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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Collecting, Yr 19
The Neopian Times Week 59 > Articles > Heilley's Best-selling Guide to Cheat!

Heilley's Best-selling Guide to Cheat!

by scriptfox

GAMES ROOM - Hey, hello there! What you hold in your paws is the biggest, most popular guide to Cheat! around--the one that would--be Cheat! Champions from all over Neopia are trying to find. Lucky you! Anyhow, down to business.

Heilley is the name, Cheat! the game, and mine the fame... whatever. So let's start this little guide by getting rid of a few myths:

Myth One: Winning at Cheat! means you must be good at cheating.
Reality: Wrong! Winning at Cheat! means that you're the first person to get all your cards down. Actual cheating is something I do only when I'm in a tight spot--or sometimes to start off a game (but more on that later). The key to winning at Cheat! is not cheating, it's knowing how to put all your cards down honestly before anyone else can.

Myth Two: If I have a lot of cards, it means I'm behind.
Reality: Not necessarily! When it's your turn to play you can play ALL of a particular value. The way to judge how far behind you really are is to see how many different KINDS of cards you have. Don't say "I'm behind by X cards" say "I'm X turns away from finishing." (Yeah, positive thinking lesson thrown in free there--lucky you!) Say you've got eight cards left. You could be two turns away from finishing, or up to eight. It all depends on how many different kinds of cards you have. If you're good, you should be no more than three or four turns away at that point.

Myth Three: It's too hard and not worth my time.
Reality: Wrong! Lots of people have found out that they can be good at it, and you'll be a Cheat! Champion in no time after finishing this. And it's certainly worth your time. The cash prizes involved make this one of the best paying games out there. And that's not mentioning the battle cards you get as random events for winning a round and the trophies that you can fill the house with!

If you're reading this before you ever tried to start playing Cheat!, then I've managed to debunk those myths before you ever really believed them. But if that's the case, I also need to fill you in on some technical details first.

Actual Game Play: players take turns playing from one to four cards, and declaring the value. Succeeding turns can't play a value more than one off of the last value played. (E.g. if someone plays four, the next player does a three, four, or five). If the stack is empty, you can play cards of any value. (Dropping cards on an empty stack is an easy way to win honestly!) If you think someone cheated (and it happens CONSTANTLY, trust me!) then say so. If you're right, they get the stack. If you're wrong, you get the stack. Whoever plays all their cards first wins.

Neopoints, what you pay, what you gain: You have to pay fifty Neopoints every time you start a round of Cheat!. When you hit that "click here to start a new round" button, you just plopped down fifty points to the house. To get it back, you have two routes. The first is to successfully accuse a house player of cheating. Rewards start out low and build up. There are seven levels. On the first level, you get eight points, and it goes up by four points each round. So, in order, you get: 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32 points every time! It doesn't take a genius to see that your game quickly becomes profitable, particularly on the upper levels. In fact, you can lose a round of Cheat! and still make money. Winning, though, provides another nice little jackpot. You get 160 points for the first level, and it goes up by 80 points each time: 160, 240, 320, 400, 480, 560, 640! In other words, just the last round of Cheat! alone (where most of the money is) can net you over a thousand points! Are you drooling yet? Good, here's a napkin...

Players: There are nine house players. They're listed on the Cheat! page, from the worst (Capara!) to the best (Spectre). You start your first round with the three worst players. Each succeeding level, you drop the worst one (so you only face that pretender Kyrii in the first round) and get the next hardest one added. They DO have different playing styles and personalities, too. For example, Chuffer Bob, Brucey, and Agent 00 Hog love to accuse players of cheating. Kalora Kau is a more cautious player, which can make her formidable, but both she and Princess Fernypoo are likely to go for big cheats towards the end. The beginning players cheat a lot more often than the tougher ones. And it goes on....

So now that you're getting an idea of what you face and what's at stake, what are the strategies to a winning game? There are a lot of tips here, so read carefully:

Tip One: play cards of a single value first, save cards with multiples for later play. This means that if you have only one three and you have three twos, you'll play the three as soon as possible and save the two's for later. It lets you "come from behind" to win--you'll go from four cards to none in one move quite often.

Tip Two: punting. If the player immediately before you drops a card--or cards--on an empty stack, and you can't play, then feel free to accuse him or her. The worst that can happen is that you get the stack, which you can drop right back down. In effect, you wind up skipping a turn. The trick to getting an empty stack, though, is to catch the player opposite you cheating, or being lucky enough to have someone else accuse them of cheating. (Having players accuse each other of cheating is a win-win situation almost all the time. Whatever the case, the stack is cleared and you've got less reason to worry about getting it.)

Tip Three: No matter the stack size, if the player before you drops something you can't play, and you think there are good odds of them cheating go ahead--accuse them! Particularly with beginners like Branston, they likely are. I wouldn't give you as good odds on Spectre, but even he can get caught cheating fairly often. (I love seeing him bare those big jetsam teeth while he shakes an impotent flipper when he's caught!)

Tip Four: If another player is getting close to the end, there are several ways to deal with it. First, try accusing them of cheating. Your odds that they are cheating are better (fewer cards means they're less likely to have what's needed). Second, don't accuse the player immediately before them of cheating--even if you think they are. This point is more debatable, but in general it works. The key is that if your opponent with the few cards gets an empty stack, they can play anything! Making sure they have a stack to play on means they're forced to fewer options, which makes it more likely they're cheating and also means there is a larger penalty for them when they're caught.

Tip Five: Don't overdo the cheat accusations! Trust me on this one. Getting caught with the stack a couple of times is going to happen in every round, but accusing all the time on the slightest whim is going to get you in big trouble every time. You'll see this in practice with the other players. Those that I named earlier as accusing people of cheating a lot are usually the ones that will wind up with most of the deck in their hands before the game is over. You can accuse more at lower levels because you're more likely to be right, and even if you're wrong you can get away with cheating easier. Remember whenever you accuse someone of cheating, be sure to consider the possible penalty for losing--if it's a small stack (the cards that they just played are all that's there, preferably) and the card values are ones you already have, then you're not risking much.

Tip Six: Don't cheat unless there is something to gain! Remember what I said about counting your cards by turns? OK, so when you cheat, do it to either get out of a tight spot OR do it to get rid of those 'single' cards. Playing two or three single cards in one turn gains you turns, unless you're caught. On the other hand, cheating by dropping down cards of a value while leaving others of that value in your hand is useless!.... Don't believe me? Read the next tip...

Tip Seven: Always play all of the cards you have of a particular value. Remember, the goal each turn is to have fewer turns to go to finish. You count how many turns it takes by how many different kinds of cards you have. If you play only two of your sevens and still have the third in your hand, you have WASTED your turn! You've still got to get rid of that remaining seven, and you could have played it honestly (I'm assuming) already. Just follow this one tip and you're ahead of all the house players--they can't seem to figure this tip out, and it's the main advantage you have over them. They'll fumble around trying to play one or two cards when they could drop a whole batch.. Then they try to make up for it by dropping a whole load in a big cheat. Pathetic... don't be like them!

Tip Eight: The Squeeze. This works when you have a lot of cards from three consecutive values. For example, if you have all four cards for six, seven, and eight, then drop your four sevens on the stack. Assuming no one accuses you of cheating (and gets the stack for themselves), you have just guaranteed that the next player is going to cheat--because all of the cards that they'd need to play are in your hand or on the stack! A perfect squeeze like this doesn't happen too often, but you can still get close.

Tip Nine: There are four reasons a house player will accuse you of cheating. One: the one after you will accuse you more often so they don't have to deal with what you played. Actually, I'm just assuming that's why they do it, but it's happened often enough that I always tend to figure that's the case. Two: they just like accusing people of cheating and you were handy. Three: they have some cards of that value. Four: Revenge! Yes, revenge. I don't know how often I've accused a player immediately before me of cheating. I lose (expected, it was a punt) and I'll drop the exact same cards back down onto the stack that I just picked up... and they accuse me of cheating! It's funny, but it's also something to remember. I've lost games because a player had it in for me and kept accusing me of cheating so often that the player after me played all their cards.

Tip Ten: This is actually a basic tip. If I were sorting these in any particular order, a bunch of those earlier tips would be advanced, but you're getting them as I remember them, so deal with it... anyhow, the tip here is that when you have cards of a particular value and someone plays all four cards of that value, you KNOW they are cheating--so accuse them (unless other strategic reasons come into play). This applies to any time you can take the number they claim to play plus the number you have and come up with five or more. Also, don't forget the stack. If you've played it and you know it's still on the stack--or in another player's hand--then that's as good as being in your hand. Just don't be a smarty-pants and try to develop a perfect memory of where everything went. After a couple of rounds, cards will have shuffled in ways you can't be sure of.

Tip Eleven: Value manipulation. If the player opposite you plays a value that you have, then you will be able to play when it comes you turn, assuming no one accuses anyone of cheating, which is saying a lot at times. Think about this one for a minute and you'll see what I mean. If they play a four, the player immediately before you has to play a three, four, or five... and whatever they play connects back to four! Near misses are much the same way, if the player opposite you plays a five, and you have a four, you've got about two in three odds that you'll be able to play that four. (Since the player before you can play four, five, or six and only the six is one you can't handle). Oh yeah, one more note on values... even when a player is caught cheating, and the next player can play any value, you'll find them sticking to roughly the same range of values that was being played. It's weird but true. I've done it myself often enough and the others do it too. I predict that you will too.

Tip Twelve: When you DO cheat... there are two types of cheating: for gain, and to get out of a tight spot. I've already mentioned about to gain, now for the tight spot. When you're getting out of a tight spot, it's best to play only one card, and make it a value that's been played immediately before without being called a cheat. It's your best shot, although you'll still get caught way too often, particularly on the higher levels.

Tip Thirteen: Don't try to accuse players of cheating when they have a lot of cards unless you're sure. There are two reasons. One, with more cards in their hands they're more likely to have whatever it is they say they do, and Two, they're less likely to win even assuming that they are cheating... sort of the don't kick someone when they're down theory.

Well there you have it. These are all the tips you need to get into the Cheating groove. If you're as good as me, you'll find your room so full of trophies you won't know what to do with them all, and you may even find your bank account filling up so fast you'll not know how to spend it... nah, maybe not, but it'll still be profitable.

Huh? What's that? Thirteen tips is an unlucky number? Picky, picky. OK, for all you superstitious people out there, I'll give you another tip:

Tip Fourteen: Have fun!!

Author's note: although I consider myself to be only an average Cheat! player, and I think many of these tips have been given before, Heilley is convinced that she's the hottest thing since charbroiled ribeye steak, so I'm sending them in for her. I do hope they're helpful!

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