How To Play Josephine Solitaire

By - 11/28/2022

Josephine Solitaire is almost identical to forty thieves, but with one key difference: cards in a built sequence can be moved together, whereas, in a game of forty thieves, only one card can be moved at a time.

Number of Cards: 104 (two decks)

Length: Long 

Difficulty: Medium

Family: Forty Thieves

Type: Simple packer 

How to Play Josephine Solitaire

Josephine solitaire is a mix of other solitaire games, especially forty thieves.

So, if forty thieves is your go-to game, then you’ll learn Josephine solitaire in minutes. There’s only one change: you can move more than one card at a time, making the game slightly easier. 

The object of the game, as with all solitaire variants, is to move all playing cards from the tableau piles to the foundation piles in ascending suit order. You’ll need to account for the stock pile, too — use all cards and place these in the foundations to win.

You can expect to win approximately 1 in 4 games (25%) and more once you adopt a good strategy. Read on for tips!

Types of Piles

Foundation piles: These are the empty piles at the beginning of the game. You’ll build them up as you go, usually starting with aces.

Tableau piles: These are the workable piles on the table. They are shuffled and dealt before the card game starts.

Stock pile: This pile is the remainder of the deck that hasn’t gone into the tableau piles.

Waste pile: As you empty the stock pile, the cards you don’t place in the tableau make up the waste pile.


To start a new game of Josephine solitaire, shuffle two decks of playing cards.

Place down 10 piles of 4 cards face up — these will be the tableau piles. The remaining cards should be placed face down and off to the side, this is the stock pile. 

There will be eight foundation piles — these must begin empty. You’ll build these from ace to king in ranking suit order once the game begins.

If you’re playing online or on an Android, iPad, or another device, then the game will already be set up for you. 


The object of the game is to move all cards from the tableau and stock pile to the eight foundation piles in ascending order.

So, you may begin one pile with an ace of spades, another with the ace of diamonds, and so forth. But you must follow suit when building each foundation pile. 

As only forty cards are in play from the beginning, you have many cards to build up in the tableau columns before completing the foundations. There are no reshuffles or redeals, and only card can be revealed and placed at once from the discard pile. 


Josephine Solitaire game rules may seem difficult if you’re used to playing classic Klondike solitaire, but you’ll get the hang of them.

The rules are as follows:

  • Foundations must be built-up in suit: increasing in rank (e.g., ace of hearts to king of hearts)

  • Tableau piles are built down in suit: for example, a black 7 of spades can be placed on top of a black 8 of spades.

  • You can move groups of cards: if you have a properly built sequence, you can move these together.

  • You can place any card in an empty tableau column: once a tableau pile is empty, any card or sequence of cards can be moved onto this pile.

What is a good strategy for Josephine Solitaire?

You can have all the luck in the world when playing solitaire, but without a good strategy, you’ll struggle to win a game.

Empty one tableau column as soon as possible.

We recommend emptying one tableau column as soon as possible. 

You can place any card or built sequence onto this pile — you can either store kings or use it to play more cards from the stock and discard piles. This will also stop you from getting lower-value cards stuck in the tableau columns.

Pay attention to low cards trapped by high cards.

If you notice low-value cards towards the bottom of your tableau column, avoid building in that tableau. 

You don’t want to get these cards stuck as they can be difficult to move, especially when you’re still in the early stages of building up a foundation pile.

Use an empty column to help free up cards (by placing sequences) and avoid spamming the stock and discard pile, as this may lead to these lower-value cards becoming trapped.

You don’t have to place a card from the stock.

When you run out of moves, you’ll reach for the stock pile. But sometimes, placing the card from the stock onto the tableaus is the wrong move.

Even if you can place a card, ensure it does not cause any lower-value cards to become stuck. You don’t need to play a card just because the move is available. Cycle through the stock and discard to find the best move. 


Are Josephine Solitaire and Spider Solitaire the same?

No, but spider solitaire and Josephine solitaire share similar qualities. The main visible difference, however, is that only the top card in the tableau piles is face up in spider solitaire. 

What are some games similar to Josephine Solitaire?

Similar games include forty thieves, spider solitaire, and Freecell

How many kinds of solitaire game are there?

There are more than 500 variations of the solitaire card game, including standard klondike and others with their own unique rules to make the game more challenging.

Is solitaire good for seniors?

Solitaire is great for seniors, it helps improve cognitive function, stimulates the brain, and is a great activity for enjoying some alone time.