How To Play Cruel Solitaire

Did you know there are hundreds, if not thousands of solitaire games? You may have heard of some of the more popular ones, such as Freecell, Klondike, Pyramid, or Spider Solitaire.

But there are LOTS of other solitaire games as well. One of my favourites is a little-

known game called Cruel Solitaire.

The aim of cruel solitaire is to build 4 ascending suit sequences in the foundation


The opening tableau is made up of 4 foundation stacks (Each containing an Ace), a

talon, and 12 manoeuvre stacks, each containing 4 cards.

You can move cards in the foundation stack onto cards of the same suit, and one

more in rank.

For example, you can move a 3 of Clubs onto a 4 of Clubs, or a Queen of Hearts

onto a King of Hearts, and a 2 of Spades onto a 3 of Spades.


The talon in Cruel Solitaire is unlike the talon in other solitaire games. It doesn’t

actually deal out any more cards.

Instead, it redeals the cards in the manoeuvre stacks, so that each stack has 4

cards. The order of the cards stays the same, starting at the leftmost stack, with the

bottom cards on a stack going to the top of the next stack.


Understanding how the redeal works is the key to doing well in Cruel Solitaire.

You should focus on only redealing when you have to. The more you play, the more

you’ll start to discover certain patterns that occur when you redeal. (HINT: A Card on

top will stay on top, if all the stacks to the left of it have 4 cards).

Once you understand these patterns, you will be able to have control over which

cards will shuffle around when you redeal. When you get to this stage of

understanding, winning cruel solitaire becomes much easier… just focus on moving

the rightmost cards to the talon first, and try and leave some leftmost cards in

reserve for when you run out of moves. The best case scenario for this is to have a 2

at the top leftmost column. If this happens, don’t move the 2 to the talon, until you

have exhausted all other moves and redeals.

If you play solitaire, and you would like to try a different game for a change, then

give Cruel Solitaire a go… I’m sure you’ll find it a lot of fun!