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21 Scarabs

by singerofsongs


Hidden in the Lost Desert, among all the shrines and urns, there is a lost, little Chia, sitting all on her own with a deck of cards in her hand. Why not go cheer her up and go play Scarab 21 with her? A twist on the original blackjack, the aim is not to lose, which sounds remarkably simple, eh? Basically, the Chia will deal you one card at a time, and you have the option of putting it in one of 5 columns; however, you can only put it in a column if it would add up to 21 or less. If you are unable to put the card in any of the columns without making it exceed the 21, then you will have lost, and all the points that you have gathered thus far will be converted to neopoints, and given to you. I hear you thinking, 'But how will you eventually win?' Well, that brings me onto the first principle of the game.

If a column adds up to 21, it will go away.

There are other ways, but this is the most simple. Say you have a column with a 9 and a 7 in it, that adds up to 16, so if you got a 5 and added it to that column, then you would have 21, and all the cards would disappear! Making cards disappear is also how you get points! Just getting 21 will bag you 5 points, but if you can get a special 21, you could earn up to 200 points! That brings me onto the second thing you need to do to win lots of money!

Keep an eye out for bonuses

Yup, the bonuses are what get you the big bucks, or in this game the big neopoints. Getting a straight of 6-7-8 will get you 5 more points than the norm, and so will getting 3 7s. If you manage to get 4 or 5 cards that add up to 21, then you'll get the 'Large 21', a move that will gain you 15 points. Of course, this game being based upon Blackjack couldn't not have a Blackjack in it! If you manage to get a blackjack, which is a 10 or a court card followed by an ace, you will gain 21 points! If you manage to get a second blackjack straight after it, then that will become 50 points on your next turn! Of course, I'm sure I see your eye twitching towards the 'bonus moves', so what are they?

All of them will gain you more points than the ones on the main grid. Getting a King followed by a 4 and a 7, for example, will get you 31 points, but this is rather small in comparison with other ones. Getting a 'Black Jack blackjack', a blackjack featuring the Jack of Spades and Ace of Spades, will get you 50 points, but there are even bigger ones. If you want 100 points, then you must arrange the columns in a specific order. Look down the bottom at the totals. If across the bottom, it reads "20, 19, 18, 17, 16", you're the proud winner of 100 points, the same amount you'd get if you were to have all of those numbers equal. There are ways to earn even more points, such as the "full house", but I don't want to spoil all the secrets! It's fun to explore! Okay, so now you know how to score points, but you may still be a bit lost; well, it's always important to use your cards, especially the lower cards, wisely.

Use the Ace wisely

The ace is the most useful card in the game. It can equal an 11, but also a 1. This means that if you have 20 in one of your columns, the only card that will help get rid of it is an ace. Bear in mind that there are only four aces in the pack, so once they've gone, you have no way to get rid of columns with 20 in it. But you may not want to use all of these cards for getting rid of your large columns, as the ace is the only way to get a blackjack as well, so you'll have to be careful about that. The ace is a useful card to help boost your points up. Although they are very good cards, beware of the cards that might just spell your end...

Watch out for the court cards

For those of you who don't know, the court cards are the Jack, Queen and King, and in this game are worth 10. Because there are 12 cards that are equal to 10, it is often important to make sure you don't get too many at once, as if you get two in one column, then you'll need an Ace to get rid of it. Never, if you can avoid it, do this, as you'll want to use your ace for better things than clearing up an earlier mistake. My strategy is to put one in each column, but many people play it differently.

The other problem with the court cards is that they're more likely to come up than any other cards; this spells trouble if you have no column that you can put them in. You see, court cards have a very high value of 10, and if there are no columns which are 11 or lower, the chances are that you're going to lose next turn, because there are more cards worth ten. Although this is not a hard and fast rule, I advise you to keep a column open with a point value of less than 11.

Of course, the only way to become a master is to practise, and though it sounds very cliché, practise makes perfect. There are little points in the game that will take you by surprise even when you play it about an hour a day, so remember, there's always a hidden aspect in this game, which leads me onto the final, and probably most important tip of all:

Think Lucky.

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