Klondike solitaire is the classic version of solitaire, and is sometimes called Patience. With Solitaired, you can:
- Play as many as games as you want for free
- Undo moves
- Save your game and resume it for later
- Track how many moves it take to win a game, and your time
- Have fun!
Why is it the game called Klondike solitaire?
The early origins of Solitaire date back to Germany in the 1780s. We know the game developed in popularity in Germany, France, and later the rest of Europe around that time. Back then the game was called Patience, given that you need “patience” to win a game. Even to this day, Patience is still used to describe the game, especially in Europe.
Believe it or not, the term Klondike Solitaire traces its history back to the gold rush of the late 1890s. Gold was discovered in the northwest region of Canada, or the Klondike area of the Yukon territory, which triggered a rush of miners from the west coast of the United States.
It was a grueling journey where miners would have to carry over a year's worth of food supply. To pass time, miners would naturally play solitaire, and the term Klondike Solitaire, which pays homage to the territory, was coined.
How to play Klondike solitaire
Goal of the game and how to win
To win, you want to place all cards in the four foundation piles. These are the four empty areas at the top of the game. Each pile represents a different suit, and should be filled in order, starting with the Ace all the way to the King. For example, you would place the Ace of Spades first, followed by the two of spades, then three of spades, until the King of Spades is placed. Once you’ve done this with all four foundation piles, you win the game!
Moving the cards from the stockpile to the foundation
On the top left, you’ll see a stack of cards. This is called your stockpile. Each card is removed from the stockpile one at a time, or three at a time, depending on the type of game. These cards can either go into the foundation or the tableau, which is the cards laid out in staircase fashion below the stockpile.
Cards can be moved directly to the foundation if it’s in the correct order. For example, if you happen to have an Ace of Spades as the first card turned over from your stockpile, you can place that card on the foundation pile for Spades. If your second card is a Two of Spades from the stockpile, you can then place that on top of the Ace of Spades in the Foundation pile.
Moving the cards from the stockpile to the tableau
Cards from the stock pile can also be placed in the Tableau. The tableau is the group of cards with the seven columns, with the last card of each column turned faced up, and with each column having an additional card (i.e., the first column has one card, the second column has two cards and so on until the seventh column which has seven cards)
Moving the cards from the stockpile to the foundation or the tableau
Stockpile cards can be placed below a card in the Tableau if that card is of the opposite color, and a number higher than the stock pile card. For example, let’s say there is an 8 of Hearts on the third column of the tableau. Either a 7 of Spades or Clubs from the stockpile can be placed on top of it.
Building the tableau
Similarly, cards on the tableau can be moved around to other columns where there is a card of the opposite color and an incrementally higher number. This is called “building.” For example, if the third column has a 3 of Clubs, it can be moved to another column beneath a card that is either a 4 of Hearts or Diamonds. Remember that in each of the tableau columns, the last card should always be flipped face up. This means if there is a face down card remaining after the 3 of Clubs is moved, it should be turned up, and it becomes another card you can build with.
Groups of turned up cards can be moved too on the tableau. For instance, if the last column has a Seven of Clubs, 6 of Hearts, and 5 of Spades turned over in that order, that group of cards can be moved beneath an 8 of Diamonds and Hearts in another column.
The goal of moving cards in the tableau is to reveal additional cards.
As cards are revealed while you are “building” the tableau, you can move them into the foundation, helping you win the game. For example, if the last card in a tableau column is the 8 of Diamonds, and if you are at the 7 of Diamonds in the foundation pile for Diamonds, you can then move the 8 of Diamonds there. Doing this will reveal the another facedown card of the column, if there are any neft.
Lastly, if you find that the first column is empty (the column that starts with one card turned face up), you can move a King card to that pile to help build the tableau and eventually move the cards to the correct foundation pile.
Once you’re able to move all the cards from the tableau and the stockpile, you’ve won!
For more information, check out our guide on how to play solitaire.
What is turn 1 Klondike solitaire?
First, in case you're confused, Klondike solitaire refers to the classic version of solitaire. It is sometimes known as Patience as well. Either way, when you hear the game solitaire, in general it refers to Klondike solitaire.
In each game of solitaire, there is a stockpile. You draw or turn cards from the stock pile which can be placed into either the foundation or the tableau). In turn 1, you draw cards one at a time from the stockpile, as the name suggests.
How is Turn 1 different from Turn 3?
Instead of drawing 1 card from the stockpile at a time, you can draw 3 cards at a time. This is called turn 3. Of those three cards that have been turned, you can only play the first of the three in that turn. If you can play the first of the three cards, then you can play the second, and then you can place the third.
Here, you can see an example of only one card being turned from the stockpile in the waste pile.
And here is an example of turn 3, with three cards turned from the stockpile into the waste pile. Here, you can place the Ace of Spades in the foundation, which leaves the King of Clubs and the Queen of Hearts. If the King of Clubs can be played, then you can then try to play the Queen of Hearts. If at any point you can’t play these cards, or don’t want to, you turn the next three cards in the deck.
What are other variations?
If you like playing Klondike Solitaire, you should try Double Klondike Solitaire or Triple Klondike Solitaire. As the name suggests, these games and rules are just like Klondike, except they have more decks, a larger tableau, and more foundation piles. While that may seem intimating, these games are considered easier because you have more cards to sequence and move around.
Which is easier, and which should I play?
With Turn 3, you can only potentially place every third card into the game. This means your options are more limited, whereas in turn 1, you have the opportunity to place each subsequent card from the stockpile into the game making it an easier form of the game. Your chances of winning a turn 1 game is higher than turn 3.
If you’re new to solitaire, we recommend playing turn 1. As you get better, try turn 3 to make the game more challenging. If you’re a seasoned player and you’ve only played turn 1, playing turn 3 is a good option to move onto.
There are other variations of turn 1 and turn 3 too. You can limit the total number of passes you get by replaying the waste pile back into the stock pile. Some players limit it to one pass. This means when you get to your last card in the stockpile, if you can’t win the game by then, the game is over.
All these variations are meant to create various degrees of difficulty, depending on how hard of a game you want to play. It’s not too different than advancing to different levels of a video game. On Solitaired, we allow for unlimited passes of the stockpile, which is quite common, for both turn 1 and turn 3 games.
If you like Klondike Solitaire, be sure to try:
- Spider Solitaire
Or see our entire list of free games.
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