How to Play Solitaire

English Solitaire

As the name suggests this is a solo game played by 1 person and although called a board game, it is more a logical thinking puzzle.

How to Play

The object of the game is to remove all but one of the marbles and that marble should be right in the centre of the board.

The board is designed with 34 dips or holes laid out in a cross.  To start the game place all 33 marbles or balls on the board, one in each hole except the centre hole which remains empty.  Balls are taken off one by one after a move.  A move is jumping one ball over the other horizontally or vertically, not diagonally.  The first move, therefore, has to be jumping a ball into the centre hole.  Remove the ball that has been jumped and place it on the ring round the board.

With practice it becomes easier to get down to one ball remaining on the board, but it is much more difficult to ensure that the ball is in the centre hole!

Top Tips for playing solitaire are below, click to view our Solitaire set.


The popular story that Solitaire was invented by a French count incarcerated in the Bastille in the 17th century is probably not true as there is no evidence to support it, but it was brought to England from France in the 18th century.   It was the Rubik’s Cube of its time!

English Solitaire has fewer balls than French Solitaire and in the USA the game is called Peg Solitaire.

Top Tips

*  Don’t leave balls too far away from the centre or from any others.  Trying to get back to individual balls becomes more difficult as the game goes on.

*  Plan ahead.  Try to jump over balls and land where you want to make your next move.

*  Simple to learn, but much harder to master - and it’s also quite addictive.