This unusual game has become one of my new favourites games when I have 5 minutes free, and just want to play something quick that is a nice distraction, and I don’t have to get too involved in figuring out a deep strategy, like Free Cell, or Forty Thieves.
It’s nicely familiar in some ways, where the goal is to move all the cards to foundation piles, which build up in suit from Ace to King, but has the Tableau is developed through unique suit-based mechanics.
The layout is arranged like a compass rose, with foundations in the North, East, South and West directions, with each foundation owning four Tableau piles arranged near them. You can’t build cards onto other cards on Tableau piles, you may only move cards to empty Tableau piles, and only if the card matches the suit of the nearest foundation. Since there’s only space for four cards in the Tableau for any particular suit, when thinking about placing cards there, you’ll need to think ahead about what other cards you may want to use those spaces for.
The initial deal distributes the cards randomly, without regard to suit. As spaces develop by building up foundations, I’ve found that since you don’t need to move cards to their own suit areas, it’s often advantageous to wait, and do this only if you need to make a space in the area the card currently resides in. I don’t move cards from Tableau piles to other Tableau piles, unless I want to move a card from the Discard pile into the Tableau, and I need to make a gap for them.
Since there’s two runs through the deck, it’s often useful strategy to use the first run to allow the lower value cards to play to foundations, and use their spaces to move mid-valued cards into the Tableau, preparing for the second run through the stock, freeing up those cards, leaving the face cards, and other high valued cards in the stock until the very end, as they will generally block gaps in the Tableau that you’ll need for smaller cards.
For advanced players, try one of the 4 colour deck options with this game, it makes it very easy visually to distinguish which cards belong where.
Related Games: Osmosis
Available on Solitaire for iPad.