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Cumulative trophies: Are they really impossible?


by calcious_lalo

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     Cumulative trophies are widely known in Neopia for being awarded to a small dedicated elite, most of them veterans players, but, are they really out of your league?

     For many trophy collectors, or just casual card game players, cumulative trophies look like a brick wall too intimidating to even consider possible to overcome. With their high score tables reaching millions of points, can we really blame them for getting discouraged? Only a few players take the challenge, and even fewer meet their goal, but if you think you’re up for it, then take a look at my guide and get ready to stack up those points!

     If you’re a new player and still aren’t sure about it, you can start by reading the introduction, but for more experienced players who only want some tips for each game, you can jump to section 3 of my guide ^^

          1.- An Introduction

     So, what are cumulative trophies?

     There are four games in Neopia that allow you to increase your score every time you play: Pyramids, Sakhmet Solitaire, Scarab 21 and Neggsweeper. All of them have a Daily NP limit of 3000 or 5000NP but if you keep playing, your score still increases. Every three months your score gets reset so even if you take a break, don’t get overconfident! That’s why all top players and veterans always make sure to play at least once a month, so they don’t lose their high score.

     As you may expect, some games are more popular than others, meaning there’s more competence in their lists. Other issue to keep in mind is that some games take longer to finish than others, and finally, you may enjoy one game better than the others. Taking all that into account should not discourage you but make your choice easier, instead. If you like Pyramids more and can enjoy it on a daily basis, why not going for it? For me, I just can’t stand Scarab 21, but Neggsweeper is my cream and cheese!

          2.- Basics for each game

     If you haven’t played all or any of those games, you may be thinking on what game to pick. So, here’s a brief explanation of how each game works in alphabetical order:

          2.1.- Neggsweeper

     Many of us have played Minesweeper at least once in our lives. Well, Neggsweeper’s principle is identical: Find all the red Neggs using the numbers you find by clicking the gray Neggs. These numbers indicate how many red Neggs are surrounding a specific square, and a blank square means there are no surrounding evil Neggs. You can mark the evil Neggs by using Shift + Click (although the game says you press ctrl). Using the number’s overlap, you can deduct which square is safe and which one is not. If you clear them all, you win the jackpot! If not, you win nothing :(

     Also, in random moments, you’ll find some bonus Neggs that boost your score from 50 to 500 points each, you can never guess where they are but it’s always a pleasant surprise!

     For now, I won’t cover all the details of this game, but I’ll say it’s an entertaining game of logic and a way of enhancing your mental speed. It includes 3 modes of playing: Beginner (81 squares), Medium (144 squares) and Expert (196 squares). I recommend the easy mode to rack up some quick points, and Hard mode to get the non-cumulative high score.

     2.2.- Pyramids

     The mechanic and logic of this game is relatively easy: To clear the cards in the pyramid, you need to choose a card that’s one number bigger or smaller than the one you got in hand. If there’s none, you draw a card from the pile. If you clear the pyramid before the pile runs out, you win! But most of the times the pyramids remain incomplete and even the game can’t be completed from start. But even if you don’t win the game, you always win some points!

     There’s a bonus trophy you can get by winning a certain amount of times (bronze and silver) or two in a row (gold). Getting gold may look impossible with the luck involved, but by keeping playing is key to eventually getting a streak.

          2.3.- Sakhmet Solitaire

     Like the case of Neggsweeper, everyone with a computer has played solitaire at least once in their lives. The basics are well-known, but the main difference is the ability to choose between 1-card mode, and 3-card mode. 1-card mode implies that once you draw all 21 cards of your deck, there’s no going back, meaning that once you can’t play a card, it’s likely lost forever. That’s why I recommend playing in 3-card mode. That way you can go back to a card you previously couldn’t play after some moves take place.

     The alternative trophy works similar to Pyramids. In order to get the golden trophy, you need to win 2 consecutive games, you can get it even if you haven’t received the bronze or silver ones. After playing hundreds of games, I can tell it’s much easier to win with 3-card mode, so that’s your first tip for this game!

          2.4.- Scarab 21

     It consists in a game of blackjack using 5 columns and all the cards in the deck possible. Your goal is to add the cards values until you sum 21 and never over that. The main difficulty of this game lays on the value of every King, Queen and Jack, which is 10. Aces can be used as 1 or 11. This means you have 16 cards worth 10 points and only a few aces to compensate for it. Eventually you’ll have to put two cards valued 10 together, meaning the end is near…

     There are many plays valued differently (there’s a table on the left) you can use as a reference of how many points you can get, as well as secret plays valued A LOT more. In this game you’ll need to build your own strategy and memorize the special plays to better your chance to win big, or at least not end with a game of 0 – 15 points.

     There’s also a High Score table for non-cumulative scores, which, curiously enough, I haven’t been able to get before the cumulative one. I’m... just not good enough, but eventually will get it!

     Now that you know the basics for each game and (maybe) tried them all, it’ll be easier to choose what trophy to aim for, so gather all your determination and follow me to part 3 of the guide.

          3.- Getting started and setting goals

     So, after you identified which game (or games) you’re more suited for, it's time for some quick math:

     An average game of Neggsweeper, on easy mode, will give you around 170 points, bonus points can vary from none to 50 or even multiple Fishneggs (500 points) and Crystal Neggs (300 points) if you’re really lucky.

     Pyramids will award from 80 to 200 points in a regular game, and around 800 points after a successful round. My average winning ratio is 3% so don’t expect to win many rounds though.

     For Sakhmet Solitaire, each game (of 3-card rounds) gives you around 80 to maybe 200 points, averaging on 150 or even less. There’s always the chance of very bad games that award less points but if you manage to win, you’ll always get 860 points!

     And finally, for Scarab 21, rounds can go anywhere from 0 points to 200, 500, even 1000 for lucky geniuses. So this game is completely up to you but I’d say my average goes around 100 – 150 points.

     Now, after clarifying that, let’s take a look at the High Score Tables:

      - Neggsweeper

      - Pyramids

      - Sakhmet Solitaire

      - Scarab 21

     Currently, at reset day, the minimum High Score for Neggsweeper is 6 million points, Pyramids goes for 9 million, 11 million for Sakhmet Solitaire and only 1 million for Scarab 21. So this is where your determination and compromise come to play.

     If you’re eager to tackle these scores you’d want to play for 10, 20, even 50k points a day, but then, after not much, you’ll realize what your real limit is, and is likely lower than expected. So it’s better to set a date.

     Let’s say I want to get the Pyramids trophy (9 million). If I want it before the end of the year, I still have 11 months to do so. That means 800k points a month, or 27K a day. That’s easily from 8 to 10 hours of playing a day. Is it possible? Yeah, technically. Is it realistic? Maybe not.

     So how about stepping it down a little? Instead of 27k, maybe 20, 15 or less. Meaning you won’t get it before 2020 ends, but hey, 2021 for sure! If you don’t have the time one day, don’t worry. Daily goals are not set and you can go a little lower or beyond according to how much time you have each day. Even by playing just the daily limit you're making progress!

     On my calculations and experience, the order in which you can get these trophies according to how much they’ll take is:

     Scarab 21 (around 5 – 10 months), Neggsweeper (from 8 – 12 months), Pyramids (From 12 to 14 months) and Sakhmet Solitaire (Possibly 2 years).

     Keep in mind that these times are a bit conservative and if you’re like me, you probably got the free time and dedication to commit to higher goals and finish faster. As always, it’s up to you!

     As you can see, you don’t need a veteran account or to play for 10 or 20 years as many would think. Some of the top players don’t play for the daily limit anymore, just to keep their scores. As long as you keep eyes on the prize, you’ll be there faster than you think! Also, don’t try to reach two trophies at once if you’re that eager, as it will likely result on you not accomplishing any of your initial goals and eventually drop the games.

          4.- Tips and strategy for grinding up points

     Although you can just play without any strategy and eventually make it to the high score, there’s a couple tips to make your climbing up the mountain a little swifter. Some games hide more secrets than the others but essentially, the key is experience. With time you’ll know what cards to expect, what moves to make, and your movement will be faster, too! Still, to give you a head start, these are some tips I’ve found to make things easier for each game:

     4.1.- Negsweeper

     The mayor key for this game is playing on easy mode. You’ll find some games so easy that they’ll take about 10 clicks to clear, although many will take anywhere from that to 30 or even more. As mentioned earlier, one game will give you at least 160 points, while a hard game will take much longer and give you around 500, if you manage to win. Also, playing on easy mode obviously is much less stressing than playing in hard and losing from a 50/50 chance in the end.

     Also, take note that you don’t need to flag the Red Neggs to win, just clicking every other Negg is enough! With not much experience you’ll find out that you can easily play without using your Shift key. So that’s how you can win a game with just about 10 clicks. At first, I suggest to always check the red Neggs, but with time you’ll get used to just ignore then and go forward x)

     If you want to get the other trophy, you don’t necessarily lose a day. Just reach your goal or half of it, and then play Hard mode for the trophy on reset day. Even on easy mode, I once found 2 Fishneggs in the same game, allowing me to snipe the second place!

     4.2.- Pyramids

     This game is pretty much straightforward luck and not much strategy going. Intuitively, you can guess it’s better to open a card that frees two cards on the upper level than the card that releases only one, in case you face that dilemma. You can also count some cards and realize what your odds are to find, let’s say, a card that opens 8, after you already played the four 9’s.

     Don’t be afraid to leave one “tower” of unopened cards on the left or the right, if your strategy and calculations are correct, you have nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes, though not always likely, the cards are consecutive once you open them at the end!

     Also, with a 3%-win ratio, in the worst case, when aiming for the golden bonus trophy, your chances are about 1/1100 of getting two consecutive wins. Meaning that after 1100 games you’re likely to get it. It sounds like a lot, I know, but when aiming for a high score, you’ll play for plenty more games than that.

          4.3.- Sakhmet Solitaire

     This game also hides not many secrets and shows no mercy to all newcomers. The mayor tip is to never play 1-card mode. It’s much harder to win when you know a card is gone for good. 3-card is the way.

     As any game of solitaire, remember to have priorities. Opening new cards is more important than dropping one from the deck. When stuck, switch cards between columns, allowing for new plays and opening up your game.

          4.4.- Scarab 21

     This is likely the game that hides the most. It’s easy to get disappointed for playing about 5 minutes and ending up with only 30 points or nothing at all. The mayor strategy for this game is: memorize special plays!

     Getting a full house, super blackjack, straight and a couple more are essential to get a high score and to rack up points faster in the longer run. Most of your games won’t reach far, though, but it’s natural with a game so unbalanced like this. As you won’t always be able to get them, just try to distribute them as evenly as possible.

     I always try to reach for 11’s on each column, and numbers on the low 10’s if that’s not possible. I set up a limit of playability on a pile of 16 because most of the time you’ll be playing with big numbers. Using Aces for blackjacks is as valid as using them to get a 5-under-21 and release some space.

     Sincerely, Scarab 21 is my worst game among them all, but luckily is also the fastest one to get a trophy, so, at the end, consistency weights more than strategy here!

          5.- Final thoughts.

     Knowing the strategy to win faster is only the beginning. Getting one of these trophies is known to be a big feat so keep your courage up! After months or maybe a year, you can finally brag about being in the 1% or less of people that managed to get it.

     Don’t try to compare your score with the top players just starting up but set yourself little goals. First, reaching the top 100, then, “racing” against who’s directly on top of you in the list. Eventually you’ll be in the top 50, top 30 lists and feel like the goal is finally in sight.

     When you reach your first trophy, why not going for another one?

     And if you’re not going for all 4 golds, why stopping at bronze! You got this far so keep climbing up until you shine gold!

     

 
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