Rules for Montana

Family: Montana
Categories: Popular, Large, Unusual
Variants: Addiction
Also Known As: Gaps

Montana first appeared in Classic Solitaire Till Dawn in response to a huge number of customer requests. This unusual game, also known as Gaps, is popular and refreshingly different from most solitaires.


Shuf▀e one deck, and lay out the entire deck face-up in a rectangle, in four rows and thirteen columns, with one card in each spot. When all cards have been laid out, remove the four Aces and discard them, leaving four empty spaces in their places. (Solitaire Till Dawn will discard the Aces for you.)


Move single cards to the empty spaces. Each time you move a card, you leave a new empty space behind so that there are always four spaces left empty. A move is legal if the moved card is the same suit as the card to the left of the destination empty space, and one higher in rank than that card. That is, you are arranging the cards from left to right in each row, in suit and building up.

Nothing may be played to an empty space that has a King to its immediate left. Likewise nothing may be played to an empty space that has another empty space to its immediate left. Only 2’s may be played to empty spaces in the first (leftmost) row.


When all empty spaces are next to Kings or other empty spaces, you have no more legal moves left. When this happens, you may deal by picking up all cards except those that are already in goal position (that is, in suit and sequence starting from a 2 in the leftmost column), shuffling them, and laying them down again, leaving an empty space in each row just to the right of the in-suit-and-sequence cards that you didn’t pick up. You may deal twice.


Arrange the cards so that the four 2’s are in the leftmost column, and each row builds up in suit to the right. For example, if the top-left card is the 2 of Hearts, then the card to its right must be the 3 of Hearts, followed by the 4, 5, and so on to the King, with the final (thirteenth) column left empty; and the same for the other suits in the other three rows.


This is one of those games that we are not especially good at, so we have few really good tips. Just avoid leaving gaps to the right of Kings, and be careful in choosing which deuce you play to an empty space in the first column. Try to think ahead!

One reader suggested to us that’s it’s not good to finish a row too soon. If you finish a 2-through-King row by placing a King in the 12th column and then deal, you get a gap in the 13th column that is useless to you for the rest of the game.

Another reader suggests that you should not place too many cards before the final redeal. If the game is mostly finished before the final redeal, you will have few choices after the redeal and a high chance of being stuck. By leaving more cards unplayed, you will get more freedom of choice for your last moves.

When played as a puzzle game, with unlimited use of the Redo command, Montana is nearly always winnable.

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