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Red Dead Redemption 2 guide: Cigarette cards

Red Dead Redemption 2 cigarette card Rockstar Games via Polygon

Red Dead Redemption 2 has 144 collectible cigarette cards, broken down into 12 sets of 12 cards each. Every cigarette card is sitting somewhere in the enormous world. You could explore every inch of the map to find every one of them, or you could do what we did.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to get every cigarette card without turning over every leaf.

How to get every cigarette card in Red Dead Redemption 2

Before you follow the steps below, you’ll need a few hundred dollars, but in our experience, money ceases to be a concern just few chapters into the game. After upgrading our camp, we spent dozens of hours in Red Dead Redemption 2 with more than $1,000 in our pockets and nothing pressing to spend it on. So don’t worry: You don’t have to do this at the expense of anything else.

OK, here’s what to do:

  1. Go to a General Store. (We prefer the one in San Denis.)
  2. Buy as many packs of Premium Cigarettes as you can off of the shelf. Every pack gives you a cigarette card. (Also, if you have the Legend of the East Satchel, this’ll be faster because you’ll have a bigger inventory.)
  3. When your inventory is full and you can’t buy any more smokes, open your Satchel (hold right on the D-pad) and Discard all of your Premium Cigarettes.
  4. Return to Step 2.
  5. Rinse, wash, repeat.

As you collect cards, you’ll see a pop-up on the left of your screen. You can check your Satchel inventory (hold right on the D-pad for quick access) to see the cards you have and the cards you need.

Sure, the process can be tiresome. But we’d argue that slogging your way across the impossibly large Red Dead Redemption 2 map to find what you’re looking for would be more tiresome.

Each pack of Premium Cigarettes costs $2.50, but there’s more to the story. You’ll get many duplicates, but that’s actually good because you can sell your duplicate cigarette cards to a Fence. (And in San Denis, the Fence is just a short jog up the street from the General Store.) Some of your extra cards will be worth $1, but others will be worth more. Point is, you’ll be getting some of your money back. At most, each pack of Premium Cigarettes will effectively cost you $1.50 or less. (And there’s a quest related to collecting cigarette cards, which we’ll discuss below.)

There is one problem that’s worth mentioning. Every time you purchase Premium Cigarettes, the game randomly gives you a card. When you have relatively few cigarette cards, the chance you’ll get something you don’t have is relatively high. But as the number of cigarette cards you need diminishes — even though the odds are always 1 in 144 — it’ll feel burdensome. Push through. You’ll get them eventually.

Collect them all, and you’ll receive the “Collector’s Item” Achievement/Trophy, which you get for completing “one of the Collectible strands.’ (Unless you’ve completed another collectible … strand.)

Smoking and Other Hobbies

The location of Flatneck Station, Phineas T. Ramsbottom and the “Smoking and Other Hobbies” side quest in Red Dead Redemption 2 Rockstar Games via Polygon

There’s a quest related to collecting cigarette cards. After you finish “Who Is Not Without Sin” early in Chapter 2, a stranger, Phineas T. Ramsbottom, will appear sitting outside of Flatneck Station (see the map above for the location). Speak to him, and Red Dead Redemption 2 will task you to “collect all the cigarette cards and mail the completed sets to Phineas.”

After you’ve collected a set of 12, visit any Post Office and mail the cards to Phineas. With each set you mail, you’ll earn rewards — including a good chunk of money and the Vintage Civil War Handcuffs, a unique crafting item.

Cigarette card sets and rewards

Phineas T. Ramsbottom giving the “Smoking and other Hobbies” quest in Red Dead Redemption 2 Rockstar Games via Polygon

Here are the 12 sets of cigarette cards and their rewards in Red Dead Redemption 2:

  • Amazing Inventions: Volatile Dynamite, $100
  • Artists, Writers, & Poets: Ginseng Elixir, $100
  • Famous Gunslingers: Special Snake Oil, $50
  • Fauna of America: Perfect Rabbit Pelt, $50
  • Flora of America: Special Miracle Tonic, $50
  • Gems of Beauty: Platinum Chain Necklace, $100
  • Horses: Special Horse Medicine, $50
  • Marvels of Travel: Aged Pirate Rum, $50
  • Prominent Americans: Eagle Feather x3, $50
  • Stars of the Stage: Small Jewelry Bag, $50
  • Vistas of America: Gold Nugget, $100
  • World Champions: Valerian Root, $50

No matter which set you mail first, you’ll receive the Vintage Civil War Handcuffs, an ingredient that a Fence can use to create the Alligator Tooth Talisman. At the end, you’ll receive an additional $200 reward for mailing every set to Ramsbottom.