About Penguin Solitaire
Screen shot of the game Penguin from Pretty Good Solitaire.
Penguin is a popular game of the FreeCell type. It is related to Eight Off. Like many games of the FreeCell type, it can be won nearly every time. However, impossible positions are much more common in Penguin than in FreeCell.
Penguin is played with one deck. Seven cards are dealt out to seven tableau piles. The first card dealt to the first pile is the most important card, called the beak. The other three cards of the same rank as the beak are dealt to the foundation piles and are to be built up in suit (wrapping King to Ace as necessary), until each pile has 13 cards. The beak card begins the game buried underneath six other cards in the first tableau pile and must be freed so that the fourth foundation pile can be started.
All of the cards start out the game face up, making Penguin an open game. The tableau piles are built down in suit, making the game more like Eight Off than FreeCell. In addition to the tableau piles, there are seven cells that can hold one card each, just like the cells in FreeCell. Penguin differs from many FreeCell type games in that you can move legal groups of cards regardless of how many empty cells there are. Therefore filling up all the cells doesn't restrict card movement as much as other games.
Play consists of moving cards to the foundation and moving cards to the cells in order to build runs in the tableau. It is important to get to the beak card at the bottom of the first pile soon, but it is not necessarily the first thing you want to do.
Strong players can win Penguin nearly every time, although there are a few impossible positions. Penguin was invented by David Parlett - see his page on Penguin.
Penguin is one of the 800 games in Pretty Good Solitaire, one of the 30 games in Most Popular Solitaire, and one of the 16 games in FreeCell Wizard, and one of the 101 games in Goodsol Solitaire 101.