La Belle Lucie is a difficult game with an unusually attractive opening tableau. There is an equal mix of luck and strategy.
The opening tableau ensures that all cards are visible at the start of play. The 52 cards are arranged in 18 stacks. Seventeen are initially shaped like a fan (this is why it's a Fan type solitaire), each containing 3 cards. The final stack contains only the single remainder card, but in play it behaves just like the other stacks.
Only the top card of any stack is currently in play. Whenever an Ace becomes available, move it up to the foundation, which is then built up in suit.
Cards can be moved onto the next higher rank, of the same suit. If you make a stack empty, then you cannot place any other cards there.
When you get stuck, you may redeal by clicking the redeal button (top left, beside the foundation stacks). You are allowed up to two redeals per game. By rearranging the cards, redeals can allow more progress, by removing blockages. But because they are random (the cards are shuffled before a redeal), your ability to progress after a redeal is largely dependent on luck.
- Since all cards are visible after the deal, the basic strategy is to think before doing moves.
- More an observation than a strategy: a redeal is not always of much help, since it will give fewer fans than the initial deal.
- Since cards only can be moved once (because 7 of Clubs only can be moved to 8 of Clubs), the cards under moved cards will be blocked until the redeal or until the cards above are moved to the foundations.
- It is always safe to build on a fan that contains only one card.
- It is likewise always safe to build on a king, since the cards under it is blocked anyway (as long as the "king rule" is not in effect).
- It is also safe to build on a sequence of two or more cards in suite (like 7 of Clubs on 8 of Clubs), since the cards under it is blocked anyway.
- It is always safe to move cards to the foundations.
- Before moving a card consider if the destination card can be moved first (e.g. before moving 7 of Clubs over 8 of Clubs, consider if it is possible to move 8 of Clubs over 9 of Clubs).
Here are some variations of La Belle Lucie:
- In Trefoil, the aces are immediately transferred to the foundations and the remaining 48 cards are shuffled and dealt in sixteen fans of three to begin the game.
- In Super Flower Garden, fans are built regardless of suit, which makes it easier to win.