Catch 21®

New and Improved version released 12/8/20. Click here to see what's new!

 

Game Goals

Maximize your score by making 21's as fast as you can.

 

Game Rules

Move the top card from the draw pile to one of the four columns. The number over the draw pile shows the number of cards remaining in the draw pile.

You can move a card to any column provided that the resulting total of cards in the column is 21 or less. A "play card here" sign is displayed atop each column where it is possible to place the current card. The number at the top of each column shows the current total of the cards in that column. Picture cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) have a value of 10; Aces can be either 1 or 11.

When the total of the cards in a column equals 21, the cards in the column are cleared.  You can also clear a column with a "Five Card Charlie" by placing five cards in the column, as long as they total 21 points or less.

The two Black Jacks (the Jack of Spades and the Jack of Clubs) are special cards. Playing one on any column will clear that column, no matter what the total. As a reminder, when a Black Jack appears, the words "Blackjack Attack" will appear.

It is possible to combine multiple scoring conditions. This is called  a "Combo." For example, if  the fifth card played to a column also brings the total to 21, both a "Catch 21" and a "Five Card Charlie" are scored.

If you play a card to a column that makes the total value greater than 21, the column is "Busted." When a column is busted, all the cards are removed and no points are awarded. Sometimes you will be forced to "Bust" a column to continue playing.

During the game, you can earn bonus points for consecutive scoring moments, this is called a "Streak" bonus. After scoring points, if the next card played also scores points, bonus points are added to the second play. You can continue to streak as long as each consecutive play scores points; the streak is broken if a non-scoring play is made.

An undo button can be used during the game to undo the previous move. Only one move at a time can be reversed in this way. Using the Undo button does not break a streak, in fact using Undo can be a powerful tool to make more streaks more often.

The clock begins at five minutes and counts down. You will receive a time bonus based on the amount of time left on the clock at the end of the game. If the clock reaches 0:00 before you have played your last card, the game ends immediately.

In addition to Time Bonus, you can also earn a "No-Bust" bonus if you go the entire game without busting.

 

Game Controls

Click/Tap any of the four columns to move the current card to that column. 

You can also use your keyboard to play. Type 1 through 4 to send a card to the corresponding column.

 

Game Scoring

During play, you get points for each of the following:

  • Catch 21 - 50 points
  • Black Jack Attack - 75 points
  • Five Card Charlie - 100 points

Remember that the above scoring plays can be combined if a play meets more than one condition.

You can also get the following bonuses during play:

  • Streak Bonus - 25 points
  • No Bust Bonus - 100 points
  • Time Bonus - The Time Bonus will range from 0 to 1000, depending on how much time is left on the clock when you use the last card from the draw pile. Time Bonus = (1000 * Unused Seconds) / Total Seconds

Example 1: Player clears 12 columns with 21's, 2 with Black Jacks, and 1 with a Five Card Charlie. None of her scoring plays combined. Four of her scores were consecutive. She busted once. She used 120 of her 300 seconds. Her score is:

(12*50) + (2*75) + (1*100) + (3*25) ((1000*180)/300) = 600 + 150 + 100 + 75 + 600 = 1525

Example 2: Player clears 10 columns with 21's but two of those 21s were also 5-Card Charlies and two of them used Black Jacks. None of his scores were consecutive. He did not bust. He used 150 of his 300 seconds. His score is:

(10*50) + (2*75) + (2*100) + 100 + ((1000*150)/300) = 500 + 150 + 200 + 100 + 500 = 1450

 

Strategy/Tips

  • Always create a 21 when you have the chance to. Keeping as many open columns as possible reduces your chance of having to bust.
  • The closer a pile gets to 21, the fewer the cards that can be played there. If all your piles are close to 21, you run the risk of having to bust.
  • Remember that 16 of the 52 cards have a value of 10 (about 30% of all the cards) so try to create columns with 11 in them, which will combine with any 10 to form a 21.
  • Group your low cards together, if you don't need them, to form Five Card Charlies, which give you the most points for a column-clearing. But don't go out of your way to make Five Card Charlies, or you'll deplete your supply of low cards that you need to clear those columns with 17, 18, or 19 points.
  • There are only four aces and two Black Jacks; try to keep track of how many you've seen so far. If you can, loosely keeping track of all the cards will help you figure out when to burn and replace a card.
  • Pay attention to missed opportunities because the Undo button can be used to revert the last play. You will find it easier to earn a Streaks or Combos if you are using Undo more often.
  • It's best to avoid busting but sometimes you will be forced to bust. When your columns start to fill up, start thinking about how to manage an impending bust.