Unlock the secrets to becoming a master at the 40 Thieves Card Game, a classic solitaire variant that challenges your strategic planning and patience. Whether you’re a seasoned player looking to refine your strategy or a newcomer eager to delve into the world of card games, our comprehensive guide will navigate you through the rules, strategies, and tips needed to conquer this intriguing game.

Introduction to 40 Thieves Card Game

The 40 Thieves Card Game, also known as Napoleon at Saint Helena, is a popular solitaire game played with two decks of cards. The objective of the game is to build eight foundation piles starting from the aces up to the kings in the same suit. Sounds simple? Think again! This game requires keen insight and strategy to complete.

Basic Rules and Setup

  • Decks: Two standard decks of 52 cards each.
  • Layout: Consist of 10 tableau piles, 8 foundation piles, and a stock pile.
  • Objective: Create ascending sequences (Ace to King) in the foundation piles with cards of the same suit.

How to Play

  1. Begin by dealing 40 cards in 10 tableau piles (4 cards per pile, all face up).
  2. Only the top card of each tableau pile is available for play.
  3. Move cards from the tableau to the foundation or within the tableau piles to expose new cards.
  4. You can only place a card on another tableau pile if it’s one rank lower and of the same suit.
  5. Use the stock pile to add cards to the tableau when no more moves are available.
  6. The game is won when all cards are correctly placed in the foundation piles.

Strategies for Winning

Mastering the 40 Thieves Card Game involves not just understanding the rules but developing effective strategies. Here are some key tips:

  • Prioritize freeing up tableau spaces for more maneuverability.
  • Plan several moves ahead, considering the sequence of play that will expose more cards.
  • Be cautious of the stock pile; unnecessary use may hinder your progress.

Common Variations

The beauty of card games lies in their adaptability, and 40 Thieves is no exception. Common variations include:

Variation Description
Josephine Allows for any card to be moved onto an empty tableau space.
Forty and Eight Features a stockpile dealt one card at a time, contrasting the traditional three-card deal.


Becoming proficient in the 40 Thieves Card Game is both gratifying and mentally stimulating. By grasping the fundamental rules, adopting strategic gameplay, and practicing regularly, you’ll enhance not just your ability to win but also your analytical thinking skills. So grab a deck (or two) and set off on your journey to mastering this captivating card game.