Solitaire / Free FreeCell Solitaire

As for Pyramid Solitaire, here's a post on FreeCell Solitaire widely copied from the original Microsoft FreeCell documentation.

FreeCell is a logic puzzle in the form of a solitaire card game. FreeCell is similar to other solitaire games you may have played. You play red cards on black cards and black cards on red cards. The object of this classic solitaire is to move all the cards to the foundations, or “home cells”, piling up cards in order of the same suit starting with the Ace.

However, FreeCell is unlike most solitaire games, in that there is no luck involved after the initial shuffle. There are no hidden cards, they are all dealt face up at the start of the game. It's believed (although not proven) that every game is winnable.

Layout and object of the game

The FreeCell game area consists in three places:

The object of the game is to move all the cards to the home cells (or foundations in other solitaire games), using the four free cells as placeholders. To win, you must make four stacks of cards on the home cells: one for each suit, with the Ace on the bottom and each card stacked in order or rank (from Ace to King).

Rules of the game

There are three legal moves in FreeCell:

Although you can move only one card at a time to another pile, “SuperMove” allows to transfer several ordered cards from one pile to another, using free cells and empty piles as intermediate locations for each single move.

Note: At the end of each move, FreeCell will transfer unneeded cards to the home cell (aka “AutoPlay”). A card is unneeded if there are no lower-rank cards of the opposite color left in the playing area.


You win when you have moved all the cards from the tableau piles to the home cells, or foundations.

You lose if there are no more legal move.

Strategy and hints

This section contains helpful hints for playing FreeCell successfully.

Winning at FreeCell requires patience. A common mistake is to make a move just because it is possible, and then to realize that it cuts off another move.

Spend the first few games becoming familiar with all the legal moves. Be sure you understand how the moving a pile of stack of cards works, and what the limitations are.

Study the deck carefully before you make your first move. Look for trouble spots like Aces hidden under other cards, or both red sevens stacked behind three Kings.

Use your free cell carefully. There are only four. Try to keep them unoccupied as much as possible.

History of FreeCell

One of the oldest ancestors of FreeCell is Eight Off. In the June 1968 edition of Scientific American, Martin Gardner described in his “Mathematical Games” column a game by C. L. Baker that is similar to FreeCell, except that cards on the tableau are built by suit rather than by alternate colors. Gardner wrote, “The game was taught to Baker by his father, who in turn learned it from an Englishman during the 1920s”. This variant is now called Baker's Game. FreeCell's origins may date back even further to 1945 and a Scandinavian game called Napoleon in St. Helena (not the game Napoleon at St. Helena, also known as Forty Thieves).

Paul Alfille changed Baker's Game by making cards build according to alternate colors, thus creating FreeCell. He implemented the first computerized version of it in the TUTOR programming language for the PLATO educational computer system at CERL in 1978. By the early 1980s Control Data Corporation had published it for all PLATO systems.

Jim Horne, who enjoyed playing FreeCell on the PLATO system at the University of Alberta, published a shareware $10 DOS version with color graphics in 1988. That year Horne joined Microsoft, and later ported the game to Windows.

The Windows version was first included in Microsoft Entertainment Pack Volume 2 and later the Best Of Microsoft Entertainment Pack. It was subsequently included with Win32s as an application that enabled the testing of the 32-bit thunking layer to ensure that it was installed properly.

The original Microsoft FreeCell package supports 32,000 numbered deals, generated by a 15-bit, pseudorandom-number seed. These deals are known as the “Microsoft 32,000”, and all but one of them (deal number 11982) have been completed. Later versions of FreeCell include more than one million deals.

And to conclude, remember that all Solitaire-Play games come with undos, hints and automatic moves. As usual, you can play FreeCell Solitaire for free on desktop, tablet and phone...

Michel (2019/08/01)