Windows always comes with Solitaire pre-installed. I thought it was dumb at first, but I also found it less stressful than Minesweeper.

Cookiemonger for this Jane Austen Solitaire game and I’ve watched over her shoulder a few times. It’s Solitaire with since mechanical gimmicks like Candy Crush, with its locks and keys and wild cards and situational modifiers and combos.

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. Not my cup of tea, but there’re plenty enough tea-drinkers around that my presence won’t be missed.

No, what I thought of was how Solitaire might be likened to a dungeon crawl. You have limited resources available to you (those cards you get to turn over for free) and several different options to explore–usually 6-8 stacks of cards of varying sizes.

It doesn’t quite capture the monster-slaying or treasure-gathering aspects of D&D but I think it nails the exploration bit. Solitaire is a game that’s difficult to win because you receive little foreknowledge upon which to base your decisions: it’s more chance than strategy.

But in some ways, so is D&D. I mean, you can be as prepared as you can but you don’t know if the door you open will be to a room of rats and goblins or ice devils.

Turning over a card is like opening a door, and the encounter on the other side is what you gave to pass to continue.

Now that I come to it, you DO have some foreknowledge, don’t you? You know what the encounter is. The game can hardly be faulted for not giving you EVERY encounter in advance. But you still get to pick your battles.

Well, then there’s your stack of cards, yeah? Turn those over and try to combo them off the other cards on the table.

So, do you look at one session of Solitaire as a single delve, an adventure, or a dungeon level?

As a single delve, you try to grab as much loot as you can without getting caught or killed. Each card you turn over is like a die roll: it’s very small in scope. Like a saving throw against a trap or an attack roll. Maybe the number of coins or experience points you get for a particular action.

If the session represents an adventure, you still don’t expect to complete the thing but you have to clear as much of the board as possible because there are consequences if you don’t. Your objective is a little different. You’re trying to see a bigger picture.

The deck you get to turn over therefore represents your henchmen, your gear, and your hit points. You don’t expect to clear the dungeon, as you don’t expect to win a session of Solitaire (not with that degree of randomness).

But sometimes you do, and it makes for a great story. Maybe an individual card you turn over is either a monster, bit of coin, or a hero. I don’t know. Moving on.

Then, I suppose when the session is a dungeon floor you count every card as a door or room: it’s an entire encounter, not any of its constituent parts. It’s the scene. And here you rarely expect to clear the board because if you did that would mean the story was over, with evil being beaten and all.

Sure, you’d come back when evil reared its head again, but only then: or when you found yourself running low on cash in your drinking fund.

Huh, I wonder if there’s more to this. I’ll have to try a hand or two of Solitaire, see where I end up.