Learn to Play Freecell the Dreamagic Way
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Lesson #3: Playing Easy Games

This lesson will take you through dealing with easy games. Mostly, we will guide you on how to recognize an easy game, then give you a list of numbered games with which you can practice. You should be able to readily solve all of these before moving on to the next lesson.

First of all, what is an easy game? How does one recognize that a game is easy? Finally, what difference does it make if a game is easy or not? Let's deal with the last question first.

Let's assume that you, like the author, play Freecell as a matter of relaxation and perhaps to sharpen your wits for whatever lies ahead for you that day. In that case, once you recognize that a game is easy, just about any approach will lead to a complete solution on the first try. That does NOT mean you can forget about the basic principles outlined in the previous lesson. Always paying attention to these principles will serve you well when you encounter more difficult puzzles. As is said, practice makes perfect...in ANY game.

This defines what constitutes an easy game...one that just about any approach will lead to a solution...as long as you pay attention to basic principles. How then, to recognize such games at the outset?

On the positive side, look for the presence of a lot of Win-Win sequences. These are sequences of plays that advance the game but end up with at least as much...if not more...free space at the end. At first, you may have difficulty recognizing these, but, again, practice makes perfect. Note games where many the lower ranked cards are close to the top of the columns, as these too can be fairly easy. Games where playing cards to home will create holes can also be quite easy.

On the negative side, check to see that there are not a lot of "problems" to be overcome. These will be explained more fully in the next lesson. For now, suffice to outline what these might be.

Below are a number of games we have determined are fairly easy. The green buttons will simply bring up that numbered game for you to attempt to play. It's a good idea to replay these games repeatedly until you can solve them at least once. It will also acquaint you with the fact that there are usually many paths to success, especially with the easier examples.

The yellow buttons will bring up the opening board arrangement along with a hint or two on how to proceed. Finally, the red buttons will start an automated version of the game, with a few cards played in a manner that we would choose to start that particular game. That display is completely automated, with a pause of about three seconds between plays with an animation of the path the played cards must take. If it doesn't start immediately, click the mouse on the board. You can pause and restart the game at any time by hitting the escape key. You can restart the demonstration from the beginning at any time by hitting the delete key. The backspace key will repeat the last move. Those automated displays will only proceed through some of the starting moves that we recommend taking. However, remember almost all Freecell games have many routes to success, so don't just try to follow our lead, but develop your own instincts.

Please send your comments and suggestions to the author, Willy Chaplin at:
willy@dreamagic.com (Willy Chaplin)