Unique solitaire games that’ll provide you with a real challenge

  (photo credit: UNSPLASH)
(photo credit: UNSPLASH)

The history of solitaire goes back a long way, at least a few centuries ago, and is believed to be of either Scandinavian or German origin. In the 19th century, it started to become popular in France, then in Britain and the United States. From then on, it became well-known all over the world, and people still play it. While many are occasional players, others are genuinely devoted to the game, spending quite a lot of time uncovering new ways to play the game and challenge themselves. Playing Solitaire became even more accessible since the introduction of online platforms hosting the game, such as Subgame Solitaire.

So, with that in mind, here are some game variants you can try playing if you want to get out of your comfort zone and try something a little more complicated.


This type of patience solitaire is played using fifty-two playing cards. Although the term “labyrinth” is synonymous with “maze,” there’s a big difference between the two subtypes of solitaire that share these names. Labyrinth is actually more similar to Babette, as both games are blockades. The rules are relatively straightforward. The player must first take the four Aces and lay them as foundations.

Eight cards are placed in a row below the four aces, as building occurs upon the foundations, in ascending sequence, all the way to the Kings. The game is finished when all the cards are built onto the foundations.

Crazy Quilt 

Also known as Japanese Rug, Crazy Quilt also uses fifty-two playing cards. The name of this patience game comes from the look of the reserves, which resembles the weaves of a quilt or rug due to the horizontal and vertical movements. The Ace and King are used to form foundations, and sixty-four cards are placed into eight rows. The first row has the first card placed vertically, while the second is horizontally. The positions should alternate in this manner for all the remaining rows.

The stock ends up in the stockpile, one at a time. The top card can be used to build foundations and be built either down or up. Once this stock runs out, the entire wastepile is gathered and placed face down without shuffling. This action can only be performed once during the whole duration of the game.

To win Crazy Quilt, you must get all cards from the wastepile and reserve into the foundations.

Mahjong solitaire 

Most players are familiar with card solitaire, arguably the most popular variation of the game. However, there are several other types out there that you can try. One of them is mahjong solitaire, a version of the game that uses mahjong tiles. Also known as Shanghai solitaire, you have the option to play this version of patience both as a tabletop, as well as online.

Although it takes its name from the well-known Chinese game, it is still different from it. There are 144 tiles arranged to face upwards. If you can move any tile to the right or left without disturbing others, it means that it is exposed. The purpose of mahjong solitaire is to match the pairs of open, identical tiles, to remove them from the board. The ones underneath them will be left for playing.

You win mahjong solitaire when all tiles are removed from the board. However, if the remaining ones contain open pairs, you’ve lost and must start again. The default layout of this game is “the turtle.” An analysis found that nearly 5% of turtles cannot be solved in any way, even when looking below the tiles, meaning that this type of game will be a real challenge if you’re looking to test yourself.

Marble Solitaire 

Similar to mahjong solitaire, playing with marbles is another way to make the game more interesting. Just like traditional forms of patience, it’s a one-person game. Although mastering the rules is relatively straightforward and won’t take you more than a couple of minutes, the real challenge is to succeed in winning it.

To play marble solitaire, you’ll need a special board. Each marble must be placed in a dent, except for the spot at the center of the board that must remain empty. You play by moving one at a time, jumping over another marble and aiming to land in an open place. You can jump over as many as you can in just a single move. You can place them left, right, up or down, but never diagonally. To win the game, the final marble must end up in the center dent, and no more jumps should be possible.

You play marble solitaire using a set of thirty-two pieces. Some variations replace the marbles and use pegs instead. There are also boards that have over thirty-three dents if you want the game to last longer or be a little more challenging.


In this game, all the cards are laid face down. Two are turned up at each time, with the aim being to discover matching pairs. The game is fit for both adults and children, although the latter category might sometimes find it more difficult and frustrating.

Throughout the course of the game, it becomes easier to discover where certain cards are located. This is what makes Concentration an excellent way to test your memory, as you’ll have to keep in mind where you have already seen the identical card. There are also several variations of Concentration. In Spaghetti, for instance, the cards are thrown around randomly instead of laid in rows.

Fancy allows the plays to place the card in unique layouts of their own choosing, such as diamond-shaped or triangular. Zebra enables the formation of pairs only for cards with the same rank but with opposite colors. Some players also combine the different variations.

Solitaire’s enduring popularity is mainly because there are so many ways in which you can play the game. There’s truly no limit to the number of variations you can find. It’s also a good exercise for cognitive prowess and will always keep you entertained.

This article was written in cooperation with SubGame.org