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In freecell, I make the same number of moves as the best player, but she wins the game in a 1.5 minutes while I need 5.5 minutes. Is there a trick to play fast?

  • I've never done it in 2 minutes – Walter Clark Jul 21 '19 at 12:34
  • The OP is surely talking about some electronic version of the game, which could be considered off-topic. But since speed is based on strategy, it could be considered on-topic. – ikegami Jul 21 '19 at 12:46
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    And “winner of my game” is confusing if your talking about the solitaire game Free Cell. Assuming you are talking about a competitive computer version of the game; the question could be improved by simply asking for strategies on how to solve Free Cell games faster. – GendoIkari Jul 21 '19 at 15:10
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My best time in Expert in FreeCell in Microsoft's Solitaire Collection is 1:04.

I think I obtained that time in one of the "Daily Challenges", so it may not have been a "real game". That said, I have reached close to that time on other occasions. In fact, while trying to obtain a screenshot of the score screen to include in this post, I believe I have gotten my second best time ever.

Time: 1:16; Best time: 1:04

(I play all games to completion now, but I abandoned some games early on. My goal is to get the win rate to 99%, which requires playing another 2692 games.)

Rather than spending time pondering my next move, I prefer to experiment and use Undo with impunity. Undo can be performed rapidly by pressing Ctrl-Z. (Holding allows to quickly undo multiple moves, and even reset the board.)

Additionally, the discovery of "Single Tap To Move" option has greatly sped up my game significantly (although my best time was made without it this setting off).

"Single Tap To Move" option

With this option, I regularly get times around 2:00, which I would have considered exceptionally good before.

As for my actual strategy? I really wouldn't know how to describe it.

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My fastest game thus far has been 1:08 on a regular game. I play all games at medium difficulty and I currently have an average time of 3:08, with a 99% win rate. I am over 2,500 games right now. Since my time has gotten better, most games now are played in under 3 minutes.

My strategy is, before starting the game, identify the location of all the aces. Of course, those cards have to be uncovered first. Make getting the aces out a priority. Then work on the 2s, etc.

Hint: It helps to clear a row, if possible; that allows you to move more cards, and it gives you a chance to move a bunch of cards off another row.

On the more difficult games, I have to think out some moves, but I often let the cards play themselves. That is, I just see what cards are available to play and use those, and go from there.

Be mindful of playing patterns. There are certain types of moves of the cards you will use over and over. Be aware of how you are playing. I've never developed names for these moves, though I started to do so once, but just be aware of the type of moves you are making. It helps your awareness, and it helps you better understand your options.

I hope that helps.

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