Monte Carlo Solitaire is a patience game that involves matching card pairs. Like most solitaire variants, it uses the standard 52 deck of cards where players remove matching cards from the tableau. Note that the name of this card game is not in any way related to a city or a casino game. In other parts of the world, it is also called Weddings of Good Neighbors.
Layout and Aim
Players are required to remove all cards from the tableau by pairing them with matching ones. To win this game, one must discard all tableau cards to the foundation in pairs.
The game starts with a grid of 5 by 5 cards arranged to form a tableau, meaning that you will have 25 cards in your tableau. Then the other cards make up the stockpile, which is used for play later on. These stock cards are placed at the bottom right.
How to Play Monte Carlo Solitaire
Your goal is to remove card pairs into the tableau. You can only remove cards of a similar rank, that is, both are Kings, or 8s, or 2s, etc. Also, cards can only be discarded if they are next to each other vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Cards can be of different colors, but their rank must be similar.
Once you remove all pairs, the cards are consolidated, then you can now use stockpile cards to form a new grid of 25 cards. Redealing helps you fill gaps in your grid. Shift cards up towards your layout’s top left to redeal. Or you can move all your cards to the left, beginning from where one row starts to where the previous row ends. This pushes the gaps to the layout’s bottom, which are then filled with stockpile cards if they are available.
You’ll do this repeatedly until you run out of cards that you can pair. For instance, if you remain with 2-4-2-4, you can’t discard these pairs, which forces you to end a round. However, if you manage to discard all card pairs, you win the game.
Also, note that when you remove a pair, it creates a gap in the grid. But the cards separated by this gap can’t be discarded as they’re not considered to be next to each other.
Monte Carlo Strategy
Although Monte Carlo is a game of luck, having a strategy can improve your gameplay. For example, when you have alternative moves, try determining the effect that surrounding cards will have after redealing. Ask yourself, once you redeal, will the gap close such that a pair is completely separated, or will the cards be brought next to each other? You can also deliberately avoid discarding a pair if you think it can help you free a separated pair. For instance, you may leave two Kings if they can help unlock King-4-King.
Monte Carlo Variations
Monte Carlo Thirteens- rather than removing card pairs with the same rank, you discard Kings and pairs that add up to 13 in value. There’s also Monte Carlo 14, where discarded pairs total to 14.
Fourteens- uses a similar layout as that of Monte Carlo. But, rather than removing adjacent pairs, you remove those in the same column or row.
Aces Pairs- players discard cards of a similar suit instead of rank and are in the same row or column.
There is also another variation of Monte Carlo that has 20 cards instead of 25 on the grid. However, this is rarely played.