Introduction

This is Freecell Solver version 4.14.x, a program that automatically solves most layouts of Freecell, and similar Solitaire variants as well as those of Simple Simon.

Freecell Solver is distributed under the MIT/Expat License ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_License ), a free, permissive, open-source license.

Note that the Freecell Solver source and Win32 binary distributions do not provide a graphical user-interface (GUI) and are primarily meant to be used by Solitaire researchers and software developers. If you’re looking for a suitable GUI based on Freecell Solver, see our links at:

I hope you’ll enjoy using Freecell Solver, and make the best of it.

— Shlomi Fish ( http://www.shlomifish.org/ )

Building

Read the file INSTALL.txt for information on how to do that.

Usage

The program is called "fc-solve". You invoke it like this:

fc-solve board_file

board_file is the filename with a valid Freecell startup board. The file is built as follows:

It has the 8 Freecell stacks.

Each stack contains its cards separated by a whitespace and terminated with a newline character( it’s important that the last stack will also be terminated with a newline !). The cards in the line are ordered from the topmost card (= the card right on the virtual table and the one with the most cards placed on it) in the left, to the bottommost card in the right (= the card with no other cards placed on it).

A card string contains the rank of the card followed by its suit. The card number is one of: A,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K. Alternatively, T can be used instead of 10. The card suit is one of: H,S,D,C (standing for Hearts, Spades, Diamonds and Clubs respectively).

Here is an example board: (PySol/Microsoft board No. 24)

4C 2C 9C 8C QS 4S 2H
5H QH 3C AC 3H 4H QD
QC 9S 6H 9H 3S KS 3D
5D 2S JC 5C JH 6D AS
2D KD 10H 10C 10D 8D
7H JS KH 10S KC 7C
AH 5S 6S AD 8H JD
7S 6C 7D 4D 8S 9D

Visually, it appears as this:

Freecell Deal No. 24

As can be seen, the four of clubs (4C), five of hearts (5H), etc. are at the bottom of the stacks and the start of the lines in the board input.

And another one: (PySol board No. 198246790)

KD JH 5H 7D 9H KC 9D
3H JD 5D 8H QH 7H 2D
4D 3S QC 3C 6S QS KS
10C 9S 6D 9C QD 8S 10D
10S 8C 7S 10H 2C AS
8D AC AH 4H JC 4C
6H 7C 4S 5S 5C JS
AD KH 6C 2H 3D 2S

Starting from Freecell Solver 3.14.x, a stack can also start with a leading colon (":"). This is to allow input from states as output by Freecell Solver using the -p option.

You can specify the contents of the freecells by prefixing the line with "FC:" or with "Freecells:". For example:

FC: 3H QC

will specify that the cards 3 of hearts and queen of clubs are present in the freecells. To specify an empty freecell use a "-" as its designator.

If there’s another "FC:" line, the previous line will be overridden.

You can specify the contents of the foundations by prefixing the line with "Founds:" or with "Foundations:" and then using a format as follows:

Founds: H-5 C-A S-0 D-K

Hence, the suit ID followed by a dash followed by the card number in the foundation. A suit that is not present will be assumed to be 0. Again, if there’s more than one line like that, then the previous lines will be ignored and overridden.

The program will stop processing the input as soon as it read 8 lines of standard stacks. Therefore, it is recommended that the foundations and freecells lines will come at the beginning of the file.

The program will process the board and try to solve it. If it succeeds it will output the states from the initial board to its final solution to the standard output. If it fails, it will notify it.

For information about the various command-line switches that Freecell Solver accepts, read the USAGE.txt file in this directory.

To solve Simple Simon boards append --game simple_simon right after the "fc-solve" program name.

The board generation programs

Several programs which can generate the initial boards of various Freecell implementations can be found in the "board_gen/" sub-directory. Read the README.txt file there for details on how they can be compiled and used.

In any case, they can save you the time of inputting the board yourself.

Some complete examples for layouts

A layout in the middle of the MS Freecell deal No. 109 solution:

Foundations: H-6 C-9 D-2 S-0
Freecells:  QS  3S  2S  KD
: 8H 3D
: KS QD JC
: AS 8D TD 7D JH TS 9D
: 7S 6D
: 5S
: KH QC JD TC 9H 8S 7H 6S 5D 4S
: KC QH JS TH 9S
: 4D

Similar, but with an empty Freecell:

Foundations: H-6 C-9 D-2 S-0
Freecells:  QS  3S  -  KD
: 8H 3D 2S
: KS QD JC
: AS 8D TD 7D JH TS 9D
: 7S 6D
: 5S
: KH QC JD TC 9H 8S 7H 6S 5D 4S
: KC QH JS TH 9S
: 4D

Likewise, only without leading colons where unnecessary:

Foundations: H-6 C-9 D-2 S-0
Freecells:  QS  3S  -  KD
8H 3D 2S
KS QD JC
AS 8D TD 7D JH TS 9D
7S 6D
5S
KH QC JD TC 9H 8S 7H 6S 5D 4S
KC QH JS TH 9S
4D

How to read the solutions

The file USAGE.txt covers all of Freecell Solver’s command line options, but it may be too exhaustive for casual users. As a result, here is a shorter tutorial. First of all whenever invoking fc-solve one should add the flags -p -t -sam -sel which will make the solution easier to understand. Then, assuming the board could be successfully solved, one will be given the layouts in the solution (in the format given above) vis-a-vis with the moves as the string. Note that the indexes of the resources given in the moves are 0-based rather than the more natural 1-based notation.