Five Tips for Winning at Caravan (Fallout: New Vegas)


When Fallout: New Vegas came out in 2010, many fans assumed the story would follow closely to the events in Fallout 3. Instead, the game takes players (as the Courier) on a wild journey through the Mojave Desert, drawing more on Fallout 2 themes and elements than its previous installment.

The game saw positive reviews across the board, including elevated writing and gameplay. One of the most interesting elements was the introduction of the card game Caravan. Usually, series that invent new card games tend to create new styles of cards, including shapes and symbols. Caravan is unique, as it can be played with a standard deck (plus a joker).

Games like Gwent (from The Witcher games) tend to reflect the early days of playing cards. Before the European deck was finalized, early variations reflected values and other cultural aspects from each region they were made in. This included characters from folk tales and noble figures. In the case of Caravan, gamers will be playing with the ruined remains of traditional decks that survived the nuclear apocalypse in the Fallout timeline two hundred years ago.

And though the cards are familiar, Caravan certainly isn’t. While many have celebrated Fallout: New Vegas for its complex and realistic RPG features, many also had to play a few hands before they got the hang of Caravan.


The Rules

Can’t remember how Caravan goes to begin with? Let’s review the rules. Two players build three piles (‘caravans’) in order to outbid their opponent without going under 21 or over 26. Each player takes eight cards from their deck and place numbers and aces on each pile/caravan.

From there, they can play or discard their cards by drawing from one of their caravans; they can even remove all cards from a single pile. They do this in order to make sure each pile has a single suit and either descending or ascending card values.


Tip 1: Keep a Simple Deck

Players may have the option to build their deck at certain moments in quests, but that’s not always the easiest way to win a game of caravan. Though we’ll cover how to win in more complex scenarios, all that’s needed to win at caravan are four 6s, 8s, 9s, 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and two Jokers.

A deck with these cards will only need two or three hands in order to hit 26 and win the game.


Tip 2: King is the Primary Face Card

Rely on the King to be the primary face card used. Jacks are a great option to keep in order to challenge the opponent, but a King will double whatever number card it’s placed with. A Jack removes the card it’s attached to, which makes it great for offensive plays. The Queen can flip the card order or change suits. For this reason, use Queens sparingly as a Hail Mary get-out.

Tip 3: Develop Skills with Keith’s Caravan Charade Quest

Those looking to put their skills to the test will find ample side quests in Fallout that let them put their caravan skills to the test. Keith’s Caravan Charade quest will take players to the Aerotech Office Park. There, they can speak with Captain Parker about a certain player, Keith, and what he’s suspected of doing. Make sure your decks are prepped before heading out.


Tip 4: Keep a Lookout for Cards

As mentioned above, Kings should be the focus of a simple deck. However, as the game advances, Caravan enthusiasts should keep a lookout to optimize their deck. This is particularly relevant for suits; if someone has mostly heart cards, they’ll want to continue acquiring the same suit, as each caravan pile can only have one suit.


Tip 5: Download the Patch

PC gamers who bought Fallout: New Vegas back in 2010 have likely already downloaded this update—or a few, for that matter. Despite being hailed as a landmark RPG game with advanced design, Fallout: New Vegas was criticized for its glitches and bugs. Most have been hammered out for a long time, but it’s been noted amongst Caravan enthusiasts who play on PC that there were technical issues that made the game impossible to win.

Hit a wall with Caravan? Make sure you've downloaded all patches for your device.

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