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Subject: Solo Variant - The Ghost Ship rss

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Nick Shaw
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This is a solo variant for Mint Tin Pirates, which I have dubbed "The Ghost Ship". I tried to keep as much of the feeling of the normal 2-player game as possible, but adding in a bit more of a challenge to keep it interesting over multiple plays. Any thoughts/comments welcome!


Overview:
You are fighting against a ghost ship, which is intent on killing all your crew and/or sinking your ship. And the ghost-pirate captain cannot be killed (weapons have no effect on ethereal beings)!

You must therefore sink the ghost ship in order to win.

To help in your goal, you can use sets of *3* pistols/bombs/knives to damage the ghost ship, as well as the usual 2 cannon-fire cards. However, the ghost pirate may at times raise lost sailors from Davy Jones' locker, bringing them back as zombie pirates. You must re-kill any of these zombie pirates before your pistols/bombs/knives can cause damage to the ghost ship again.

Setup:
- The ghost ship starts with ONLY the ghost meeple on board its vessel (who never leaves - he is there for 'atmosphere' only!).
- You start as usual with 3 meeple on your galleon.
- Put the damage cube markers on the left-most notch on each galleon.
- Shuffle the cards and deal out 5 cards to yourself.
- The ghost ship has no hand of cards.

Example setup:


Notes:
- Doubloons are wild, as usual.
- Deserter cards have no effect (but can be used for discarding).
- The gold cube is not used (ghosts have no need of gold, and you have no time to enjoy it - you're fighting for your lives, after all!).

You start first.

Your turn:
Firstly, you can (but don't have to):
- Discard any number of your cards and replace them from the draw deck;

Then, you can do one of the following (but don't have to, or may not be able to):
- Discard 2 cannons to attempt to fire at the ghost ship (and kill a zombie pirate if there are any);
- Discard 3 pistols, or 3 bombs, or 3 knives to attempt to kill a zombie pirate (if there are any), or damage the ghost ship (if there are no zombie pirates);
- Discard 2 Raise The Dead cards to attempt to raise one of your dead meeple from Davy Jones' locker;
- Sacrifice (discard) any one card [for ever] from your hand to reduce the cannon-fire damage level on your ship by one notch (only one discard per turn allowed);
(Reminder: Deserter cards have no effect, so cannot be used as an action.)

If you chose to play action cards, you roll the dice to see if you succeed in your action. If you do, apply the result:
- For cannon-fire: Raise the cannon-fire level on the ghost ship up by one notch, and if there are any zombie meeple on the ghost ship, remove one. If the cannon-fire level on the ghost ship is now at shipwreck, the ghost ship sinks and you win!
- For pistols/bombs/knives: If there are any zombie meeple on the ghost ship, remove one. If there is JUST the ghost-meeple on board, however, you may raise the cannon-fire level up one notch on the ghost ship. If the level is now at shipwreck, the ship sinks and you win!
- For raise-the-dead, put one of your previously lost meeple back on your ship.

If you fail your roll, nothing happens.

Finally, draw enough cards to replace the ones you discarded for actions (do not replace a card you discarded to reduce your own cannon-fire level!).

Ghost Ship's turn:
Turn over the top card of the draw deck.

If the drawn card is a cannon, pistol, bomb, knife or raise-the-dead card, roll the dice to see if the AI uses the action. If it does:
- For cannon-fire, pistols, bombs or knives, apply the action to your meeple/ship as per the normal rules. If you now have no meeple left, or your ship reaches the shipwreck level, you have lost!
- For raise-the-dead, put one of the opponent coloured meeples onto the ghost ship, as a zombie-meeple. You must "re-kill" any zombie-meeple on the ghost ship (using cannon-fire/pistols/bombs/knives) in order for pistols/bombs/knives to be able to damage the ghost ship again.
- Doubloons have no effect (ghost aren't interested in treasure).
- Deserter cards have no effect (ghosts have no use for the living!).

Once the ghost ship's turn is finished, discard the card to the discard pile.

Game end:
The game can end in one of three ways:
1) You sink the ghost ship - you win!
2) The ghost ship sinks your galleon - you lose!
3) The ghost ship kills all your crew - you lose!

Sample end-game (I lost):


Thoughts:
I have yet to beat the ghost ship, so I'm hoping this is challenging enough to keep people interested in replaying it [though to note, I've only played this 4 times, and the amount of randomness in the game will greatly affect the outcome!].

I think this is certainly more challenging than the 2-player game, in that you actually have to sink the opponent ship, not just kill off all the crew (I've ended up losing all 4 times to this variant due to losing all my crew, and 3 out of the 4 times, I was only one shot away from sinking the ghost ship).

[EDIT:] I've now won this twice in about 12 games, which seems like a pretty good win to loss ratio for a solo game.
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David Miller
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So smooth and pretty amazing to be able to "see" this variant in this game. Thank you Nick - you are the official solo variant Mint Tin Games Expert!
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Stephen Farquhar
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I have been playing Mint Tin Pirates a bit with my kids since printing the Print'n'Play.

These solo rules are a great variant - excellent work.

The game is clearly packing a lot of punch for its size when people are so willing and able create variants already. I am looking forward to playing the 4-player version once the Kickstarter arrives.

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Jeremy Spray

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This is a blast! even on a busy day at work, I can take a mental Game break and play this (with or without moy coworkers) and it really helps me clear my thoughts.

Thank you for developing such a great strategy in single player style!
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Joseph Propati
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Now I'm even more excited to get my game!!! Thanks for the solo variant!
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Steve Ercolini
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Thanks Nick! Just received my games yesterday and gave this a try! Loved it! Somehow I won the first two times but they felt VERY lucky. Bad Ghost die rolling and doubloons coming up on his turn. I got smoked on 3rd though and it felt more like the norm! I am a big fan of games that come with a solo variant so I really appreciate your work! Thanks again!
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David Miller
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Nick is incredible with this - never ever would I have figured this out - he did an awesome job and glad to here it played well for you Steve. =)
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Lee Zickel
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Quick clarification question about "Sacrifice (discard) any one card [for ever] from your hand to reduce the cannon-fire damage level on your ship by one notch (only one discard per turn allowed)"

Does that mean after the first Sacrifice, you then play with a max hand size of 4?

Thanks! Great solo variation!
 
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Nick Shaw
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bewmaynes wrote:
Quick clarification question about "Sacrifice (discard) any one card [for ever] from your hand to reduce the cannon-fire damage level on your ship by one notch (only one discard per turn allowed)"

Does that mean after the first Sacrifice, you then play with a max hand size of 4?

Thanks! Great solo variation!


Yep, that's the idea. You're taking a permanent disability by reducing your hand size by 1.
 
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Nate Johnson
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Nick, I've created a Pocketmod version of your solo rules for this game. Would you be alright with me posting it to the files section? I will be sure to credit you either in the description or on the rules themselves. I'm still tweaking it, but it looks great so far IMO. I love this solo variant and have played it dozens of times already, lol. Also, I intend to make another one for MTA and your combination variant as well if that's okay. Thanks!

Oh, and I'll even try to get one put together for the Mini Apocalypse variants too! Let me know!
 
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Nick Shaw
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AmnNate wrote:
Nick, I've created a Pocketmod version of your solo rules for this game. Would you be alright with me posting it to the files section? I will be sure to credit you either in the description or on the rules themselves. I'm still tweaking it, but it looks great so far IMO. I love this solo variant and have played it dozens of times already, lol. Also, I intend to make another one for MTA and your combination variant as well if that's okay. Thanks!

Oh, and I'll even try to get one put together for the Mini Apocalypse variants too! Let me know!


Hi Nate, yes no problem, feel free to post to the files section. Glad you're enjoying the variants!
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Nate Johnson
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Great! Thanks so much. I've uploaded the MTP file and will get to work on the other games shortly. I love what you've done with all these games. As great as they already are, your solo versions are a blast during breaks or lunch at work. Thanks again. Let me know if I missed or messed anything up in the files!
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