Cruel is a fun solitaire card game who's popularity reached it's zenith in the mid 1990s when Microsoft released a version of Cruell with it's 'Microsoft Entertainment Pack' that was sold for the Windows operating system. The game shares many similarities with older solitaire card games such as La Belle Lucie and Shamrocks. It is a pile based game, and the player may pick up and redistribute the cards in play as many times as he likes during the course of a game.
Cruel is played with a standard 52 card deck. The four aces are pulled from the deck and used to begin the four foundations to the right. The remaining 48 cards are dealt into 12 piles of 4 cards each.
When playing Cruel, you are only allowed to move the top card in any given pile. You may move it between the piles, if you can build down the pile you are moving the card to by suit. You can also move the card to the foundation if you can build up the foundation by suit.
The ability to shift the cards and redistribute the piles is what makes cruel an interesting game, and a bit of a puzzle to solve. At any point, you may pick up all the cards in the piles, and deal them back into piles of 4 cards each, keeping them in the same order you picked them up in. the effect of this is to shift the cards over, and put them back into 4 cards piles. This can change the top card in any given pile, and the way it changes the cards is completely predictable once you understand how it works. You can do this as many times as you want, but if you aren't carful, you may end up with the cards in some order where shifting them no longer does any good.