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For the Caravan card items, see Caravan card.
 
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Bidding interface

Caravan is a card game played by caravan guards and travelers in the Mojave Wasteland.

Background

Text below in monotype font is verbatim transcript from the Collector's Edition vault playing cards deck.

Transcript.png
How to Play Caravan

Building a deck
Caravan decks consist of at least 30 cards from one of more traditional playing card sets. The deck may have any number of cards of any type that suits a player's strategy, although it cannot have duplicate cards from the same set. For example a K♠ from set A and a K♠ from the set B deck is acceptable, but more than one K♠ from set A would be illegal.

Rules
Caravan is played with two players building three opposing piles (or "caravans") of numbered cards. The goal is to outbid your opponent's caravan with the highest value of numbered cards without being too light (under 21) or overburdened (over 26).

The game begins with each player taking eight cards from their deck and placing either one numerical card or ace on each caravan. Players may not discard during this initial round.

One both players have started their three caravans, each player may do one of the following on their turn: 1. Play one card and draw a new card from his or her deck to their hand: 2. Discard one card from their hand and draw a new card from his or her deck: or 3. Discard one of their caravans by removing all cards from that pile.

Caravans have a direction, either ascending or descending numerically, and a suit. The suit is determined with the first card placed on a caravan, the direction by the second. All subsequent cards must continue the numerical direction or match the suit of the previous card. Cards of the same numerical value cannot be played in sequence, regardless of suit. Face cards can be attached to numeric cards in any caravan and will affect them in various ways.

Card values

  • Joker - Played against Ace, 2-10. Effects change based on whether it is an ace or numbered card (see below). Multiple jokers may be played on the same card.
  • Ace - Value of 1. Jokers played on aces remove all other non-face cards of the ace's suit from the table. E.g. a joker played on an A♠ removes all spaces (except face cards and that card, specifically) from the table.
  • 2-10 - Listed value. Jokers played on these remove all other cards of this value from the table. E.g. a joker player on a 4♥ removes all 4s (other than that card, specifically) from the table.
  • Jack - Played against Ace, 2-10. Removes that card, along with any face cards attached to it.
  • Queen - Player against Ace, 2-10. Reverses the current direction of the hand, changes the current suit of the hand. Multiple queens may be played on the same card.

Obtaining a deck and additional cards

A free 54 card starter deck and game instructions can be received from Ringo in Goodsprings. This deck comprises 53 of the 54 cards from the the Tops' set with two King of Diamonds, the King of Clubs is missing. Additional cards can be obtained from various merchants and corpses across the Mojave Wasteland, by beating Festus at Lucky Horseshoes, or found in the Sierra Madre.

How to play

Card table

Bidding

At the outset of the game, the opponent will place a bid. The player can then either match or raise. Non-player characters will not match every bid, only raising to about 50% of their initial bid. The player can bid any amount they want, limited only by their opponent's bid and the amount of money they have.

Building a custom deck

FNV Caravan cards.png

Prior to beginning the game, the player is presented with the deck creation interface. This interface consists of two rows of cards, both representing every card in the deck. The visible cards in the top row represent the playable deck, while the bottom row are the unused cards. Any duplicate cards purchased by the player are automatically filtered out of the selection process.

A deck is created by moving cards from the bottom row to the top row using the add button. Cards can also be removed using the remove button. The Randomize Deck button will randomly select cards, creating a new caravan deck each time from all the available cards in your total card pool. Once the player is finished creating their deck, they can move on to the game. The finished deck will be saved and cannot be edited until the next time Caravan is played.

Gameplay

Transcript.png

Caravan is played with two players building three opposing piles (or "caravans") of numbered cards. The goal is to outbid your opponent's caravan with the highest value of numbered cards without being too light (under 21) or overburdened (over 26).

The game begins with each player taking eight cards from their deck and placing either one numerical card or ace on each caravan. Players may not discard during this initial round.

One both players have started their three caravans, each player may do one of the following on their turn:

  1. Play one card and draw a new card from his or her deck to their hand
  2. Discard one card from their hand and draw a new card from his or her deck, or
  3. Discard one of their caravans by removing all cards from that pile


Caravans have a direction, either ascending or descending numerically, and a suit. The suit is determined with the first card placed on a caravan, the direction by the second. All subsequent cards must continue the numerical direction or match the suit of the previous card. Cards of the same numerical value cannot be played in sequence, regardless of suit. Face cards can be attached to numeric cards in any caravan and will affect them in various ways.

Card values

Card Played against Effect
Ace
-
Transcript.png

Value of 1. Jokers played on aces remove all other non-face cards of the ace's suit from the table. E.g. a joker played on an A♠ removes all spades (except face cards and that card, specifically) from the table.

Number cards
2-10
-
Transcript.png

Listed value. Jokers played on these remove all other cards of this value from the table. E.g. a joker player on a 4♥ removes all 4s (other than that card, specifically) from the table.

Jack
Ace
2-10
Transcript.png

Played against Ace, 2-10. Removes that card, along with any face cards attached to it.

Queen
Ace
2-10
Transcript.png

Player against Ace, 2-10. Reverses the current direction of the hand, changes the current suit of the hand. Multiple queens may be played on the same card.

King
Ace
2-10
Transcript.png

Played against Ace, 2-10. Adds the value of that card again. E.g. a king played on a 9 adds 9 to that hand. Multiple kings may be played on the same card for multiplicative effects. E.g. 4 + king = 8. 4 + two kings = 16.

Joker
Ace
2-10
  • When played against Ace:
Transcript.png

Jokers played on aces remove all other non-face cards of the ace's suit from the table. E.g. a joker played on an A♠ removes all spades (except face cards and that card, specifically) from the table.

  • When played against number card (2-10):
Transcript.png

Jokers played on these remove all other cards of this value from the table. E.g. a joker player on a 4♥ removes all 4s (other than that card, specifically) from the table.

  • Multiple Jokers may be played on the same card.

Winning

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Winning
A player's caravan is considered sold when the value of its cards is over 20 and under 27. The other player may still outbid by increasing the value of their opposing pile while still staying within the 21-26 range. When each of the three competing caravans has sold, the game is over. In the event that one of the three caravan values are tied between players, the game continues until all three caravans have sold. The player with two or more sales wins the pot.

Caravan players

Name Location Common bids Merchant Game Limit2
Cliff Briscoe Dino Bite gift shop See below1 Yes 5 Games
Dale Barton The Fort See below1 Yes None
Amb. Dennis Crocker NCR Embassy Holds 2000 caps No None
Isaac Gun Runners Holds 200-227 caps No None
Private Jake Erwin NCR Embassy Holds 200-209 caps No None
Johnson Nash Primm See below1 Yes 5 Games
Jules North Vegas Square Holds 0-20 caps No None
Keith Aerotech suite 200 0 No None
Lacey Mojave Outpost See below1 Yes 5 Games
Little Buster Camp McCarran Holds 300-390 caps No None
Quartermaster Mayes Camp Forlorn Hope See below1 Restricted 5 Games
No-bark Noonan Novac Holds 2000 caps No None
Ringo Goodsprings/Crimson Caravan Camp Holds 200-230 caps No None
Jed Masterson Northern passage/Southern passage Holds 200-300 caps No None
1 Merchants who play Caravan will use one quarter of their currency as starting bid. Spending caps with them increases the amount they hold and the amount they bet, and vice versa. Merchants may also pay out in any alternate currencies they have in their inventory, including any you had already exchanged with them.
2 Certain merchants have a limit on the total number of times they will play Caravan against the player. This limit is absolute and does not "reset" at any point during the game.

Notes

  • Planting any currency (caps, NCR dollars or Legion coin) into an opponent's inventory increases the amount of currency they will spend while playing Caravan.
  • The Caravan Deck can only be received from Ringo, either through dialogue options via the unmarked quest Ringo's Caravan Rules or by killing him and looting it from his body.
  • 6 names can be seen carved into the table where all Caravan games are played (one for each "Caravan" spot), each of which is a location in New California (Boneyard, Redding, Shady Sands, Dayglow, New Reno, and The Hub).
  • Merchants (if anted properly) can place as much as 81.5% of their available currency on a particular hand of Caravan. This can be done by buying out their inventory, or just an expensive item, until they have a large cap amount, then matching and raising their bet to win it all back. This can only be repeated 5 times per merchant.
  • Easiest way to win is to find as many 6s, 8s, 10s, and Kings as possible. Then build a deck with just 6s, 8s, 10s, and Kings (or as much as you can but keep the deck to 30 cards). Play combinations of 10-6 and 10-8 into piles. Play King on the 10 in a 10-6 or on the 8 in a 10-8, discard if you don't have what you need.
  • Another reliable deck uses mainly 7s, 9s, and 10s, and fills in any missing cards with Jacks, Queens and Kings. Any combination of 7, 9 and 10 will equal 26, the highest value a caravan can have, and the face cards can be used to disrupt an opponent's lane. If for any reason it's not possible to create a lane with 7, 9 and 10, a King placed on a 7 can be used to push the value of a lane for a winning value.

Behind the scenes

  • The achievement/trophy names Know When to Hold Them and Know When to Fold Them (in game challenge) are references to the song The Gambler by Kenny Rogers.
  • Both Klamath Bob and Melissa Lewis were at one point intended to be Caravan players. Their Caravan decks are in the game's resources, but the dialogue options do not exist. Additionally, Poindexter appears to have been intended to be a Caravan player. In this case the dialogue option is present, but the associated dialogue script, caravan deck, and necessary faction assignment are missing.
  • Regarding the development of Caravan, Joshua Sawyer stated that the team wanted more testing and iteration on the game, but there were too many more important issues to fix, making Caravan a lower priority that they never got around to. In terms of those improvements, Sawyer would have wanted better tutorialization for Caravan, to simplify the deck, and to eliminate the "meta" of loading everything up with sixes, tens, and kings.[1]

Bugs

  • Icon pc.png Icon xbox360.png Playing with any no-game-limit non-player character when they hold 59804 caps will result in the player winning up to 52029 caps. Dale Barton will fall back to 59804. This action is repeatable. Also, the game may crash when the non-player character holds more than 65,535 ((2^16)-1) caps in his inventory.[verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png Though the rules state no discarding may occur during the initial round, it is nonetheless possible to do so anyway. If the player does so, their opponent does not get a turn and the player gets to go again. The non-player character will also use this bug to their advantage. This is likely due to the fact that if you started with (for example) all queens, you could not make a move and the game could not progress.[verified]
  • After the game ends:
    • Icon xbox360.png When it says to press any button to continue pressing start and then hitting start again will cause the game to become unresponsive, while party chat still works.[verified]
    • Icon ps3.png The button to continue will sometimes lag over. (Pressing (O) to exit will sometimes cause the Pip-Boy to open and pressing (X) will sometimes trigger dialogue with the opposing player).[verified]
  • Icon pc.png It is not possible for the player to discard cards once their main deck is empty. The opponent will still be able to do so once their deck is gone.[verified]
  • Icon xbox360.png When putting a card onto any pile, the green validation card will show upside down[verified]
  • Icon pc.png A bug may occur where the non-player character will not bid any caps even if the player wagers caps. If this happens, the player may lose his wager if they lose and won't win anything if they win.[verified]
  • Icon xbox360.png Some caravan card games may not load up a screen, but rather load up the options to choose cards. The screen will remain with the player looking at their opponent.[verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png Icon xbox360.png When drawing or discarding, some cards may change to a different card (ex. 7 to a 10) for the duration of the animation and then change back.[verified]
  • Icon pc.png Once the game starts and the non-player character places their first card for their caravan, you're not able to select any cards to be placed in your caravans[verified]
  • Icon pc.png Icon ps3.png There is a possibility that you will not be awarded the trophy/achievement "Caravan Master" upon reaching the 30 wins required to get the trophy.[verified]
  • Icon pc.png When playing Caravan, the game may end abruptly even when the win conditions are not met. Either the player or non-player character can win. [verified]
  • Icon pc.png When playing Caravan, if you remove an opponent's card, lowering their score below 21, the game can still end as if the column is still sold prior to enough cards being re-added. This is a bug, as this does not happen when a column is removed to try and restart it, nor is the column value noted anywhere. [verified]

See also

References

  1. Fallout: New Vegas 10th Anniversary Charity Stream (reference starts at 3:20:09)
    Joshua Sawyer: "Yeah, I mean, we had wanted to do more testing and iteration on it, we just didn't have time, there were too many other like, critical bugs to fix, so we just never got around to it. I think it should be tutorialized easier, I think that the deck should be simplified a little bit in terms of what the player gets from the beginning... um, I do think figuring out some way to move away from the 6-10... y'know, just load everything up with sixes and tens and kings."
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