Rules for The Towers

Family: FreeCell
Categories: Popular, Thinker's, Rewarding
Variants: The Towers Easy
Also Known As: Seahaven Towers, Sea Towers

We received innumerable requests to add this addictive and fascinating game to Solitaire Till Dawn over the years, but we resisted out of courtesy to our friend Art Cabral. Art created the classic Macintosh version of this game: “Seahaven Towers,” a beautiful and creative piece of work. But Art assured us that he did not invent the game itself and that he would not mind our including it. The name “Seahaven” is Art’s trademark, so we present the game here as “The Towers.” Thanks, Art!


Shuffle the deck and lay out fifty cards in ten tableau piles, face up and fanned down, so that there are five cards in each tableau. Above the tableaus, on the left, are four piles called the towers, and to their right are the four foundations. The two remaining cards are placed face-up in two of the towers; the remaining towers and the foundations begin the game empty.


Tableaus build down in suit. Top cards of tableaus are available for play on other tableaus, on foundations, or on towers. Only Kings may be played to an empty tableau. An empty tower 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 towers to start with, but two are already filled at the start of the game. It’s best to fill a tower only when you already know how to get that card out of the tower again. Of course you won’t always be able to do that, and sometimes you’ll have to leave a card in a tower “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.

A good player should be able to win 50% or more of all games, at least if you are willing to make patient use of snapshots. We recommend that this game be treated as a puzzle: feel free to back up and try a different approach whenever you get stuck.

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

Copyright 2002-2004 by Semicolon Software. All international rights reserved.