Card Games for One

Solitaire is a popular game. But how did it come to be?


This is the loading screen of Microsoft’s Solitaire Collection, a place where you can play all your favorite Solitaire games online. (Photo Courtesy of Megan Jun)

Megan Jun, Staff Writer

What do you do when boredom takes over? Kill it with Solitaire of course! Solitaire is the popular card game for boredom. Solitaire, also called patience or cabale, is a group of card games meant to be played by one person only. There are several card games in Solitaire. Famous card games include Pyramid, Spider, Free Cell, and Tripeaks.
It is unclear when and where Solitaire originated from, but from different pieces of evidence found in Europe, it is safe to assume that it probably originated during the end of the eighteenth century. Solitaire could have possibly been a form of fortune-telling for people in the Baltic region. The way of fortune-telling was turned into a game. As the popularity of cartomancy, a type of fortune-telling with cards, and tarot cards rose, the game grew popular as well. Urbanization helped the popularity of solitaire grow worldwide. Industrial Revolution during the late eighteenth century turned Europe and the U.S. into a more urban and industrial society. Unmarried adults would work in factories and have lots of time to themselves. The rich got richer, increasing their leisure time as well. And what would they do with that time alone? They’d play solitaire games of course to crush the boredom!
You might be thinking: I thought Solitaire was just one card game, not a group of several card games. You might have mistaken Solitaire for Klondike instead. Klondike is one of the most popular Solitaire games. It’s not certain where the name for Klondike came from, but people assume that Klondike was named after the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada during the 1890s, signifying the ideas of winning and luck. Klondike is so popular that it is often called and known as Solitaire. Although this is not correct (definition-wise), it is okay to still use the term “Solitaire” for Klondike.
Solitaire has swept the world, helping fight off boredom. Now, you can easily play it online. Microsoft even has Solitaire downloaded to your computer. You can always play the old-fashioned way with cards too. There are even Solitaire contests, one of the most famous contests being held by Microsoft. If you’ve never tried the famous collection of games, why not give Solitaire a go?