Move the mountain

Patience. The poor person's passtime. I played it lots growing up. The one that's called Solitaire or Klondike abroad, I guess? You deal out seven columns, 1 card in the first, then two, then three - until you have seven in the last. Then you try to stack them up in suits, starting with the Aces. You know the game. I still play it sometimes, it's nice for relaxing. Shuffle, play on autopilot.


I did play other variants, but I've forgotten the rules. I'm pretty sure in one of them you layed out the opening cards in a circle or "clock". No idea how it worked and which others I played. So once in a while I look up rules online and try if anything beats the classic version. Today I went looking for peaks and pyramids.



In Pyramid Solitaire you try to move cards to your discard pile in pairs that make up 13. So you can take away a 5 and an 8, a Queen (12) and an Ace (1) or a King (13) all by itself. Every card higher up in the pyramid is blocked by two cards in the row below. You reveal it once you've been able to get rid of those two cards. Once you have no options left, you take a card from the stock and try to combine with that one.


You only go through the stock once. You win when all cards from the deck have been moved to the discard pile. Some people consider breaking down the whole pyramid (with cards left in the stock) a win. I don't have a preference yet. I didn't win.

It's okay. I don't like counting to 13 all the time, even though the sums are not that hard. What makes Patience so relaxing, is that you put cards on top of each other that are just one rank higher or lower. Most of the time you'll see this in a glance. You can shut off your brain and reach a meditative state. AUM AUM AUM


It's where I want to go. Fortunately the next game looked as if it would take even less brainpower. In TriPeaks you try to destroy all three great pyramids of Giza. Setup looks familiar:

In this game you start with one card discarded from your stock. You can dump a visible card from the bottom row of the pyramids on it that's exactly one higher or lower (suit doesn't matter). Again, you reveal cards once the two cards below are removed. And if you get stuck, you discard a card from the stock and try again.


I think this one is won as soon as the peaks are cleared. I lost. There are ways to keep score, but I'm not interested in that. I'm not trying to get a high score, I'm trying to get high.


I would have preferred Twin Peaks, but I'm certainly going to play TriPeaks some more. Patience as I played it 45 years ago is a classic and I will always return to it. But it's nice to vary a bit and see what else is out there in the world.



Note: these variants can easily be played with normal, rectangular poker cards. Just imagine you are taking down Maya pyramids to make space for a highway.

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