Fallout: New Vegas -- How to Play Caravan
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 22nd Nov 2010
Using Caravan as a source for Caps
Using Caravan as a source for caps in the short term is a very effective strategy -- there are two basic strategies you can use to do it.
- The Circle Route -
Start with the Ambassador in the NCR Embassy in New Vegas, and play him until you do not feel that the size of the pot is worth it anymore, and then fast-travel to the bartender at the outpost. There is a second Caravan player in the Embassy -- Private Jake Erwin -- but he rarely ever has more than 50 caps to bet and will only add 15 caps if you try to raise him. Obviously you should play him to beat him at least one time just so you can say you did, but after that pretty much ignore him.
So fast travel to the Mojave Outpost, where you can play Caravan with Lacey, the Bartender in the Mojave Outpost Barracks.
Lacey will open with a bet of 1,124 caps -- but you can raise her 337 caps to a total of 1,461 as her maximum bet. You can rematch her, but the bet will be around 600 caps unless you buy something from her prior to doing the rematch, in which case the bet will be closer to 800 caps. Bearing in mind that she is a good source for some of the parts you can use to make things like the Weapon Repair kit and Doctor's Bags as well as a good source for ammo and grenades, you may want to make shopping for what she has that you can use a part of this system.
After the pot drops to a point that you consider it not worth playing, leave Lacey and fast travel to the Nash Residence in Primm, where you can play Johnson Nash for an easy 400 caps. You can add another player or two to the mix if you like, but that completes the Circle Route.
You can easily pick up around 3,400 (1500 + 1500 + 400) in caps using this method, only playing each opponent once -- you can almost double that figure if you rematch them a few times each however. This is a great way to pick up a quick influx of caps in a short amount of time, but you have to wait a few days for them to build back their wealth before you can play them again.
- The Milking Method -
If you need caps, and you are good at Caravan, the easiest way to obtain them is to park yourself in the office of the Ambassador in New Vegas. Play him a hand of Caravan -- and win -- and then save your game and quit to the main menu. Now load and select continue, and when your game starts, target the Ambassador and ask to play a game -- he should only have a few hundred caps to bet, but because you restarted, the game gives him his usual average bet amount, 1,129 caps.
Match the bet, and then raise it another 371 caps for an even 1,500 caps for that game. After you win, say Goodbye, save your game, then quit to the main menu. Hit Continue from there and, when the game loads, ask him to play again, and he will open with a bet of 1,129 caps. Raise him 371, and then rinse and repeat until you have all of the caps you need for now.
If you mess up and try to play him again after taking his money it can reset the default total to 395 caps, and even loading from the start menu will not fix that. In that case just wait 24 hours and his total goes back to 1129.
You can also use the Milking Method with Lacey at the Mojave Outpost -- she usually starts with 1,413 chips and you can raise her to a maximum bet of 1,836 by raising her 423 chips.
The only advantage that the Ambassador has is that he is in town -- Lacey can be milked for a higher amount of caps per game, so she is logically where you will want to go if you are planning on a long milking session. Using this method you will average 9,000 Caps every 10 minutes, which is not bad for a little card game!
The cards in the game are not really different -- it is not like Magic the Gathering or Pokemon, where each card can have special abilities. An Ace is an Ace, a King a King, no matter what deck it comes from. But there are different decks in the game, and you can mix your play deck from cards from each deck -- just bear in mind that you cannot have more than one of each specific card -- so you cannot make up a deck of 5 King of Hearts etc.
Being that there is no real advantage one way or the other once you have acquired a full deck of cards, why bother collecting? Well, because it is cool -- seriously! When you rescue Ringo he gives you a nearly full deck of cards for the Tops Casino -- there are a few cards missing from it -- so you will want to complete that deck by finding and buying cards anyway, right? But then, if you are going to do that, wouldn't it be cool to have a complete set of all five decks? Of course it would!
As I mentioned, there are five decks, listed here by rarity, with the easiest to find first:
-- The Tops Casino Deck (Turquoise with the Tops Sign on it)
-- Plain Deck (A Red background similar to the standard Hoyle Deck)
-- Ultra-Lux Deck (Gold and Green with the Ultra-Lux Emblem on it)
-- Lucky 38 Deck (Red and Black background with the Lucky 38 Emblem in white)
-- Gomorrah Deck (A worn pattern print background with the name spelled in a fake middle-eastern script)
In addition to the standard decks there is a set of Jokers - they are NOT the same, meaning that having two Jokers for the Tops set does the trick -- a purist will want to be sure that they have Joker 1 and Joker 2 for each set, I am just saying.
Adding these cards to your deck is not a simple matter of picking them up -- when you acquire them they are added to your regular inventory, and not directly to your card collection. To add them to your deck collection you need to put them in a container, and then close the container, before opening it back up and putting them back in your pack. When you put them into your pack this time they "disappear" into your deck rather than go in your regular inventory, and at that point you can no longer access them as individual cards!
If you look in your pack in the Misc Section you will see all of your cards combined with the ones you received from Ringo listed simply as "Caravan Deck" there.
If you decide that you also want to collect Caravan Cards, you will find the following merchants to be excellent sources for these cards -- you may want to make a list of the cards that you already have and update it as you buy or find them so you do not buy too many duplicates, right?
Caravan Card Merchants List
While cards can be found on almost all of the merchants in the game, the following merchants are a reliable source for a variety of cards, so they are worth seeking out if you happen to be in their area, just to see if they have any cards you do not have in your collection yet!
- Blake (Merchant at the Crimson Caravan Compound)
- Chet (the Store Keeper in Good Springs)
- Johnson Nash (Merchant in Primm)
- Lacey (the Bartender at the Mojave Outpost)