Solace I
a Black Ice game designed by Dale Newfield


  • Additional equipment: none
  • Number of players: 1
  • Playing time: 1-3 minutes


Solace is a traditional patience (solitare) game played with a set of Black Ice pieces. It is more reminiscent of Carpet than Spider in that a single game lasts a very short time. The game starts with ten randomly created nests, and ends when no more monochromatic towers can be created. The score of a game is the number of full towers sitting directly on the playing surface.


Randomly assemble ten (non-monochromatic) full nests. Do this however you like; however, try this technique if you are not satisfied with your own. (Since games are quick, setup must also be quick if you want to play at least as much as you setup.) Arrange all 30 pieces so that they are all standing up, and separate them into 3 groups according to size. Lift four or five two pointers with one hand so that they are all still oriented the same way, and so that your hand blocks the pieces (and you therefore don't know which piece is which color). Now place these on top of the one pointers. Continue doing this until all ones and twos are nested, then do the same thing with the three point pieces onto the partially constructed nests. If you've been focused on the mechanic of how to build these nests quickly and easily they should wind up fairly randomized.

Arrange the ten nests in two rows of 5, each row containing the nests whose outermost pieces are of one of the colors. (I.E. one row of 5 nests with black three pointers, one row of 5 nests with clear three pointers.)

An example starting state


Foundation:You may use any full nest as a foundation upon which to start building a monochromatic tower. You may move any three point piece from the top of a full nest and place it on top of any full nest, so long as the piece being moved and the top of the nest being capped are the same color.

Building: If at any time you have exposed two and three pointers of the same color you may move the two onto the three. Likewise, one may move any exposed one pointer onto any like-colored two pointer.

Promotion: Any full tower may be moved to any open space so long as that space started the game with nests whose outermost piece were of the same color as the inbound tower.


No Cheating:
Just like in regular card-based patience games, if you make a move that provides you with more information by its execution (like uncovering what's inside an opaque piece) you cannot later decide to undo it and make another.


The game ends when no more forward progress can me made toward having full towers sitting directly on the playing surface.


When the game is over, count up one point for every full tower sitting directly on the playing surface. I believe the highest achievable score is an Eight, although I've at times been convinced that Nine was achievable.

A score of 4

A (perfect?) score of 8

A score of 5


Grab the free ones early: The solid clear full nests are, in a sense, free to convert into full towers, as each can simply be inverted on it's neighbors and then moved into the space that left open.

It's a game of information hiding: Start by laying a black foundation, since that exposes more information, which can be used to help build nests of both colors.

Copyright © 2000 by Dale Newfield.

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