Rules for Five Piles

Family: The Wish
Categories: Simple, Short
Also Known As: Baroness, Thirteen

Five Piles is a matching game with simple rules, suitable for children or adults on mental vacation. There is little strategy and wins are rare, but you can improve your chances with a little strategy, and especially if you are a good card-counter.


Shuffle the deck and lay out five cards in a row, face up. These cards begin the five tableaus. A discard pile begins the game empty. Keep the rest of the deck in your hand.


Pairs of cards in the tableaus whose ranks add to 13 (for example Ace + Queen, or 5 + 8) may be picked up and discarded. Kings may be discarded singly.

Solitaire Till Dawn will automatically discard matched pairs when you drop one card onto another.


Whenever you please, deal another row of five cards from the deck, one each onto the five tableaus. When there are only two cards left in the deck, you may turn them over and use them as a reserve, keeping them separate from the tableaus but otherwise following the same rules.


The goal is to discard all cards.


Prepare yourself to lose most games. But to win a few more than otherwise, try applying these suggestions.

When you have a choice, move cards from the longer tableaus before moving them from the shorter ones. Cards at the bottom of long tableaus are very difficult to reach.

If a matched pair are atop each other, such as a 4 and a 9, they cannot be discarded together and so they are a possible block. Use a third card to remove the topmost of the pair as soon as you can.

After the final two cards have been dealt to form the reserve, avoid playing them unless it is the only possible move. It is much more important to uncover cards in the tableaus, saving the reserve cards to remove blockages that can’t be removed in any other way.

If you have a good memory for cards, you may be able to predict which cards are left when the deck is nearly empty. You can use this knowledge to make choices before dealing the final cards.

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