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Subject: Solo Variant - Arctic Bounty Rules Tweaked for Base Game rss

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Ivan Silov
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Hi All!

I mentioned this solo variant in the SGOTY thread, and it was suggested that others might be interested in trying it out as an easy game to set up, plus it lends itself to high point totals. I really enjoy the official solo Fleet rules, and have been learning the game using the cards from the base game first. A key limitation when using the cards from the base game is that you are short one basic license type. A minor game balance issue is that it can become too favorable to the player at times to game the auctions to push licenses toward Kirkman, giving the player two bonus cards at little cost (increasing Kirkman's score at low risk of victory for Kirkman).

The variant uses three small rules tweaks to account for this:

(1) Include all basic licenses and four premium licenses in the auction deck, rather than removing any random basic licenses (this gives you 20 total licenses to work with, while maintaining the pressure of keeping premiums out of the other captains' hands). I tend to use all king crab plus one Fisherman's Pub, but that is just a matter of preference.

(2) The other captains claim the first available duplicate license when no unique license or premium is available and at or below the auction cap. This gives the captains the same number of licenses to claim outside of a competitive bid as in the Arctic Bounty rules. This gives them a bit of an edge, in that they will be able to grab a license that they wouldn't be able to claim if only duplicates came out early on when using five basic licenses (of course, that would happen less often than when using four, but it would still happen from time to time).

(3) Any time another captain does not claim a license, he gets a free launch attempt. This adds a penalty for any maneuver that keeps a license away from a target captain or captains; alternatively, it gives the captains similar compensation to the two free cards you get when you miss out on a license. T.C. gets around 4 expected points (it would be easy to calculate - I am just being lazy at the moment), plus any bonus associated with a king crab license, which is roughly a wash relative to him getting a basic license. Kirkman gets fewer expected points, due to the lower frequency of odd-coin cards in the base set, but still more than zero.

There isn't much to it (this offers very little compared to the remarkable alternative auction and spatial variants that have been posted), but I have been having fun with it. It dials up the pressure to launch and fish, unless T.C. has tough luck with draws early on. T.C. should generally score a lot (8 points a round seems about average, with some variability). The game is quick to set up, too (just take two premiums out of the license deck and get going - you can just shuffle any premiums drawn in the first two rounds back into the deck before round three).

The launch bonus for the other captains could be used with the Arctic Bounty licenses to dial up the difficulty in AB, but I haven't tried that out yet.
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Terence Burnett
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Ivan_Silov wrote:
I really enjoy the official solo Fleet rules, and have been learning the game using the cards from the base game first. A key limitation when using the cards from the base game is that you are short one basic license type.


I'm confused on this point. The official solitaire rule state to set up as a 3 player game. 2 premium and 4 standard licenses.
These are available in the base game.

Am I missing something here?
 
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Ivan Silov
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My interpretation was that the solo variant follows the general Arctic Bounty setup (select two premium licenses and five basic licenses), using the base game three-player setup rules (remove two premium license cards and two basic license cards), and with the added restriction of using only 25 crates. The posted copy of the solo rules that I used for reference doesn't indicate a restriction of four basic license types (at least not that I can find).
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Terence Burnett
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Ivan_Silov wrote:
My interpretation was that the solo variant follows the general Arctic Bounty setup (select two premium licenses and five basic licenses), using the base game three-player setup rules (remove two premium license cards and two basic license cards), and with the added restriction of using only 25 crates. The posted copy of the solo rules that I used for reference doesn't indicate a restriction of four basic license types (at least not that I can find).


My bad. Your correct. Thanks for prompt reply. The Arctic bounty does explain that, I have recently gotten both base and expansion.

Only recently played a few solo run through a with base cards.

Is there a recommended standard license to add for beginners?
 
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Ivan Silov
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Not a problem Each of the licenses offers something pretty powerful, so I am not sure if there is a preferred set to start with. The most satisfying base set basic licenses to work with for me so far are cod with lobster, to be able to get a lot of boats and captains out quickly. Out of the Arctic Bounty cards, Pacific oyster and char give you something similar, but with a twist.
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Terence Burnett
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Thanks Ivan.
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Ivan Silov
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I forgot to add - if T.C. is too tough to beat with a given mix of licenses, swap out one or more two-coin license types and replace them with one or more one- or three-coin license types (if any are available). That may have a bigger impact than the bonuses that the licenses come with, because T.C. will have a harder time launching boats as you take two-coin boats out of the deck.
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Themistoklis Dakanalis
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Sorry but I got confused. The basic game comes with 5 types of standard licenses.

Standard: Cod, Shrimp, Lobster, Tuna, and Processing Vessel

Why do I need this variant in order to play solo only with the cards of the basic game? Am I missing something?
 
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Themistoklis Dakanalis
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tdakanalis wrote:
Sorry but I got confused. The basic game comes with 5 types of standard licenses.

Standard: Cod, Shrimp, Lobster, Tuna, and Processing Vessel

Why do I need this variant in order to play solo only with the cards of the basic game? Am I missing something?


Any help here?
 
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Ivan Silov
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It's been too long for me to remember what issue I was having regarding the basic licenses - it sure looks like that was in error. I still get good results using the other alternative rules above to spice up the AI, for what it is worth.
 
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