Solitaire has been a constant fixture for professional procrastinators since time immemorial. Many households, including mine, used the casual card game to kill time - dragging cards, dropping them, and planning sets ahead of time, all in an effort to catch the final fireworks. I was never much good at Solitaire, but as an adult I do understand Word Solitaire, a remixed version of the classic from indie dev Petri Purho.
Instead of stacking decks, you have to create five-letter words using the lettered cards given to you. Just like regular old Solitaire though, you’ll need to think a couple steps ahead if you’re looking to win. Do you want to spell Swine next? Well, tough luck. That N’s hiding under a pesky V you need to use first. Maybe the game will accept Swive.
My family used to idly click away at Solitaire and I’d mimic them, without understanding the rules. I’d mindlessly match cards together until I cheesed a victory or simply got bored. But over the years, I recognised Solitaire as a seemingly simple, increasingly complicated game. Almost a casual roguelike that you’d start, inevitably fail at, and return to with greater understanding and increased mental dexterity.
Word Solitaire changes the rules but keeps the learning curve. At first, I casually put together words like Still or Dildo (what can I say, the cards give you what they give you), but in the process I foolishly used up my precious vowels and S’s early on, leaving me with a barren selection of V’s and Y’s later. Over time, though, Word Solitaire burrows its way into your head in the same way that classic Solitaire does. I was thinking of future-me in every decision. Is this what self-care looks like?
And ICYMI you can now play Solitaire, Minesweeper, and other time-killers in Microsoft Teams. Keep your camera on - I’m sure your lip-biting face of concentration will make you look like the ideal employee.