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Tabletop Game / Solitaire

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A game of Microsoft Solitaire being played on Windows XP
"For over twenty years, a video game has tormented mums, dads and office workers the world over. And it has nothing to do with orcs, racecars or terrorists. It’s about cards. That game is Windows Solitaire, which from Windows 3.0 through to the Windows 10 of today has been (excluding a short break with Windows 8) included free with every copy of Microsoft’s operating system."

Solitaire is a family of card games played with the standard 52-card deck (with some variants having two or more decks shuffled together) that are designed to be played by a single player. Special miniature decks have been made for this purpose to save room on smaller tables, but the popularity of computer solitaire has caused them to be somewhat hard to come by; modern smartphones allow layouts to be even smaller. By far the most recognizable variants of these are "Klondike" solitaire (which most players simply call "solitaire") and "Freecell", due to their bundling with Microsoft Windows operating systems starting with version 3.0 in 1990.

The Other Wiki has a list of many of the variants.


Tropes common to solitaire card games:

  • Call-Back: Microsoft Solitaire Collection has an animation for completing a game in Klondike that references the bouncing animation from the pre-Vista versions.
  • Casual Video Game: This game is pretty popular for casual gamers who just want a quick way to kill some time or entertain themselves, going back to the days of physical cards. It's easy to learn, too.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: In at least the XP version of the Spider Solitaire, it's entirely possible to be able to clear out a lot of cards early into the game if you're lucky. However, if you take it too far, you might end up having an almost completely clear table and not to be able to progress, since the game requires at least one card to be present in each slot in order to deal out more. And, if you manage to avoid that pitfall, then you also shouldn't get cocky and have the game deal out all remaining cards onto the table, even if the ones on the table are all already uncovered - since you might find yourself in a situation where you have no available moves and no ability to undo it.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Pressing Shift+Alt+2 in the pre-Vista versions is an instant win.
    • The Robot, Dark Tower, Beach, and Dealer decks all have animations on the backs if you play a timed game.
    • The Vista and Windows 7 versions are fully compatible with Xbox 360 controllers, a feature that isn't described anywhere in help files.
  • Game Mod: You can create themes in Windows 8's solitaire collection without modding into the files, allowing for easy customization.
    • Mike's Cards allows users to modify existing single- or double-deck games through an intuitive interface, as well as importing custom graphic and sound files. The macOS app is no longer updated as of version 2.1.1, unfortunately.
    • PySolFC and SoliLuxe also allow creation of custom card sets.
  • I Have Many Names: Not only are these games known as "Patience" or "Solitaire" depending on which side of the Atlantic you're from, the variants also have many different names.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Many deals in Klondike solitaire (between 8.5% and 18%) can't be solved to completion. There's no way to tell in advance whether the Random Number God has spit one of these out at you. Microsoft Solitaire Collection added a "solvable deals only" option.
  • Market-Based Title: Outside the United States and Canada note , these sorts of games are often known as "patience" games. A game bundled with the Acorn Archimedes, also based on the Klondike variation used in Windows Solitaire, was called !Patience, reflecting the British origin.
  • Nintendo Hard: Surprisingly for a sedate little card game that comes with most people's computers. Several variants, including the full four-suit version of Spider Solitaire and Forty Thieves, are the most difficult.
  • Scoring Points: Windows Solitaire has an option to keep score with two systems:
    • Standard: Moving a card from the deck to the table or turning a card on the table over gives 5 points and moving a card from the deck or the table to the foundation at the top gives 10 points. Note that you can score 15 points at once by moving a card from the deck to the table, then to the foundation. Moving a card from the foundation to the table gives a -15 point penalty and going through the deck and starting over gives a -100 point penalty if playing by single draw, but there's no penalty if playing by triple draw. If the game is timed, a time bonus of 700,000 / (seconds to finish) is given at the end if it took more than 30 seconds to finish, otherwise no bonus is given.
    • Vegas: The game starts at -$52 and each card moved to the foundation gives $5. The catch here is that you're only allowed to go through the deck once if playing by single draw, or thrice if playing by triple draw. If the option to keep score is enabled, restarting the game costs $52 and the money won or lost in the previous game carries over to the next game; if the option is disabled, restarting the game just puts you back at -$52. Since you're not allowed to go through the deck again and again, most of the deals are unsolvable, but it's often possible to win at least enough money to pay back the initial wager and build a score through several games this way if the "keep score" option is enabled.
  • Solo Tabletop Game: The most well known example, though ironically because of the computer version. All one needs is at least one deck of cards, knowledge of the rules, and themselves to play.
  • Tutorial Level: Microsoft officially claimed that the original version for Windows 3.0 was one for training people used to MS-DOS in using the mouse, but it was really just there for fun.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: If you make a mistake early in the game without any way of knowing that it was the wrong thing to do, you can keep yourself from winning. The only reason why this is not "by design" is due to the randomness of the draw.
  • Unwinnable by Design: In the "Vegas Score" Klondike variation, you bet $52, and reclaim $5 per card in the foundation piles. In that ruleset, the odds are designed in favor of the house, as they should in gambling houses. The good news for the computer version is that the dollars are actually the game's version of points, so it's not like you'd have to turn over your credit card every time you turn on your computer.


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