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Subject: Solo Fleet rss

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Jim Neuschwander
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Yes, Fleet is a great game for multiple players, but what about those of us who want to play it every waking moment? Here is a possible solution for your consideration.

I wanted to be able to play as near as I could a regular game of Fleet when I don't have anyone to play it with. So I didn't want to change any of the mechanics or card effects, barring a necessary modification to the auction phase. I also wanted to play against some type of rudimentary AI, yet keep any fiddly bookkeeping to a minimum.

These rules only take into account the base game so far. I haven't played with the Inuit Fishermen or Salty Captains yet.

First things first, you need a nemesis. Let's call him Ahab.

You'll need a decent bit of table space for your and Ahab's fleets, along with the license offer. Ahab will purchase licenses and launch boats, but will hold no cards and spend no money. Ahab basically has a platinum no-limit credit card.

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Setup: Use the two player setup for arranging the license deck. Use 30 fish crates.

Auction Phase:

Lay out 3 licenses, one on top, the second below the first, the third below the second. You may purchase one of the three. For the bottom license (closest to you) you pay the minimum cost printed on the card. For the middle license you pay the minimum cost plus $2. For the top license you pay the minimum cost plus $4.

If you purchase one of the lower two licenses (or no license at all), Ahab will take the top license.

If you purchase the top license, Ahab does not get a license this round.

Remaining licenses get pushed upwards, hence increasing their cost the next round. Then fill empty spaces from top to bottom so that there are again 3 licenses available.

Launch Boats and Hire Captains:

You play this phase normally.

After you launch boats, Ahab flips a card from the boat card deck. If this boat card matches any of Ahab's licenses in play, he launches the boat.

Ahab's boats don't need captains to fish, or are automatically captained (however you want to think of it).

Fish:

You play this phase normally, and all of Ahab's boats also receive a crate of fish with the normal 4 crate per boat limit.

Processing and Trading:

You play this phase normally. Ahab does not process or trade.

Draw:

You play this phase normally. Ahab does not draw or hold any cards.

End Game Conditions:

Normal. If you can't fill the three spots for available licenses, finish the round, or if the last fish crate is taken, end the game after that fishing phase.

Scoring:

You score your fleet normally. As for Ahab...

Standard - Ahab's fleet scores normally, but he does not score any King Crab bonuses.
Difficult - Add King Crab bonuses to Ahab's score.

----------

Make it easier by reducing license cost to (cost, cost + 1, cost + 2) instead of (cost, cost + 2, cost + 4), or make it harder by increasing the costs.

Make the game longer by adding more licenses and crates. I'll leave it to you to try and balance that.

Feel free to make other suggestions to improve this solo variant.

Thanks to Matt and Ben for the awesome game.

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Tim Park
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I think I'm going to go give this a try right now.
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Keegan Fink
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Ahab! I love it!
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Matt Riddle
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That is awesome.
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Dale Moore
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riddlen wrote:
That is awesome.


Awesome you made some so addicted they can't stop playing?

Awesome he made a single player variant?

both?
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Matt Riddle
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Dale-not-Chip wrote:
riddlen wrote:
That is awesome.


Awesome you made some so addicted they can't stop playing?

Awesome he made a single player variant?

both?


Yes

But I was talking about the solo variant.
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David
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Winterfella wrote:
Ahab basically has a platinum no-limit credit card.

Damn, those exclusive promos were pretty sweet.
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TC Petty III
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No game night this week, so Jim creates a solo version of Fleet. Awesome! Now, next time, you, Rob, and I can all sit in the room together playing three separate solo games with our copies.
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Jim Neuschwander
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Well, that wouldn't be as much fun, but it would give me a better chance to win. shake
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Luke Winters
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Are you sure it wouldn't be as much fun, Jim? What's more fun than playing Fleet with friends? Playing with yourself of course!
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Rob Thijssen
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Hi Jim,

soloplay worked fine even with the expansion cards.
I tried it with the Salty Captain, the Inuit Fisherman, Salvage Yard and Nunavut Weather Station.
I applied the normal rules for them. The Weatherstation ended up with Ahab and he cost me some crates of fish.
I think the challenge of soloplay can be increased by giving Ahab an Inuit Fisherman (up to 2) if he cannot launch a boat.
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Jim Neuschwander
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Cool, thanks for trying it out Rob. I need to add in some of the expansion cards not only for variety, but because Ahab kicked my butt the last few times I played it. I like your idea for allowing Ahab to utilize Inuit Fishermen when they're in the game.
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Dale Moore
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briskwinterspiss wrote:
Are you sure it wouldn't be as much fun, Jim? What's more fun than playing Fleet with friends? Playing with yourself of course!


What's playing with yourself have to do with fleet?whistle
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Juan Crespo
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Thanks, Jim. After taking a look at your variant, I decided to pull the trigger and buy the game, since solo playability is a big plus for people like me with limited gaming opportunities. I definitely don't regret it. Love the game, and playing against Ahab is brilliant!

Here are some thoughts on this solo variant. After a couple of plays, it became apparent that limiting Ahab to just two or three types of licenses greatly increases your chances of winning, since it decreases the chances of him launching matching boats. To me it feels kind of opposite of what you want to do in multiplayer games, where you don't want to let others get too many copies of the same license to limit their bonuses (shrimp, anyone?).

So I am considering to introduce a simple tweak by giving Ahab bonuses for multiple copies of the same license, so the solo play better mimics the multiplayer gameplay. For instance, one could draw and launch twice instead of once if he has multiple copies of any license. They would still need to match one of Ahab's licenses to be launched successfully.

I haven't playtested this yet, so I don't know how much more difficult will it make it. But for me, it would make gameplay closer to the real multiplayer experience, where you don't want an opponent to accumulate too many of the same licenses and get huge bonuses.

I'll try this myself soon and report back how it went. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

Edit: typo
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Ben Pinchback
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You guys are awesome. Really, really awesome. Keep playing and report back!
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Juan Crespo
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juanma99 wrote:
Thanks, Jim. After taking a look at your variant, I decided to pull the trigger and buy the game, since solo playability is a big plus for people like me with limited gaming opportunities. I definitely don't regret it. Love the game, and playing against Ahab is brilliant!

Here are some thoughts on this solo variant. After a couple of plays, it became apparent that limiting Ahab to just two or three types of licenses greatly increases your chances of winning, since it decreases the chances of him launching matching boats. To me it feels kind of opposite of what you want to do in multiplayer games, where you don't want to let others get too many copies of the same license to limit their bonuses (shrimp, anyone?).

So I am considering to introduce a simple tweak by giving Ahab bonuses for multiple copies of the same license, so the solo play better mimics the multiplayer gameplay. For instance, one could draw and launch twice instead of once if he has multiple copies of any license. They would still need to match one of Ahab's licenses to be launched successfully.

I haven't playtested this yet, so I don't know how much more difficult will it make it. But for me, it would make gameplay closer to the real multiplayer experience, where you don't want an opponent to accumulate too many of the same licenses and get huge bonuses.

I'll try this myself soon and report back how it went. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

Edit: typo


Update: Played a few rounds using the above mentioned tweak, and it feels definitely too powerful! I will try changing it to drawing two but launching only the first boat that matches one of Ahab's licenses. We'll see.
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Jim Neuschwander
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Thanks for trying it out and contributing your thoughts Juan. Good to know there are other solo gamers with limited gaming opportunities like me out there.

I agree that the strategy to inhibit Ahab from being able to launch often runs counter to the multiplayer strategy. Also agree that your initial tweak is a little too powerful for Ahab. Honestly, I've found Ahab a bit too powerful as written myself and in my most recent plays have reduced the auction costs to +1,+2,+3 instead of 0,+2,+4. But I don't consider myself an advanced player, or even a good player, just someone who likes playing the game. When I start beating up on ole Ahab, I think I will introduce your tweaked tweak of drawing more cards if he has multiple copies of a license to increase his chances to launch. Thanks for that idea. And happy fishing.
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Alex Brittain
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That is awesome, Jim. I've just played it and got beaten 59-55. I luckily got 2 processors early on, but he got all the premium licences.

Re Ahab's draw for boats, I played it as, he draws one, and if it matches a licence he keeps it. If he has multiple copies of that licence, he then draws extra boat cards so as to match the number of licences.

Ie, if he initially draws a shrimp boat and has 3 of those licences, he draws a further 2 cards, to make 3 drawn in total. He only keeps the boats he has licences for.

Thanks for the awesome idea!
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Iain Mabbott
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This is great Jim, thanks for posting!

Just played 2 games, lost one and won one, both were fairly close so it seems pretty well balanced using your original rules
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Steve Carey
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I played tonight, and even though I obtained a King Crab license (Captain VP bonus) on the final turn, Ahab beat me by 2 points!

I went mainly with a Processing Vessel fleet (I had two licenses), supplemented by Lobster (also two licenses). The timing of when to process and when to crate was delicate - I did trade in a fish for card(s) each and every turn, except the last.

A simple, quick, and fun solo experience - thnx Jim.
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Jim Neuschwander
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Thanks for playing with Ahab, Steve. If you get a chance, you should try out the official solo variant included in the Arctic Bounty expansion. It's also very fun and AB includes a boatload of new content.
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Steve Carey
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Winterfella wrote:
If you get a chance, you should try out the official solo variant included in the Arctic Bounty expansion.


I have the expansion on order, very much looking forward to it.

Winterfella wrote:
It's also very fun and AB includes a boatload of new content.


I see what you did there!
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Matt Riddle
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Steve Carey wrote:
Winterfella wrote:
If you get a chance, you should try out the official solo variant included in the Arctic Bounty expansion.


I have the expansion on order, very much looking forward to it.

Winterfella wrote:
It's also very fun and AB includes a boatload of new content.


I see what you did there!


there is a PnP of the variant on the arctic bounty page. I would link it but I'm phone posting
 
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Steve Carey
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Thnx Matt, I saw the PnP but Arctic Bounty should be here on Monday so I can wait.

I thought Fleet would be too light for me, but that's not the case - it's quite a compelling game.

We're having a group BBQ/gaming day today, and Fleet tops my list of games to play - well done!
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Matt Riddle
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Steve Carey wrote:
Thnx Matt, I saw the PnP but Arctic Bounty should be here on Monday so I can wait.

I thought Fleet would be too light for me, but that's not the case - it's quite a compelling game.

We're having a group BBQ/gaming day today, and Fleet tops my list of games to play - well done!


great to hear! Glad you are enjoying it.
 
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