Lesson 2: Play With the Foundation

Spiele Palast
Lesson 2: Play With the Foundation

We used our first Lesson to cover tactic playing in the tableau. And this one is about the foundation. That is, ideally, where all cards end up at the end of a round – sorted by suit and rank.

Unlock by Discarding

The foundation is not only the finish line in Solitaire. It can also serve you as a relief. For example, when a single card is obstructing multiple face-down cards, it always makes sense to check what is underneath. If you can add that single card to the foundation, just do it! That way, you reach a new card and potentially pave the way for solving the game.

Areas Solitaire Playing Field
These are the three areas of the Solitaire playing field, with highlighted foundation panels.

A useful rule of thumb is not to build up one single suit but to take a more even approach instead. When it comes to Aces, there is no point in hesitation! They can go directly to the foundation, wherever you find them. You do not need them to connect any cards to rows, as they are one end of the sequence.

Once all Aces made it to the foundation, you work on the next level. All Aces are there, so you do not need the Twos as links anymore and, thus, can already put them away. That way, you have less clutter and a better overview in the tableau!

Should you need to diverge from this rule of thumb, that usually is not dramatic. One pile being one or two cards ahead is manageable. And if you can free an important card for solving the game in return, that is definitely worth it!

And in case putting a card away in the foundation does not reveal the hoped-for card, you still have the undo button. Using it does cost you one point per undone move, but a solved game having logically revealed all cards with a few minus points usually still scores higher than an unsolved game with remaining face-down cards.

It is crucial to reveal all face-down cards in Solitaire. When a card is blocking your progress and could just as well be in the foundation, put it there. After all, you solve the game by revealing all cards in the tableau, and the remaining cards will automatically find their correct place in the foundation. And each card in the foundation scores five Points at the Solitaire Palace!

Out of the Tableau – out of Mind?

After putting a card away in the foundation, it has not left the game. You can still use it as long as it is on top of the foundation pile. That way, you can link cards in the tableau using foundation cards later, thus revealing more cards. That is exactly why you have some wiggle room when it comes to building up your foundation piles evenly.

Solitaire Playing Field - Adding Cards from the Foundation to the Tableau
You can bring the put-away Five of Clubs back into the tableau and use it to connect the Four of Hearts with the Six of Hearts. That way, you gain access to the cards under the Four of Hearts.

Excessively moving cards around could lower your total score when playing a multiplayer game, though. The number of your moves is the crux of the matter: When a player needs fewer moves to solve the game, they get an extra point for each player using more moves than them. So, do not hand out points, and instead, make sure you avoid redundant moves.

Use in Moderation

We indicated before that promptly placing all available cards in the foundation is no safe strategy for winning Solitaire. You should rather evenly fill the foundation piles to not cause any gaps in the tableau. Do not push one foundation pile up to Nine, for example, when the rest is stuck at Three. That way, all cards between Four and Nine in the leading suit are harder to reach for you. In turn, that could cause trouble in the tableau.

If that leads to you bringing fewer cards to the foundation in total and not solving the game, you are losing plenty of points. Even in an unsolved game – yes, that happens occasionally – each card in the foundation adds +5 points to your score. The more cards you have there, the better. And four half-filled foundation pies score higher than three empty piles and a full one!

In multiplayer mode, you should not take swapping cards between the tableau and the foundation too far; otherwise, your high number of moves will give away points to your opponents in the end.

Solitaire Game Help with Score Info
That is how the scores accumulate at the Solitaire Palace.

Practice Makes Perfect

You see, there is not the one universally valid rule. You have to decide situationally, and that works best by developing a feeling over time. In the beginning, it will probably be best to keep more cards in the tableau and be able to work with them instead of prematurely storing them in the foundation. But if cards are in your way and you get the chance – off they go to the foundation!

Delve into the next round or get more Solitaire info in our Solitaire School. You will find out about anything from the course of the game, via Solitaire rules, to the game’s history.