Marshalling Yard

Key words: Classification yard, marshalling yard, patience, R game, shunting yard, solitaire

Marshalling YardAbstract: The Marshalling Yard (US: Classification Yard) is one of the few intelligent patiences (US: solitaires). Future options are continually shifting, depending on the moves chosen.

About the game: The aim of the game is to complete the rows of each suit from Ace to King. This is accomplished by moving (or shunting, US: switching) cards to empty spaces. Cards can only be placed directly behind their predecessor of the same suit. Consequently, spaces behind Kings are dead ends (or side tracks).
   If the aim is reached within three rounds, the game is won.
   A short hint regarding strategy: it pays off to think a few moves ahead for each of the available moves! The order of the moves chosen can strongly affect the development of the game.


  • The game is written in the R language. It is assumed that R is alreadt installed (see Installation guideline).
  • The game is available from the URL In your R console, you can load the game by writing: load(url(""))
  • Once the game is loaded, it can be played by typing Bhf().
  • The function has three parameters, none of which is necessary. The first (language) is the language (so far, English, German and Norwegian are implemented), provided as a text string [eg as Bhf(language="English") or Bhf(language="deutsch")]. The second (seed) is the seed provided to the random number generator, in case you wish to play the same game several times [eg as Bhf(seed=24)]. The third (cex) is the font size, in case the automatic size adaptation does not give satifying results [eg as Bhf(cex=2)].
  • Once you have started the game, a new R window opens, which displays the shuffled cards. The size of the window may be changed manually (with the mouse). Font size will be adjusted to the new window size during the following move (unless the parameter cex has been specified).
  • In order to play, you press the number key that marks the empty space to which you would like to move a card.
  • No help function is available for this R function. Instead, you may press "H" during the game in order to display a help text.
  • If you play the game by pressing random numbers, you will win in appx. 10% of the cases. However, if you do some more thinking, you can achieve at least a threefold increase in the winning rate.
  • Enjoy!