Here at Starbie, we offer a large collection of free Patience games. All of these games can be played directly in the internet browser window, no downloads required. Below, we’ve provided some more information about the rules of the game, our most popular Patience games, and some fun game variations players can try.
What are Patience games?
Patience is a type of card game that is also known as card solitaire. The term describes a set of single-player games, of which the most popular and widely known version is a game called Klondike. The game revolves around sorting one or more sets of shuffled cards while following certain rules that limit the player’s actions. The rule set a player chooses determines the difficulty of accessing certain cards.
How to play
While the basic rules determining the access to cards may vary (more on that below), the aim of the game is almost always to sort the shuffled cards by suit and in order of rank. The suit of the cards refers to the symbol printed on each card. In standard card decks, there are four suits: diamonds, hearts, spades, and clubs. (Regional card decks might have slightly different symbols, including swords, shields, cups, bells, or acorns.) The card ranks are, in ascending order, Ace (1), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King. Depending on the game variation, the player will have to sort each suit of cards in ascending order, descending order, or both.
The rules of the game may vary widely depending on the game variation. Here, we’ll describe the basic rules of Klondike. This game also has some minor rule variations that determine the difficulty of the game. The most common rule variation that players will find in our games is whether the player gets to draw 1 card or 3 cards at a time. When the player draws three cards, only the top card of each set of three is immediately accessible, making the game far more difficult to complete.
At the beginning of each game of Patience, the shuffled cards are arranged in a particular pattern. This is called the 'tableau'. In the middle, the cards are stacked in seven rows. The first row consists of just one card, the second row is two cards, the third three, and so forth, until the seventh row, which consists of seven cards. All the cards in each row are laid on the table face down, except for the last card in each row, which is turned face up. All the cards that are left over are put in a single stack, which is placed in the top left corner, face down. This is the stock pile. At the top right, there are four empty slots.
Goal of the game
The goal of the game is to move all of the cards to the four cells at the top. The cards must be sorted in ascending order, starting with the aces, and each empty slot can hold only the cards of one single card suit. To achieve this, players can draw one (or three) cards from the stock pile. These cards can either be moved directly to the top slots if possible, or moved to seven rows of the tableau below. In the seven rows, the cards must be stacked in descending order, while alternating the red and the black cards. Once the player has gone through the entire stock pile, the stock pile can be turned over again, and the player can continue playing again.
Not all games can be completed, however. It’s possible to get stuck. Some game variations allow players to undo all or a certain amount of moves. Sometimes this will cost the player points. Other games do not allow the player to undo any games at all, meaning that the player will just have to try again. It’s easier to get stuck playing the 3-card game variation.
Different types of Patience
There are a lot of different variations on Patience. The games are usually classified according to whether the pictures on the cards are visible to the player or not. When all cards are visible, the game is categorized as an ‘open games’. Games where the player have to turn over the cards to see them are called ‘closed games’. Many games feature a mixture of open and closed cards and are called ‘half-open games’.
Popular game variations
Popular variations on Patience include FreeCell, Spider, and Tri Peaks. FreeCell is an open card game in which players have four additional empty slots to store cards for later use. Spider is a game in which the sorting is done within the tableau, and the suits are only moved to the empty slots once completed. Tri Peaks is a game in which the player must clear away three card pyramids by moving cards to the discard pile by number value rather than by suit. There are a huge number of game variations, however. Way too many to name and explain individually. But nobody is missing out: We offer a great many of them for free on this page so that players can discover them all.
Top 5 Patience games
For anyone who’s not sure where to start, here is a list of the Top 5 Patience games our players have selected as their absolute favourites: