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Mount Olympus: How 1 game became 3

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of solitaire games in existence today. Sometimes you will find several versions and different rules for same game. Since Mount Olympus solitaire is over 100 years old, there are a lot of conflicting opinions on how this game should be played.

Mount Olympus classic

Mount Olympus – The Concept

The triangular-shaped area is the tableau, which represents the mountain. These cards can be built down in twos by suit, so the 4♣ can be moved onto the 6♣.

The foundations all begin with Aces and 2s and build up in twos by suit, so the 4♣ and 6♣ can be played to the 2♣ foundation. The foundations represent the heavens above and around Mount Olympus.

The goal of the game is to send all the Kings and Queens up to the heavens above the mountain, reminiscent of the Greek gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus.

Mount Olympus classic port

Mount Olympus – The History

Mount Olympus first appeared in the late 1800s in a German book of solitaire games, under the name Der Olymp. At that time, the rules instructed the player to turn cards up from the deck one at a time, rather than dealing one card to each tableau stack as is done in Spider solitaire. According to an article by Michael Keller, the Spider-deal may not have been known in the 19th century, which would explain why it was not implemented in the earliest versions of the game.

However, since all modern books and sources use the Spider-deal, it was an easy choice to use that method in our version of the game as well. The book 150 Ways to Play Solitaire by Alphonse Moyse illustrates the layout we used for the landscape version of our game Mount Olympus Classic. I called it “Classic” because Moyse’s book was published in 1950, whereas most online versions of the game have a completely different layout which allows the tableau stacks to be fanned downward.

Mount Olympus

Mount Olympus in the Solitaire MegaPack

This is our layout for Mount Olympus solitaire in the landscape view. This version of the game is more well-known and popular because the tableau is designed for fanning the stacks like so:

Mount Olympus 2

This allows you to see all the cards that are in play, and you can move ordered, suited stacks like that 10-8-6 of Clubs. While most online versions have a boring layout with all 3 rows going straight across, I opted to keep the “mountain” look in the tableau.  But I was especially proud of our portrait layout:

Mount Olympus port2

Trying to match the creative flair of Mount Olympus Classic, this layout has an elegant wave in the foundations, like a regal banner or an airy wisp of cloud.

Mount Olympus port

This same layout was used in our third version of the game, called Pantheon. There is only one difference between Mount Olympus and Pantheon, but that change completely redefines the endgame.

In all 3 versions, an empty tableau stack is automatically filled from the deck. When all cards from the deck have been used, an empty stack can be filled by any card in Mount Olympus. This makes the game very easy to win. In Pantheon, however, an empty stack can not be used at all after the deck is exhausted.

This creates the possibility of losing just because of an unlucky deal. If you are down to your last heart foundation and your K♥ is dealt on top of the J♥, there is no way to reach the Jack because it is blocked by the King. To avoid this, it helps to hold back on playing your Kings and Queens when they aren’t blocking other moves. This same situation comes up in Picture Gallery all the time, and Picture Gallery is one of my favorite solitaire games.

Pantheon is the “by the book” version of Mount Olympus. Most solitaire rule books do not allow the player to fill open tableau spaces at the end of the game. However, most computer games do allow free use of tableau spaces at the end of the game, so that is the version most solitaire players will know. The name Pantheon was taken from the Greek word for “temple of every god”, so it seemed a fitting synonym for Mount Olympus.

So that is the story of how one game request turned into 3 new games in our Solitaire MegaPack for Android. Those games were added in our most recent update in December, along with Le Boudoir and Will o the Wisp. You can tell the newest games by the *NEW icon in the game list. More games are added all the time, with another 4 coming in the next update. It should be out any day now!

The Solitaire MegaPack and Solitaire Free Pack are both available in the Google Play Store.  Download today and you, too, can see how many ways you can play solitaire!

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