Four Seasons Solitaire Rules
Four Seasons is a standard one-deck solitaire also known as "Corner Card" and "Vanishing Cross".
The names, of course, refer to the layout's appearance, where the tableau form a "cross", and the foundations are located in the four corners.
The layout of Four Seasons consists of four groups of cards:
Any of the five piles of cards in the center of the layout. These cards appear to form a sort of "cross". This is the "work area", where most of the card movement is done. These piles may be built down, regardless of suit, wrapping around from ace to king as necessary.
The piles of cards in the four corners of the layout. Initially, only the upper left foundation has a card in it. These piles are built up in suit, wrapping around from king to ace as necessary.
The pile of cards at the far left. It contains all of the cards that have not yet been dealt. The number of cards left in the stock is shown below the pile.
The pile of cards second from the left. It is initially empty, but is used to hold cards that cannot be played elsewhere.
The game is begun by dealing five cards to the tableau and one to the upper left foundation. The remaining cards form the stock. The wastepile is initially empty.
The first foundation card forms the basis of all the other foundations. That is, the rank of the first foundation card is the starting rank of the other foundations. For example, if the first foundation card is a seven of hearts, the other three foundations will also begin with a seven. Each foundation is built up in suit until it contains thirteen cards, wrapping around from king to ace as necessary. For example, with a starting card of seven, the sequence of cards built to the foundations will be:
The tableau cards are available for play at any time, and may be moved (one card at a time) to the foundations or to another tableau pile. The tableau piles may be built down in rank, regardless of suit.
The cards in the stock are available for play to the foundations, the tableau, or to the wastepile. The wastepile is used as a sort of temporary holding area for cards that have no other home. The top card of the wastepile may be moved to either the foundations or tableau.
The object of the game is to complete the four foundations.
The basic strategy is to build up reverse-order runs on the five tableau piles. As each card is turned from the stock, you have three choices: move it to a foundation, a tableau pile, or to the wastepile. Obviously, moving the card to a foundation should be your first preference. If you cannot move it to a foundation, look at the tableaus and see if your card ranks immediately below any of the existing tableau cards. If it does, move it to that pile. If no other move is possible, move it to the wastepile.
As cards are moved to the foundations from the tableau, spaces will open up in the tableau. Treasure these! You can use the spaces either to start new reverse-order runs, or as temporary storage when you move cards from one tableau pile to another. The creation and management of spaces is probably the major determining factor in whether you become good at this game ...
Solitaire and Patience Games lists the odds of winning at 1 in 10 games, though I've found that I can win about half of the games with judicious use of the undo feature (yes, that may be considered cheating in some circles, but it does make the game a bit less frustrating!). At the time of this writing, my statistics are:
- Games Played: 469
- Games Won: 234
- Winning Percentage: 49.89%
- Average Score: 36.07
Other Sources of Four Seasons Solitaire Rules
- BVS Development
- Goodsol Development
- Rapture Technologies
- Semicolon Software
Note: All rule links open in a new window.