Forty Thieves Solitaire, also spelled 40 Thieves Solitaire, is a popular card game played around the world with two 52-card decks of standard playing cards. It's also known as Big Forty, Napoleon St Helena, Roosevelt at San Juan, and Le Cadran.
The Forty in the name comes from the number of cards dealt into the Tableau at the beginning of every game.
Forty Thieves Solitaire is a difficult game to win, requiring good problem-solving skills to master.
It's also the basis for several variants, most of which make the game easier to win, including Josephine Solitaire.
The game screen is made up of 4 different areas.
The Tableau is located in the center of the screen. It consists of 10 unmarked columns. Each column either contains a vertically overlapped pile of one or more face-up cards or is empty, depending on the current state of the game. This is where most of the action takes place during gameplay.
The Foundations are located above the Tableau. Horizontally, it consists of 8 rectangles. Each rectangle is a foundation where a suit can be built from the Ace to the King.
In the upper-left corner is the Stock. This is where the reserve cards are held that will be put into play as the game progresses. At the start of the game, it contains a squared pile of face-down cards. Directly to the right of the Stock is the Waste. When a new game begins, this area is empty.
The Stock and Waste work together in order to put reserve cards into play. Whenever the player clicks on the non-empty Stock, one card from it is automatically moved face-up into the Waste. It's not unusual to have many cards piling up in the Waste. The Waste pile is always squared, and only the top card is visible and playable. When a card is played from the Waste, the card underneath it, if there is one, becomes the new playable card.
The goal of Forty Thieves Solitaire is to build all 8 ordered suits from the Ace to the King in the Foundations.
Forty Thieves Solitaire is played with two decks of standard playing cards, for a total of 104 cards.
When the game starts, a pile of 4 face-up cards is dealt into each of the 10 columns in the Tableau. The remaining 64 cards are sent to the Stock.
An important rule of the game is that the player is only allowed to ever move one card at a time. However, in the variant called Josephine Solitaire, the player is allowed to move descending suited runs of any length within the Tableau. Other than that, the two games are identical.
No card can ever be moved to the Waste other than from the Stock. At the player's discretion, this can be done at any point during the game.
A card may be moved to the bottom of a Tableau pile, either from the Waste, a foundation, or the bottom of another Tableau pile. The target card must always be both next in rank to the card being moved and of the same suit. When a column is vacant, any card from the same sources may be moved into it.
The player is allowed to move a card to a foundation, either from the bottom of a Tableau pile or from the Waste. However, the card must fit. If the card is an Ace, it begins a new suit build, and if it's next in rank for its suit, it extends a build.
Here are nine gameplay tips on how to beat Forty Thieves Solitaire: