Historical playing cards are witnesses of the past, icons of the social and economic reality of their time. On display in museums or stored in archives, ancient playing cards are no longer what they once were meant to be: a deck of cards made for playful entertainment. This project aims at making historical playing cards playable again by means of the well-known solitaire card game "Freecell".

Historical Tarot Freecell 1.1

Tarot Freecell is a fully playable solitaire card game coded in HTML 5. It offers random setup, autoplay, reset and undo options. The game features a historical 78-card deck used for games and divination. The cards were printed in the 1880s by J. Müller & Cie., Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

The cards need to be held upright and use Roman numeral indexing. The lack of modern features like point symmetry and Arabic numerals made the deck increasingly unpopular.

Due to the lack of corner indices - a core feature of modern playing cards - the vertical card offset needs to be significantly higher than in other computer adaptations.

Cards are dealt out with their faces up into 8 columns until all 52 cards are dealt. The cards overlap but you can see what cards are lying underneath. On the upper left side there is space for 4 cards as a temporary holding place during the game (i.e. the «free cells»). On the upper right there is space for 4 stacks of ascending cards to begin with the aces of each suit (i.e. the «foundation row»).

Look for the aces of the 4 suits – swords, sticks, cups and coins. As soon as the aces are free (which means that there are no more cards lying on top of them) they will flip to the foundation row. Play the cards between the columns by creating lines of cards in descending order, alternating between swords/sticks and cups/coins. For example, you can place a swords nine onto a coins ten, or a cups jack onto a sticks queen.

Placing cards onto free cells (1 card per cell only) will give you access to other cards in the columns. Look for the lower numbers of each suit and move cards to gain access to them. You can move entire stacks, the number of cards moveable at a time is limited to the number of free cells (and empty stacks) plus one.

The game strategy comes from moving cards to the foundations as soon as possible. Try to increase the foundations evenly, so you have cards to use in the columns. If «Auto» is switched on, cards no other card can be placed on will automatically flip to the foundations.

You win the game when all 8 columns are sorted in descending order. All remaining cards will then flip to the foundations, from ace to king in each suit.

2015/02/27 v1.0: Basic game engine
2015/02/28 v1.1: Help option offering modern suit and value indices in the upper left corner
2015/03/21 v1.1: Retina resolution and responsive design

  • project/historical_card_game.txt
  • Last modified: 2017/09/15 22:24
  • by weibelth