Report bug

How to Play Beleaguered Castle Solitaire

Beleaguered Castle Solitaire is a Solitaire game most similar to FreeCell, where you can see all the cards on the table. The game gets its name from the idea that playing through all your cards in the tableau will “break the walls” around the castle, represented by the foundation piles.

The game dates back to the 1800s. Instructions for Beleaguered Castle were first published in 1883 by in Dick's Games of Patience or Solitaire with Cards.


The aim of the game is to build the foundations from Ace to King in ascending suit order. For example, a foundation pile will begin with the Ace of Diamonds and finish with the King of Diamonds.

The Setup and Play Area

Foundation piles: You’ll start with all 4 Aces face-up in each foundation. You’ll build them up as you go, in order from Ace to King by suit.

Tableau piles: The remaining cards are placed in 8 columns, each with 6 cards face-up.

There is no stock or waste piles in the game.


Available moves

  • You can only move 1 card at a time.
  • The bottom card of each tableau column is playable.
  • Cards in the tableau can be moved and placed on top of other cards if they are in descending order, regardless of suit. For example, a 9 of Hearts can be moved onto a 10 of Spades, or a 10 of Diamonds.
  • Once you’ve removed all the cards from a tableau column, you can move any card into that space.
  • Build foundation piles from Ace to King by moving playable cards from the tableau.
  • When all cards have been moved to the foundation, you win!


  • Plan multiple moves ahead. Because you can see all the tableau cards, you can evaluate and strategize your moves. 
  • Find the 2s early. Aces are already placed in the foundation to start the game, so your first step is to find the 2s. They might be buried under high cards, so you may need to do some planning to get to them. After you clear the 2s, look for the 3s and work toward freeing them.
  • Don’t rush to move cards to the foundation. For example, instead of adding a 4 of Clubs to the foundation, you may want to leave it on the tableau so a 3 of Spades can be placed under it in order to free up another important card.
  • Prioritize clearing out columns. Because any card can be placed in an empty column,  you can move cards blocking you to empty columns to help you advance in the game.

What are the odds of winning?

When looking at 2,126 random games played, 505 were won, making the win rate 23.75%.

What are similar games to try?

Castle is an easier variant, with the only difference being that you can place cards in descending or ascending order in the tableau piles.

What are other popular Solitaire games?

Be sure to check out these games:


Sign in to Solitaired.com with Facebook

Sign in to appear on the leaderboard and save your stats!