Mount Sunflower Solitaire Rules

Mount Sunflower SolitaireThis is an original game, created by Randy Rasa. The name "Mount Sunflower" comes about because the initial layout looks something like a mountain, but it's a rather short and dumpy little thing. This brought to mind the highest point in the relatively flat state of Kansas, which is called Mt. Sunflower. Whoever named it must have had a sense of humor, because it's not much of a mountain. In fact, it's hardly even a hill. It's simply the highest point in the grasslands on the very western edge of the state, right on the Colorado line.

Like the peak from which it's named, the game of Mount Sunflower is not really that difficult of a climb. Given sufficient patience and foresight, you'll conquer this mountain more often then not. This is one of those games where you feel, even after losing, that if you'd only played your cards right, the game could have been won.

Setup

The game is begun by dealing twenty-eight cards to the tableau, arranged as seven stacks of four cards each. The first and seventh stacks are dealt with three cards face down and one card face up; the second and sixth stacks are dealt with two cards down and two up; the third and fifth stacks are dealt with one down and three up, and the center stack has all cards face up. The layout comes out looking something like this:

Mount Sunflower initial card layout

The twenty-four remaining cards are set aside to form the stock. Four foundation piles will be formed in the spaces marked "F" above.

The object of the game is to arrange the cards into the four foundation suits, running from ace to king. The foundations may be placed in any order.

Play

The top card of each of the tableau stacks is always available for play onto one of the foundations, or onto another tableau. Tableau piles are built downward, regardless of suit or color.

Blocks of cards may be moved from one tableau to another, provided that the cards are of the same suit, and in the proper order.

When spaces are created in the tableau, they may be filled with any card or block of cards. As face-down cards are exposed, they are turned over and available for play.

In the example above, there are three immediate plays visible:

  1. The six of clubs may be moved onto the seven of clubs. This creates a block of two cards which can be moved together.
  2. Moving the six of clubs frees up the ace of diamonds, which can be immediately moved to a foundation.
  3. The queen and jack of diamonds are already in the proper order, and may be moved as a block. They may be moved to either the king of diamonds or the king of clubs. Moving them to the king of diamonds is preferable because that puts them in proper sequence to move the J-Q-K as a three-card block.

When you have exhausted all the plays among the tableaus and foundations, deal another row of seven cards onto the tableau from the stock pile. Once again, make whatever moves are available to you, then deal again. This is done four times in all, with the last deal being only three cards, which are dealt to the first three tableau piles.

If you manage to move all the cards to the foundations, you win!

Strategy

One of the nice things about this game is that most hands are winnable, or at least it seems that way. Nearly every hand has a large number of possible courses of action. Some hands seem to "play themselves", while others require a good amount of card-shifting.

You'll want to expose the face-down tableau cards as soon as you can. The sooner you can get all cards into view the better.

Try to build the tableaus in "natural" order as much as possible. This will not only make it easier to move whole stacks of cards to the foundations at once, but it will also make it much easier to re-arrange the cards within the tableau.

It's probably an obvious point, but make sure that you've made all possible foundation and tableau moves before dealing the next row of cards from the stock. It's easy to get distracted by trying to anticipate what's coming next, so pay attention!

Finally, when you come down to the final three stock cards, remember that they'll be dealt to the first three tableau piles. If there are any spaces in the tableau, try to free up the three left-most piles, so that the new cards won't cover any cards you might need later.

Odds

At the time of this writing, my statistics are:

  • Games Played: 1186
  • Games Won: 735
  • Winning Percentage: 61.97%
  • Average Score: 35.20

My wife is also nuts about this game, even more more so than I. Her statistics are:

  • Games Played: 9974
  • Games Won: 5138
  • Winning Percentage: 51.51%
  • Average Score: 30.33

The rules to this game are copyright Randy Rasa, and neither the rules nor the game they describe may be reproduced without written permission.

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Games Featuring Mount Sunflower Solitaire

Mount Sunflower
Solitaire Till Dawn X

Additional Information