History of Solitaire

The game Solitaire – which means lonely or solitary in French – is played and enjoyed by millions of people around the world. In fact, Solitaire (known as Patience in England nowadays), is the generic name for a multitude of variations of the same card game played by oneself. The game is recognized by different names in different countries. The British fondly calls it as the "game of patience". In France, it is popularly known as "Success" whereas the Danish, Portuguese and Norwegians call it as "Kabal" or "Kabala".

Nobody knows when Solitaire was invented but it is generally accepted that some version of the game were developed as soon as playing card games became popular around the time of the Middle Ages. The most widely accepted idea is that the French were responsible for developing the more popular versions of Solitaire, with some historians even going so far as to say that the Little General, Napoleon Bonaparte invented the game while in exile in on the island of St. Helena. Many forms of Solitaire of that time period relate to Napoleon. Other historians claim that Solitaire originated from Eastern Europe, based on early books found on the subject. However, that is not all. There was a tradition in Scandinavian and German culture to use solitaire or "Patience" as a guide to foresee future. They believed that an individual's fortune or luck may vary from time to time and good things or events should not be initiated if his cards are not in his favor. If the person continuously loses in a particular card game, it cautions that his time is not in his favor. On the contrary, if the person win on the first hand, his fortune is believed to be shining, and he can indulge in critical activities. In the end, the French origins seem the most plausible, as many of the terms used in Solitaire such as the "tableau" are of French origin and many of the early books on the subject were from France. Solitaire was described as a competitive card game that requires a considerable amount of patience, skills, and intelligence.

The rules of Solitaire appeared in game books from around the 18th and 19th centuries and since then, many new variations of the game have unfolded, including the very popular Spider Solitaire – made popular by United States President Roosevelt. Each Solitaire player has its favorite choice. It is told that Napoleon Bonaparte played this game during his exile to St Helen. He indulged in Solitaire to work on his mental alertness. Even now many solitaire games or cards bear his name or the name of the island he was exiled to.

The modern form of Solitaire began to gather shape across the globe in the second half of 20th century. In the 1980's, with the advent of technology and familiarization of people with the computer, that the game became more popular among video gamers. Now that players do not need to shuffle and deal the cards on every hand, it became more enjoyable and easier choice. Moreover, the fact that all it was required to start a new game was just a mouse button click contributed to Solitaire's addictive quality. The first commercial Solitaire game was developed for Spectrum Holobyte in 1987 by Brad Fregger, and it was available for both PC and Macintosh. It included eight varieties of solitaire games with reliable mouse support. Later in the year 1992 Quality Quantum Projects (QQP) produced a total of 105 different solitaire games with comprehensive user statistics on each game. In 1995 Windows developed a new and easier version of the game called FreeCell, which soon attracted players in all age groups. Finally, Microsoft XP included Spider Solitaire that created a huge impact than its counterparts and basically made it the second most played version after Klondike Solitaire.

Today we have more than hundred books describing over thousand varieties of Solitaire games with minor variations and distinctive feature of their own. There are several types of Solitaire games such as Klondike, Spider, Concentration, Pyramid, Canfield, Free Cell and many more. Among these FreeCell and Klondike come pre-installed with every new version of Microsoft Windows. If one enjoys playing cards and has enough patience, Solitaire is one of the most advisable game one can be offered with. Furthermore, it is no longer necessary to have it installed on your computer as you can play it online.

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