By adding an extra deck and changing a few rules, Churchill Solitaire delivers a very different solitaire experience.
There are few games that have the history of Churchill Solitaire. The publisher, WSC Solitaire, worked with Donald Rumsfeld to produce the digital version of this twist on the classic, one-player card game. That’s right, Donald Rumsfeld, the 83-year-old Former US Secretary of Defense.
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it
That alone doesn’t make it historic of course. What does, is how Rumsfeld learned of the game. It was invented by Churchill to keep his mind sharp. The former British wartime Prime Minister then shared this with Belgian Diplomat, André de Staercke, who in turn taught it to Rumsfeld while he was representing the United States in NATO.
It is true that that is quite a history, but this is quite a game.
Taking the base concept of Klondike Solitaire, the first thing Churchill’s variant on the game does is add a second deck. With 104 cards in the pile, the next change is to place more cards in a play from the start in a huge, 10 card across, upside-down pyramid with the at the cards bottom facing up. When you draw new cards they are added to the bottom, possibly trapping cards you need, but providing new options.
If you are going through hell, keep going
From there it is business as usual. Your goal is to get eight full sets of foundation piles (two of each suit) to the top of the board, from Ace to King. With twice as many cards in play you have more options and flexibility, but also additional opportunity for mistakes. This means that, when moving cards around to make runs of alternating red and black with the smooth touchscreen controls, you must always be vigilant.
The final extra wrinkle is the Devil’s Six. This is a line of six cards at the top of the table that can only move from their starting position to the foundation piles. And to make this even more tricky the six have to be played in order, from left to right.
What is brilliant is that, if you stay sharp, it feels like the odds of winning are higher than other solitaires - resulting in a more satisfying game. I suspect this is down to the larger number of cards offering more possibilities. Of course I may be wrong, but even on hard I have only failed a handful of times.
My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best
Churchill Solitaire even manages its pay model well. You can download the app for free. This gets you three deals, of varying difficulty that can be played repeatedly. You can unlock the whole 200 hand campaign, and random deals, with a single one off payment. Alternatively you can pay for packs of 25 deals, undos, and hints.
Churchill Solitaire is a brilliant puzzler that can keep card game fans fixated for hours. Its campaign - which takes you through Churchill’s life – is just a beautifully presented bonus.