~ 8 Minutes

Baker’s Dozen Solitaire

If you love playing different versions of solitaire, you should try Baker’s Solitaire. While it’s an easy game, it requires players to pay focus to win at it. Note that with most other solitaire variants, they depend on skill more than luck. And this game isn’t different. With some strategy, you can find yourself winning even when the chances are a bit low. But if you want to try Baker’s Dozen solitaire, you must first know its rules and basic play. Today, we talk about how to play this game and give you some strategies to win fast and easily. Read on to learn more.

Baker’s Dozen Solitaire is a patience game that requires only one player. It uses the standard deck of 52 cards arranged into columns and rows as we shall explain. Baker’s Dozen is used in English to refer to a group consisting of thirteen things. And because this game is made up of 13 rows, hence the name Baker’s Dozen.

This variation has a similar objective to all other classic solitaire variants. You’re only required to fill the suits with cards in ascending order, that is, from Aces all the way to Kings. You do this by creating four foundation piles. If you’ve ever played Simple Simon or Good Measure Solitaire, you’ll find this game pretty simple as it uses similar rules. Players love it because they can see all cards at the beginning as they are played face up.

How to Play Baker’s Dozen Solitaire

As we’ve already said, Baker’s Dozen features four foundations. Players build 13 tableau piles, each with four cards. All cards are visible from the start. However, once you’ve played, the bottom card in each foundation goes as face down while the three others remain as face-up cards. Note that when creating a new row, make sure that it overlaps the previous one. But there’s a special rule about Kings in this game. In that when it is available, and you dealt it to a column, it should be placed on top of that column, which means other cards should be underneath.

The four foundations piles are usually empty when the game is starting. Your role will be to fill them as you play, each suit building one foundation. Cards are distributed randomly apart from the Kings, as we have already explained. But, to avoid blocking your play, move them to the game’s bottommost position as soon as you can.

You play this game by moving cards into the 13 columns starting with the bottom. If a card on the bottom is completely exposed, you can play with it. Carefully analyze the cards available and move them into a new foundation pile or a column. However, remember to respect a card’s rank when moving cards into a column. Bear in mind that while suit doesn’t matter, cards are to be built in descending order from Kings to Aces. If for instance, you have a 6 of spades, you can only build it into a 7 of clubs, and an 8 of hearts goes to a nine of diamonds, like that.

An ace starts an empty foundation. Once it is available, move it to that pile to start it then build it up in an ascending manner. For example, if you’ve started with an ace of hearts, the following card should be a 2 of hearts, then a three of hearts, and so on. Then, another ace of a different suit will start a new foundation. For instance, it could be an ace of spades. However, note that the difference between this game and other solitaire variations is that you can’t fill empty spaces in the tableau with cards. Therefore, be careful when removing the last card from a pile. Although these empty spaces can come in handy when you want to arrange cards in the correct order. Also, note that when you’re building cards into the foundations, some cards can block your play if you build on top of them. Therefore, be strategic about them.

Baker’s Dozen Solitaire Rules

Cards are arranged in ascending order from Ace to King. The suit doesn’t matter. However, observe the rank. Only place a card that is of a higher rank than the card you’re playing onto.

All cards are dealt face up and evenly to all thirteen columns. Once cards are dealt up, kings are placed to the bottom of their respective columns.

Players build foundations in suit going upwards, from ace all the way to a King. For instance, you can place on an ace of clubs a 2 of clubs, then a 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and so on, up to K.

You build columns downwards any way you want. You don’t have to respect their suit. For instance, any seven can go into a six of hearts.

One can play with the top card on any column to another foundation or column. Cards are moved one card at a time. But, you can move full or partial builds too.

You can’t fill empty columns as they should remain unfilled until the game ends.

Any king available on the top or middle of the game should be taken to the bottom before you begin playing. If you have two kings mixed into a column, place them on the bottom, ensuring that you don’t change their order.

If cards on the tableau can’t be played on the foundations, you can build them up without respecting their suits.

Baker’s Dozen Solitaire Tips

You win this game when you get all cards onto the foundations. If you’re successful, you will end up with 13 cards on all four foundations, which are ordered in different suits in ascending order. However, if you are unable to move or you get stuck, you lose this game.

So what are the chances of winning at this game? Well, like Free Cell solitaire, it’s always possible to win Baker’s Dozen if you make the right moves. Plus, the special rule that allows moving kings on top of their respective columns makes the game more winnable. However, like any other solitaire, there are difficult layouts, and in this case, they are those that start with many of the aces and have their lower numbers blocked by cards with higher values. Thankfully, with a little planning, you can win even with these challenging layouts. Here are some tips to improve your gameplay;

Pay attention to the ace that is visible in a column since you can’t cover it with any other card. Rather, use this card to build your foundation piles. If you have any card which is unexposed in the tableau, continue playing with it to help you search for the next card of a lower rank and different suit to build a sequence. For example, you can place an 8 of spades into the 9 of diamonds and not on the 9 of spades. Bear in mind that you can only play with the top cards, and columns that get empty can’t be filled with a card or sequence.

It’s, therefore, wise that you be careful when removing cards in a pile. Keep them in place if there’s still a chance of moving other cards into it. Additionally, when starting, Kings are moved to the pile’s bottom of their suit. Thus, you have more chances of winning with the four kings at the bottom of the four piles rather than if you have one king on a single pile. Always aim at freeing bottom card piles that have higher ranks, including Kings, Jacks, and Queens. If you build your pile with these cards, you’ll have a better chance of winning the game.

Again, we recommend playing on to a pile with a single card or that which has a single build that is continuous. Also, try to build foundations evenly. It’s not wise to place a five when all other foundations haven’t been filled with at least three cards.

Final Thoughts

Solitaire has many variations. However, some eventually lose their fame after some years. But Baker’s Dozen Solitaire isn’t among those games. It has been popular for many years probably because it is engaging and has simple rules. Plus, it has various versions, including Good Measure and Spanish Patience. If you are ready to start playing Baker’s Dozen, you can find it in Mac OS and iPad as it is included in Solitaire Whizz. However, you can also play using physical cards.

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