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Caravan Card Game: Rules And How to Play?

The popular Caravan card game originated from the video game series, Fallout, and it’s a fun and challenging game that requires strategic thinking and the ability to outmaneuver your opponent.

How much do you know about Fallout? Well, it doesn’t really matter, because this game is such fun, whether you’re a fan of the computer game or not.

Caravan requires players to think critically and plan ahead, making it a great way to exercise your brain and have fun at the same time.

The game’s unique because it’s played with a deck of regular cards. However, the rules and gameplay completely differ from anything you’ve ever played.

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Caravan is played with a deck of at least 30 cards from two traditional playing decks.

The end goal here is to outbid your opponent’s Caravan with the highest value of numbered cards without being too light or overburdened.

Let’s delve a bit deeper, hey?

How to Play Caravan Card Game?

How to Play Caravan Card Game

So, as I’ve already mentioned, you will need standard playing cards to play. However, you’ll need two decks.

This is a two-player game, and each player will start with eight cards from each deck.

Now, three cards need to be placed face up in the middle of the table. This is the start of the Caravans.

To begin the first round, you and your opponent will take turns playing cards from your hand onto the Caravans in the center. The goal here is to have each Caravan total 26, or at least as close as possible. However, you must not go over, that’s vital, and you’ll lose instantly if you break this rule.

The cards each have different ranks, and these are as follows:

  • Ace = One point
  • Number Cards = Face value (e.g, 2= 2 points, 5 = 5 points)
  • Face Cards = Ten points

Once you’ve placed a card onto a Caravan, you can now choose whether to add value to the Caravan or take it away.

For example, let’s say the Caravan was currently at 21 points, and you add a King. You can choose to take away ten from 21 because adding it would tip it over the total point allowance. Get me?

You can add cards to your opponents’ Caravans if you wish. However, the rules are slightly different if this is the case. If you choose to play a card onto their Caravan, you must play it face down. Your opponent can then decide whether to flip it over and add it to the Caravan or eliminate it from the game.

The game ends when one of you has created three Caravans totaling 21 points or more each, and the player with the highest points wins.

Matching The Cards

Now, when I say you have to play cards on the Caravans, you might think that sounds like a walk in the park, but you can’t just throw any old cards down. Oh no, no, no.

This is where the strategies come into play because the cards must match the suit of the card already in the Caravan.

There are also ways that you can manipulate the Caravans slightly. For instance, I always recommend starting with your high cards, leaving yourself with only low-value ones; this means you’ve got more chance of being able to place down towards the end of the round.

Other Rules of Caravan

I’m not done yet, because there’s more to consider when playing down your cards to build Caravans.

This revolves around special cards that have unique actions when played, mainly referring to the face cards.

Let’s take a look.

Other Rules of Caravan
  • King: If you play a King onto a Caravan, this doubles the card’s value before it. Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on the game. You could end up tipping yourself past the maximum of 26 points if you’re not careful.
  • Queen: Playing down, a Queen reverses the direction. So, if you’ve just played a card up, the next one must be played down.
  • Jack: If you play down a Jack, this removes the previous card it’s been played on to, reducing the value of the Caravan.

Playing Caravan Card Game – Tips And Tricks

Playing Caravan Card Game

Below are some handy tips and tricks that you can use to your advantage and beat your opponent during a match of the Caravan card game.

  1. Ensure that you keep a close eye on your opponent’s cards; this will give you a good idea of what’s left in the deck and what they may have left in their hand.
  2. Try to get as close to 26 as possible from the get-go. This makes it more challenging for your opponent to play cards on your Caravan.
  3. If you get the chance, use your high-scoring cards to knock down your opponents’ Caravans, especially if they’re close to winning.
  4. Try to create Caravans of different values using a mixed selection of cards. This will throw your opponent off, meaning they won’t know what cards you have left.
  5. Keep your options open at all times. Mix up your strategies, and keep your opponent on their toes.

Other Variations

Once you’ve got your head around the basic rules of the original version of Caravan, you can start making things more interesting by introducing more intricate rules such as these.

1. Remove The Face Cards

Taking away the face cards from the game makes building a Caravan a lot more challenging, as you must rely on numbered cards. However, this also means bringing down your opponent is harder if you notice they’re getting ahead of the game.

2. Limit The Deck

To use a limited deck is simply taking it one step further than removing the high-scoring face cards because you also remove the ace. Meaning you can’t use the Ace to navigate those last tricky moves when you’re close to 26.

3. Discard Pile

If you introduce a discard pile, you have more chance of playing a turn. When there’s a discard pile in place, you may withdraw a single card from the stack each time you’re unable to play a card.

4. Reverse Caravan

If you play the game in reverse, it means that instead of trying to reach 26, you aim to have your Caravan as close to zero as possible. This takes a lot more creativity when making your move and adds an exciting twist to the game.

In Summary

So there we have it. I hope now you’ve read my guide and picked up on all the handy hints, tips, and strategies; you’ll smash through your next game of Caravan and beat your opponents to the post.

If you like card games that revolve around skills and strategy, then you should take a look at my guide on how to play the Pedro card game.

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