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How to Play Penguin Solitaire

Invented by David Parlett, Penguin is similar to FreeCell where you use open cells to organize cards, but foundations start with a random card.


Your goal is to move all 52 cards to 4 foundation piles by suit in ascending order based on the starting foundation card. You do this by organizing cards in the tableau and using 7 free or open cells.

The Setup and Play Area

Foundation piles: These are the 4 piles where you aim to move cards in ascending order. The foundation will start with the same random number in 3 of the piles. As an example, if it starts with a 6, you will arrange cards in ascending order, starting with the 6 and ending with a 5. The fourth foundation pile will not have a card, but instead that card will be placed at the bottom of the tableau.

Tableau piles: This area consists of 7 columns with 7 face-up cards each, totaling 49 cards.

Free cells: These are the 7 open cells where you can place any card.

How to set up a game of Penguin Solitaire

Available moves

  • The last card of each tableau column can be moved to a foundation if it's one rank higher and of the same suit as the card in the foundation.
  • Tableau cards or cards in the free cell can be moved on top of cards of of the same suit that are one rank higher. For example, a 4 of Clubs can be placed on top of a 5 of Clubs.
  • Any card at the bottom of the tableau can go into the free cells, as long as there is no card in the free cell.
  • You can move multiple cards at one time. To move a group of cards, they must be sequenced in descending order by suit, and the top card of that group must be placed on top of a playable card of the suit and one rank higher.
  • A card one rank above the foundation cards can be moved to an empty column. For example, if the starting card is a 3, then only 4s can be moved to an empty column.
  • You win when all cards have been moved to the foundation.


  • Try to free up the cards that rank higher than the starting foundation card. Because foundations are built in ascending order, try to make these cards available so you can move them out of the tableau into the foundation and make other cards playable.
  • The first visible sequence may not always be the best one. Plan out your moves to remove as many cards as possible from the tableau.
  • Use free cells only when you cannot make any moves. Sequence as many cards as you can, then use the free cells.
  • Try to empty the tableau columns quickly. You can move cards that are one rank higher than the starting foundation card into empty columns, allowing you to build more cards.
  • If you get stuck, use the undo button. You may not always make the right moves, and you may need to reverse some to win the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some games similar to Penguin Solitaire?

FreeCell, Eight Off, Baker's game, and SeaHaven Towers are similar games with a face-up tableau and free cells.

What are other popular Solitaire games?

Here are some good games to play:


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