Rules for Intelligence

Family: La Belle Lucie
Categories: Popular, Rewarding, Two-Deck
Also Known As:  

Intelligence is related to the popular La Belle Lucie, but as its name suggests, it offers more opportunities for intelligent play. We’re not expert at this game, but we believe that a good player can win at least one game in two without excessive use of the Undo feature.


Shuffle two decks and lay out 18 piles of three cards each. The cards are face up and fanned, so that all can be seen. These are the tableaus. The remaining 50 cards are placed face down in the stock. There are also eight foundation piles, which start out empty.


Foundations build up in suit from the Ace. Tableaus build up or down in suit. Top cards of tableaus are available for building on tableaus and foundations. Empty tableau piles are filled immediately with three cards from the stock; if the stock is also empty, then no cards may be placed in empty tableaus except by dealing.


It is rare to win a game with the initial layout. When you are blocked, you may scoop up all the tableau cards, shuffle them back into the stock, and again lay them out in (up to) 18 piles of three cards each (with the last pile perhaps containing two cards or one). Place the remaining cards, if any, face down in the stock as before. This shuffle may be repeated the second time you become blocked, but may not be done more than those two times.


The goal is to move all the cards onto the foundations.


Creating empty columns in the tableaus is crucial, because every time you do it, you’ll get three more cards dealt out from the stock.

Sometimes you’ll need to make some ugly moves to get those empty columns. During the first two deals, you can do that pretty freely. Any blockages you create will be shuffled back into the stock the next time you deal, so they’re not permanent. But during the third and final deal, if you create a blockage you will lose the game.

Remember that Kings can be moved only onto Queens, or onto the foundations. For example, if both Queens of Diamonds are in one pile, and you place a King of Diamonds on top of them, you’ve created a blockage. There’s no way to move that King again (unless you have a deal or two left). You need to be sure that there will still be one Queen free to go to the foundations after you place that King.

A more subtle blockage occurs when a King covers a card of its suit when one full Ace-to-King of that suit have already been played to the foundations. For example, if there’s a King of Spades on top of a 10 of Spades, and one foundation has already been built up to the other King of Spades, you are blocked. This is because the King can’t go to the foundations until the 10 does, but the 10 can’t go until the King uncovers it. The only other place to move the King is onto the remaining Queen, but that will just block the Queen instead of the 10.

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