How To Play Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On

Yeah, it’s another Youtube video, but there’s an important difference this time: I made it myself. It’s seven minutes long.

I’m new at this kind of editing, and I spent a lot of effort trying to give viewers enough time to read all the text, but I failed somewhat in that regard. I suggest pausing the video if you need to catch up. It’s about the recently released Switch version of Pocket Card Jockey, a horse racing and breeding simulation that search-and-replaced all the fiddly HORSE RIDING parts with CARD GAME: a form of Solitaire called Golf, a.k.a. One Foundation.

Yeah, I’m new at this kind of editing. It was good practice though!

Game Freak has mostly had its legacy taken up by The House that Pikachu built, Pokèmon. Pokè this and Pokè that. But they had a history before they made their absurdly popular critter catching/fighting RPG, beginning as an obscure  Japanese fanzine from 1983, and they sometimes publish a game that has nothing to do with their monstrous progeny. The best known of these is probably the Gameboy Advance game Drill Dozer, but lately they’ve sallied forth into mobile gaming with a title called, in English, Pocket Card Jockey. It got a 3DS port beloved of the few that tried it, and now an update of that is on the Switch ($15). It seems a bit easier now, but it’s still wonderful.

I’ve seen Pocket Card Jockey described as not complicated, and rarely do I see a take that I disagree with more. Pocket Card Jockey is very complicated, each horse has almost a dozen characteristics to be cognizant of, each race is full of tension, and success in G-I (the hardest type) of races usually comes through executing a good strategy. I’ve also seen people say that it must have been easy to make, and I disagree with that assumption too: I think it must have been terribly difficult to construct, and most of that difficulty was in design and playtesting. Games like this don’t just happen, not if they’re any good, and Pocket Card Jockey is good.

Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On has an extensive tutorial, with three whole practice races, but there’s still a lot to learn. That’s why I made this video, to try to infect you with some of my own 100-level enthusiasm for it. I know of few games that work better in practice. You should give it a try.

2 thoughts on “How To Play Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On”

  1. I’m always amazed when a game with really disparate components like horse racing and solitaire or match three and fighting lands with players. This is definitely making me reconsider my impression that things like this are hacked together.

    1. I think you aren’t wrong on the whole, it’s just that Pocket Card Jockey shows exceptional care in how the two halves are melded together, there are all kinds of little ways they influence each other. Like, the exact place the horse is relative to the center of the Comfort Zones doesn’t just determine the difficulty of the solitaire game, but even its shape, in ways that I don’t understand entirely. The 3DS version will show you the shape of the tableau of the upcoming game, and it’s possible to get tall and thin games that are quite difficult, and I’m not sure exactly what triggers them, it might have to do with how far you are on the outside of the track?

      One thing I’m pretty certain of, the Switch version seems to be easier than the 3DS version. However, there is a switch in the Options menu that increases the difficulty of the opponent horses, I might end up trying that if the game continues to be fairly easy for me.

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