Canfield Solitaire

Some people know Canfield Solitaire as Klondike, and there is another very good solitaire game called Klondike, which often goes under the name of Canfield.

No one knows how this mix-up in names happened. However, by whichever name you call them, you are sure to enjoy both games.

On this page you will find how you play Canfield:



Space: Moderate

Level: Challenging

Cards: One standard 52-card deck

Players: One



Shuffle the cards. Count off 13 cards face down into a pile. Turn the pile up and put it on your left. This is your 13 pile, or stock pile.

Deal the next, or fourteenth, card face up. Put it out in the middle of the table, since it is to be a foundation card on which other cards will be played. Suppose this card is a Five. The other 3 Fives, when you come to them, will then be the other foundation cards.

The object of the game is to play as many cards as possible onto these foundation cards.

Canfield Solitaire Layout


Put the next 4 cards face up in a row between yourself and the foundation card, as in Fig. 1. We shall call these 4 cards the layout cards.


Count off 3 cards in a single group, from the top of the pack remaining in your hand. Put them on the table, all face up in a pile. In this way, the third card from the top of the pack becomes the top card of the face up pile.

If you can play this card onto a foundation card or on to one of the 4 layout cards, do so, in this way:

On the foundation cards, always build up, using cards of the same suit as the foundation card. If a foundation card is the Five of Hearts, for example, the next card that goes on it is the Six of Hearts, then, as the game goes on, the Seven of Hearts, and so on.

Keep on building up to the King, and then go right on with the Ace, Two, Three and other higher cards until you have played all 13 cards of the suit – if you can.

On the 4 layout cards, build down, and alternate (take turns with) the cards according to colour – a red eight on a black Nine, then a black Seven on the red Eight, a red Six on the black Seven, and so forth.

When you get an Ace at the bottom of a column of cards, you can keep right on building down. Put a King on the Ace, a Queen on the king and so on.

The 13 pile. Whenever you can, move the top card of the 13 pile to one of the foundation piles or to one of the columns building down from the layout cards. Do not build up or down on the 13 pile. Just get rid of its cards as fast as you can.

Continue playing by counting off 3 cards at a time from the pack in your hand and playing the third card if possible.

If you play it, you may also be able to play the card under it, and the next cards too, if there are places to put them.

You can move onto the foundation piles the top cards from the 13 pile, the layout cards, or the face-up cards dealt out from the pack. Always watch for a chance to do so.

While you are playing, you can move cards from one column to another of the layout cards, but they must always build down on a column to which they are moved, and a whole sequence must always be moved at once. A sequence in Canfield is 2 or more cards in a column, each one number lower than the one on which it rests, such as an Eight with a Seven and Six built down on it.

If there is a single card in a column and you move it, it must build down on the column to which you move it. For example you can take a black Eight and put it on a red Nine in another column. But if cards have been built down on the black Eight to form sequence, you must move them too, along with the Eight. Watch for a chance to do this, since by moving sequences whenever possible, you may make space to put out more cards. If you play or move all the cards in one column, leaving an empty space, you can fill the space only with a card from the 13 pile, as long as there are cards in that pile. When the 13 pile is used up, you can fill a space with the top card of the face up cards on the table.

Continue until all the cards in your hand have been dealt face up in a pile on the table. Then turn them face down and deal them off again in groups of 3.


To win Canfield Solitaire

Keep on until you have either won the game by getting all the cards onto the foundation piles, or can’t play any more cards.

Then count the cards in the foundation piles to get your score.



Many players follow the rule that cards on the top of the four foundation piles may be played back into the four layout columns of cards, whenever they can be used in building a sequence. This is a good variation that adds interest.

Some people play that the cards may be dealt out from the cards may be dealt out from the pack in your hand only three times, after which the game ends. Others turn up the cards 1 at a time instead of in groups of 3, and go through the pack only once. There is no strict rule. You can play whichever way you want to.