I mean, we all have been caught playing Solitaire at work, right? I know I have. That too multiple times. It is just a fun pastime game that is minimalist, simplistic, and bucket loads of fun!
No wonder there’s still worldwide interest and fascination for this amazing game that, in many ways, revolutionized the PC gaming experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) Why Is It Called Klondike Solitaire?
Klondike, which is just another name for Solitaire, became popular in the late 19th century. It is widely known to be named after the region in North America where the Klondike Gold Rush took place.
2) Can You Bring Cards Back Down In Solitaire?
No. I mean, what’s the fun in that? In Solitaire, once a card is placed on a foundation, it can’t be removed. However, some computer versions of the Solitaire game do allow this, but it makes the game too easy and takes the fun out of it. Wouldn’t you agree?