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What is FreeCell Solitaire?
FreeCell is a classic variation of the solitaire family of card games played using a standard 52-card deck. Like most solitaire games, the goal is for the player to move all cards to the foundation piles (one for each suit) and from ace to king. You also place cards into the main piles (called the tableau) in numerical order but alternating colors, much like the original.
The biggest difference when you play FreeCell online, however, is that all cards are already dealt face up at the beginning of the game. Thus, a free FreeCell game relies more on tactics than luck. As a result, almost 99.99% of all FreeCell deals can be solved, making it the solitaire game with the best odds. In comparison, the classic solitaire only features an 80% win rate.
To put this into perspective, if you play a numbered series of FreeCell games, your 11,982nd session would be the first unsolvable game you’ll encounter. This makes the game easier to solve in many ways because you can already plan several moves ahead to play the cards strategically.
Of course, you shouldn’t mistake this to mean that FreeCell is an easy game – it still relies on a lot of brainpower and tactics in order to successfully solve. In many ways, the thinking required for FreeCell is akin to that of chess. In fact, scientists recognize that the game is a great way for people with cognitive problems to train their brains.
If you like playing free FreeCell, you should also consider the Spider variant as they have many similarities.
What’s the History of FreeCell Solitaire?
FreeCell Solitaire was first introduced to the world by Paul Alfille in 1972, then a medical student at the University of Illinois. He used the school’s PLATO computer system to program the game, writing it with the TUTOR programming language.
Alfille’s version was the first computerized version of FreeCell, but it wasn’t the first. It was based on a game called Eight Off, which was in turn based on a much older solitaire game called Baker’s Game, popular among the English in the 1920s.
One of the more significant changes Alfille made to Baker’s Game was to make the card builds in alternating suit colors, thus creating the modern FreeCell game we know today. This earliest free FreeCell also allowed players to play with 4 to 10 columns and 1 to 10 cells, expanding on the classic 8 column x 4 cell board layout.
But the game hit it off when Microsoft decided to bundle it as one of the pre-installed games in their Windows operating system back in 1995. And they’ve included a free FreeCell game ever since. Thanks to Microsoft’s move, FreeCell is one of the more popular games played today. As a result, it has spawned numerous websites and groups dedicated to it. And you can now find websites offering you the chance to play FreeCell online, free of charge.
FreeCell has also inspired a host of new solitaire variants. These include Penguin, Stalactites, ForeCell, and Seahaven Towers. There are also more challenging variants that involve less than four free cells or more than a deck of cards.
How to Play FreeCell Solitaire
What separates FreeCell Solitaire from other free solitaire games is the four free cells in the top left. You can move cards to and from the free cells at any time as needed, but you can't stack cards there. If you need a refresher on solitaire rules, check out the "Help" section in the in-game menu.
Click or tap to select a FreeCell solitaire card. From there, you can either drag it or simply click/tap on where you want to place it. You can also double click/tap eligible FreeCell cards to send them directly to their respective foundation pile in the top right.
FreeCell Solitaire Card Game Tips
- Review the tableau and the cards that were dealt before making your move. You need to think strategically and, like in Chess, think several steps ahead.
- Your first few moves should be small and should not require moving cards to a freecell, or require a card to be in a freecell.
- If you are able, fill an empty column with a descending, long card sequence that starts with a King.
- An early goal should be to free up a column, which will generally increase your chance of winning a Freecell game.
- Use the free cells to your advantage. They allow you to store cards that get in the way of the actual game play.
- Try to prioritize freeing Ace and two cards if they are located deep inside a tableau. Not doing so will severely limit your moves and can even make an otherwise solvable game impossible to win.
- There’s no shame in using the undo button! Sometimes, even the best-laid plans don’t go as well as you thought. In these cases, undoing a few steps is better than starting completely from scratch.
- Don’t stress yourself out if you find yourself stuck. Instead, undo a few steps and analyze what went wrong. Like other puzzle games such as Sudoku and crosswords, it’s useful to take a step back and do something else, especially if you’ve been playing for an extended period. This gives you the chance to re-tackle the problem with a fresh mind.
- Try to play it safe in the beginning by moving only Aces and twos into the home cells. Don’t try to move all the cards at once since you might need them as a placeholder to free other cards deep in the tableau.
Good luck playing our free FreeCell Solitaire online!
About FreeCell Solitaire
Freecell Solitaire is a unique member of the Solitaire family, in that all the cards are dealt face-up, and nearly every deal can be solved! We hope you enjoy playing this free online version of Freecell Solitaire 24/7, all without getting yourself covered in green felt!
FreeCell Solitaire Fun Facts
- Most Freecell Solitaire deals can be won (usually around 85 percent), while the success rate across other Solitaire games is generally less than 50 percent!
- A precursor to Freecell Solitaire is a card game called Eight Off. The Freecell Solitaire game you've come to recognize was built by Paul Alfille in 1978 for the PLATOR education computer system.
- Microsoft has included Freecell Solitaire on every release of Windows since 1995, helping significantly increase the card game's popularity across the world.