My absolute favorite thing about summer is enjoying the cool of the setting sun right as dusk sets in. After a long hot day, it is quite refreshing to find yourself in a comfy chair on a deck, with an ample beverage supply and plenty of good company to share it with. Of course a game or two is a nice addition as well.
I bring outside gaming up because Solitaire for Two is a perfect fit for such a need. Cards won’t try to fly away at the slightest breeze. The tiles can be read in subpar lighting. Best of all the game can be played at a casual pace, making for a great, relaxing activity.
I don’t know if I could find someone around me who does not know the game of Solitaire. It has become so ubiquitous, both as a physical card game and as time wasting computer game. I grew up playing multiple player solitaire where each person was playing to the same set of Aces. But this is a little different that I was used to; Solitaire for Two adds two additional suits, jokers, and an interesting way of scoring.
To answer any questions you may have, yes, Solitaire for Two can be played by yourself. The game features some differences from the traditional game, but for the most part is identical. This review focuses on the two player game.
Solitaire for Two introduces two new suits: Anchors and Wheels. These two suits are green, which changes how the traditional every-other color stacking rule works. Now a tile can be placed under another one as long as it does not share the same color. So the nine of diamonds can be placed under the ten of clubs, spades, anchors or wheels. In addition, this game introduces jokers to the mix of ‘cards.’ Jokers can be used in place of any non-revealed tile. Later when an appropriate replacement can be made, the joker is removed and the other tile is slipped into its place.
Players take turns taking a stack of three tiles. All three are flipped face up, as the player attempts to score points, most of the time by playing them to the layout. Points are scored for moving tiles on top of aces, moving five, seven, nine and eleven tiles at a time within the layout, and for scoring a grand sequence (King down to Ace in the bottom layout). If a player is able to successfully play all of their tiles, they will score a trio and pull another three face down tiles.
At the end of every turn each player calculates their score for that round, and play continues on. Ultimately the person with the most points is the winner. It is important to note, that the winner is not always the person who finished the set of aces.
Things and Bits
Solitaire for Two is made up entirely of tiles. Each tile is about an inch by half inch, made out of a durable resin. The numbers and suits are clear and easy to play with. Solitaire for Two comes in a normal sized board game box, but most of the space is unused. I have a feeling that my copy is going to find its way into an easy to carry cloth travel bag.
The rule differences are easy to pick up, and Solitaire is an easy game to teach to people. Our two player games took about thirty minutes, even at a leisurely pace.
I have to reiterate that I really love sitting out on a deck in the evening. This is where I have played all of my games of Solitaire for Two. After a nice meal, my wife and I would set up a game and enjoy the evening. Sure, other factors may bias my enjoyment, but I think it speaks to the utility of a game like this. I could also see bringing this with me camping or on a skiing trip. In general the game has a very relaxed vibe to it, and the components aid in its travel ease.
I was surprised at the strategy of the game. I have played countless games of Solitaire on my own, and in general I would follow a very repeatable pattern. I would try to get all four kings out and work to complete the columns, then the end game is simple. When I played my first game of Solitaire for Two, I got my butt kicked when I teed up a perfect win for my opponent. What I forgot was that I was not setting something useful for me, but for them. The way two player scoring works, the tile placement choices are much more interesting than the boring old traditional game play.
In the same strategy vein, the additional suits make the game feel different. I would argue that they give a little more flexibility to the game. Instead of only being able to play the four of diamonds or hearts to a black five, now you can also play two different green fours to the same place. This flexibility makes the previously stated strategy all the more interesting.
While not a detriment to game play, Solitaire for Two lacks visual appeal. The packaging of the game reminds me of my grandparent’s game shelf, where the newest game is a first printing of trivial pursuit. The box graphics and general design won’t catch your eye. I don’t foresee any of my gaming buddies begging to play this game. I don’t know what I would change exactly, but something should be done to make it look more visually interesting.
Solitaire for Two
Published by: Gryphon Games
Designed by: Joli Quentin Kansil
Time: 30-45 mins.
Ages: 13 and up
Mechanics: Set collection, Solitaire
Solitaire for Two is a great game for non-gamer centric use. Its familiar elements make it easy to introduce a wide array of people, and its sturdy components make it a game that can be played anywhere. Solitaire for Two does not fundamentally change the game of Solitaire, but it does make for a more interesting one. Now, if only they could modernize the visual design.