Forty Thieves is the hardest version of solitaire. It is also one of the most luck-based solitaire games; you will need a lot of luck with the shuffling, drawing, and dealing of the cards to have a good probability of beating Forty Thieves Solitaire. There is absolutely little you can do to beat the version of solitaire, as most games in Forty Thieves are designed to be unwinnable.
The probability of winning a game of Forty Thieves solitaire is far lower than 10%. The solitaire game is often known by other scary names like Le Cadran, Napoleon at Saint Helena, and Big Forty. With such frightening names, you can expect Forty Thieves Solitaire to be incredibly challenging.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why Forty Thieves is the hardest version of solitaire:
- Unlike Klondike Solitaire and other classic solitaire games, Forty Thieves uses two decks of cards, meaning that players must move around up to 104 playing cards
- 40 cards are arranged in tableau columns with each stack containing 4 cards. All the cards that remain are moved to the waste pile for later use
- You will likely find two identical after the initial deal because the solitaire game uses two decks
- Moving groups of cards is not allowed in Forty Thieves Solitaire despite the game using so many cards
- You can only flip one card over at a time
- The scoring system of Forty Thieves Solitaire can be very difficult to understand
- You lose 500 points for every card that you move back from the tableau from the foundation pile
- Forty Thieves Solitaire has a time factor, too. So, if you are too slow, you will likely lose points and miss out on the bonus points that can be up to 10,000.
That being said, there are tips and strategies you can use to increase your chances of winning in Forty Thieves Solitaire. These include:
Always making the low-rank cards available
You should prioritize moving Aces, Deuces, Threes, and other low-ranking cards from the draw pile and tableau to the foundation columns. You should not allow aces and deuces to be covered by Kings, Queens, and other high cards.
Creating empty spots can speed up your game
Unlike Klondike whereby empty piles can ruin your game, empty spots in Forty Thieves Solitaire are good. Always try to generate as many empty piles as possible.
Take advantage of empty piles to produce more options
Move top cards to the empty spots in order to expose more face-down cards and create more opportunities for play. That allows you to expose the card below the top card.
Don’t fill all empty spots unless necessary
As you can see from the above tip, empty piles can help you expose more hidden cards. So, you do want to conserve them. Only use an empty pile when absolutely necessary, such as when you want to move a King that will reveal the most face-down cards.
Singletons are cards without partners of the same suit. These independent cards are much easier to move to the foundation than a group of ordered cards of the same suit.
Use empty spaces to move groups of cards around
The only way you can move a group of cards in Forty Thieves is when they are part of consecutive builds of the same suit. Moreover, you can only move the group to an empty pile and not on top of another pile.
Forty Thieves is not the only hard version of solitaire. Other variants known to be difficult to play and beat include:
- Canfield Solitaire
- Scorpion Solitaire
- Spider Four Suits Solitaire
- Accordion Solitaire
Scorpion Solitaire is a close cousin to Klondike Solitaire in that it uses one deck of 52 playing. To set up a game of Scorpion Solitaire, 49 cards are dealt out in the initial deal into seven tableau piles. Each column in the tableau has seven cards:
- The first three rows of the 7 columns are dealt out first
- The first four cards in each of the three rows are dealt out face down
- The next three cards in each of the three rows are dealt out face up
- All the cards in the other four remaining rows are dealt out face up
- That means all cards in the tableau piles are dealt out face up except for the first 3 cards of the first four columns. In total, only 12 cards in the tableau piles are dealt out face down or covered.
- The remaining three of the 52 playing cards in the deck are placed in the reserve pile
Accordion Solitaire is the hardest solitaire game. It is difficult to beat this solitaire game by following the standard rules. However, Accordion Solitaire offers a lot of opportunities to make strategic decisions and plan your game. The solitaire card game is sometimes known as Idle Year because of the high level of difficulty.
When setting up a game of Accordion Solitaire, you will lay all 52 cards in a deck in one row. Of course, sometimes the row can be broken into 3 individual rows for convenience and to make the game more efficient.
Unlike other solitaire games, the main objective of Accordion Solitaire is to arrange the whole deck into a single pile of 52 cards by moving consecutive cards or groups of cards onto one another. The rules of the game can be quite difficult to understand and follow.
Klondike Solitaire is the easiest game of solitaire to learn. However, it is not the easiest or quickest game of solitaire to win — that title goes to FreeCell solitaire, which has an expected win rate of 99%. Klondike Solitaire has a winning probability of 80%.
Even so, Klondike is one of the easiest solitaire games to master. It’s an excellent choice for beginners who are just getting started. The goal of the solitaire game is to assemble a suit of 13 cards in incremental value, from Ace to King. Other solitaire games that are regarded as easy include Yukon solitaire, Spider solitaire, and their variants.