Forty Thieves solitaire is one of the hardest variations of Patience card solitaire. Play this free online version if you want a real challenge!
To begin, click the Small, Medium, or Large link under the picture at left. This opens the game in a pop-up window.
If you like this game, you might enjoy the other Free Online Solitaire Games on this site.
As with other patience solitaire games, the object of this version is to sort all the cards into piles based on suit. Winning this game requires more skill than luck. See below for tips on how to win at Forty Thieves solitaire.
HOW TO PLAY. After the game loads, click the START GAME button to begin. This opens the Instructions page. Click the START button at the bottom of that page to deal the cards and start playing.
Forty Thieves is played with two decks of cards (104 cards).
Eight foundation piles are located in the upper right corner. Eight piles because there are two decks, thus two each of Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades.
To win at Forty Thieves solitaire, you must stack all the cards on these foundation piles. If you fail to do this, the game ends once you have gone through all the cards in the stock pile.
The stock pile is the face-down pile of cards in the upper left corner. This is your draw pile. When there are no plays in the tableau piles (see below), draw a card from the stock pile. You can only go through the stock pile once.
Next to the stock pile is the face-up waste pile. These are the draw pile cards that you were unable to use. You can play the top-most waste card anytime.
There are 10 tableau piles ("table" in French) in the middle of the playing area. The lowest card on each pile can be moved to another tableau pile or to the foundation piles, following the rules below. You need to build the tableaus down by suit.
Forty Thieves Solitaire Rules
Cards must be stacked on the foundation piles in numerical order and by suit. Start with Ace (low) up to King. The first card played on a foundation pile must be an Ace card. An image of each required Ace is shown on the board for each foundation pile.
Click the stock pile to open a card on the waste pile. This card can be played on the foundation piles or tableau piles (if possible), or you can click the stock pile again to reveal the next card.
You can only move one card at a time from the tableau piles to the foundation piles.
Only the lowest card can be moved from one tableau pile to another. (This differs from other solitaire card variations and makes the game harder.) Exception: If there is an empty tableau pile, you can move multiple cards to that space if they are sequential.
A card can only be placed at the bottom of a tableau if it matches the suit you are placing it on. It also must be numerically one lower. Example: If the lowest card in a tableau is the 5 of Clubs, the only card you can place on top of that card is a 4 of Clubs.
Unlike with easier variations of solitaire, you can only go through the stock pile once.
Forty Thieves is more difficult than other variations of solitaire for several reasons. For example, you are required to build down by suit in the tableau piles. In other types of solitaire you can build by alternating colors, and you can move multiple sequential cards between tableaus. In yet other types of solitaire, you can go through the stock pile and waste pile more than once.
Here are several tips for developing your own effective Forty Thieves Solitaire strategy:
(1) As you begin the game, first look for the tableau that you have the best chance of removing. Focus on finding the cards needed to remove this particular pile.
(2) Avoid adding cards onto the other tableaus that would mess up cards you need for the target pile you are trying to remove.
(3) Don't bury low cards if you can avoid it, because you will need the low cards to build up the ace foundation piles.
(4) Save empty piles for important cards like Kings.
(5) Don't automatically play the stock card; if the same card is already blocking a tableau, playing the stock card will tend to block things up further.
(6) Try to remove higher cards that are blocking lower cards in the tableaus.
(7) Especially try to remove Kings from tableaus, to unlock the cards above them in the tableau pile.
(8) Toward the end of the game, use the empty tableaus to reduce the waste pile.
(9) Think carefully about every move before you make it, because once a card is buried it may be very difficult or impossible to uncover it when you need it later.
As I mentioned above, Forty Thieves Solitaire is one of the most challenging solitaire card games you can play. That makes it an excellent brain game, because winning requires more than luck - you need to use your brain!
To be victorious, you must concentrate, plan your strategy, and have a keen sense of perception (and patience).
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