Rules for Penguin

Family: Free Cell
Categories: Rewarding
Also Known As:  

Penguin was requested by a Solitaire Till Dawn fan. It’s a member of the Free Cell family, games in which the entire deck is laid out face-up at the start of the game, and which feature cells, spaces where single cards may be placed to get them out of the way for a while. Penguin includes 7 cells and has the unusual feature of placing the first card of three of the four foundations during the layout, but burying the fourth starter card at the bottom of the first tableau pile! Like most games that lay out the entire deck at the start, Penguin is a game that will reward thinkers and planners.


Lay out the entire deck in 7 tableaus of seven cards each, face-up and fanned down. The very first card you place is called the beak. When other cards of this rank (that is, the same rank as the beak card) appear, place them on an empty foundation. When you’re done, there will be 49 cards in the tableaus, one card in each of three of the foundations, and the fourth foundation will be empty. The beak card, that will eventually go on the fourth foundation, starts at the bottom of the first tableau pile. Below the tableaus, seven cells (also called reserve piles) start the game empty. This row of seven cells is called the flipper.


Tableaus build down in suit, circularly, so that you may play a King on an Ace if their suits match. Foundations build up in suit, also circularly, so that you may build an Ace on a King if their suits match. Any available card from the tableau may be moved to an empty cell in the flipper. Cards in the flipper and top cards of tableaus are all available for play onto the foundations, tableaus, and the flipper. Full or partial builds in the tableaus are available for building on other tableaus. Empty tableau piles may be filled only with cards, or with builds beginning with cards, that are one less in rank than the beak. (For example, if the beak card is a 4 of Spades, then you may place any 3 in an empty tableau. If the beak is a King, you may place any Ace in an empty tableau.)


The goal is to move all cards to the foundations.


The first tableau on the left contains the start card for the empty foundation and it’s on the bottom of that pile. So that’s a good pile to clear out early, so that you can get that last foundation going.

Empty tableau piles can be filled with the last card that can go on its foundation, so it’s good to make a few empty piles so that you have a place to move those “last cards” until they can go to their foundation. Once placed on an empty tableau, they no longer block other piles. In addition you can build onto them: these piles built upon “last cards” can just zip up to their foundations when their time comes!

You don’t have to build the foundations evenly in this game. In fact, there’s no reason to delay any move to a foundation.

Use the cells as temporary storage. The key word here is “temporary”: you should plan to empty each cell as soon as possible, so try not to move cards there unless you can see ahead to when you will move them out again. You will have to break this rule quite often; fortunately there are seven cells in the flipper so you can fill some up and leave others empty.

Copyright 2002-2006 by Semicolon Software. All international rights reserved.