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One-Minute Solitaire

Invented by Robert Gauss (robbway@home.com), around 1989

Description: One-Minute Solitaire is a frenzied game, sort of a Spit for One. Requires very little space and even less time to play.

Equipment: One 52-card deck and a timepiece. The best is a digital countdown timer, but any watch or one-minute sand timer will do.

Setup: Shuffle the deck an hold it in your hand. You will need a small space of a table with no breakables nearby!


  1. Flip top card over on table for your one-and-only foundation.
  2. Start the timer. The rest of the game takes place in the next 60 seconds.
  3. Flip the entire deck over in your hand so that the cards are face-up.
  4. The objective is to build the entire deck onto the foundation so that each play from the hand matches the either the rank or suit of the face up card on the foundation.
  5. Any card that doesn't match the rank or suit of the foundation is dealt to a single wastepile.
  6. Cycle through the whole deck matching as many cards as possible.
  7. When the deck is exhausted, pick up the wastepile and without shuffling or flipping (takes too much time), continue play.
  8. If you think you are at an impasse, i.e. no cards in the deck match the suit or rank of the foundation card, play ANY card to the foundation and continue play.
  9. If the cards get out of order, don't worry! It doesn't increase your odds of winning. Just pick 'em up and keep playing.
  10. At the end of the minute, STOP!
  11. You LOSE if there are any cards left in your hand and/or the wastepile.
  12. You may have WON if all cards are on the foundation. Here's how to check:
    • slowly go through the foundation stack, bottom-to-top and make sure the card above it matches either suit or rank.
    • if a card above another card doesn't match, and NO OTHER CARDS ABOVE IT match suit or rank, it was played correctly.
    • if you reach the top of the foundation and the above two rules hold, you have WON! (otherwise, you've LOST)


This is not a complicated game. Matching is like Crazy Eights without the wild cards. The first hurdle is the dexterity of play. The second hurdle is guessing correctly that you are at an impasse.

Despite the small footprint of the game, I wouldn't play it on a train or airplane, it'll annoy the other passengers!

When I invented this I wrote a timer program (a FOR..NEXT loop!) on my Commodore 64 that would beep to start the timer and beep to end the game.

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Last updated: 12th January 2002