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Cards on the Table


by lunarchronicles

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In a Neopia that doesn’t keep still, it’s no surprise that the games room is usually a hotbed of activity – especially in the summer months, when the Altador Cup is in full swing and everyone’s frantically racking up points for their teams, slinging slushies and scoring goals. But even when the heat of summer has faded, classics like Meerca Chase II, Turmac Roll, and Hannah & the Pirate Caves continue to top the list of popular games, and avatar collectors still frenetically try for tricky scores on Typing Terror and Assignment 53.

If you haven’t picked up on the pattern I’m getting at, all of the games I just mentioned have one thing in common: they’re all found in the action section of the games room. Whether these games succeed because of their cash-out, because of avatar collection, of flashy animation, or because of something less quantifiable, there’s no question that action and adventure games seem to rule the roost around here. And there’s certainly merit to all of these games, as well as the others I didn’t name. After all, they are popular for a reason.

But all of this means there’s a small section of the games room that goes a bit unnoticed, perhaps a bit unknown. I speak in defense of Neopia’s card and board games. I’ve often heard these termed “boring” or “lame,” and usually people who do play them (in my experience) only do so as far as they have to in order to earn a trophy or avatar, and then quickly abandon them for the bright colors of Kass Basher or Gem Heist. And again, there’s nothing wrong with this: people like what they like. But it’s recently come to my attention that people simply might not know what they’re missing in this oft-overlooked section, especially now that KeyQuest is on hiatus. Today, I’d like to examine some points in favor of these lesser-loved Neopian games.

1. There’s a lot to choose from.

Despite the relatively small size of the section, there are actually quite a lot of card & board games to choose from in the games room. There are the standard games like Sakhmet Solitaire, Pyramids, and Cheat!, but there are also lesser-known games like Desert Race (my personal favorite) or Dueling Decks. It would be very easy for someone to find a game they like in the section, because there’s such a variety that one isn’t going to be like the other. If you haven’t found one you’ve liked yet, I suggest trying a brand-new one, because I think there’s something for everyone in that section.

2. They’re truly fun!

I can very honestly say that the card- and board-based Neopets games are some of my favorites on the entire site. I love the feeling of playing with other players, even if they’re computer-generated, in games like Cheat! and Go! Go! Go! Even solo games, like Sakhmet Solitaire and Pyramids, are genuinely fun, and are just as engaging for me as the action games are. What’s more, they don’t require Flash software or other plug-ins, which means that they’re available on virtually every computer, and the fact that you can play them at all makes them instantly more fun than some of the other games for me.

3. They’re less stressful than most action games.

If you’re like me, than the idea of getting a good score on an action game can seem daunting; playing Ice Cream Machine and getting Adee to dodge those little scoops always sends my pulse rocketing. So the nice thing about a card game like Sakhmet Solitaire is that I can play it at my leisure, without worrying about having to focus too hard on the game. I often have one tab devoted solely to a card game so I can play it here and there for a few minutes while working on something else. Some of them, like Dueling Decks, even have the same sort of animated pizzazz as the more popular action games, but without the time limits or point crunches, which makes them doubly relaxing.

4. The rewards are quite good.

You can actually earn a decent amount from card and board games, if you’re patient. For example, Cheat! gives you Neopoints every time you catch one of the players cheating, and the number you win increases by 4 per catch with each new level. If you catch a player cheating 20 times in level 7, you’ve netted yourself over 500 Neopoints, not counting what you get for winning at the end of a level. In other games, like Pyramids, you can play as many times as you like and earn up to 5,000 Neopoints a day – that’s almost twice the maximum you can win playing action games! Most of these non-Flash games provide trophies for reaching certain levels, too, which means that even if you’re not the best player and don’t have the highest score on a game, you still have something to show off in your profile trophy case. But the best reward for me is that a lot of the card games, since they aren’t Flash games, are played in your browser, and each move from you or other players constitutes a page refresh. I’ve been lucky enough to be gifted several expensive items through random events by playing these games, including a Plushie Kau Morphing Potion, because of how many new pages I load per game. Remember, sitting on pages and refreshing them is a big no-no, but card games provide you natural page refreshes while you have fun at the same time!

5. They provide more owner/pet interaction.

This last point is a little silly, but I truly like the fact that in a lot of card and board games, especially Cheat!, you really feel like you’re interacting with your pet. As someone who doesn’t customize, it’s sometimes hard to feel like my pet is mine, and not just another pirate Blumaroo. But playing with them and getting to see their pictures on the site’s games page makes the experience feel a little more real and personal to me, and I totally love that about this type of game. I love playing with my pets, and that’s something an action game doesn’t provide as much for me.

These are just some of the reasons that I believe the card and board game section of the games room should be frequented much more by Neopian users. Whether you’re an achievement collector, a Neopoint hoarder, or just a lover of games, this section truly does have a little bit of something for everyone in it – and it’s pure fun, the way Neopets has always been meant to be. So next time that your pet tells you that they want you to take them to a game of Cheat!, take a break, listen to them, and have fun playing!

 
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