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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Submit Your Pocket Card Jockey Records; How To Get Good Ones!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Submission sheet created by the Pocket Card Jockey subreddit; sponsored by KoopaTV.

Do you play Pocket Card Jockey? (In a world where people made good decisions, all of your hands/paws/claws should go up.) If you're as fascinated by Pocket Card Jockey as we at KoopaTV are — and you would be fascinated by Pocket Card Jockey's deep mechanics and repeatable fun if you played it — then you probably have played it for a long time, and have participated in many of its races.

It's only $7 on the 3DS's Nintendo eShop, and there is a free demo that is representative of the game that allows you to transfer your progress to the full game.

Pocket Card Jockey times you on how fast you can complete its races, and then keeps those records in a museum. In that deep-dive article I linked in the first paragraph, all I mentioned about these records was that,
you're also timed on how long it takes to complete all of the Solitaire phases of a race if you want to try to beat your own score/Jagger's records/StreetPass records.”
They weren't a big focus for me when playing the game, and I've played it for over 130 hours now. There are a number of tactics you can do to reduce your time that would be counterproductive if you were playing the game normally, which I will get to below the fold.

BUT FIRST, I would like everyone who has Pocket Card Jockey to go to this public Google spreadsheet started by Redditor Quivico and enter in your record times, as provided by the game's museum. It's an easy sheet to figure out — each person has their column, and the five race courses have their own spreadsheet tabs. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments, since the rest of this article will be TIPS & TRICKS to getting a good record in Pocket Card Jockey.

Let us first make sure we are all in common understanding. The time reported in Pocket Card Jockey is just for whenever you're playing Solitaire. It doesn't take into account how much time you spend in-between Solitaire rounds when you're deciding where your horse should go or when you rub the Giddyap button, and the time spent when you're doing the final homestretch is also not factored in.

My biggest piece of advice? Don't try to speed-run until you have well-bred three-star horses and have a lot of money to the horse owner's name, so you can spend as much as you need in the shop.

I recommend getting your fingers and brain warmed up with the game's training mode. You also need to stamp out bad mindsets that distract you from your goal. If you're moving quick and notice you just made a sub-optimal move, any time you spend beating yourself up over that is wasted time and depresses the rest of your gameplay. You can't have that. In terms of speedy fingers and your stylus, you'll want to keep your stylus close to the touch screen at all times. The speed at which you tap, of course, affects your time.

Pocket Card Jockey training mode record 30 seconds
The game doesn't save your best time in training mode, so here's my most recent best time of 00:30'4. It takes focus.

How does one minimise the amount of time it takes to do the Solitaire sections? Well, abilities/items-emulating-abilities like Tiny Solitaire (item: Tiny Carrot) and Devil's Hand (item: Lucky Gloves) help, which help make it so there are either less cards to clear or you get the right card at the right time. Those are always-desirable abilities to have as some of the best all-purpose abilities in the game.

Abilities that don't have a big use for normal play but help in speed-running would be those like Speed Draw (which hastens the card-drawing animation a lot, which isn't much of a big deal) and Autodraw (which automatically draws cards until you get a relevant one, which is a big deal). I find that Speed Draw draws the card faster than my mind can process the new information, so it's a wash.

It's not just what items to buy and what horses to breed, but it's how to play. Unlike in normal play where you want to try to do high-risk, high-reward Solitaire segments in the level 3 comfort zone — which make you have to clear a lot of cards with not many cards to work with — to speed-run you will want to go into Level 2, 1, or even 0 comfort zones so you can clear things as fast as possible. This, of course, means you will get less Energy from the Solitaire sections. Just a reminder, but if you're just trying to win and breed a great horse, then as long as you don't go over the time limit, you won't be playing for speed in normal gameplay. You'll take your time. You need to change that.

You need to balance the time-savings with making sure you have the energy needed to actually get first place in the race, because your time is only counted as museum-worthy if you get first place. This is easier to do in the earlier and shorter races if you get the best head start, because you can ride on the power of your three-star horse's stats. Otherwise, it's a judgment call on when you can take quicker rounds and still skirt by with a win.

Speaking of judgment calls... there is one method that you can use to make optimal plays 100% of the time.

Pocket Card Jockey cheating method time attack Nintendo 3DS Game Notes home menu best scores
...The Games Notes method, more insidious than even SparkNotes.
(7, 6, 7, 8, 9.)

Let me state this: I have never used the method (except to get the screenshot above) and I do not endorse it. It's the equivalent of doping in the Olympics, and as a former Olympic athlete, I get very sensitive about that topic.

That said, here's how to do it and its benefit:

  1. When you get to a round of Solitaire, at any point in the game (such as the very start and any time you pick up a new card), press your Nintendo 3DS's HOME button.
  2. Go to the Game Notes application, located at the top of your touch screen. It's the yellow pencil.
  3. Enter one of the 16 Notes.
  4. Tap the flip screen button at the bottom of the touch screen twice.
  5. You now have a clear, untimed view of the playing field. Feel free to plot out exactly what moves you'll do for optimal combos, or if you need to quickly get another card. This completely takes off any pressure from the game and basically allows you to make tool-assisted speed-run-like decisions.
...Don't do it. I imagine that if you start doing the Game Notes method, then you will use it continually and be unable to function without it, much like Olympic performance-enhancements. The skills that Pocket Card Jockey can develop into you will be totally lost, and you will have a lot less fun with the game.

Speed-running isn't worth it if you're not having fun, especially in a game as niche as Pocket Card Jockey where no one will actually care if you have a world record.

That said, sharing records with friends (and strangers) and some friendly competition is fun, and Pocket Card Jockey is great, so buy the game and put down your records in the Pocket Card Jockey Records public spreadsheet! By the way, it makes sense to advertise the spreadsheet on KoopaTV, since KoopaTV gets higher readership numbers than Pocket Card Jockey's subreddit. It's pretty sad.

Ludwig showcased his record-times for Team Kirby Clash Deluxe, another 3DS game, here, except he doesn't invite you to share yours.
When we mention Solitaire segments, it's not literal Solitaire. That's important to note!


  1. I don't have this game but I read the article.
    It's about cards and farming.

    1. If you want to know more about the game itself, look to the hyperlinks in the first two paragraphs.

  2. I'll be sure to warm up my fingers... With the games training mode of course!



  3. What's with all of this ascii spam lately?
    Anyway, the Pocket Card Jockey subreddit has of right now 183 subscribers. That is quite a shame since I hear so much praise about it from you and other fans of the game. I'm not really a huge fan of solitaire, but I'm glad that many find it enjoyable.

    1. Uh... We've been discovered by the denizens of the YouTube comments section.
      If it makes you feel better (and it makes me feel better), I'm not giving it KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program points.
      (Rawk thinks it's funny, for some reason.)

      Just wondering, do you actually know other Pocket Card Jockey fans besides us?

    2. I've seen a few comments on the 3DS subreddit mentioning how underrated the game is, however, they could also be subscribers to the Pocket Card Jockey subreddit as well. As far as still promoting the game this long after its release, then I would say I do not know of anyone else who is still an active player of the game.

  4. Ah, Pocket Card Jockey. That's probably the only game I'll be able to enjoy on the Nintendo 3DS, due to the majority of the activity occurring on the bottom screen (except for the Homestretch).

    Anyway, the hardest part of speedrunning a race (to me) is getting a good, reliable horse, which you said. This leads to a story: I've stopped playing when I lost "Blazin' Dash" (or "Flame"), my favorite horse, after a mistake when playing Solitaire. The horse had potential, and I screwed it up. I also can't use the Game Notes method, due to a broken top screen, so guess who's playing it the old fashioned way?!

    Anyway, horses are difficult. I'm also surprised that there's a community at all. I hope I return to playing Pocket Card Jockey, as by this point, I only come back to use my 3DS as an MP3 Player.

    1. Horses live and retire and go. I'll have you know that the Farm has limited space for horses (...I want to say 17, 15 + 2 breeding), so you'll be forced to let horses go from retirement to turn into Jell-O or something.

      Now THAT'S loss.

      I wouldn't call it a community when it gets a post a month. Miiverse was literally the most "thriving" Pocket Card Jockey community in existence.


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