Rules for Baker's Game

Family: FreeCell
Categories: Popular, Thinker's, Rewarding
Variants: FreeCell, Tough Sell
Also Known As: Baker, Baker Solitaire

Baker’s Game, invented by mathematician C. L. Baker, is the original game from which FreeCell and all its variants are derived. It is very similar to FreeCell, but is more challenging and harder to win.

We recommend that this game be treated as a puzzle: feel free to use the Undo and Redo buttons to back up and try a different approach whenever you get stuck.


Shuffle the deck and lay out all the cards in eight tableau piles, face up and fanned down. Four of the tableaus will have seven cards each, the remaining four only six cards each. Above the tableaus, on the left, are four reserves, and to their right are the four foundations, all of which start out empty.


Tableaus build down in suit. Top cards of tableaus are available for play on other tableaus, on foundations, or on the reserves. Any available card may be played to an empty tableau.

An empty reserve can hold any card, but each can hold only one card at a time; and of course such cards can be removed only by correctly playing them back onto tableaus or foundations.


The goal is to move all cards to the foundations.


As in all games of this type, empty piles are tremendously important. You have four reserves to start with, which isn’t always a lot. Be a little bit careful in how you use the reserves. It’s best to fill a reserve only when you already know how to get that card out of the reserve again. Of course you won’t always be able to do that, and sometimes you’ll have to put a card in a reserve “until further notice.” When you have to do that, it’s a good time to take a snapshot of your position in case you never find a way to remove the card again.

An empty tableau acts like a reserve—only better, because you can build on the tableau. Conserve the reserves by moving multiple cards from the reserves into a single empty tableau when you can. (The cards you move will have to be in sequence, of course, so you won’t always be able to do this. But it’s great when you can!)

As a shortcut Solitaire Till Dawn will let you move full or partial builds provided you have enough empty piles available to have accomplished the same move one card at a time.

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