There are lots of different versions of solitaire, but for most of us there’s only one that really matters: Klondike. You probably know it simply as “solitaire”.
Last year developers Darshan Somashekar and Neal Taparia released Solitaired, a comprehensive compendium of solitaire games featuring more than 500 different variations. Now they’ve chosen to focus, laser-like, on Klondike in the equally brilliant Solitaire Brain.
Like Solitaired, Solitaire Brain is a slick, polished card game with a refreshing educational twist. Unlike Solitaired, however, it sees you playing Klondike and nothing else, so here’s a little refresher for the uninitiated and the out-of-practise.
Your goal in Klondike is to sort a random deck of cards into four neat piles by suit and value, with Aces at the bottom and Kings on the top.
You do this by dealing out seven columns, starting with a single card on the left and seven on the right. Only the top card on each pile is playable, and you need to rearrange these seven cards so that each one is placed on a card of the next greater value and opposite color.
So, if you’ve got a 7 of Clubs you can only place it on an 8 of Diamonds or an 8 of Hearts. Likewise, a Jack of Hearts can only be placed on a Queen of Clubs or a Queen of Spades. You get the idea.
As soon as an Ace reaches the top of a column you can place it at the top of the screen, then follow it with a 2, 3, 4, and so on in the same suit when you manage to free them up. Eventually, you’ll either end up with four complete stacks or run out of moves.
Anyone who’s ever found themselves being sucked into an hour-long Klondike session knows that it’s perfect as it is, but Somashekar and Taparia have added a fantastic non-gameplay dimension by working with institutions like MIT and NASA to provide five custom decks.
These contain figures from areas as diverse as the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, and the world of inventors, and they’re the educational icing on Solitaire Brain’s cake of fun.
Playing some online solitaire on Solitaire Brain. Versions for iOS and Android are coming soon.