Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A free solitaire from Friedemann Friese?

The biggest value of 5x15 might be that it let me find out that Friedemann Friese has been keeping a lockdown blog :D

Anyway, 5x15 is a free solitaire game that the good Mister Friese has given to the world during this time when Covid-19 has us all spending a lot more time inside and away from gaming groups.

The game consists of 75 tiles, fifteen tiles in in five different colors. You lay them out in a five by fifteen grid and then pull out the ones and place them on the ends, creating five gaps in the grid. The goal of the game is to sort the tiles by color and into ascending order. You have two types of moves. You can move a tile into a gap if it is either one more than the tile to its left or one less than the tile to its right AND the same color. You can also shift three or more tiles to the right if they are the same color, in numeric order and 15 is at the end.

5x15 is a solid example of a solitaire puzzle game that feels like it’s been around forever. Getting numbers sorted and filling in gaps and sliding the tiles around, all the elements are comfortable and familiar. The good Mister Friese didn’t create something innovative. Instead, he made something a little bit new with ideas that have been lying around for generations. If you enjoy this sort of puzzle game, mechanically it works just dandy.

But there are implementation issues.

Some of these might be my issues but the fact that you are setting up and dealing with 75 tiles creates some physical issues. While it fortunately takes longer to play than to set up, the setup feels time consuming for the amount of play you get. And it takes up what can be a prohibitively large amount of space. I made one inch square tiles. Any smaller than I’d have issues moving the tiles around.

For me, when I play a quick, little solitaire game, convenience is a premium. Which is why I look into so many in-hand solitaire card games. The physical issues make 5x15 inconvenient for what I get out of the game. Friese mentioned that the game might make a good app and that would actually solve all my issues with the game.

5x15 isn’t a great game. It’s an activity to zone out with, like Klondike or Mine Sweeper, and it does a decent job at that. It doesn’t hold a candle to Friese’s earlier solitaire game Friday but I don’t think it is meant to and it is free. Free can make a lot forgivable :D 

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