How To Play Cruel Solitaire

By Dan Fletcher

Did you know there are hundreds, if not thousands of solitaire games? You may have heard of some of the more popular ones, such as Freecell, Klondike, Pyramid, or Spider Solitaire.

But there are LOTS of other solitaire games as well. One of my favourites is a little- known game called Cruel Solitaire.

The aim of cruel solitaire is to build 4 ascending suit sequences in the foundation zone.

The opening tableau is made up of 4 foundation stacks (Each containing an Ace), a talon, and 12 manoeuvre stacks, each containing 4 cards.

You can move cards in the foundation stack onto cards of the same suit, and one more in rank.

For example, you can move a 3 of Clubs onto a 4 of Clubs, or a Queen of Hearts onto a King of Hearts, and a 2 of Spades onto a 3 of Spades.


The talon in Cruel Solitaire is unlike the talon in other solitaire games. It doesn't actually deal out any more cards.

Instead, it redeals the cards in the manoeuvre stacks, so that each stack has 4 cards. The order of the cards stays the same, starting at the leftmost stack, with the bottom cards on a stack going to the top of the next stack.


Understanding how the redeal works is the key to doing well in Cruel Solitaire.

You should focus on only redealing when you have to. The more you play, the more you'll start to discover certain patterns that occur when you redeal. (HINT: A Card on top will stay on top, if all the stacks to the left of it have 4 cards).

Once you understand these patterns, you will be able to have control over which cards will shuffle around when you redeal. When you get to this stage of understanding, winning cruel solitaire becomes much easier... just focus on moving the rightmost cards to the talon first, and try and leave some leftmost cards in reserve for when you run out of moves. The best case scenario for this is to have a 2 at the top leftmost column. If this happens, don't move the 2 to the talon, until you have exhausted all other moves and redeals.

If you play solitaire, and you would like to try a different game for a change, then give Cruel Solitaire a go... I'm sure you'll find it a lot of fun!

Dan Fletcher is a developer at dogMelon. They make classic solitaire, a fun pack of solitaire card games for Palm, Mac, and PC. Classic Solitaire includes many great solitaire games, including Freecell Solitaire, and Cruel Solitaire. [source]

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Last Update: December 20th, 2013