Solitaire (also known as Microsoft Solitaire and Classic Solitaire) is a digital card solitaire game developed and released by Microsoft for Windows PCs in 1990, bundled with all installations of the Microsoft Windows operating systems from Windows 3.0 to Windows 7.
Based on the Klondike variant of the solitaire card game, Solitaire has players managing seven stacks of cards ("row stacks"), in addition to cards drawn from the deck, in order to create four full foundation piles ("suit stacks").
Originally developed by Microsoft intern Wes Cherry in his spare time, Solitaire was included in the Windows 3.0 operating system as a learning tool to aid users who were unfamiliar with the drag-and-drop interaction with mouse hardware (as players can drag cards between stacks). It is also the first game to make use of Microsoft's card image library, created in part by graphic designer Susan Kare. Solitaire was included in subsequent Windows releases (along with other games, namely Minesweeper, FreeCell, and Hearts), where it gained in popularity.
The version of the game included in both Windows Vista and Windows 7, developed in part by Oberon Games, is known for its enhanced graphical updates, new Undo and Hint systems, persistent game statistics, and the added ability to save and restore in-progress games. It also features new themes for both the card deck (Classic, Hearts, Seasons, and Large Print) and the background (Classic Felt, Red Hearts, Green Nature, Red Felt, and Brown Felt) and supports the Windows Media Center service for use with TVs.
Beginning with Windows 8, the game itself is no longer included in Windows installations. However, a successor to it is available as part of the free-to-play Microsoft Solitaire Collection. Like other pack-in games that are kept when upgrading the Windows operating system, the base installation of the pack-in version of Solitaire is removed completely once an April 2018 update of Windows 10 is applied.
Solitaire utilizes three different areas of the game board: the main layout (with seven "row stacks"), the top-left area (with the deck and discard piles) and the top-right area (with the four "suit stacks").
The game itself can be played using either Mouse or Keyboard. With the mouse, plays can click-and-drag on cards/stacks or double-click on them. With the keyboard, the game is played using the Tab key (to switch between areas), the arrow keys (to navigate between stacks), and the Space/Enter key (to pick-up and drop cards and stacks).
As with traditional Klondike solitaire, the objective is to move all cards in a standard deck of 52 playing cards from the main layout (and the remaining deck) into the four "suit stacks", where each suit stack should contain all cards of the same suit in an ascending order (A, 2-10, J, Q, K).
From the start, cards are dealt into all seven rows, with each row having one card more than the previous row. Only the bottom-most card is face-up, the rest are unknown. The remaining cards are used for the deck.
Each bottom-most stack of face-up cards (of any size) in the row stacks, as well as topmost card drawn from the deck, can be moved into another row stack as long as the card above it is one rank higher and of an alternate suit color (Diamond/Heart or Spade/Club) than the topmost card of the stack. The bottom-most card in each stack, as well as the top-most card drawn from the deck, can also be moved to the suit stacks, as long as it is one rank higher than the matching suit's stack. Aces can be placed on an empty suit stack, while stacks with Kings can be placed on an empty row stack.
Each time the player clicks on the deck, it either draws one card (Draw One) or three cards (Draw Three). If the deck itself is empty, clicking on the empty space makes a new deck out of the drawn cards. Draw Three can be more difficult, potentially making the game unwinnable.
While the game can be played with no timer or scoring, Solitaire includes two optional scoring systems:
- Standard - The default scoring method, with an option of using the timer as a challenge. Each deal starts the player at 0 points (the game's minimum). Moving a card from the deck to a row stack gives 5 points. Moving a card to a suit stack gives 10 points, while moving a card from a suit stack deducts 15 points. Each time the deck is reset, the game deducts either 100 points in Draw One (after the first reset) or 20 points in Draw Three (after the third reset). In timed games, 2 points are deducted every 10 seconds of play and players receive a bonus at the end of the game (depending on the time it took to complete it).
- Vegas - More akin to simulated gambling, Vegas has players attempting to win back their wager for each deal (with cumulative scoring as an option). Players start with $0 and each deal wagers $52. Moving a card to the suit stack wins $5. Players can only go through their deck once (in Draw One) or thrice (in Draw Three).