By indexer
2 years ago

How to play Windmill solitaire

This is an unusual solitaire (“patience” in the UK) game for several reasons. For one thing, it uses two packs of cards but you don't shuffle them together. For another, you take no notice of the suits as it's only the numbers on the cards that matter.

Start with one of your packs and take out an ace; it doesn't matter which one. Place this at the centre of your board. Now shuffle your pack (just the one, remember) and deal two cards leading away from the central card in four directions, to make a windmill pattern. If there is a two (of any suit) at the end of any of the windmill sails, place it on top of the ace. If there is a three, either at the end of a sail or exposed by your removal of a two, place this on the two, and so on. Kings are also removed, and placed between the sails. These are built on downwards, so a king is followed by a queen, and so on.

When you can place no more cards, fill the gaps from the pack. Don't fill a gap until you have finished placing all the cards from the sails, etc, that you want to play. Also, do not play a card from anywhere until you have finished rebuilding the sails. These rules apply throughout the game.

Continue to deal from the pack, one card at a time, on to a wastepile, but use the cards you turn up to either play to the central “ace” pile or to any of the piles started by the kings. Again, remember that suits don't matter in this game.

Eventually, if you succeed, you will have one pack of 52 cards built on the central ace, and four other piles from king to ace. During your first deal you must not go beyond the first queen on the central pile, because you need the kings to form your other bases.

When building on the central pile, you may use any card you turn up, any card at the end of a sail (or exposed when the end card is played), or any card (except a king) that has been played to a king pile. A card on a sail always has priority over a king pile card when it comes to building on the central pile. When dealing from the pack to replace cards taken from sails, you must replace "inner" cards before "outer" ones, so you cannot cheat if a playable card turns up and then looks like getting trapped by an unplayable one.


When you have played all through the first pack you can start on the second, continuing to discard unplayable cards on to the same wastepile as before. You should be careful not to complete your king piles too early, because once a pile has been completed (i.e. it is surmounted by an ace), it is out of the game and its cards cannot be added to the central pile.

On the assumption that your first pack got the central pile as far as a queen (but no further, remember), you must now find a king to place on the queen and so get the second "suit" started.

Another no-no is that cards cannot be moved from the central pile once they are placed there. You are not obliged to place a card, and sometimes it can be in your best interest not to do so.


When both packs have been played through, you may turn your wastepile over and go through it one more time, but if this fails to make the game come out, give up and try again; or try a different kind of solitaire!

This is not an easy game to play, mainly because you have to keep your wits about you at all times. If you forget that one pile is building upwards and the others downwards, you are in big trouble. You may also find it easier to place your king piles elsewhere than between the sails, as this arrangement can be confusing.