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How to Play Freecell Solitaire?

Solitaire is a classic card game, but many of its variants and spinoffs are popular games in their own right. In this guide, we’ll be looking at Freecell Solitaire. This game is very different from many of the other Solitaire-style card games. 

This makes it very unique, and it has its own dedicated, passionate fan base. But because Freecell Solitaire plays a little differently, it can be a tricky game for beginners to learn. But this is where we can help. Let’s first take a quick look at what the game is all about. 

What is Freecell Solitaire?

Sometimes known as FreeCell, this fun card game is a great way to pass the time. Many people likely played this game with their first computer as Freecell Solitaire was often included as a free game. 

The popularity of this computer game later led to the creation of numerous online versions of the game. But while Freecell Solitaire isn’t quite as popular these days, it still has its fans. The exact origin/ history of Freecell Solitaire isn’t known, like many other card games. 

However, it was likely based on Eight Off, which is another variant of Solitaire. The two games do share some similarities but are still quite unique. But that’s enough of the history. Let’s take a look at what you need to know when it comes to playing Freecell Solitaire, shall we? 

What You’ll Need To Play 

Just like Pyramid Solitaire, all you need to play is a deck of playing cards. Any deck of cards can be used as long as you can easily tell what each card represents. So, if you have a themed deck of cards, they can probably be used without issue. 

Finding a deck of playing cards should be pretty straightforward, and you can find some great sets online. These Maverick playing cards, for example, would make a fine choice. But if you want something a little more colorful, why not try these Stargazer-themed cards from Bicycle


Freecell Solitaire Rules and Gameplay 

Freecell Solitaire Rules and Gameplay

The Aim of The Game 

The aim of Freecell Solitaire is to stack all cards onto their foundation piles. There is a foundation pile for each of the four suits. Each foundation pile will start with the Ace and go all the way up to the King. 

All this might sound relatively easy, but as I’m sure you have already guessed, the game isn’t quite so simple. So, let’s take a look at how you set up a game of Freecell Solitaire and see what you need to know about the rules and general gameplay. 

The Set-Up 

There is a bit of work required when it comes to playing Freecell Solitaire. The first thing to do is to make sure the deck is well shuffled. If you have an automatic card shuffler, now would be the perfect time to use it! 

Once the deck is shuffled, you should place cards out into eight separate columns. Place the cards face up one at a time. The first four columns should have seven cards, while the latter four will have six. 

The Joker cards aren’t used, but all the other cards are. Once the columns are ready, you can play. Seeing all the cards laid out like this can be a little intimidating, but the game is simpler than you may think once you know the rules. 

The Gameplay 

Now the aim of the game is to build the foundation piles. However, piles need to be made in a particular order. Each of the four piles must begin with the Ace and then finish with the King. The complete order is laid out below. 

  • Ace 
  • 2 Card 
  • 3 Card 
  • 4 Card 
  • 5 Card 
  • 6 Card 
  • 7 Card 
  • 8 Card 
  • 9 Card 
  • 10 Card 
  • Jack 
  • Queen 
  • King 

Remember, each foundation pile is limited to its suit as well. The four foundation piles should be built above the first four columns. Next to these four piles are four free cells, hence the name of the game. 

When you begin the game, you’ll need to start moving cards around to start building the foundation piles. Cards can be moved in several different ways. A single card can be transferred to each free cell. 

You can move cards out of the free cells back to the columns later as well. When it comes to moving cards in the columns, there are some important rules to follow. A card can only be moved onto another if it is one number lower and of a different color. 

For example, a red Jack could be placed over a Black Queen. To begin the game, players should try to move cards around so that they can take an Ace from a column. They can then use the Ace to start building a foundation pile. 

Freecell Solitaire is very much a game of luck. If your Ace cards are the back of any columns, you’ll likely have a much harder time getting your foundation piles started. But the game prioritizes strategy and planning. 

If you enjoy strategy board games, then you’ll be sure to enjoy playing Freecell Solitaire. The game continues with the player or players moving cards till they can successfully build all four foundation piles. 

However, if you aren’t careful, then you could quickly end up getting yourself stuck. If you cannot move cards across any columns and all the free cells are full, the game is over, and you lose. The good news is Freecell Solitaire does generally get easier the longer you play. 

The start of the game requires careful planning, but as the foundation piles get fuller, you’ll likely find things easier. But don’t get overconfident because you could still make a mistake that costs you the game. 

Cooperative Play 

Freecell Solitaire makes a great single-player card game, especially when all you need to play is a deck of cards. However, it can also make a fun two-player card game, and it even lends itself well to larger groups. 

The rules don’t change if you’re playing with more than one player. However, while it may making spotting moves easier, it does increase the odds of things going wrong as well! If you’re up for some potentially chaotic fun, Freecell Solitaire can even make a fun party game

Timed Play 

Another fun gameplay rule you might want to try is the addition of a timer. Freecell Solitaire was a very popular computer game. One such mode many versions of these games had was a “time-attack” mode. 

So, you had to complete the foundation piles within a set time limit. This made the game much more difficult because you had to make moves quickly. If you want to add a new twist to the game and enjoy more challenging card games, you could always use a timer. 

Using a stopwatch, you can easily give yourself a time limit for your game. So, you won’t have time to strategize and plan things out. We don’t recommend this for beginners, but more experienced players will likely enjoy it.  

Freecell Solitaire – A Fun Strategic Card Game

It’s easy to see why Freecell Solitaire was so popular! The gameplay is fun and gives you plenty of room to be strategic. Working your way to the end of the game is very rewarding and sure to satisfy any player. 

If you’re a fan of classic Solitaire or games like Nerts, then you’ll be sure to enjoy Freecell Solitaire. 

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