Player's Guide to
Solitaire Virtuoso is an omnibus solitaire program with the capability
of playing a wide range of solitaire games, modifying the rules and
parameters of existing games, starting from a random or specified
initial position, and saving solutions. The program starts with a
small splash screen, which disappears if you click on it or select a
solitaire game from the Open Games or Closed Games
menus under Solitaire.
(We will designate all of the menus using boldface, with slashes
indicating submenus). We will also use the term game to mean a kind of solitaire and
deal to mean a random initial
shuffle of the deck.
Games are classified into two groups:
Games gives a list of games in which the whole deck (or the only
portion being used) is dealt face up at the start
Games gives a list of games in which only part of the deck is
dealt, or some cards are dealt face down
After you select a solitaire game (e.g. Klondike or Spider), you can
change some program parameters (e.g. number of columns) in many games
by choosing from the Parameters
menu. Not everything works yet; in particular, foundation
games are not supported yet for multiple decks. You can
also change some general rules from the Rules menu (more on these in a
Once you have the game and rules you want, you need to deal a random
set of cards by selecting from the File menu:
selects a five-digit random seed based on the seconds of the day (up to
deals the next seed in sequence from whatever was dealt last (or the
five-digit seed which came up at the program start)
allows to you enter a deal number up to 4 billion or so
redeals the current deal (allowing you to restart the current deal)
goes backwards one deal number
The current deal number is shown in the lower right corner.
Some games (eventually all) will allow you to enter your own deal
through a text file which looks like a FreeCell deal:
JH AC AD 8H 7D KD 9D 7S
3C 4D 9C TC 3D 6H TS 4S
7H JS KC 3S 5H 4H 6D TH
8C 2H 9S QD 2S 7C TD QC
QS 9H 5S 6C JC KH KS 2D
AS 4C 5D 5C AH 8S 6S QH
8D JD 2C 3H
Once you have any deal showing, Select Options/Read Deal,
select the filename, and click File/Same Deal
again. You can also enter a deal with the mouse
through the menu Show/Card Tracker;
this is still experimental, but should work in most Open games.
Changing the Rules and Game Parameters
Parameters/Building Rule allows
you to change how the foundations are built: Up in Suit (e.g.
Klondike), Regardless of Suit (Beleaguered Castle), Up in Alternate
Parameters/Moving Rule allows
you to change how cards are moved between columns: Groups in Suit
(Spider), Groups in Alternate Colors (Klondike/Spider)
Parameters/Packing Rule allows
you to change how cards are packed on columns
Parameters/Shuffle Method allows
you to choose one of three shuffle methods:
Standard Demo was the original method, used in many of the individual
Riffle is the current method, using an experimental system simulating
an actual set of riffle shuffles.
MS deal numbers is a slot reserved for producing deal numbers
compatible with Microsoft FreeCell (it does not do so yet)
Parameters/Number of Decks allows
you to play with more than one deck for certain games.
Using more than two will probably make the program crash unless you
reduce the number of suits (Spider: 1 Suit, for example, uses 1 suit
and 8 decks). Games with foundations are not supported yet
for multiple decks, but you can play with up to 8 suits.
Parameters/Number of Ranks allows
you to play minigames (Montana is especially
good) by reducing the number of ranks below 13.
Parameters/Number of Suits allows
you to play with up to eight suits: Stars (T in notation) and Moons are
blue suits; Bells and Hourglasses (G) are green suits.
Parameters/Number of Columns allows you to make the tableau up to 20 columns wide. The screen will expand as needed.
Parameters/Number of Rows allows you to make the tableau up to 12 columns deep.
Parameters/Number of Depots (Freecells) allows you to increase or decrease the number of freecells in games such as FreeCell, Eight Off, or Penguin.
Parameters/Ephemeral Freecells allows you to make some of the freecells temporary, so that they vanish after one use.
Parameters/Number of Redeals allows
you to increase (to unlimited if desired) or decrease the number of
times the wastepile can be turned over and dealt as a new stock.
Parameters/Stock Deal allows
you to change the way in which cards are dealt from the stock: one or
three at a time (e.g. Klondike), or one to each column (Spider).
Parameters/Storehouse Size allows
you to change the number of cards dealt to the storehouse in games such as Canfield and Beehive.
Parameters/Accordion Leap Size allows
you to change the leap distance in Accordion from 2 to 12.
Playing the games
Most of the games work on a click-to-select system: click to
select the card(s) you want to move (this shades the card in gray), and
then click where you want it to go. Clicking on the top of the
stock causes the next card or set of cards to be dealt according to the
current rules. Clicking the selected card a second time
will unselect it. The program understands the rules of the
game you are playing and will select a group of cards automatically if
appropriate, so in Klondike, for example, you can click anywhere in a
column and the entire movable group will be selected.
Clicking with the right mouse has multiple functions, depending on the
game. It will send a card to its foundation pile if possible,
otherwise to a freecell if possible, otherwise to an empty column if
possible (see individual articles on the Virtuoso page). Right mouse click also forces a card in Accordion to leap instead of slide.
Undo allows the last discarded
card to be returned to its location, or the most recent column move to
be reversed. Eventually every action except shuffled
redeals (as in Montana) will be reversible, but at the moment you
cannot undo plays to foundations and deals from the stock.
The program is set up to save won games by default, but this
works only for discarding games (Nestor, Black Hole, Giza, etc.) where
the solution is recorded by listing the cards discarded. For most
games, the solution in proper notation (by designating column moves as
in FreeCell) is saved in a text area, visible by selecting Options/Solution
Recording. This solution can be saved to a text file with
a standard name (three letter game prefix and seven digit deal number)
by clicking Options/Write Solution. Eventually this will be
transparent, and you will be able to turn automatic solution recording
on or off by default.
This article is copyright © 2015 by Michael Keller. All rights reserved. Most
recently edited on January 31, 2015.