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Favorite Solitaires: Forty Thieves

How to play Forty Thieves solitaire.

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Forty Thieves solitaire is a game where the objective is to form eight foundations which go from Ace (bottom) to King (top).

You need two decks of cards to play Forty Thieves. Shuffle these cards well, and then place down 10 stacks of 4 cards each card face up.

Place the rest of the cards face down somewhere as the deck. As you play, you may draw one card at a time from the deck to a waste stack. Once you move all of the deck cards to the waste stack you may not redeal the deck again — there is only a single deal in Forty Thieves. You may move cards from the waste pile to the 8 foundations so long as the card you are moving is either an Ace or a card which is the same suit as the previous card on that foundation plus 1 in value. So if a foundation has a Seven of Clubs you may move an Eight of Clubs on top of it.

You may move cards from each of the 10 board stacks to the 8 foundations as long as they are built from A-K. So if you find a Ace of Hearts you may move it to one of the 8 foundations. Then you may move a Two of Hearts on top of it from each the board stacks of the waste pile.

You may move a single card at a time between stacks so long as the card you are moving is the same suit and exactly the value below the bottom card of the target stack.

Once you have moved all cards off of one of the 10 board stacks, you may move any card to the open place.

The game is won when all 8 foundations have the correct order and suit of cards from A-K.

About Forty Thieves solitaire.

The version of Forty Thieves solitaire described above has a low win rate. An alternative version of this game called Limited has a much higher win rate. This alternative version has 12 board stacks instead of 10, and 3 cards initially per board stack instead of 4. Forty Thieves solitaire is also known as the card game Napoleon at St Helena.

Be careful of how you manage your empty board stack spaces. Use them strategically to free up cards which can then be moved on top of their proper target cards.

For a better chance at winning, focus on playing cards lower in value first while allowing higher value cards to remain in the waste pile. These higher value cards then more likely be playable near the endgame while giving you more flexibility with moving cards on the board.

Since there are two decks you should focus on building one set of cards on the board at time.

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