Oh Captain, My Captain! New Ways to Rule the Seas in ShipShape™

Ahoy, mateys! While we recognize that National Talk Like a Pirate Day is a full month away, isn’t it always a good time to brush up on your pirate speak?

We say AYE! It’s also the perfect time to flaunt some new codes of conduct for all you jolly fans o’ ShipShape! 

Avast, me hearties! Let’s dive in.

2-Player Fleet Mode

Here’s an excellent way to add some twists and turns to a 2-player game! 

Each player is given three holds to fill for the round at hand. (A fleet, if you will). Instead of calculating the cannon bonus based on one hold, it will now be based on how many cannons you have in your entire fleet! For example, if you have 15 cannons between your three holds, and Blackbeard has just 12, you’ll receive 3 gold for your superior firepower. So, go ahead and be a loose cannon. Your crewmates depend on it! 

While the cannons can work in your favor, the contraband is a little trickier! In this version, the player with the highest amount of contraband on a single ship loses *all* of their contraband. That’s right. If one ship gets caught, everyone else gets pulled in for inspection. It may not seem fair, but once the commodore has his eye on you, your smuggling days are over!


If the 3-D puzzle elements of this seaworthy title have taken hold of your scallywag heart, this variant offers an excellent challenge! 

All Crates must be placed on holds exactly as they appear on the stack. In order to manipulate them, players must expend a card equal to the number of 90-degree turns they would like to make. Flipping the tile over counts as one rotation. This introduces a new level of strategy as your hand of cards must be leveraged to not only secure the right Crates, but also to place them for the best score possible. 

If that’s a little complex for your crew, here’s an alternate economy. Give each player five gold to start the game. Each flip requires paying the loading crew 1 gold! 

If that sounds a bit too challenging for your young crewmates, an easier option would be to allow players to take the crates as-is from the stack or spend 1 gold to flip or rotate it as many times as they’d like.

Why? Because someone has to move those crates! And if you don’t have volunteer crew members, you need some gold!

Treasure Island

Here’s a good one for those of us who enjoy weaving a story into our games! At the start of each round, each player is given a blue coin token to place in their hold in any spot they see fit. This token represents a legendary treasure map that must be kept safe during the voyage. Players must avoid covering their treasure map (and thus losing it in their messy hold!). If it ever gets covered by a crate, remove the token for good. If you manage to keep your map safe til the end, you’ll get a bonus loot haul of five gold pieces. Remember, a tidy pirate is a rich pirate! 

Split The Party

It’s time to divide and conquer! At the start of each round, before play begins, players must split their crew into three loading groups of three pirates apiece. The leftover card will be the ship’s captain, acting as the player’s tiebreaker value for all three rounds. 

Stormy Seas

Finally, this last variant allows players a little more control over their holds, while adding some complexity to their choices during the game. Players are given their holds for all three Voyages at the start of play. As players acquire crates, they may decide to put them on any of their three ships. 

No matter the player count, each player will only obtain nine crates in total. Scoring takes place after the ninth crate is placed. Will you focus your points on one high-scoring ship, or hedge your bets by knocking out negative points first? It’s all up to you how to batten down the hatches!

Final scores are determined by just two of your three ships. At the end of the game, shuffle your cards and place one facedown under each hold. The hold receiving the lowest-valued card has been lost to Davy Jones’ Locker! 

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me! How will you liven up your next sail through the seven seas? 

Whichever code of conduct ye care t’try, be sure to enjoy yerself with yer fellow gamers o’ fortune. Happy gaming!

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