The Colorful History of Solitaire

Solitaire has a colorful history. In the early 18th century Solitaire was known as cabale, which means ‘secret knowledge’. It was likely a type of fortune-telling style of game, with many similarities to the way Tarot cards are laid out. Not surprisingly whether or not a game “came out” indicated if the player’s desire would come true!

In late 18th century Germany Solitaire was called ‘patiencespiel’. Played competitively by two people with separate decks of cards both the players and spectators wagered on the outcome of the game. 

While we normally think of playing Solitaire alone, duh, how else would you play? The concept likely developed from players practicing for competitive games and enjoying it anyway.

The 19th century saw Solitaire games with colorful pictorial designs and exotic titles, such as zodiac and British constitution. German Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, was an avid player and likely influenced it’s adoption in England.

Solitaire experienced a renaissance in the late 20th century with the advent of the Personal Computer. Microsoft included Solitaire with Windows to help people learn to use a mouse. Players did not even need to shuffle! The click of a mouse made the perfect deal every time and the game even kept score. Long before Social Media people loved to invest their work time in a few games of Solitaire!

Modern Solitaire comes in many forms, with over 100 individual formats with just as many names. For instance, in Britain Solitaire is called ‘Patience’ while in France the game is known as ‘Success’, probably from when a player yells, “Success!” after a completed game. Other languages, Danish, Norwegian and Polish, retain the original ‘Kabal’ or ‘Kabala’ (secret knowledge) nomenclature.

Coming full circle Solitaire is experiencing a return to it’s competitive roots with the advent of mobile eSports. Now Solitaire players world-wide can have fun playing the game and compete in head-to-head matches, tournaments and leagues for cash and prizes.

Check out the mobile eSports game xLeague Solitaire on the App store and for Android.