Bowling Solitaire: a smarter solitaire game

On Play This Thing, Sebastian Sohn writes about Bowling Solitaire, a "smarter solitaire" invented by Eurogame design legend Sid Sackson in the 1970s:

The late Sid Sackson, a pioneer game designer, was making Eurogames before they were called Eurogames. He created Bowling Solitaire, a modern, intelligent Solitaire. Sackson did what Reiner Kniza does today, creating games with simple mechanics but with complex scoring. Setup requires only two suits, A-10; aces are ones and 10s are zeros. Shuffle the cards and setup the ten bowling pins, an inverted pyramid of face-up cards. The rest of the cards form three stacks of five, three, and two as face-down balls. Following bowling rules, you get ten rounds, starting by revealing the top three stacks of ball cards face-up. If a ball card is played, the next card is revealed face-up. You can knock up to three adjacent pins by adding up the total and if they equal the last digit of your ball card. If you cannot knock any pins, you can discard the top three ball cards and get three new ball cards twice, once per round.

Amazingly, Sid Sackson made a a modern, smarter Solitaire game in the 1970's. Bowling Solitaire is far better than any of the traditional Solitaire games out because it has a theme, trackable scoring, and builds math skills. Bowling Solitaire should be marketed as an educational math game and also be preinstalled on Windows. You can play Bowling Solitaire via Timothy S. Adam's digital port. One oversight in Adam's implementation is that, it does not show the quantity of ball card stacks: five, three and two.

Bowling Solitaire


  1. Carlos beat me to it – in any previous month, I’d’ve downloaded this game in a heartbeat.  Not right _now_, though.

Comments are closed.