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Mint Tin Pirates» Forums » Variants

Subject: Semi-cooperative variant - Pirates vs Aliens rss

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Nick Shaw
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This is a variant I'm working on to merge both Mint Tin Pirates and Mint Tin Aliens together. So you'll need both games to use this variant.

EDIT: Ok, this isn't technically Semi-Coop. It's more team vs team, or team vs AI, or PvP. For true semi-coop, see later on in the rules...

The variant will work for 1 to 4 players. The variable player numbers play these roles:
- 1 player: Plays both pirate ships; AI controls a single alien ship.
- 2 player: Each player plays a pirate ship; AI controls a single alien ship.
- 3 player: 2 players play together with a pirate ship each; 3rd player plays a single alien ship (or optionally two if they're feeling brave!)
- 4 player: 2 players play together with a pirate ship each; the other 2 players play together with an alien ship each.

Overview:
Aliens are invading, and pirates are the only ones brave enough (or stupid enough) to try stopping them!

The aliens have superior fire power and shields, but being so far from home, they have a limited amount of energy and it takes time to build up to activating a weapon, and shields can't be repaired.

Conversely, the pirate ships have a seemingly limitless amount of cannon balls, pistol shots, knives, bombs, etc, but they're not exactly the most accurate things to fire at hovering alien vessels.

It's a fight not just for the seven seas, but for the whole planet (the aliens didn't think they'd need more than 2 ships to take over the whole of Earth apparently - rookie mistake, that, aliens - have you not watched Independence Day?!).

If the aliens blow up both pirate ships, the aliens win! If the pirates blow up the alien ship(s), or the alien ship(s) run out of weapons, the pirates win!

Setup:
Pirates:
- Set both the pirate ships facing towards the alien(s) side.
- Put the 3 matching coloured meeples on each ship, and the matching damage marker too.
- Shuffle the Pirates deck of cards and deal 5 cards to each ship (when 2 players are playing a ship each, they take these cards in hand; when 1 player is playing alone, [s]he keeps the cards next to each ship so [s]he knows which hand of cards belongs to which ship).

Alien(s):
- Use the rules card with the subQuark logo on as an alien ship. When playing with 1 alien ship, just use that card from whichever game. When playing 2 alien ships, you'll need one from each game.
- Place the alien ship card(s) facing towards the pirate ships.
- Put 2 of the white meeple from Mint Tin Aliens on one ship. If using a second ship, put the 3rd white meeple from Mint Tin Aliens plus the ghost meeple from Mint Tin Pirates on the second ship.
- For a single alien ship, place the 2 ten-sided dice at the front of the ship card, one facing towards each pirate ship, with the 9 facing topmost. For two alien ships, place a die to the front of each alien ship card, facing the closest pirate ship. These represent the alien ship's shields and thus track damage made to each alien ship.
- Deal out the Award cards into two equal piles, such that each pile has the same number of each type of card (there will be 1 Abduction and 1 Mind Control card left over as those don't divide evenly - return these to the tin).
- If using one alien ship, put a pile next to each side of the ship. For 2 alien ships, put a pile next to each ship. These represent the weapons available to the alien ship(s).
- Shuffle the Aliens deck of cards and deal 5 cards to the alien (player or AI). There is no laying out of 5 cards for drafting like you would usually have in Mint Tin Aliens; here, the alien player just draws from the deck each time.

Not used:
- Gold cube.

Game Play:
The game is played in rounds. Each round, each pirate ship attacks, then each alien ship attacks.

Pirate attack:
Each pirate ship takes its action in turn.
- As with a game of Mint Tin Pirates, you may replace up to 2 cards.
- Then, play 2 matching cards (if possible) to the discard pile, roll the dice and see if you make the shot.
- If you played an attack and made your roll, the alien ship's damage die [the one closest to the pirate ship if using 1 alien ship, or the closest alien ship's die if using 2 alien ships] is reduced by 1 (for bombs, knives and pistols) or by 2 (for cannon fire).
- If you played a raise from the dead card and made your roll, and the specific ship has less than 3 crew, you may raise a dead crew-member from Davy Jones' locker back into your ship.
- NOTE: Mutiny cards have no effect in this variant.
- If you don't make the roll, nothing happens.
- Draw back up to 5 cards in hand for the pirate ship taking the action.

If an attack causes the alien ship's shields to drop to 0, the shields are destroyed [when using 1 alien ship - on that side of the ship]. Any shots to [that side of] the ship now hit the alien crew - one crew member is removed each time the ship is hit. If an alien ship loses both crew members, it is destroyed! [When using 1 alien ship: if the shields are destroyed on one side of the ship, the pirate ship shooting at the OTHER side of the ship still has to shoot down its shield before it can start picking off alien crew!].

If you didn't have any matching cards to play, remove a crew member from your ship, or increase your damage cube by one (your choice which to do) - the aliens got in a lucky quick shot while you were fumbling with the cannon fuse!

If the pirates destroy the alien ship(s) - the pirates win!

Alien attack:
Each alien ship takes its action in turn. If playing this as an AI, follow the AI rules as noted.
- As with a game of Mint Tin Aliens, you draw two cards to start with, but unlike a normal Mint Tin Aliens game, you can only draw from the deck (there is no drafting tableau to draw from). The cards represent the aliens attempting to power up the various weapons they have on-board.
- Then, the alien MUST play a set of matching cards to activate an 'Award' card, if possible (even if the weapon has no effect). If there's a choice, for the AI: always choose the awards in this priority order: Sightings, We're Here, Extra Credit, Abduction, Mind Control; and always use actual cards instead of MooltiPass cards if possible; the AI alien ship always targets whichever pirate ship is the least damaged / has most crew.
- If there is an unflipped award card matching your played cards, flip it (this represents the aliens using up this specific weapon; weapons cannot be regenerated - they are in limited supply!). Perform the following action to the targeted pirate ship:
--- Sightings / We're Here / Extra Credit: If there are less than 3 pirates aboard the ship, increase the damage cube by one notch. If it has reached the final notch, that ship is sunk! If the pirate ship has 3 pirates aboard, they can repair any damage you inflict quickly, so your hit has no effect to the ship - leave the damage cube where it is.
--- Abduction / Mind Control: Remove a pirate from the target ship (he's now in the water; he can be raised from the dead by the pirates on their turn).
- If the alien is unable to play ANY match, reduce the respective damage die value by 1 (the pirates get a quick lucky shot in while the aliens are fumbling with their weapons console).
- If the alien has no matching unflipped award card for the played cards, nothing happens (do not reduce the damage die).

If the aliens have flipped EVERY award card, they are out of weapons, and are forced to retreat - the pirates win!

If the alien(s) destroy both pirate ships - the aliens win!

Strategies
- The main defence the pirates have is that if they have all 3 crew members aboard a ship, the alien ship can't inflict damage to the ship itself. So raising dead pirates from Davy Jones' Locker is important! But remember: The aliens' most numerous weapons are ones that damage the ship, so once the pirate ship(s) are vulnerable to damage, the alien ship(s) are pretty likely to inflict damage every single round.
- The main defence the aliens have is that their ships have very strong shields, so can take quite a battering whilst waiting for the ideal weapon to power up. But they have a limited supply of each weapon, so they must be used sparingly, and at the right times!

Note about the AI alien ship:
The AI makes clear decisions based on what cards they draw. This may make the AI easier to defeat than a real opponent, but those alien ships are really strong so the AI is not to be underestimated!

An image of the variant nearing end-game:


I managed to squeeze all the bits into the tiny space in front of my monitor. (More space is nicer, but proves it can be done in small spaces!)

Remember, this is a work in progress; I've not playtested all the player counts yet, and the way the aliens play may need tweaking for balance. So do let me know any feedback you have, or suggestions / problems with how it plays!

Semi-Co-op variant:
Ok, the above rules don't technically give a Semi-Coop mode. It's more team vs team, or team vs AI, or PvP. For true semi-coop, do this instead: If the aliens manage to defeat both pirates, the alien ships turn on each other and fight using the standard Mint Tin Aliens rules, trying to complete as many of their remaining awards as possible. Similarly, if the pirates manage to defeat both alien ships, the pirates turn on each other - continue fighting to the death using standard Mint Tin Pirates rules (add in the gold cube now).
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Nick Shaw
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Here's a photo of the end of one of my playtests whilst trying to work out the rules, playing a solo game of 2 pirate ships vs 1 alien ship.



Note that in this image, I was using the gold cube to track damage to the alien ship (by moving it up the fingers - I thought that was a nice touch) but I got rid of that idea as it effectively just extended the shield dice damage by 5, and having a separate thing tracking damage seemed over the top (plus if you wanted to play with 2 alien ships, there would have been no more cubes left to track the second ship's damage, and I wanted to work within the constraints of the components that come in the game(s)).

You can see I've destroyed one of the shields (on the right), and that ship managed to take out all the crew members (notice there were 4 of them at that time - stacked up behind the card as the pirates had managed to kill them all; I changed it to 2 in the above rules so there were enough for 2 alien ships - could be a variant though, to make the AI harder to beat). I also lined up the award cards in such a way that they looked like the wings of the alien ship, which made it look far more intimidating (and lets you more easily see what weapons you have left).
 
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Nick Shaw
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I'm not too happy with the 2 alien ships mode, merely because: what should happen when either one pirate ship is destroyed, or one alien ship is destroyed? Can the two alien ships gang up on the remaining pirate ship, and vice versa (thematically: yes)? Seems very overpowered like that though, and I wonder if it would be better to just say 'if one ship gets destroyed, that's it - that side has lost', rather than dragging out the seemingly inevitable. Will have to playtest more to see.
 
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David Miller
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No way! Not only a combo but 1, 2, 3, and 4 player variants! That's amazing Nick! =)
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Nick Shaw
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David Miller wrote:
No way! Not only a combo but 1, 2, 3, and 4 player variants! That's amazing Nick! =)


Thanks David. I'm not sure if the 3 or 4 player modes will work well enough (the choices for the alien ships are very limited) so I might try adding the drafting back in when the aliens are real players, not AI. Might be overpowering then, but maybe not...!
 
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