Patience, Solitaire or Klondike what’s the difference?

To answer the above question we have to look into the history of these games. The game of solitaire has many different names; these different names back to the early origins of solitaire where the outcome of a game may have been though to be a type of fortune telling.  

The word “Patience” comes from the French language, and the game is thought to be French in origin, with rumors have it that Napoleon played it while in exile on St. Helena. It is thought the game became popular in France in the early 19th Century reaching England and America in the latter half. The game has been around for a long time; some 200 years before it could be played on your Apple or PC, people were playing solitaire with real cards. The game became popular in France in the early 19th Century reaching England and America in the latter half.

However the fact that “patience” is a French word does not necessarily make France its place of origin, or does it? Some researchers think its more probably that the game is of German or Scandinavian origin. In an old almanac from 1798 “Patience” is presented as a competition between two players, they both take turns in playing games of Patience while bystanders, and most likely the players themselves, bet on the outcome.

Klondike is a Canadian region well known for the Klondike Gold Rush, roughly a 100,000 people migrated to the region to search for gold. Gold was gold was discovered on Eldorado Creek so the prospectors weren’t left empty handed. Rumor has it that the card game Klondike was created or was being very popular amongst the Prospectors in the Klondike region. It also explains why people in the U.S. and Canada seem to know the game as Klondike instead Patience or Solitaire.

Both Solitaire and Patience are sometimes used to refer specifically to the Klondike form of Patience.  

It seems the same game just has a different name across the globe, and sometimes also slightly different rules. While there might have been some difference between Solitaire and Patience at first, they now seem identical.

Different geographic region, different name!

The Brits and the Dutch know the game, as “patience”.

In France the card game is more often referred to as “faire une reussite, to distinguish it from “patience”, now meaning jigsaw puzzle. If you want to play a game of solitaire, you can also refer to: ‘une partie de solitaire’

In Italian “pazienzia” applies to activities as building card houses, while card solitaire is usually known as “solitario”.

The name of the game in Danish, Norwegian, and Icelandic, is “kabal(e)”, or “secret knowledge”.

In Poland, Patience is called “pasjans” which is also how the Dutch pronounce the word “Patience”

As mentioned the Germans also seem to know the game as “Patience” or “Cabale”.

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