The Design Team has been Playing Arctic Stud on a daily basis for almost two years now; and they have some very definite, if diverse, thoughts on what is the best way to play...

Strategies from Bobby "The Razor" Llereza

Even before the race starts, I hold down the turbo button so I’m instantly running… then I dive at the sled of my choice when I’m about 15 feet away. (This takes some practice, but it’s especially useful when certain sleds have visible upgrades). Once on my sled I “gun it”, (again, holding the turbo button), and drive straight ahead towards the nearest visible card(s). If anyone is heading for the card I’m after, I almost always shoot the card so it bounces over their speeding sled; then I zip in to scoop it up as it lands. (And if someone shoots a card I’m after, I will jump off my sled to catch it in mid-air.) Generally, I try to put as much distance as possible between myself and the rest of the pack, so that I can find cards and power-ups without worrying about nearby opponents, and plan my final approach accordingly.

On those rare occasions when I don’t get off to a quick start, I take the path of least resistance. The chances of snagging good cards while trailing everyone else is very slim, so I head from teleport to teleport to try to get ahead of everybody else. Along the way, I grab plenty of missiles and, if available, toxic sludge for invisibility. (Another nice thing about traveling by teleportation, it lets me explore the whole course quickly, so I often find poker chips, jokers or spell books.) Then I wait near the finish for the first poor unsuspecting slob who comes my way, blow him sky-high and steal all his cards!

Move fast & keep a low profile…. victory is so much sweeter when you take everyone by surprise!

Tips from Vince “The Ultimate Stud” Carbone

1. A card off in the middle of nowhere is a Joker 95% of the time. Go get it.

2. Most “Bots” should be regarded as nothing more than handy, mobile card-carriers who (probably) aren’t as smart as you. Follow them whenever you’re lost and blow them up whenever you need to get an easy five cards.

3. Riders off their sleds are as good as dead. Pummel them with Snowballs… once their Stamina is used up, they almost NEVER recover. It’s funny when it isn't you.

4. Show no mercy. Attack the slowest, the weakest and the most inexperienced players. Being a jerk is not only fun, it can pay off in a big way! Besides, you are helping them gain valuable experience that will make them tougher.

5. Always go after any player with a Bounty on their head. Always put a Bounty on anyone who annoys you. And if someone places a Bounty on you, place a Bounty on everyone else to disguise yourself on the Radar.

Remember: Sneaky is good; devious is better. If it feels like you’re cheating, then you’re on the right track.

Strategies from Bob “No Nickname” Montgomery

There are many ways to play this game, and without a doubt the best players are those that can adapt to the situation at hand, BUT… if I had to pick my favorite technique it would be this: Never underestimate the power of armloads of dynamite coupled with finishing first. This gives you a great opportunity to blow the hell out of your opponents as they try to cross the finish line.

Head straight towards the finish line, grabbing any cards you find along the way. (If you’re lucky you might have the framework of a good hand). More importantly, smash through any snowmen you come across to collect their dynamite. Pay close attention to your enemies’ cards to see if they might have the cards you need to make a great hand (even in a Blind match, you want to keep track of who has cards and who doesn’t). Cross the finish line and start the countdown. Keep close to the finish area and keep an eye on your radar. When you see your prey coming, jump off your sled, find a cozy spot, and rain down fire and brimstone on their unsuspecting asses (this is made even more enjoyable if you've managed to pick up the slime jar). If you have a specific target for your fury, you can use the Bounty to help you zero in on his position. As soon as the cards begin to fly get ready to Bump your bet (this will unlock you, allowing you to swap cards). Grab the card(s) that you need and head for the hills.

For that matter, don’t be ashamed to Fold if you’re not confident about winning. Remember, it’s not about winning the most hands, it’s about winning the most money with the hands you do win. I regularly end up in first place even though others may have “won” more hands.

Well, that’s it for now. Stay flexible, and don’t let opportunities pass you by. Happy Studding.

Strategies from Andy “Andymation” Senesac

First, you’re going to want to use your Radar to pick a line of cards “off the beaten path”. That is, try to go where no other sled is going to be directly in front of you hoovering up all the cards. (Be sure to grab all the weapons, turbos and up-grades you see along the way because you’re going to need them.) Speaking of Turbo, don’t waste it! Resist the temptation to use it when no one else is around.

As you’re picking up and swapping Cards try to pay attention to what everyone else has on the top of your screen (especially if you’re playing open or stud). Now there’s going to be a lot of people blowing each other up and stealing each other’s cards so you have to keep a close eye on what’s going on at all times. This, of course, is going to ultimately decide whether or not you will end up staying in, bumping the bet or folding like the puppy you are.

Ok, I know in the heat of battle you’re going to want to blow up as many riders as you can in an effort to steal their cards (...unless you already have a nice full house or higher… in which case you should just bump and finish, you idiot!) but you have to also be watching your own ass because you may have the cards that somebody else wants! The best way to kick butt in this game is to keep a cool head!

You probably already know to jump off your sled if there are three or more missiles headed your way, but unless you’re quick you may find yourself splattered all over somebody’s snowplow and your cards scattered all over the terrain anyway. Remember what I said earlier about grabbing weapons along the way?! Now is the time to switch to your Dynamite, and get ready to hurl TNT at the sled bearing down on you. If all goes well, the bully who was planning to run you over and steal your cards will be picking gunpowder out of his teeth while you’re picking his cards out of the snow! Even if you’ve already panicked and wasted all your missiles and dynamite before this crucial moment you may still have a chance… if you use your head, literally! It’s risky, but if you Dive at an approaching sled at just the right moment you can sometimes knock the Rider right off their sled and send their cards flying!

It takes a cool head to use the Velcronomicon effectively, too. If its early in the run and there are still lots of cards out there, I try to have at least two high cards in my hand and cast “Card Seeker”! If I already have a good hand, “Radar Interruptus” makes it damn near impossible for others to find enough cards, much less the finish line. And if it’s late in the run, I wait for some cocky rider with a good hand to make a “Late Bump” and then I cast “Cthundheit” and revel in the chaos!

O.k. there you have it, a little taste of how I manage to dominate this diverse, intense, extremely addictive game day after day! Viva la Stud!

A Tip from Manny “Siberian Hamster” Najera

I have only one rule: I always try to wait until I am just one card away from a great hand (i.e., Flush or better) before I head towards the finish line! If I find the last card I need on the way there, perfect. Otherwise, I cross anyway, (just to play it safe), and then keep searching … then, when I find what I need I unlock and grab it!

I never "Bluff" ...really, I don't. So fold when you see me bump. Honest.

Two Tips from Brian “Slugpuppy” Colin

“Knowledge is power.”
You don’t have to know anything at all about the game to have fun, but if you want to head home with all the cash at the end of the day, it helps to know every trick in the book. But I suppose that if you’ve read down this far, you probably already have a pretty good theoretical understanding of the Arctic Stud Universe… so I’ll keep it simple.

1. Get to know the Hassayampan River Valley; the towns, the populace, the legends. Learn where the Finish Areas are, learn where the Teleport tunnels lead; learn where the Jokers, Chips, Upgrades and Spellbooks appear. (The Single Player Game is great for this!)

2. Get to know your opponent(s). Pay attention to how & when your opponents Bet, Bump & Fold. Keep track of who races headlong to the finish, who avoids confrontation, who always panics and who never bluffs. As far as I’m concerned, the single most important, effective, and satisfying skill is learning to correctly “read” an opponent; whether across the room, or across the country.

I think the beauty of this game is that anyone can develop a winning strategy that best suits their particular skill set! Race, shoot, hunt, hide, count cards, ambush adversaries, or simply power through and trust to blind luck…

There is absolutely no wrong way to play Arctic Stud!

A Tip from Frank “Papa” Stephens

I’ve been playing in a weekly Tournament Elimination LAN-Party with a bunch of old poker buddies for quite awhile now. Everyone kicks in Twenty bucks apiece and the winner hosts the party the following week.

When I’m the host, I have only one strategy.

Since a Tournament Elimination Bet increases over time, I never worry about winning the first few rounds. Instead, I focus on getting Weapons and Sled Upgrades before anyone else does, and make sure that I have plenty of Ice-Cold “Goblin Excrement” in the fridge.

By the time I’m ready to start kicking butt, everyone else is nicely anesthetized… so they never feel a thing.

And a few choice words from "Gamblin Fool" Jeff Nauman

Advice to Traditional Poker Players:
Don't be intimidated just because there's a lot going on. In my book, good Poker skills triumph over even the nimblest videogame skills more often than not! Keep a cool head and low profile and let the trigger-happy clowns fight among themselves! Just remember that with up to 30 cards available to choose from, you may have to re-define what a "great hand" is.

Dont overlook the "Hydro Boost" feature! The ability to make your Sled launch into the air is great for snagging elevated cards or jumping over obstacles.

Cards usually follow a subtle path; use your Radar to look beyond the nearest card and adjust your approach to "sweep up" multiple cards whenever possible!

Riding (or Hiding) behind others is a great way to avoid Missiles and Snowballs.

One final note:
People don't often think of computers when they're talking about "Quality Time" &/or "Bringing Families Together",
but that's only because there's never been a game like this before.

Arctic Stud is a GREAT game to play with your Family on your Home Network!

"At its core,
the game is a Dichotomy.
...Its a bloodless shoot-em-up;
...A thinking-man's free-for-all that uses gambling principals to add
strategy, depth and nuance to an otherwise mindless genre;
...A thinly veiled morality play that celebrates unbridled personal
freedom while offering a less-than-subtle warning about the
evils of corporate-sponsored addiction...

"...Is it gettin deep in here; or is it just me?"
Brian Colin, Game Designer and Professional Daydreamer

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