Although many people are unaware of it, there are many hundreds (and probably thousands) of different solitaire games played with playing cards.
This can be daunting when you open a game such as Pretty Good Solitaire and see the names of over 800 solitaire games.
Which ones are the most important ones? Here are 7 games that every serious solitaire player should know.
Klondike is the name given to the game that most people just call Solitaire. It is the basic game that came with Windows.
Klondike is not the best nor the most interesting of solitaire games, but it is the most popular. It also has all the standard elements (foundation piles for each suit, a tableau with alternate color building, a stock pile, a waste pile). Once you know how to play Klondike, a large number of solitaire games will seem familiar to you.
Like Klondike, FreeCell was included with Windows. But while Klondike is a favorite of people just wasting time, FreeCell is a puzzle that takes thought and strategy. FreeCell's design is brilliant - it is easy to learn but not easy to win, but...significantly, it can be won nearly every time.
FreeCell is a game that gets played thousands of times by its devoted fans. It has spawned many other games that try to imitate its puzzle-like style.
Spider is another popular solitaire game that came with Windows. It is a much harder game for the casual player and therefore often is seen with 2 easier variants - Spider One Suit and Spider Two Suits.
Spider takes some work to master and can be frustrating at times. Like most of the games in this list, there are many variations of the game designed to be easier or different or more strategic.
Yukon is a fascinating game with similarities to Klondike, but with one special feature - you can move any group of face up cards regardless of sequence. This makes for a different and fun game.
In order to win, you need to uncover the face down cards to turn them face up. Yukon's most famous companion game is Russian Solitaire, which is very hard since building is by suit rather than opposite color.
If you like Klondike, you'll find Yukon a nice change.
5) Forty Thieves
Forty Thieves is an important solitaire game to know. It has all the basics in common with hundreds of solitaire games - even more so than Klondike. Once you know how to play Forty Thieves, you know how to play a lot of games. Even better, Forty Thieves is challenging and interesting in its own right.
Forty Thieves also has a rich history, being over 100 years old. It also has many other names, such as Napoleon at St Helena.
Pyramid is a different type of solitaire game with different structure - in Pyramid you pair two cards together whose ranks add to 13 and remove them from play. This makes it an Addition or Pairing type game, rather different from the previous games. Pyramid is probably the best known and most played Addition type game.
Once you learn Pyramid, you'll find that there are many other Addition type games, some of which are quite easy and others which can be interesting.
Scorpion is very Spider like, but has only one deck and involves creating sets of 13 cards down in suit from King to Ace. It is easier and more accessible than Spider and is probably a better introduction to Spider type games than even Spider is. Also, it's fun.
Scorpion also has some connection to Yukon, in that you can move any group of face up cards regardless of sequence. Scorpion is definitely a game to play if you haven't played it before.