Solitaire Board Game

A one-person game that takes no time to learn, but is a real challenge to succeed!


What Is Solitaire The Board Game?

Solitaire is a fascinating game for a single player that is typically played with pegs or marbles on a wooden board.

These days Solitaire is synonymous with the card game that is usually installed on a computer or mobile device. That’s not the one we are talking about!

The board game Solitaire consists of 32 marbles and a wooden board with 33 dents in it. There are variations such as pegs replacing marbles, plastic replacing wood, holes for dents (to put the pegs in) and extra dents/holes.

How Do You Play The Board Game Solitaire?

The game is set up by placing 32 marbles in 32 dents, leaving the centre dent empty.

Solitaire is a one-person game (unsurprisingly given its name). The aim of the game is to remove every marble except one – and the last one must end up in the centre dent.

To remove a marble, you have to move one marble over another marble, landing in an empty dent. Marbles can move up, down, left or right but never diagonally.

How Is Solitaire Related To Education?

  • Solitaire is a strategic game that requires logical thought – great for stretching young minds
  • Teaches spatial reasoning
  • An ideal introduction of using algorithms
  • Helps children notice patterns
  • Perfect for improving decision-making based on reason

What Are The Rules?

  1. At the start, place each marble in a dent, except the centre dent
  2. Move one marble at a time by jumping over another marble to land in an empty dent
  3. You can jump over as many marbles as you can in one move (rather like draughts)
  4. Keep jumping until there is one marble left on the board
  5. The last marble must end up in the centre dent
  6. The game is over when no more jumps are possible

Watch our video and you’ll be up-and-running in less than five minutes.

Solitaire is a game that teaches a number of aspects related to maths, reasoning and logic

How Much Does Solitaire Cost?

Expect to pay between £10 - £15 for a standard game. If you want to splash out, I spotted a version on Amazon for over £100 which had semi-precious marbles. A beautiful-looking game that would look lovely as a centrepiece on an oak dining table.

What is the Game’s History?

Evidence suggests that Solitaire has existed since at least 1697. There is an engraving showing the Princess of Soubise playing the game.

Given the basic parts of the game (one board with 32 marbles), along with the mathematical strategy, it’s likely that Solitaire has been around in some form or another for a very long time indeed.

How Many Different Versions Exist?

As the game isn’t copywritten, there is a myriad of different versions of Solitaire. Round boards, square board, even triangular boards. Most use marbles, but some have pegs. There are also plenty aimed at the younger market, with cute ladybird or frog pieces (to replace marbles) on brightly coloured boards.

We chose to review 3 variations of the game and they are listed below:

Shalinindia 9” Solitaire Board Game (Cost £12.99)

Shut The Box Game

This is the most usual size for the game – its diameter is just under 23cm.

Round wooden board with lipped edge to hold captured marbles.

Marbles come in a handy storage bag which is very useful.

Many manufacturers make almost identical, well-constructed games.

The one we bought and demonstrated in the video was manufactured by Shalinindia.

Gibsons Mini Solitaire (Cost £9.99)

Shut The Box Pocket Size Game

A miniature version, useful when travelling and to take on holidays.

Diameter of the board is just under 12cm. The pegs are bright red and shaped well for fingers to grasp.

No lipped edge, but it comes as a round box where you can store the pegs inside.

Good quality as you would expect from Gibsons.

Even though it’s a small version, the housing of the pegs within the box makes it our favourite – easy to store, easy to keep pegs with the board and easy to transport (such as the garden on a summer’s day).

Legler Child-Friendly Wooden Solitaire (Cost £14.18)

Shut The Box Four Players Game

A delightful version. The board is shaped like a frog’s face and the pegs are little wooden frogs, all with smiling faces!

Board size is 22cm x 20cm x 4.5cm (the extra 2cm are for the frog’s eyes!)

Made of wood, so is robust and less likely to break than plastic.

The board is boxed so you can store the frog pegs inside.

If you’re looking for a fun version for your child to learn, this one fits the bill nicely.

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