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Ultimate Guide to Yukon Solitaire

Yukon solitaire is a great way to pass time, especially if you are stuck in a cold place and going outside is just not going to happen. The game functions much like classic solitaire, and it is because of this that people find Yukon solitaire such a fun, easy thing to do when there’s some time to spend idling.

Whether you are playing with an old school deck of cards or have decided to upgrade to a mobile app or computer, it is very easy to begin playing Yukon solitaire. The rules are tweaked just a little bit from the classic example, so this guide below will help you get the hang of this game.

The Rules of Yukon Solitaire

Learning the rules to Yukon solitaire is a pretty easy endeavor. If one has played the classic version of solitaire, they will notice some slight differences, but overall there is not too much that changes between the two games. The moves are basically the same and how the deck is used is pretty straight forward. The bottom line choosing between Yukon and classic versions of the game of solitaire is a matter of personal preference. That said, if you know how to play one, then you can easily play the other.

The goal of Yukon solitaire is to make sure at the end of the game all of the cards end up together in the same suit. This is seemingly very easy, yet the game makes it a strategic challenge. For example, you may see some cards that can go to a suit only you can’t make the moves necessary to get there. This is a problem. Fortunately, the rules help navigate these issues and turn the game into something that keeps the mind sharp.

Starting out, the cards must be shuffled. In doing so, they will next be dealt. When they are dealt, this is where it gets interesting. There are to be seven rows of cards. At first, the first card is dealt face up, with the next six cards dealt face down.

Then the next six rows are filled out. However, there is a wrinkle here. Cards are to be dealt across the rows. In the second row, the first card is face up, and the next five are face down. In each subsequent row, there is an ascending number of cards dealt face down.

However, the wrinkle for Yukon solitaire is that in each row there are four cards that are face up. So, this means from the second through the seventh row, there will be one, two, three, four, five, and six cards face down. Yet each row will have four cards that are face up.

At the end of the deal, there will be no deck. That means players will just have to move the cards around the tableau in order to get the cards properly suited. There are some key moves to know. The first is that any card facing up is able to be played – even if that card is underneath another! This is basically the biggest difference between Yukon and conventional solitaire.

How to Play Yukon Solitaire

Now that the cards are dealt the fun begins! Yukon solitaire is actually easy to play, especially if one understands how to play the normal version of solitaire. The goal is to make sure to play cards that alternate between red and black. The good news is because 25 cards are facing up, there are a ton of moves that a player is able to make. This means the strategy of getting the cards to the suit is a bit easier. There is a bit of a hiccup, though.

The hiccup is though the cards can be played they can’t be played anywhere. All cards must be played at the bottom of each pile. This means if a red 6 is pulled from behind a couple cards facing up, it must only be played where a black 7 is at the bottom. Moving the cards around is simple, and like regular solitaire all that needs to be done is to make sure that the cards facing down end up getting exposed. Once those cards are exposed, then the game gets progressively easier.

Like with all types of solitaire, the goal is making sure the cards are suited. This means if an ace is found, it should be moved up off the tableau and followed by the two, three, four, etc. If all the cards in a row come off the tableau, then a king can be placed there, followed by a queen, jack, and all the other cards. This is how to sort the cards and fill out the suits with ease.

Because there is no stock, the player does not have cards that they can look through in order to find the matches. If the player runs out of different moves, then the game is over. However, the game can only end in one of two ways – the player is out of moves or the cards end up properly suited in sequential order. Doing this is the key to beating the game.

Origins of Yukon Solitaire

The reason why Yukon solitaire has its name is simply because of where the game has originated. Like most British areas, Canada has long had a robust tradition of card games. In this sense, the origin for their “Patience” or solitaire games is the Klondike version. The reason for the name “Klondike” comes from the history of the Canadian gold rush. This took place primarily in Western Canada.

As the settlers moved west in the Americas, they took their card games with them. Yukon solitaire became a staple in the northern, colder areas of Canada and what would eventually become Alaska. As with the term “Klondike”, there is an association with all things that are cold. This is especially so as these areas have some of the coldest climates in the world. However, these areas are rich in natural resources, so folks are more than willing to spend time freezing their tails off in order to make money.

Because of the time that is spent indoors, it is clear that card games became a way to pass the time. In doing so, each area developed different ways to idle the time by. In the Yukon, this type of solitaire became the way to pay. There are several other types of Klondike solitaires that will be covered later in the guide, but the bottom line is North America has a rich card playing history that grew out of necessity to pass time.

Yukon Solitaire Strategies

The reason why these games are called “Patience” by the British is because what it takes to play a solitaire is patience. If a person is impatient, they will invariably have trouble playing the game because there is much to making sure that all the moves are completed. That said, there are some great ways to get ahead at Yukon solitaire, and perhaps understanding that the game will take time is the best starting off point.

Some of the best ways to play involve looking at the tableau in individual parts. A player should note the different areas of the tableau where the cards are on the end. This is the place in which moves can be made. The single face up card is a great way to start a King row. Simply move the card in that space wherever it may go. Then move a king into that area. Don’t rush though, because if there are two kings and one queen, there should be strategy used.

In this sense, the key to Yukon solitaire is to think two or three moves ahead. Don’t move a king into an empty space unless there’s a queen that can follow. Then think about jacks before it is moved. Because there are 25 cards that are facing up, this is a relatively simple thing to do. Check over all the cards, and if it is possible to get a whole row started by clearing out a bunch of cards, then you are ahead in the game.

Use the suit pile to great effect as well. This pile is great for clearing out cards if you want to get to the cards facing down. The good news is you can move cards back and forth. You don’t need to keep them there. The one caveat is you are not allowed to pick up a card underneath. This means if a card such as a four of hearts is needed by the 5 of hearts is on the suit pile, then that card needs to be placed back on the tableau before the 4 of hearts can be played.

Of course, with any solitaire game, the reality is a player can make the rules that best adapt to their own needs. Because the game is a solitary endeavor, the only person that can make sure you keep to the rules is you. That said, the game is not nearly as fun if you mess with the rules so that you can win. Playing it straight is the best way to enjoy the game.

Yukon Solitaire Terms

There are several definitions of terms that every level of Yukon solitaire player should know. The terms are as follows:

  • Cells: This refers to different types of cell games

  • Fanned: Overlapped cards are in piles but are face up and visible

  • Foundation: An ace is a foundation card, and it is located at the bottom of a squared pile

  • Reserve: Not allowed to build cards in this zone

  • Squared: Cards placed atop each other

  • Stock: Face down cards – not a part of Yukon solitaire

  • Tableau: The area in which cards are played

  • Waste: When a card is brought into play, this is where it goes

In terms of building, there are simple terms, which is “by suit”, “by suit sequence”, “by color”, “by alternating color.” These terms are exactly as they sound.

Terminology for playing includes:

  • Available Cards: These are cards that can be played

  • Released Cards: Cards that were once blocked, but now aren’t

  • Suitable Cards: Cards that can be placed

  • Base Cards: Cards that are at the bottom of the base

Variations of Yukon Solitaire

Because this game has such a wide geographic space, there are lots of Klondike solitaires. Here are some of the most recognizable variations:

  • Easthaven: Also known as “Aces Up” solitaire

  • Nine Across: Just as it sounds, there are nine columns of cards instead of the conventional seven

  • Westcliff: There are ten piles of cards that have three cards in each pile. This version is a bit different but a nice change of pace

  • Thumb and Pouch: Cards are built up in any way as long as the cards are not built upon the same suit

Yukon Solitaire FAQ

Here are some of the most asked questions about Yukon solitaire:

  • Are jokers used in Yukon solitaire?

Absolutely not – the joker has no value in this game. That said, if you are missing a card from your deck, feel free to use the joker as a substitute for that card. Of course, it is always better to keep cards together.

  • Are there unsolvable games of Yukon solitaire?

Yukon solitaire should give most players a good chance at winning the game, however even in this variation there are unsolvable games. That notion of unsolvable games is why players enjoy the game – it would not be nearly as fun if every game was solved.

  • Can I remove cards from the ace pile?

Absolutely! The key for making this strategy work is removing the cards sequentially. Do not remove a card underneath the other card. This is wrong and is essentially cheating. The good news is if you need a lower number card, there are plenty of ways to use the higher number cards in the same pile.

Final Thoughts on Yukon Solitaire

Yukon solitaire has its roots in the frigid north of Canada but that does not mean folks in the sun belt are unable to enjoy this game. There is much to it, and with electronic versions of the game, it is easy to access one and determine if it is right for you. Take some time to chill out and enjoy a great game of Yukon solitaire!