Advanced Sakhmet Solitaire 101
For starter points on the game, please refer to Docktor's article from Week 9!
LOST DESERT - Can't seem to get that golden Sakhmet Solitaire bonus trophy? Do thoughts of rearranging cards into four neat little Ace Piles drive you insane? Well, fear no more! In addition to the game guide presented in the Neopian Times a little while back, I'd like to present a few tips and tricks that may make Sakhmet Solitaire a little easier to swallow!
1) Your Goal:
We all know the ultimate goal of Sakhmet Solitaire is to clear all the cards out from the columns (at the bottom of the screen) into four Ace Piles (at the top). But what do you do to get there? My method involves less focus on getting the cards to the Ace Piles, and more on revealing as many cards in the columns as possible.
Let's say you have a black 8 in the columns. You have a choice of putting a red 7 in the column next to it or the red 7 in your stack pile (at the top left) on top of the black 8. Which do you choose?
I'd choose the one in the columns - the reasoning behind this, especially if you're playing three-card draw, because you'll cycle through your cards in the stack pile three times, is that not only will you be able to see what cards are available in the stack pile and be able to figure out a strategy from that, the more of the unknown cards in the columns you uncover, the better your chances are of clearing the board. I don't know if it's the code that Neo uses or my dumb luck, but this tends to stay generally true to the point where I can "predict" where a card will turn up. It's eerie!
2) The dangers of playing too quickly:
It's mentioned in the editorial concerning Sakhmet Solitaire that you want to use up the blank spots you create in the columns with differing colours of Kings. Quite true. But even MORE true is the danger of playing too quickly. There's two types of this I'll discuss:
a) Missed Opportunities:
If you're playing Three-Card Draw, this isn't too much of a situation in many cases. If you skip over a potential play in the first round, you can usually catch it in the second round and make things right. But if you slip up on something in the second round, the third round will be your last chance to make it right, so things tend to get a little sticky. And if you miss on the THIRD round... well, good luck to you. It's not impossible to fix, but it gets really chancy. The lesson here is to just make sure that you've exhausted all of your possible moves before clicking the stack pile to get a fresh deal.
Another thing that may happen if you're not careful is the "self-block". What this is is when you put too many cards in the Ace Piles when they'd be better used in the columns. This is especially good to keep in mind, because unlike the Solitaire found on a Windows computer, once a card's been played in the Ace Piles, you can no longer retrieve it. So you've got to be careful with what you put there.
As an example, let's say that you have a lot of red cards turning up, and you've managed to fill the Diamond and Heart Ace Piles up to the three card of each. The Clubs and Spade Ace Piles are both empty at this point. Now let's say that on your next draw from the stack pile, you draw a 2 of Clubs. So now you're stuck! You don't have an Ace of Clubs to play so that you can add this card into the Ace Piles, nor do you have a red three in the columns to place it on! So be sure to keep the cards in the columns as long as possible until you're SURE that it's safe to play them in the Ace Piles!
3) The Three-Card Draw Shuffle:
I'll mention now that this technique is only good for Three-Card Draw mode, because there's no way to replicate it in One-Card Draw. Sometimes you'll have situations where all the cards you draw in the stack pile and all the cards in the columns are all of the same colour, which is a massive problem. If stuck in this case, if possible, in the second round play one card from the early draws in the stack pile (ie, take one card away and play it somewhere in the first or second draw of the stack pile). What this will do is shift all the card placements in the stack pile over by one, which means that for all of the draws following the one you're on, you'll be dealing with new cards as opposed to the stale deck that you had from the first round. It won't always work out, but at least you'll have a better chance at avoiding the dreaded "below-50" games, where you actually LOSE money playing the game, because you weren't able to cover its cost. Gotta love this game!
4) An extra 860 NP in your pocket:
I cannot stress the importance of this enough - an extra 860 NP in your pocket will help buffer you against losses from things like Scratchcard playing and those dailies that just suck your NP dry sometimes!
It goes like this:
When you win a game, the prize is 860 NP (and sometimes an item).
When you gain more than 2500 NP in a day, you cannot gain any more NP.
However, when you pass 2500 NP, you're no longer charged 50 NP for the games you play.
Now, the interesting thing here is that when you finish a game in the NEXT Neo-day, you win whatever Neopoints you would have normally from that game, but it's NOT counted in your daily total! So what I often do is win a game after having passed my 2500 NP limit for the day, and then wait until the next day to cash it out! BAM! 860 extra NP, and you still have your full 2500 NP to gain for the day. I'm lovin' it!
And that's all for now - this isn't a foolproof guide, and some techniques just come to you with practice. Happy gaming!