Forty Thieves Solitaire

Forty thieves solitaire is one of the hardest versions of solitaire card games that is played with two standard 52-card decks(104cards excluding the jokers). It cannot be described as a game of luck as some versions are, it needs much more strategy than most versions of solitaire, and the setup is different from how most solitaire card games are set up.

Forty Thieves Solitaire

Forty thieves solitaire is also known as Big Forty, Napoleon at St Hilde, Roosevelt at San Juan, and le cadran.


The main objective of the forty thieves solitaire is to move all the cards from the tableau and suits and in ascending order to the foundation pile, i.e from ace to king(a,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,j,q,k).

The foundation pile has eight columns in which each column represents a suit, so in this game, each suit has two columns which make this game longer and make the players entertained for hours.


Forty thieves card game is played with 104 cards and has three pile that is built before you can play the game. Forty cards are arranged into ten piles on the tableau overlapping each other which makes all the cards visible from the beginning. The rest of the cards are placed in the stockpile which is on top of the tableau, a pile is left empty for discard which is right beside the stock.

The foundation pile has eight free columns in which the cards from the game table are being moved in the same suits and in ascending order. This is not common in most solitaire card games, most of them have just four columns in their foundation pile.


There are four piles in the 40 thieves game, they are being built before the start of the game, they will be explained in detail below:

The Tableau Pile

This game has ten columns which have four cards each, they are arranged overlapping each other which makes all the cards visible. The number of cards on the tableau is forty as the game name implies and they are built down in suits.

Cards can be moved from one column to another on the tableau, putting the ranks and suits into consideration, for example, an 8-diamonds card can be played on a 9-diamonds card, not a 7-diamonds card.

Only the top card is available for play in forty thieves solitaire card games, empty tableau column can be filled up and making the game easier to play. Some cards are duplicates since the game makes use of two decks.

The Stock Pile

The stockpile in the forty thieves game is where the remaining cards after building the tableau are being moved to. They are dealt facing down, and cards from the stockpile can be moved to the foundations and tableau, the cards are visible when they are placed in the waste. You can only go through this pile once.

The Waste Pile

The waste pile is also called “discard” it is where the cards from the stock are being flipped to that makes them visible, cards can be moved automatically to the foundations. They are always placed beside the stockpile.

The Foundation Pile

There are eight empty columns in the foundation piles, during the play of the game, cards from the tableau are moved to the foundation and arranged in suits and ascending order (from ace to king) which is the main aim of the forty thieves solitaire.


Playing this game can be brain-tasking and fun at the same time because a larger number of cards are dealt to the stockpile which makes the tableau cards reduced.

To start playing the game, players have to build all the piles before proceeding to play forty thieves solitaire, then try to move all the cards o the foundation pile putting in mind suits and they have to be in ascending order. This game can keep you entertained for hours because it takes time to move all the cards to the foundation.

You can play this card game online, and some do have two modes: easy game modes and hard game modes. if you are a beginner, it is good to try out the easy game mode first before moving to the hard game mode.


In this solitaire game, there are some specific rules and moves to follow to make the gameplay easier:

  • Move your aces to the foundation as soon as you see them.
  • Only the top card is available for play.
  • Try to create an empty column, it makes the game easy to win and play.
  • Move the tableau cards first before going to the stock, unless you are stuck. This also increases your win chances
  • You can only go through the stockpile once, it can’t be reset or rearranged.
  • Move only one card at a time on the tableau.
  • Move cards from the waste pile to the foundations.
  • Start a new solitaire game to get familiar with the rules.
  • Undo your moves as many times as you want.
  • King cards are to be placed last because they have the highest rank, and the ace card should be placed first since it is the lowest.


This solitaire game is said to have a 10% chance of winning, but even at that, it is enjoyable while playing the card game. To win forty thieves, all the cards from the tableau has to be moved to the foundations in the same suit and ascending order, which means you start from ace to king.

There are other versions of the forty thieves solitaire game that also follows the same rules, for example, little forty, street, Lucas, etc. Forty thieves is a version of a solitaire game that is challenging to play and players can also have fun while playing.