Rules for Betsy Ross

Family: Calculation
Categories: Thinker's, Small
Also Known As:  

We think you can win perhaps one game in two of Betsy Ross. Play is simple but can be absorbing. If you like the basic idea of building by ones, twos, threes, and fours but would like a truly challenging game for skillful players, try Calculation.


Remove an Ace, 2, 3 and 4 from the deck; any suits will do. Place them in a row as markers; you won’t be using these cards again, they’re just there to remind you of how to play on the foundations. Below the markers start the four foundations by placing a 2 under the marker Ace, a 4 under the marker 2, a 6 under the marker 3, and an 8 under the marker 4; again, any suits will do. Shuffle the remaining 44 cards and place them face down to form the stock; turn the topmost card of the stock face-up. A wastepile starts the game empty.


The topmost cards of the stock and wastepile are available for play on the foundations. If a card from the stock can’t be played onto the foundations, place it on the wastepile.

The unique feature of this game is the way the foundations are built. Each of the four is built up in a different way, like this:

2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K - Build up by ones
4,6,8,10,Q,A,3,5,7,9,J,K - Build up by twos
6,9,Q,2,5,8,J,A,4,7,10,K - Build up by threes
8,Q,3,7,J,2,6,10,A,5,9,K - Build up by fours

Suit and color are ignored entirely in this game; only rank is considered. The marker cards are there solely to remind you of the interval that each foundation builds by.


When the stock has been emptied, you may redeal by picking up the wastepile and turning it over to refill the stock. You may redeal twice, for a total of three passes through the stock. (In Solitaire Till Dawn, the deck will be revealed under the empty stock. Click the deck to redeal.)


The goal is to move all the cards (except the markers) onto the foundations. If you succeed, every foundation will have a King on top.


Try to build the foundations fairly evenly: if a 7 can go on either of two foundations, choose the one with fewer cards. (You can tell how many cards a foundation has by counting up from the marker card. This also helps you become familiar with the sequences!)

Sometimes you can see that choosing one foundation over another will then let you immediately play a card (or more, if your memory is good) from the wastepile. Although keeping the piles even is a good idea, it’s probably more important to build as many cards as possible.

By the third deal, you may find a couple of Kings at the bottom of the wastepile. If so, leave them there even if they could be played to a foundation. It’s useful to leave a potential King move available so that a King later in the deal doesn’t become a blocker. If all goes well, those first Kings will be waiting for you at the bottom of the wastepile when all other cards have been played.

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