British Constitution (solitaire)

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This article is about the card game. For the foundational laws of the United Kingdom, see Constitution of the United Kingdom.

British Constitution (or simply Constitution) is a solitaire card game which is played with two decks of playing cards. It is a card game with a high chance in winning.

First, the kings, queens, and aces are removed from the stock. The kings and queens are discarded, while the aces are placed in a row to form the "Government" or the foundations, which are built up by suit to jacks.

Below the aces, four rows of eight cards each are dealt. This forms the tableau (also known as the "Constitution").

The cards available for building in the foundations should come from Row 1 (also known as the "Privy Council") only. Furthermore, cards in Row 1 can be built down by alternating colors. Available for building in Row 1 are the top cards of the piles in Row 1 (initially containing only one card per pile) and the cards from Row 2. Only one card can be moved at a time.

When a card leaves from either Row 1 or 2, the space it leaves behind must be filled with any card from the row immediately below it, not necessarily the one immediately below the space. The space, in essence, is pushed downwards until it reaches Row 4 (the "People Row"), where it is filled with a card from the stock. This is the only way cards from the stock enter the game. Furthermore, cards from the stock cannot be played directly to the foundations. If no more spaces appear in Row 4 with cards still undealt from the stock, the game is lost.

The game is won when all cards are built in the foundations up to jacks.

Lady Cadogan's rule set specified that as the tableau is being set up, one Queen of Diamonds and the eight kings are put above the foundations; the Q being "The Sovereign," the black Kings being the "Bishops," and the red Kings the "Judges," all placed above the foundation. The other Queens are discarded. Since these nine cards clearly play a purely decorative role in this game, most modern rule sets bypass this, which explains the reason the kings and queens are discarded completely as mentioned above.

See: solitaire terminology