Wednesday, August 31, 2016


My Mom is a fan of FreeCell. Whenever she talks about playing games on the computer, it's invariably FreeCell.

I have fond memories of Mom playing Klondike, also known as old-style Solitaire. When I was growing up, she played with actual cards, shuffling and laying them down in columns on the table. It was a way to pass the time, and I sensed the game's calming influence on her. She was a nurse in a busy city hospital, so relaxing with Solitaire must have been a nice break for her.

FreeCell is different from Klondike, and I don't know how she would have gotten into it aside from the game being on Microsoft Windows. Like Klondike, FreeCell is a card game played by one person. These are known as patience games. Unlike Klondike, however, FreeCell is a game where nearly every hand is winnable. According to the fantastically detailed FreeCell Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, every hand (except one) that Microsoft FreeCell generates is a hand you can win.

My current Solitaire game is by Solebon, and it contains fifty different patience games. One of these is FreeCell, and for the past few weeks I've been playing it. The FAQ is right: many of the games I start I can actually "win". Its statistics report that I've won 13 in a row so far. FreeCell requires you to think a few moves ahead, so there's a bit of strategy involved, which I like.

I think of Mom when I play, how patient she seems to be when she's playing her card games. She had to be patient working as a nurse and raising three boys, so how hard could a card game be? Whenever I get stuck in FreeCell, I wonder what she would do with this hand. My FreeCell has an Easy mode and an Undo button and I can't wait to show her.


  1. Hi,
    I have a round of Freecell that I have not been able to win and I have tried too many times to count. I know that it has to be a win-able game as it is part of my daily challenges but it has me royally stumped. If I would be able to attach it in email to you, woud you be able to take a look at this and see if you can win it?
    My email address is

  2. Lillie and I had an e-mail exchange about her difficult FreeCell board. It was indeed very difficult! I spent easily a few hours on it (on and off), before I pulled out the big guns: fc-solver (, by Shlomi Fish). Her board was solvable, and the answer key produced a guide that helped us out!