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DIY marble solitaire board helps you solve the puzzle

Arduino TeamJune 6th, 2023

Solitaire is any tabletop game that can be played by just one person, and it can take the form of cards, pegs, memory, and in this case, marbles. As Mark Donners discusses in his element14 Presents video, marble solitaire is made of 33 individual divots and a total of 32 marbles that populate each one except the center with the goal of capturing every marble until the last one lands in the middle. Due to the pattern being somewhat difficult to memorize, Donners constructed a custom board that uses an Arduino Nano and LEDs to light the way.

The board itself was created by first drilling a series of holes into a premade round block of wood before applying a thin layer of paint. Afterwards, he cut a strip of NeoPixel LEDs into three 13-pixel segments and four five-pixel segments before soldering them together in a snaking pattern. The LEDs and an accompanying button were then connected to the Nano, which would be responsible for controlling the board.

Donners programmed his solitaire board by first defining it as an array of LED positions and a list of moves which get illuminated on the NeoPixels below and between the marbles until the game has been solved. Once the player gets the final marble to the center, a small rainbow animation plays with the option of starting over to play again. To see this board in action, be sure to watch Donners’ video below!