# An Un-Originally Named Guide to Sakhmet Solitaire
*by amicaverbi*
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Hi there! I'm Borealis and I've written this article to teach you all about my favorite game: Sakhmet Solitaire. Solitaire is a little difficult to learn, but--at least in my opinion--really fun once you can play. It is also one of a few Neopian games, like Cheat! and Snow Wars, where you don't have to compete against other Neopians to get a trophy.
You can actually get two different trophies for Sakhmet Solitaire: one for winning games--that's the one you don't have to compete with people for--and one for a high score. But unlike other games, in Solitaire your high score is the total of all of your scores--so it doesn't matter that much if you can't score very many points in a game as long as you play a lot of games. I'll be focusing primarily on the "wins" trophy, though. There are three levels of this trophy: bronze, silver, and gold. Here's how you get them: Bronze: win two games. Silver: win five games. Gold: win two games in a row.
Now, one really important thing to remember in Sakhmet Solitaire is: don't get frustrated! You will lose, you will lose a lot, and you will lose most of the time. I'm a fairly good player, but I only win three percent of the time--and that rate will only go down the more I play (since I'm far more likely to lose than win; every loss will simply make that percentage smaller).
It doesn't matter if you lose. You still get however many points you scored added to your total. Now let's talk about something else that's rather important to most of us: Neopoints. It costs 50 NP to start a game of Sakhmet Solitaire, but I almost invariably profit on it. You can only win a maximum of 2,500 NP in one day (actually, you can go slightly over that because if you overshoot 2,500 in your last NP-earning game, you'll still get the NP). You can see how many points you've gotten today in the upper right-hand corner of your Solitaire game. Once you've earned your total for the day, you can continue to play games to rack up points, you just won't get any NP--or be charged 50 NP for the games. So Solitaire isn't exactly a big earner. As another note, if Solitaire is the day's featured game, you will be rewarded twice the NP, but the points will still count the same: so if you score 160 points in a game, you'll get 320 NP but 160 points added to your total. I've talked a lot without actually explaining how to play the game. I'll remedy that now. Your strategy starts before you even begin a game. On the page where you start the game, you will be asked whether you want to play one-card draw or three-card draw. In one-card draw, you draw one card at a time and go through the deck once. In three-card draw, you draw three cards at a time and go through the deck three times. The primary difference in three-card draw is that you can only play or even see the top card, the third card you drew. Once you play it, you can see and/or play the card below it, the second card you drew. Personally, I prefer three-card draw: it allows me to go through the deck thrice, so if I miss a card once, I can get it on the next draw instead of having to go through half the deck for it. But you may want to try out both options before settling on a way to play. When you start your game, you'll see:
- "Collect Winnings" at the top of the page.
- A skinny grey table with some information at the top of the screen.
- A deck of cards at the top left of the game board.
- An empty slot beside the deck of cards that looks like an orangy, monochromatic version of the design on the deck.
- Four empty spaces with green rings in the middle at the top right of the gameboard.
- Six piles of cards with all but the top card face-down (the cards are random).
Clicking "Collect Winnings" will end your game and give you the NP (or, if you've reached your limit, the points) you've earned. The information in the table will read: "Draws Remaining," "Game Points," "High Score," and "Points Today." The meaning of the "Draws Remaining" part depends on whether you're playing one-card or three-card: if you're playing one-card, it'll tell you how many cards are left in the deck; if you're playing three-card, it'll tell you what round you're on and how many draws of three cards you have left in that round. By round, it means what time you're going through the deck: "First Round" is your first passage through the deck; at the end of the first round you can go through deck two more times. Game Points is how many points you've scored that game (I'll explain the scoring in a moment). High Score is the total points you've scored. Points Today is, as you may have guessed, how many points you've scored today. Then you have your deck, which is pretty self-explanatory, and the pile beside it: the "Stack Pile." That's where all the cards you draw go. When you're finished with the deck, you'll be able to see the spot under it: if it has a yellow circle divided in two, you can go through the deck again; if it has a red circle with an X in it, you can't draw any more cards (obviously you'll only be able to go through the deck again if you're playing in three-card mode).
The four piles at the other side of the screen--the ones with the green rings in the middle--are the Ace Piles. You score by placing cards into the Ace Piles, but you can't just put any cards in there: you have to put them in order, and you can only put cards of one suit on each Ace Pile. The order is ace, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, jack, queen, king. Placing an ace on the Ace Pile gets you 20 points; every other card placed on an Ace Pile is worth ten points, except for a king: completing an Ace Pile will give you 85 points. To win the game, you have to complete all four Ace Piles, placing every single card in the deck on an Ace Pile. Oh, and a couple notes about Ace Piles: cards can't be removed from them, and it doesn't matter which Ace Pile has a suit.
Below the deck, Stack Pile, and Ace Piles you have the Column Piles. This is where most of the activity in the game will take place. You can only move the top card on a Column Pile (I say "top" because it's on top of all the other cards, but it's actually at the bottom of the screen, so don't get confused). As with the Ace Piles, you can only place cards in order on the Column Piles, but with the Column Piles the order is descending rather than ascending, and there's another twist: you have to alternate the colors of cards in the Column Piles, so if you have a red card you can only place a black card on top of it and vice versa. All the cards that you place in Column Piles will be visible, but you can only move the top card; and once you remove all the visible (face-up) cards from a Column Pile, you'll be able to see and play the top face-down card.
There are two cards that can't be played on any other card in the Column Piles: kings and aces. Aces can't be played on any other card because they should go right into the Ace Pile; and kings can only be played on empty Column Piles. To empty a Column Pile, you have to remove all the cards in it: then you'll see a rectangle similar to the bottom of the Stack Pile, and that's where you can place your king.
Now you know what everything is, I'll explain how to play and a little strategy.
When you first start the game, before you draw any cards, you should move the cards you already have in your Column Piles as much as you can. To move a card, just click on it and then click where you want it to go. Move any aces you have into the Ace Piles, and then any other cards you can into the Ace Piles. Then begin to stack the cards in your Column Piles. By "stacking" I mean moving cards onto other cards so that you can access the face-down cards below them. Once I've stacked all the cards I can from my beginning set up (and by beginning set up I include the original cards drawn), I'll start drawing cards from the deck. When I draw a card, I basically go through the following mental flow chart:
1. Can I stack it?
- If yes: does that open up an opportunity to stack any other cards from the Column Piles on top of it?
- If yes: can I stack the next card in the deck? If yes, restart from one.
- If no: draw again, restart from one.
For strategy: if I have to choose between stacking two cards (let's say I have two red eights and only one black nine to put them on) I'll usually give any cards in the Column Piles priority over cards in the Stack Pile, and when I have to choose between cards in the Column Piles I'll go with the one in the smaller pile because that way I have a better chance of getting a king down (getting a king down means that I can get a queen down, getting a queen down means that I can get a jack down, and so on from there). The exception to this is when I already have all four kings starting Column Piles, or I don't think another king will come up soon: then I'll stack the card from the longest Column Pile to get a chance at freeing up the most cards. Of course, you may find that you prefer a different method... this is just the one that works for me. That's really all I have to say, so I'd suggest you go on and start playing. May you win often, or at the very least may your losses not be too frustrating. |