Copyright 1989-90 By
Olathe, KS 66062
What Is It?
Midnight Oil, also known as "La Belle Lucie" and "Three Shuffles
and a Draw", is one of the few solitaire card games that offers
both challenging play and a reasonable chance to win. It is also
highly addictive; once you get into it, you'll be "burning the
midnight oil" more often than not.
Midnight Oil requires 256K of memory, EGA or higher graphics
capability, and a Microsoft-compatible mouse. If you are not sure
you have the right hardware, just run the program. If there's a
problem, the program will let you know. Incidentally, the text-
mode-only version of Midnight Oil is still available on request,
for those of you without EGA graphics.
Using The Mouse
The mouse pointer will appear as a white arrow with black edges.
In general, the left button is used to select the object being
pointed to (a card or a button), while the right button is used to
exit menus or prompts.
If you have a three-button mouse, the middle button will blank the
screen. This can also be accomplished by pressing the left and
right buttons simultaneously.
How To Play
Midnight Oil uses a standard 52-card deck (no jokers). To begin
the game the deck is shuffled, then dealt face-up, one card at a
time, into seventeen piles of three cards each. The last card is
placed by itself as an eighteenth pile. These piles are also known
The object of the game is to move all of the cards from the
eighteen fans into four new piles, arranged by suit, in order from
Ace (low) to King (high). These four destination piles are known
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as the "foundations". Only the top card of each fan is available
In addition to moving cards from fans to foundations, cards can
also be moved from one fan to another, building down in suit. In
this way submerged cards can be freed up for play to the
foundations or to other fans. Once a fan becomes empty (which will
be represented my a dashed line where the fan was), no moves can be
made to that fan.
When you have made all the moves you can, from the fans to the
foundations and from fan to fan, the remaining cards in all the
fans may be reshuffled and re-dealt in the same manner as at the
beginning of the game (three cards to a fan). In all, the deck may
be shuffled three times (once to begin the game, and twice more
during the game).
At some point during the game, you may draw one submerged card from
a fan and play it on any valid foundation or fan. It is generally
better to save this draw for as long as possible.
Along the right side of the screen are a number of "buttons", which
may be selected by pointing and clicking with the mouse. The
Shuffle: This button will initiate a shuffling of the deck, in
which all of the cards in the fans are picked up, shuffled,
and then re-dealt. If no shuffles are left, the program will
display the message "No shuffles left".
Draw: When you select this button, you will be asked to select a
pile (fan) to draw from. When you select a fan, it will be
displayed in the lower right corner of the screen, and you
will be allowed to select one card from that fan to draw. If
you change your mind and decide that you don't want to draw a
card after all, press the right button to exit draw mode. If
you select a card, it will be removed from the fan and
displayed in the lower right corner of the screen, and you
will be prompted to select a destination. Point to the
desired fan or foundation and press the left mouse button to
move the drawn card to the selected fan or foundation.
Peek: This is similar to a draw, in that an entire fan will be
displayed in the lower left corner of the screen, but you are
only allowed to look, not touch. To exit peek mode press the
right mouse button twice.
Options: This button brings up the options menu, which you can
use to set your preferences for the following:
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Sound: Select "Off" to disable the beeps, click, and various
other noises the program makes. Select "On" to enable the
Auto Mode: When this is set to "On", the program will attempt
to move cards from the fans to the foundations
automatically. This will relieve you from having to worry
about missing obvious moves, so that you can concentrate
on strategy. When this is set to "Off", the game is
essentially in manual mode, and you will need to make all
moves to the foundations by yourself. This option is
provided for those traditional-minded souls who might
consider auto mode to be cheating.
Background Color: Click on the up-arrow and down-arrow to
step through the available background colors, until you
find one that suits your tastes.
Once you've set things to your liking, you may click on the
"OK" button to save your preferences to disk, or on the
"Cancel" button to exit the Options menu without changing
Undo: This button allows you to undo the last inter-fan move,
that is, the last move from one fan to another. You cannot
undo moves to the foundation, a shuffle, or a draw.
Help: This button will bring up several pages of help screens,
which you can view by clicking on the "Next" or "Prev"
buttons to move from page to page. When you are finished
reading the help, click on the "Done" button to exit.
New Game: This button will end the current game, update your
statistics, and start a new game. Note that the stats will
only be updated if you have a score greater than zero. This
allows you to evaluate the layout of the cards and, if you
don't like what you see, to begin a new game without having
it count against you.
Quit: Click on this button to exit the program. If you have a
score greater than zero, your statistics will be updated and
displayed briefly before returning you to DOS.
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Midnight Oil keeps track of the score (the number of cards you've
moved to foundations) and the number of shuffles and draws you have
left during the course of the game. Also displayed are the total
number of games you've played, the number of games you've won
(expressed as both a number and a percentage, and your average
score. At the end of each game, the statistics are written to
disk, either in the default MO.DAT or in the data file specified on
the command line. The data file also contains the preferences you
set in the options menu (sound on/off, auto mode on/off, and
To specify a data file on the command line, start up Midnight Oil
with the following syntax:
This allows several different people to use the same copy of
Midnight Oil on the same machine, yet keep separate statistics for
each person. For example, suppose three people (Tom, Dick, and
Harry) played the game at various times on the same machine. They
could each easily keep personalized data files, containing their
scores and preferences for sound, auto mode, and background color.
Tom would use his data file by typing:
Likewise, Dick and Harry could have data files called DICK.DAT and
HARRY.DAT. Note that the "DAT" extension could be "SCR" or "HGH",
or whatever, as long as it is three letters or less.
Admittedly, this method is not the most elegant, but it is
workable, and perhaps a future version of the game will provide an
easier and robust approach.
Midnight Oil Documentation Page 5
Midnight Oil is shareware. As such, you can play it, copy it, and
give it away as you wish. In fact, you are encouraged to
distribute the program to friends, family, and strangers alike.
This includes distribution via electronic bulletin board systems
(BBS), user's groups, and disk-distribution services. All that I
ask is that the program remain in an archive consisting of:
MO.EXE ............. the program
MO.CD1 ............. card definition file #1
MO.CD2 ............. card definition file #2
MO.DOC ............. documentation
REGISTER.PRN ....... registration form
Midnight Oil is shareware. If you enjoy the game, please support
it. Registration is only $5, for which you will receive the latest
version of the program (without the shareware "reminder" message).
As a bonus, the balance of the distribution disk will contain
"goodies" (other games and utilities I've written that you may
enjoy). Some of these products are:
Poker Squares: A text-mode card game that is also known as Poker
Solitaire. In this game you pull cards one at a time from
the deck, placing them on a 5 x 5 matrix, trying to form the
best poker hands in the five rows and five columns. The game
can be played on color or monochrome systems, and will use a
mouse if one is available. The top ten scores are kept on
Strategy: This is a solitaire card game that requires skill,
luck, and concentration. It runs in color or monochrome, and
requires a mouse.
Concentration: A text-mode version of the classic memory-
stretching solitaire. It features 8 selectable card backs,
mouse support, runs on any monitor, and keeps the top ten
scores on disk.
Barrel Dodge: A simple, fun arcade game that tests your skill in
avoiding the plague of rush-hour traffic: those nasty orange
barrels. The program runs on any monitor and keeps a list of
best scores on disk.
Advance Notice: A handy utility to help you keep track of family
birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. It is meant
to be included in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, to let you know
ahead of time what events are coming up.
Mah Jongg Tile File Manager (MahMan): This is a utility program
for the shareware program Mah Jongg by Nels Anderson. It is
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a "front end" for Mah Jongg, allowing you to select a tile
set from a list of available tile files. Makes it easy to
manage a large collection of tile sets.
I am adding new programs all the time, so I'll probably send along
whatever I can fit on one disk, using the newest programs first.
As you can see, you get a lot of fun and useful software for just a
little dough. Please consider registering.
You may print out the registration form by entering the following
command from the DOS prompt (with your printer connected and
COPY REGISTER.PRN PRN
Then just fill out the form and send it, along with cash, check or
money order, to:
Olathe, KS 66062
Upgrading To Version 2
For those of you upgrading from an earlier version of Midnight Oil,
the transition should be simple. The only major new requirement is
EGA graphics. The data file (MO.DAT) created by version 1.XX
should work with the new version without any problems. The program
has been substantially rewritten for version 2, and a few features
have been dropped, a few changed, and a few added. All in all, you
should feel right at home.