Like Klondike solitaire, the goal of FreeCell solitaire is to place all the cards in each suit in stacks of ascending order. Stacks of cards with alternating colors in descending order can be built in the bottom half of the screen as an intermediate step. In FreeCell, the location of all the cards in the deck are known at the start of a game. This makes victory depend more on strategy than on luck.
There are three areas of the screen: Building Stacks The building stacks are found in the bottom half of the screen. The contents of the entire deck are initially found in the building stacks. All the cards in the building stacks are visible, but only the top card can be moved.
The free cells are found in the upper left corner and are used to temporarily store a card from the building stacks. Only one card can be placed in a free cell.
The suit stacks are located in the upper right corner and are initially unoccupied.
To move a card, click on the card (which will highlight it) and then click on the destination. The following are valid moves: An ace can be moved to its suit stack. (This will usually be done automatically.) A card at the top of a stack can be moved to its corresponding suit stack if the rank of the card at the top of that stack is one less than the card's rank (Kings have a rank of 13, queens 12, jacks 11 and an ace has a rank of 1). The card at the top of a building stack can be moved to an empty free cell or building stack. A card can be moved from a free cell or building stack to another building stack if the card at the top of the destination stack has a different color and a value one more than the card. Ordered cards at the bottom of a building stack can be moved to another building stack if there is a card in the ordered sequence which has a different color and a rank one less than the card at the top of the destination stack. There must be an empty space for every moved card below the top card. To move an ordered sequence of cards at the top of a stack to an empty building stack, first select all the ordered cards by clicking twice on the stack, then click the empty space. If there are fewer empty spaces than selected cards, the number of cards moved will equal the original number of empty spaces. Right-clicking on a stack will move the its top card to an empty space. If more than one card in the right-clicked stack has been selected, the selected cards will be moved to empty stacks until there are no more selected cards or there are no more empty stacks. A card will be automatically moved to the suit stacks from the free cells and the tops of the building stacks if the cards which might be placed on top of it are already in the suit stacks. Clicking undo will retract an automatic move.
Holding the shift key down while moving multiple cards will make the move even if there are not enough empty spaces. Tips Try to make an empty space in the building stacks early in the game. Move an ordered sequence of cards in stages if there are not enough empty spaces to move the sequence in one step. If there is more than one empty space, transfer as many cards as possible to each space and then reassemble the sequence on the desired destination stack. Even if there are not enough empty spaces, it might be possible to move the sequence if there is a card on top of another stack which can accept a subsequence of the moved cards.
Click on the button labeled options to bring up a dialog box with the following settings: Number of Free Cells There can be from 1 to 8 free cells. Using fewer free cells than the original 4 will result in a more challenging game, while increasing the number will make the game less frustrating for novices. The additional free cells appear on the right side of the layout.