Does anyone know how to play forty thieves? I'm not having any luck at all



  • First see if the aces are in the deck or on the board. Then see if any 2's are available on the board or buried. Since you need to build sequences it's good to know what is and isn't available. I usually try for only one of the suits, not both of the same suit. The Undo button is part of the strategy and shouldn't be ignored. If you see lots of 4's on the bottom row that's a good sign. 4 is easy to build on. But really, you just play until you are purple and suddenly you see a tactic that works. sometimes the rows get long and I need to scroll to see all the cards. But, you'll get there. And now and then, you can run the whole game. Real pro's do it all the time, I'm just glad to beat myself on occasion. I'd play a single game a couple times to see if you missed something or could maybe do something different. It is a challenging game.

  • thamk you

  • One other thing. I never play for time. You miss too many oportunities. After you get the hang of it, then you can rush. I just replayed the 40 thives game of the day and ran the game. I didn't even get close the first time. :blush:

  • Sometimes even if you can put a card up you should keep it down below. I store smaller cards like that until more aces come along.

  • @5624David, game num. #1561829450 is a game finisher if you call yourself as said it is a very,very challenging game but I finished 19th at 6:36 in time , since play mostly for the fun of the challenge not concerned about time, it takes practice and undo button is a life saver , practice, practice , have fun. Welcome to Greenfelt Solitaire Games.

  • Thanks for that one @riverrat55...that was very winnable.

  • Here is another tip if you haven't figured it out yet. If you clear a column, you have more flexibility to move cards around, so once I clear a column, I try not to move a card to fill the space. Sometimes I find it advantageous to leave more than one column free if possible. When I have more than two columns free I try to focus on reducing the pile as much as possible, but most of the time leave at least one column free.

  • @5624DAVID As JackofHearts says, it's almost impossible to win without keeping at least one free column for use in maneuvering cards. Two is even better - at the cost of burying a card in the discard pile that might have been critical if moved into one of the free columns. That second free column, however, will create far more opportunities to move cards than a single free column does.

    You should be aware that the odds of winning Forty Thieves are around 6%, according to the descriptions of the game I've seen. That's about 1 in every 17 games. On the Green Felt site, my win rate has been much lower, while my win rate in other versions of the game - e.g. the one on my iMac - is right around 6-7%. (I have yet to discover why this is.) Therefore, you should expect to lose most of the Forty Thieves you play here.

    The High Scores table will give you at least some indication of which games can be won, although it is not 100% because it may be that no one has won a game yet that is actually winnable. Besides, many of the games that have been won were completed by repeatedly playing through the same game, either partially (using Undo) or wholly (using Replay) to determine a winning sequence of plays. Some players - but certainly not all - consider this to be cheating, because playing the game with physical cards instead of a computer would make it an excruciatingly arduous endeavor to maintain a record of the exact sequence of cards, both in the original deal and in the play of the game, that would permit a player to move back and forth through the stock while trying out various strategies. Not impossible - but suitable perhaps only for persons of a very specific temperament. Victory is still far from assured, even using this technique; most Forty Thieves games cannot be won by any means. I don't know how much of an increase in your winning percentage you can expect from this, but I expect that some sadistic Computer Science professor at Cornell University or MIT has probably assigned it to his senior students at some point.

    As you've probably inferred already, I don't use either Undo or Replay. Not because they're evil, but because it's just not important enough to me to justify the expenditure of time and energy. You can play quite a few Forty Thieves games in half an hour if you just play straight through, and that's my preferred mode of play. If I really want to win (and who doesn't like to win?) I play Free Cell instead!

  • I can 't imagine trying to play 40 thieves with an actual deck of cards!!! The advent of computer solitaire (with the logical addition of undo/redo) made some of these games fascinating puzzles - at 5 percent or less solve rates, they seem much less attractive without the ability to go back and try other strategies. The best example I can think of is Spider, which appears to be impossible at first glance, but is almost always solvable. I was surprised to find out that Spider has been a popular game through the years with physical cards.

  • David, thanks for the question. I learned a great deal from all the answers. I hope you did as well.

  • Thanks Jackofhearts on leaving one free column, it has helped me immensely on the great tip.

  • Very winnable at 16th place in 5:50 232 moves , starts out slow , watch out for diamonds in beginning on far right column.

  • 1st Place Forty Thieves time: 6:52 Moves:228 Game No. # 849110240

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