Rules for Beleaguered Castle

Family: Fortress
Categories: Thinker's
Variants: Chessboard, Fortress, Streets and Alleys
Also Known As:  

Similar to Fortress and Chessboard, Beleaguered Castle lays out the entire deck at the start of the game. There are no hidden cards, no mysteries, no surprises: it’s all up to you and your concentration and cleverness.


Shuffle the deck and lay it out in eight tableau piles. Each tableau fans sideways, with all cards face up and visible. Arrange the tableaus in two columns or “wings” of four piles each, one wing on the left and one on the right, with a vertical column of four foundations in between them. As you lay out the cards, place the Aces on the foundations as starters; the remaining cards all go to the tableaus, so that each tableau starts out with six cards.


Top cards of tableaus are available for building on each other. Tableaus build down without regard for suit or color; foundations build up in suit. Empty tableau piles may be filled with any available card.


The goal is to move all the cards onto the foundations.


You should create and keep as many empty tableau piles as you can, as soon as you can. Because any card can be played to an empty tableau, you can use them to move lengthier builds by storing cards temporarily in the empty spots.

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.

More often than not, a Beleaguered Castle layout will leave you stuck within a few moves. Because Solitaire Till Dawn will not record a score if you make no moves in a game, we like to examine a new layout before deciding whether to try it. If it looks unplayable, we just click the New Game button and look for a more promising shuffle. This may be cheating (don’t tell!) but it allows us to win an average of around 30% of the games we actually try to play.

We also recommend frequent use of the Snapshot button. Any time you need to make a dangerous decision, take a snapshot. If you later get stuck, use the Undo to Snapshot (<<) button to rewind to the decision point, and try a different move.

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