Fleet Card Game Review

Previously I wrote a review for Peloponnes the Card Game.  One of the unique thing is about that game is the auction. One player can start an open bid and the other will try to overbid, to purchase something in the game.

Some people might be looking for similar game but with different theme. If you are one of them, you might want to check out Fleet the card game. Another card games that has auction as one of its mechanism.

So, what is Fleet the card game? How do we play the game? Do they have solo mode?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Fleet the card game review based on my experience and what I can find from the internet.

Hope it helps. Is Fleet the card game going to be the best auction tabletop games?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top

Overview

Game Title: Fleet
Game Type: Card Game, Auction / Bidding, Hand Management, Multi Use Cards, Fishing Theme, Nautical Theme, Engine Building
Designer: Benjamin Pinchback, Matthew D. Riddle
Artist: Eric J. Carter
Publisher: Eagle Gryphon Games
Number of Players: 2-4 Players
Playtime: 30 – 45 minutes
Age Range: 10+
Official Website: Fleet (Eagle Gryphon Games)

Release Year: 2012
Initial Price: $20

Content (Base Game):
1 Rulebook
100 Fish Crates (Cube)
1 Start Player Marker

100 Standard Cards (63.5 x 88 mm):
Reference Cards (4)
Shrimp Boat Cards (20)
Lobster Boat Cards (20)
Processing Vessel Cards (20)
Cod Boat Cards (12)
Tuna Boat Cards (12)
King Crab Cards (12)

26 License Cards (106 x 75 mm):
Shrimp License (4)
Cod License (4)
Lobster License (4)
Tuna License (4)
Processing Vessel License (4)
King Crab License (3)
Fisherman’s Pub (3)

Expansion and Accessories:
Captain’s Club and Research Vessel (2018)
Fleet: Artic Bounty (2014)
Charter Boat Cards (2014)
Crab Meeples (2014)
Fish Meeples (2014)
First Mate Cards (2014)
House Boat (2014)
Trophy Cards (2014)
Salmon License and Boat Cards (2014)
Inuit Fisherman Cards (2012)
Nunavut Weather Authority (2012)
Salty Captain Cards (2012)
Wharfside Casino License (2012)
Fleet Custom Wooden Die (2012)
Salvage Yard License (2012)

About Fleet (Card Game)

The name Fleet refers to a group of fishing boats, not the navy thing. The setting of the game takes place at a bayside village in the northwest corner of Nunavut, Canada near the Arctic Ocean.

What was once untouchable by the world is now full with sea life. Players as the entrepreneurs are going to harvest that by building their fleet and gathers fishermen.

They first need to acquire the licenses through a process of auction and bidding against each other. The licenses will allow them to launch a boat, hire a captain and eventually catch the corresponding sea life.

Players can then use the result to get more license, launch more boats and catch more fish or simply generate more money. The winner will be determined by the victory points from the fish, boats and license that they get.

The unique thing about this game is the Multi Use Card mechanism. The cards we get can be used not only as boat that we can launch, but also the money we can spend to bid or even as a captain of our boat.

Which is why, through hand management, players will need to consider a couple of things before they use the card. One card can offer the same amount of money but probably allows different type of boat to launch. We may have the right boat but don’t have the license yet.

The bidding process to acquire the license gives another layer of difficulty and interaction between players. Each license not only will allow players to launch and fish the right sea life but they can give different bonus that can help players in the process.

One player may need that one specific license and they have to pay very high, making sure they can overbid the other players. Two players can overbid each others until one of them pass. However, if they spend too much on bidding they may have not enough to launch boats or hire captains.

With everything that happens in this game, players will have to consider not only their fleet but the other players as well. Also, they will need to plan ahead for the next step of each round or the following round.

Some people consider this as one of the best game of 2012. In 2013, Golden Geek nominate this as one of the best card game.

Eagle Gryphon Game, the publisher, even created Fleet: the Dice Game, a roll and write reimplementation of this game in 2018.

Ever since they introduced the base game, the developer has added several mini expansion in the form of new cards for additional variaty to the game or introduce new features. In 2014, they also introduced one big expansion, called as Fleet: Artic Bounty.

Components

What will we get from purchasing the base game of Fleet? The game comes in a 21 x 13 x 4.3 cm box.

I actually purchased a used copy so I really can’t tell how exactly what was originally in the box. As far as I know, the game has plastic insert that has a spot for every card and dedicated space  for the crates or cubes. My used copy no longer has this insert.

Without the insert, the box has room more than enough for its contents. We can probably add more cards from the mini expansion, no need to worry about adding sleeve to all of the cards. I’m not sure if the insert can fit the sleeve though.

If we are planning to purchase the big expansion, we will need to remove the insert so the contents from both box can fit in one box. I think both box has the same size. The publisher did offer a bigger box but for the Kickstarter campaign only.

The game also come with cards in two sizes. One of them has the standard 63.5 x 88 mm size and there are 100 cards for this. The other 26 cards are the bigger ones. which has the  size of 10.8 cm x 7.7 cm.

The recommended sleeve for the big one is to use the Blood Bowl size (7.8 x 11.3 cm). We might want to trim them a bit for the length.

Rulebook

We can find the digital copy of the rulebook from the official site here.

This 12 page rulebook will explain the components, the gameplay and all of the detailed information for each card. That digital version is slightly different thant the physical one I got from the game.

I think I like the physical one better because it has more and detailed images which are missing in the digital version. Here is the table of contents.

Cover (Page 1)
Game Overview & Story (Page 2)
Card Types and Components (Page2)
Phases (Page 3):  Summary of 5 Phases each round.
Setup (Page 3-4): For 2, 3, or 4 playrers and Advanced Setup
Gameplay (Page 4-6): Detailed explanation for each 5 phases.
Game End Conditions (Page6): 2 conditions that will trigger the end game.
Scoring and Winning (Page 7): How to count Victory Points and Tie Breaker.
Detailed Card Information (Page 7-11). From standard licenses,  premium and the boat cards,
Author’s Note and Credits (Page 12).

This is just the rulebook for the base game of Fleet. The rulebook for the Arctic Bounty Expansion, added some rules that can be applied for the base game as welll. More about this later.

Fish Crates and Starting Player Marker

These are the non card components of the game. The one starting player marker is very unique. It has the yellow color and the custom shape of a boat.

The fish crates are just wooden blue cubes.. The size is about 0.7 cm, I think very general components that we can find from other games as well. The 100 number is essential for the gameplay, especially if we play with full 4 players.

The color and shape doesn’t matter so, if we lose some, we can just use other means. It is recommended not to use any pieces that are too big. We will need to place four of these at least on the standard cards.

I think the publisher offer 100 blue fish meeples if we purchase the Arctic Bounty expansion but only as an add on. It’s just another wooden token but has the shape of a fish. While it will give a nice feel but it is just aesthetic.

Reference Cards

The game comes with 4 reference cards for 4 players. The cards use standard size of 63.5 x 88 mm. All of the cards are from the same copy and each has two sides.

One is for the turn order or turn sequence, a summary for the 5 phases each round. At the end of each phases there is a reminder of the rule for that phase like we can only acquire one license each round.

However these detailed rule reminder are for the starting condition. As the game goes, players can get additional bonus which some of these rule may no longer relevant.

For example, the DRAW phase which players will start with draw 2 and keep 1. This will change if they have TUNA LICENSE.

The other side of this reference card is reminder for symbol or icons. We can find these symbols from the License Cards. Each license will have different bonus and indicate what the bonus we can get by using this symbols.

Here are the list of the symbols from that reference card.

Launch Symbol (boat and arrow shape): Cod License
Captain symbol (Rudder): Lobster License and  one of the King Crab License
Draw Card Symbol (hand, white card and the number of cards): Tuna License
Discard Symbol (down arrow): Tuna License
Crate of Fish Symbol (Blue Cube): Processing Vessel License and one of the King Crab License
Coin / Money Symbol (Each symbol equals to $1): Shrimp License
License Symbol (long box shape): one of the King Crab License

In my opinion, the more we play the game, we will probably no longer need to use these cards. At most, we will only see this at the start of the game and that is it.

For the turn order side, we actually just need one of these. We just need one player to remind everybody how it goes. I mean, players can only choose to participate in each phase or pass.

Unlike the reference card from Villages of Valeria card game, where players can choose one of the 5 possible actions. In my opinion, the purpose of these cards are supposed to remind players without the need to check the rulebook.

I think, somehow it kind of fail  to do so. So far, I tend to check the book rather than these cards. I think they can instead use these 4 cards differently to elaborate further than just the symbol. Even the rulebook has notes on the detailed information section for each cards or license.

For example, the symbols between Captain (Lobster License) and Launch Boats (Cod License), which both of them will grant players more cards. The difference is that for the Launch Boats, we will only get bonus if we launch any boats for the given round.

The Captain, however, we will get bonus every round, not just the time we do hire a captain. So, those two are similar but works differently and we will not know if we don’t read the rulebook.

Another thing is the about the Processing Vessel License or how the fish crates works. The rulebook says that we can only trade one crate into cards every round. The more license we have the more cards we get.

However, my first impression by looking at the symbol from the card is different. I thought that we can trade as many crates but 1 crate equals to 1 card for having 1 license.

I think the others work fine. Sure, the more we play, we will not even need to check the rulebook as well.

However, it’s not like this is a game that we will play everyday. Maybe just once in a while like once a month. If that is the case, we will eventually check the rulebook again.

Boat Cards

The next is the other 96 standard sized cards. These are what add  the multi use card mechanism to the game. There are 6 different boat cards for each sea life we can get from the license.

There are 20 copies of each Shrimp, Lobster and Processing Vessel cards and 12 copies of each King Crab, Tuna and Cod Boat cards. Since these are multi use cards, there are several attribute we can find from each card that players will need to consider before using them.

Each card has the unique illustration and title. I think the color of the boat from the illustration can help us tell what card it is, except for Lobster and Tuna boat which has the white color. Processing Vessel has red color, blue for shrimp, green for King Crab and brown for Cod. Not that it really matters.

We can also find the corresponding license icon from the icon at the bottom right corner of each boat card. If we want to launch any boat, we need to have the same license and we can check by using these icons so the game is less language dependent.

When we do use this card to launch a boat, there is a cost and we can find the cost at the top left corner of the card. Shrimp and Tuna boats are the cheapest with just $1. King Crab boat is the most expensive as we need $3 to launch while the rest is just $2.

The cost of launching the boat also determine the victory points we will get. The cheaper the cost, the lower the point and the more expensive, the higher the point up to 3 victory points.

The second way to use this boat cards is as cash or payments. The number of coins indicated at the bottom left corner of each cards defines the value of the cash. This cash can be used to pay for bidding or to pay the launching cost that previously mentioned.

So, as an example, if we want to launch Lobster boat, we will need to pay $2. That means we need to discard the other cards until we match the cost. It could be another Lobster boat cards because it has the value of $2 as well or we can spend 2 King Crab or Cod boat cards.

As we can see that the value of the cash doesn’t actually in line with the cost or victory point the card can grant us. Do we launch Tuna boat to get just 1 VP and lose $3 cash? We might need the cash to win the license but then the card itself is the boat we can launch by acquiring the license.

Those are the kind of consideration that we will get from this game. There is another way we can use the boat cards and will add another consideration.

We can also use this card to hire captain for our launched boat. Hiring captain means, using one of the card from our hand and place it on a launched boat face down. At the back of each of these boat cards there is a FLEET game logo and the rudder symbol.

We can’t just spend any card to hire the captain because cash value is different and probably we can also use it to launch the boat in the next round.

In the game, these boat cards will form a face down deck and we will draw blindly. Each time, we may get the card we need to launch but not the money to bid. There is a luck factor there.

Another consideration related to the cash value is, there is no change in the game if we overpay. This is why in this game, timing is also an important factor. Maybe not launching anything this round and wait for the next is better.

Also, sometimes we will have a choice between spending one card worth of $3 or two cards of $2 and $1. Because of the hiring process will always require to have at least one card, maybe the choice is rather obvious.

These cards will get shuffled a lot and moved from deck to hand and to the discard pile. We might want to sleeve this to protect the card.

We actually only need a one side sleeve for this. However, the back of the card that display the rudder that indicate the captain can give a nice feel to the game.

License Cards

These cards are the last components of Fleet card game. There are 26 of them. The size of the card is rather unique, different from the available size.

To be honest, we don’t actually need to sleeve this. Most of the time it will only be placed on the table, get moved and shuffled a bit. As mentioned before, we can use the sleeve that is compatible with Blood Bowl card. It’s going to be a bit too long and some people might want to trim it.

In general, there are two types of license, Standard license and Premium License. The standard ones have the minimum cost as low as $4 up to $5 while the Premium license have the minimum of $10.

From the standard licenses, we will get either 3 or 4 VP for each license. The premium can give at least 5 or 10 VP. Twenty of 26 licenses are the standard ones with 4 copies of each of the 5 purposes (Cod, Shrimp, Lobster, Tuna and Processing Vessel).

The remaining 6 licenses are the premium one with either license for Fishermen’s Pub or King Crab license., three of each. Only the King Crab license has all three different and unique copy while the others are from the same copy.

These license are the one that will determine which boat we are allowed to launch by using our boat card. As mentioned earlier as well that each different licenses will give additional bonus that can grant the players more resources.

The bonus or benefit will be increased the more of the same license we have. That is for the standard only not the premium. Here are the details.

Shrimp License (Standard)
Min. Cost: $4
Victory Points: 4
Benefit: free cash for any transaction.
1 license: additional $1
2 licenses: additional $2
3 licenses: additional $3
4 licenses: additional $4

If we have these, we don’t have to discard cards from our hand to pay the bidding or cost to launch. That means, each round the benefit from this license will be activated twice.

The benefit for the auction may not be that significant, especially with higher player counts and if we have only one license. The extra $1 may not help us overbid as we need at least $2 to overbid again. Still, we will spend less card to pay the auction.

The biggest benefit will be for the launching boat. Coupled with the fact that this will allow us to launch Shrimp boat which cost exactly $1. That means after we buy this , we will launch the boat for free every turn.

We just need to make sure we have that shrimp boat card reserved. That is extra 1 VP and that is excluding points from fish crates. We get two license, and we can launch most of the boats.

I think this is probably the strongest one and easiest one to take advantage. Players probably have to compete on this to win.

In the round we acquire this license, we won’t be able to use the benefit for that auction. We need to pay first. But, we can immediately get the benefit for the launching boat of that same round.

Cod License (Standard)
Min. Cost: $4
Victory Points: 4
Benefit: can launch 2 boats each round and get more cards
1 license: if launch a boat, we will get 1 bonus boat card
2 licenses: if launch a boat, we will get 2 bonus boat cards
3 licenses: if launch a boat, we will get 3 bonus boat cards
4 licenses: if launch a boat, we will get 4 bonus boat cards

Cod licenses will grant two benefits as well. Launching two boats each round can be very lucrative but without the captain it will do no good. We still need to have the boat cards to launch and to pay the cost of launching those two.

Then, we can still only hire one captain and more boat cards for hiring. We need the other license to allow us hire two captains each round.

It’s true that having this license in later round can give great benefit as we can generate more cards each round. However, the sooner we launch the boat, the more VP we can get from the fish crates.

The second benefit will only happen if we launch a boat. However, it is true that we will get the bonus right after the launch so the card we get can immediately be used to hire a captain. But that could be a card with high value of cash because we draw blindly.

So, in my opinion Cod license will be the hardest to take advantage from.

Lobster License (Standard)
Min. Cost: $5
Victory Points: 3
Benefit: can hire 2 captains each round and get more cards
1 license: if we have 1 – 3 captained boats at the end of the phase, we draw 1 card. If we have 4 captained boats, we draw 2 cards.
2 – 4 licenses: if we have 1 – 2 captained boats at the end of the phase, we draw 1 card. If we have 3-6 captained boats, we draw 2 cards and for 7 or more captained boats, we draw 3 cards.

The Lobster license also have two benefits. One of them need the Cod license that is previously mentioned. By having the pair, each round we can launch two boats and hire two captains. Still, we need to make sure we have enough boat cards. Without the Cod license, this first benefit is meaningless.

The second benefit though can be very useful because we will get it every round as there is no way to lose the number of launched boats. At least from the base game only. I think one Lobster license is enough and after having one, we should focus on getting the Cod instead.

Of course, it is possible for players to just launch the boat without hiring any captain in one round. If that is the case, we can use the benefit from this license in the following round to hire two captains.

Players can get the bonus after the launch and hire phase is over. That means, we can’t use the bonus first from the same round to pay the next hiring captain.

Tuna License (Standard)
Min. Cost: $5
Victory Points: 3
Benefit: draw and/or acquire more cards during Draw Phase.
1 license: draw and acquire 2 cards
2 licenses: draw 3 cards and discard 1 card
3 licenses: draw and acquire 3 cards
4 licenses: draw 4 and discard 1 card

Tuna license only give one benefit for having them. It is very easy to take advantage and the players who have it just need to remember that they can get more cards.

The problem with Tuna license is more about the boat cards. While launching Tuna boats only cost $!, the cash value of the card is $3. Even if the only card we can use to launch is this Tuna Boat, most of the time it will be better to keep it for the next round for auction.

We will definitely need more than one of this license.  In my opinion, the Tuna license is just for the license, not to launch the boat. But it is  always nice to have the option..

The unique thing about this license is that if we have 2 or 4, we will draw and discard 1. We can also discard the card from hand and keep the recently drawn cards. If we don’t have any, we can only discard the recently drawn cards which both cards can be better than what we have in our hand.

So, I guess we can consider that as another benefit. Still, it depends on luck.

Processing Vessel License (Standard)
Min. Cost: $5
Victory Points: 3
Benefit: Use fish crates as cash or trade into cards
1 license: process 1 fish crates from each boat, trade 1 processed crates for 1 boat cards.
2 licenses: process 1 fish crates from each boat, trade 1 processed crates for 2 boat cards.
3 licenses: process 1 fish crates from each boat, trade 1 processed crates for 3 boat cards..
4 licenses: process 1 fish crates from each boat, trade 1 processed crates for 4 boat cards.

This license is the only reason for the fourth phase of each round. So, there are two benefits from this license.

The first one is allowing players to process fish crates from each of their boat into cash. One fish crate equals to $1. Without this license, if we have more than 4 fish on our boat, the next one will go to waste.

We can spend the crates as cash to win the auction or pay for launching boats. Then there is the second benefit. We can use one processed fish into boat cards. As mentioned before, the boat card can have a value of more than just $1, most of the time it will be a $2.

I think this is also an essential license that we need to have to win the game. The boat card for processing vessel is also not a boat that we need to launch. We just need to have the license and the process and trade phase can happen not just from the boat of processing vessel.

All of the players will want to have this and there are only four of them. If we play the game right, there is no way one player can get all of them. Rather if we already have one, we can use that time to just bid the other license.

On the other hand, it is possible to just increase the bid for the other players who  desperately need it.

Fishermen’s Pub (Premium)
Min. Cost: $10
Victory Points: 10
Benefit: no other benefit

There is no benefit from purchasing this first one of the premium licenses. We can only purchase and we will immediately get 10 VP. This license also doesn’t have any specific boat that it can allow to launch by having it.

King Crab License (Premium)
Min. Cost: $5
Victory Points: 5 (at least)
Benefit: Additional Victory Points
#1: 1 VP per 3 fish crates (up to 10 VP)
#2: 1VP per captained boats (up to 10 VP)
#3::
2 different licenses: 2 VP
3 different licenses: 4 VP
4 different licenses: 5 VP
5 different licenses: 6 VP
6 different licenses: 8 VP
7 different licenses: 10 VP

There are 3 unique King Crab licenses and each of them will grant additional VP differently. We will immediately get 5 VP just for having each of this license. So, the total can go up to 15 per license, higher than Fishermen’s Pub.

The first two are rather easy as we eventually have some captained boats and generate fish crates. We just need to be careful when processing the fish crates.

Unfortunately the rulebook doesn’t explain this completely regarding the processed fish crates. The forum suggests we will not count the processed ones, just the one on boats.

The third one is probably the hardest one to get the additional VP. We just need to have one of each but the benefit for getting the same of other licenses can probably outweigh the additional VP of this premium one.

Another benefit is that we can launch the King Crab boats which will grant us 3 VP each. Any of the 3 license allows this.

Those are the components that we will get from the base game to play it. I think there are some copy may have additional components if they came from Kickstarter campaign.

Those will be explained further later in EXPANSION and ACCESSORIES section of this article. They are not essential but can give some different experience to the base game.

How to Play (Multi Player)

Now that we already know all of the components we will be using to play, it is time to learn how to play Fleet, the card game. Officially and initially, this is a competitive multi player game, up to 4 players.

The solo mode and for 5 to 6 players rule came from the expansion. This part will only described the rule from the box. The solo mode will be covered in the next section of this article.

Below is the video from Rahdo Runs Trhough for Fleet that simulates a 2 player game.

Setup

First, the BOAT CARDS. Each player will get the same 6 boat cards from one of each type as the starting hand. If we use the other license from expansion, we will get the corresponding boat cards. For the base game, we will get the boat cards for Shrimp, Processing Vessel, Cod, Tuna, King Crab, and Lobster.

The rest of the boat cards will form a deck for boat cards or boat card supply. We can shuffle it and place them on the table where anybody can reach, face down. Also, leave some room for discard pile.

If the boat card deck or supply is ever empty, we can form again from the discard pile to replenish it, facing down as well.

Next, the LICENSES CARDS. The Fleet base game comes with 26 license cards but we will be using different number of cards depending on the number of players. As summary, here is the number of license we will be using.

4 players: 26 licenses (all of them)
3 players: 22 licenses (4 premium and 18 standard)
2 players: 17 licenses (3 premium and 14 standard)

The rulebook on page 3 and 4 suggest how to form this License deck for different player count. The idea is so the PREMIUM LICENSE will not come out in the first few rounds.

Maybe it is just me, but I got confused the first time I tried to read how it works. So, hopefully I can offer alternative description here.

4 players: Choose 8 random standard licenses aside and shuffle the rest into a large deck face down. Then, we put back the 8 licenses at the top of this deck.

3 players: Randomly remove 2 Premium and 2 Standard licenses from the game. Choose 6 random standard license from the remaining and shuffle the rest into a large deck face down. Then, we put back the 6 licenses at the top of this deck.

2 players: Randomly remove 3 Premium and 6 Standard licenses from the game. Choose 4 random standard license from the remaining and shuffle the rest into a large deck face down. Then, we put back the 4 licenses at the top of this deck.

We can put this deck in the middle of the table where every player can reach. As starter, we draw a number of licenses from the top of this deck equal to the number of players, place in the middle of the table face up.

The next setup is the blue FISH CRATES or cubes. The game comes with 100 cubes, and we will be using less than that for lower player counts. Here is the summary.

4 players: 100 crates
3 players: 75 crates
2 players: 50 crates

Or, we can say that 25 fish crates per players. We will put these crates in the middle of the table as well and return the rest to the box.

The last setup is the STARTING PLAYER MARKER. We can choose randomly who will be the starting player and give this marker to that player.

Those are the setup for standard gameplay. The rulebook also suggest an advanced setup for experienced players. I’m not exactly sure but from what I understand is that there is no setup for the licenses as described above except for the removal of cards.

We will be just shuffling the licenses from the start and the Premium ones may get revealed sooner. However, they have an addendum to this that the premium ones may not be allowed for the first auction only.

If the premium ones do appear in the auction of the first round, we need to put it back randomly into the deck and draw again until only the Standard licenses are for the auction.

Those are the setup for the general components. For each player, the will need to have a room for their tableau. The next picture displays a setup example of 4 player game of Fleet.

In general, each player will need a room for 2 rows. One row for the license and the other for the boat cards. Maybe it will make more sense after we understand how the gameplay works.

Gameplay

Each round of Fleet the card game consists of 5 phases, AUCTION, LAUNCH BOAT AND HIRE CAPTAIN, FISHING, PROCESS AND TRADE, and DRAW. The game will keep moving to the new round unless one of the end game condition is met.

Aution Phase

In this phase, players will try to win the auction in order to acquire one of the licenses. If they can win the license, they are allowed to launch the corresponding boat to begin fishing.

The drawn and revealed licenses from the setup are the available license for the current round. Each player can only acquire one license each round or they always have the option to pass. Maybe they want to save money for auction in the next round or if they don’t like the available ones.

The one with the STARTING PLAYER MAKER can first choose which of the available licenses that player wants to purchase. Each license has the minimum cost and the player can open their first bid at least equal to that number.

We can also state or bid higher to make sure other players will not try to overbid as long as we have enough cash or boat cards to pay. The boat cards in each player hands display a number of coin which equals to the cash value.

That means, since every player start with the same boat cards, each player has $13 they can spend in the first round. In later round, players can have other form of cash like processed fish crates or just have more boat cards in hand.

After the first player has stated their bid, the next player to the left can either pass or overbid. The two players can keep overbid each other until one of them pass.  If they pass, they are out of the bidding for that license and the other next player can continue to overbid again.

The player who pass can participate in auction for the next license of the same round.

Once the auction for that license is settled, the winner must pay. In the first round, they can pay by discarding the boat cards in hand, and put the card on the discard pile.

Since player can only acquire one license per round, the winner will not be participating in the auction for the other license of the same round. The next player that hasn’t win anything and hasn’t pass to open bid for that round can choose from the remaining revealed licenses to acquire and state their first bid.

The bidding and overbidding will continue until all of the players have win something or pass to open bid. If the player who starts the bidding ever lose the auction, they can still participate again later or open bid as well.

The winner then can take the license to their tableau. Or just in front of them because the placement is really doesn’t matter. Just as long as it can easily remind us of which license we have and how many of them we have.

After the auction is over, before moving to the next phase, we need to replenish the market of the license cards. We will draw again until there are the same number of licenses as the same number of players.

That means, if there is one player who didn’t purchase any license, the remaining license will be carried over to the next round. However, if no license are purchased within the same round, those licenses will be removed from the game and we will draw a new set of licenses for the next round.

Because we know the next licenses that we can purchase at this point, we might want to hold some money to ensure we can win the next bid.

There are some notes for auction. PLAYERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STATE A BID THAT THEY CAN’T AFFORD. That means this can prevent other players for trying to increase the value.

The second note is NO CHANGE IS GIVEN. So either we can pay the exact value or overpay.

Later in the game, if we do have the SHRIMP license, the bonus cash can be used to pay the auction. Or if we have PROCESSING VESSEL license and have the processed crates, we can spend them as well instead of boat cards.

The first round for every Fleet game will be more or less the same. The only different thing is the randomness from drawing the license cards. The bidding process itself for this first round will not be that much interaction as players will be trying to save money rather than wasting.

Bidding on auction is not the only transaction that happens in this game. Each round, we will also have to pay for launching boat and hire captain. So, we need to plan ahead not just to save money for the next auction but for the other phase of the same round.

We might be paying the same value of coins from those boat cards but they are still different type of boats. Only the same boat as the license that we can launch during the next phase.

So, it is definitely a lot to think about instead of just getting that license. It will be make more sense once we understand what happens in the next phase.

Launch Boats

There are two parts of this phase. One is for LAUNCHING BOAT and the second is the HIRING CAPTAIN. At the beginning of the game, they might be considered as one part but as the game progress, we probably should consider them as just two separate phase.

What it means by launching boat is that we use the boat cards from our hand put it on our tableau, facing up, as a boat not as cash anymore. This will generate victory points at the end of the game., indicated by the number at the top right corner of the card.

In thematic terms, this boat is ready to sail and catch fish. However, it will require a captain, which is why the hiring captain phase exist.

There are rules for launching boats. One is that we can only launch the same boat as the license that we already have. Which is why we have to make sure that we still keep the right boat cards after winning the auction instead of just spending any cards.

The second rule is that there is a cost to launch the boat, indicated by the number at the top left corner of the card. The cost is between $1 to $3 for the card from the base game.

To pay the cost, it is not by using the coin value of the card we are about to launch but with the other boat cards. Later there are other ways to pay.

Like the auction, if we do have the SHRIMP license, the bonus cash can be used to pay the launch. Or if we have PROCESSING VESSEL license and have the processed crates, we can spend them as well instead of boat cards.

In this transaction, we will not get any change as well. Because of how this phase works, not only we have to save the right boat cards but we will also need to save the money to pay that boat cards.

That makes, at least two cards we need to have in our hand during this phase. Of course, players can choose not to launch at all but it will delay their progress to score more points, and probably generate more money.

The last rule about launching boats is that we can only launch one boat per round. There is a way that will allow players to launch more than one per round by acquiring the right license, the COD LICENSE.

If that happens, both launches should be considered as two different transactions. For example, if we can launch two boats, with $1 each, we can’t just pay with $2. The problem is that there is a chance that we need to overpay, like spend $1 and $2 because no change is given rule.

In this phase, the launching start in turn order from the starting player. I think we can do it simultaneously most of the time.

It will be different when more than one player have the COD LICENSE. Before we proceed to the next phase, those with the COD LICENSE and launch the boat will take additional boat cards from the supply.

This bonus is the reason why separating the two parts of this phase will be matter.

Following the turn order, one player may draw first. I don’t think it is a big deal about who goes first since the draw is based on luck.

There is no limit to the amount of boat cards we can have in our tableau during the game. Which is why we need probably a bigger table space later.

Also, there is no need to launch the boat just because we have the license. When we already have more licenses from the different type, we can just focus on launching the same boats over and over again, ignoring the boat for other license.

Hire Captain

This is the second part of the second phase for each round. As mentioned before, the launched boat require a captain before they can sail and fish. Without the captain, launching a boat become meaningless.

This is also a transaction, however, we can only use the card from our hand and turn it into the captain. Essentially, the cost to hire is based on the cash value of the card we use. We can’t use the bonus from SHRIMP license or use processed fish crates for this.

Which is why, we need to save at least another one boat card before we enter this phase. At least, if we do have those, we can spend them for the launch or auction phase to save cards for hiring.

The rule suggest placing this CAPTAIN CARD on the launched boat, facing down revealing only the name of the launched boat. The rudder symbol from the back of boat cards represent the captain. Each boat only require one captain.

Personally, I prefer tuck the card beneath the launched boat revealing only the rudder symbol. This way, we can see the illustration of the boat cards.

In general, we can only hire one captain per round. The LOBSTER license allow us to hire two. Also, we can’t hire the captain first without having any empty launched boat.

Based on how the launching and hiring captain, most of the time, we should just wait launching at all if we think we don’t have enough resources to hire captains. The empty launched boat will be useless and instead we can use the boat cards and the money to pay the launch cost for winning any bid later.

Each player will hire captain in turn order. Although, we can do it simultaneously. After every player is done with the hiring phase, for those with LOBSTER license can draw the bonus boat cards from supply.

Fishing Phase

This is considered as the third phase in rulebook. What it means is that the boat that we have launched and hired the captains for are going to sail and catch some fish.

In game terms, they are going to generate the fish crates on each boat. In this phase, we take the fish crates from general supply and put it on each launched boats with the captain, regardless of the type.

Each round, each boat will only catch one fish and each can only hold up to 4 crates of fish. After the boat is full, it will no longer catch any fish.

Each crates on the boat will become 1 victory point at the end of the game, in addition to the victory points from the boat itself.  Which is why, we need to make sure that we launch the boat early enough so the boat will have full capacity.

This phase is essentially a passive phase. Players will only get based on what they do in previous phase, but they will make no decision here. One of the expansion introduce some optional action for this phase.

What we need to understand is that the amount of crates of fish is limited, just 25 crates per player. When the general supply no longer have any fish to catch, that will trigger the end of the game.

So, this will give a racing element to the game between players, especially towards the end of the game. We can choose to wait but other players may get them before we do.

Processing and Trading Phase

This is considered as the fourth phase in the rulebook. However, it will only occur if one of the players already have the PROCESSING VESSEL license. If there are none, we can skip and proceed to the next phase.

There are also two parts in this phase. The first one is PROCESSING. What it means is that from each boat, regardless of the type, we can process 1 crate of fish. We pick the cube and place them on the Processing Vessel License card.

As mentioned previously, if the boat already has 4 fishes, it will no longer catch more fish. This phase will allow the boat to continue catch more fish, assuming we do  process them.

Processed crates means the crates will no longer become a victory points at the end of the game. However, each processed fish crates will have cash value, $1 worth per crate. We can spend this on auction or pay the launch cost in later round.

If we do spend these processed crates, the crates will be removed from the game. We need to return it to the box, not to the general supply.

That is just one part of this phase. The second part is the TRADING.

What it means is, that we can now trade the processed crate into boat cards. That means, if we are lucky enough, we can get more than $1 per crate. This is also useful if we are looking for specific boat cards to launch in the next round.

There is no need to trade but I think it’s a no brainer to at least trade to cards. Even if we do get $1 card, it will be useful to hire captain very cheaply.

The rule says that we can only trade 1 processed crate from the license per round. In return we will get 1 boat card from the supply.

If we have more than one Processing Vessel license, we can get more cards per crate, but still only one crate per round. When that happens, there is really no reason not to trade at all. With all of the license, each crate can become at least $4 worth of cards.

Draw Phase

This is the last phase of each round. In turn order, each player will draw 2 boat cards from the supply and discard one of them.

At this point, if we do have the TUNA license, we can draw and keep more of those cards as the bonus. Depending on the number of this license we have, the bonus even allow us to keep all of the cards we just draw but remove the one in our hands.

Obviously there are several considerations when choosing which card to keep and discard since the card is a multi use card.

The simplest consideration is the cash value because it can be used in any transaction. The next will be which boat cards to get and the reasonable choice would be to keep the one we can launch later.

After this phase, we can move to the next round if the end game condition hasn’t been met. The STARTING PLAYER MARKER rotates clockwise and we can enter the next round, repeating all the phases.

Game End Conditions

The game ends if any of the following conditions are met.

The first condition is the license deck. If there are less number of licenses than the number of players, that will trigger the end game. Refreshing the auction market for licenses happens right after the AUCTION phase.

That means, before moving to launching boat and hiring captain phase, we already know if this will be the last round. We still need to playthrough all of the remaining phases for that round.

The second condition is the fish crates from the supply. When we take the last crate from supply during the FISHING phase, that will tell us that this is the final round.

At this point, there is a chance that the crates is not enough. Some of the boats or other players can still generate more fish crates for their boat.

The game suggests to use any means necessary to substitute the missing crates for that round. We can just take notes or use the removed processed crates. Every player must get the credit for crates due to them beyond the supply.

So, if one player manage to launch two boats and hire two captains from the previous phase, both boats will generate one fish each.

Scoring and Winning

Here are how players can score Victory Points to determine the winner of Fleet.

1st: VP from all of the purchased license cards
2nd: VP from all of the launched boats
3rd: 1 VP per fish crate on launched boat, not the processed one
4th: Bonus VP from the King Crab licenses

Each player add up their overall VP total. The player with the most VP wins.

In case of a tie, the player with the most launched boats wins. If still tied, the player with the most crates of fish on boats wins. And if still tied, both players enjoy shared victory.

Based on the description above, one thing we need to understand is that remaining boat cards in our hand will not become any VP at all. We might be focusing throughout the game how to generate more cards each round but at the end, if this is a race, there is a sprint.

The moment we know that the current round is going to be the final one, we need to find a way to use those remaining cards in hand. How to turn them into the most VP. We can look at the remaining licenses from the market or fish crates from the supply to know the end game is coming.

Maybe we need to do something from the round before the final one. We could launch more boat and hire more captains, maybe one option can score more points.

Or, we could also just deliberately try to win the Licenses especially the Premium ones. Maybe we should stop processing crates and try to spend the remaining instead.

That is it of how to play Fleet the card game.  Since with different player count we will be using different number of licenses, the game can last more rounds for lower player count. However, with more player, it will take more time for each round to finish, especially the auction phase.

My Experience, Thoughts

This is strictly about the base game of Fleet only without any expansions. Also, I mostly played this alone, tried to simulate as if a two player game.

The game might seem a complex game at first, but after a couple of plays the game will only take like 30 minutes to play, depending on how the auction goes. Clearly if we want to teach this game, we need to do a demo for a complete round instead of jumping into the game and learn on the way.

This game requires some strategic and tactical planning. Players need to understand there are a lot to consider to win the game, especially how to use the boat cards which can be used in many different ways. Some even say that if we don’t give our best to play the game, with just a small mistake, we might not have the chance to win at all.

Auction is the heart of this game. The following phase might not be that interested but the outcome may depends on how we deal with the auction. So, from the start of each round, we need to think ahead for the following phase or even the next round.

But that is the general impressions from the game. The reality is while it is still a very interesting game, what we get from the base game is very limited.

I think the designer even acknowledged that there is only one obvious single way to win the game. We need to get the Shrimp and Processing Vessel to win. Without them it is hard to win. Which is why when they introduced an expansion, the main idea is to replace those two licenses.

The other licenses are not as powerful or even very hard to take advantage from, like the combination between Cod and Lobster. Probably casual gamer will not even know that. Maybe only true fans of these game can really enjoy it.

The auction is different from let’s say Peloponnes the Card Game where we can only bid once and either win or lose immediately. Here, we can keep try to overbid, as long as we have the money.

We can still force other player to pay higher even though we know we will not win it. The game is definitely will become more interesting with more players, especially if one of them likes to just bluff to increase the bid.

Also, I think the auction will be more interesting towards the end of the game. We already have a lot of money generators to the point where more than enough to carry out the transaction for later phase.

Most of the time, we can only launch one boat and hire one captain. For that, we probably just need about three boat cards at least. The moment we can generate higher that this is when the game will become more interesting.

The problem is that the game feels like an engine building game. If we can’t start the engine as early as possible, the engine will not produce much. Some may say, there is no catch up mechanism.

Another problem is the randomness from licenses deck. What the game offer is just a way to make sure that the premium license will not come out too early.

The problem is that the essential standard license will still come at the end. Even if we do get it, it will only grant VP from the licenses itself. Or, it is not even part of the game.

Maybe we need to find a better way to form the deck. Like let all of the standard licenses at the top and premium ones at the end, especially the essential ones are to be placed at the start.

It is true that with the current way to play, it will encourage players to deal with the auction. However, sometimes it feels like the game is decided when we lose the auction. Even if that is still like the second or third round.

I also think the game ends too soon. It feels like the engine is just about to start but it is already the last round. Usually, I use all of the crates and licenses even for the two player mode.

So, the Fleet game is a very interesting game but the content requires more than just the base game. They do fix a lot of things with numerous expansions.

The good thing is, that these expansions are mostly just cards that we can do Print and Play., Except probably those that will require boat cards.

Virtual Player (Solo Mode & 2P Variant)

The publisher introduced virtual player or players to Fleet the card game as one of the module from the Arctic Bounty expansion. With this virtual players, we can have another player for 2 player mode or we can now play solo mode.

For the 2P variant, there will be 3 players and one of them is this virtual players. While the solo mode, we will be playing against two virtual players.

We don’t need to purchase the Arctic Bounty expansion just to use this module. The publisher even offer a PnP file to play that we can find via this link (official web page for Arctic Bounty expansion).

The PnP file itself is just a rulebook for this module and picture of 3 cards. The cards themselves are just reference cards, which will not contribute anything to the gameplay.

Thematically, we will be playing against two Captains from J.P. DeSantis Fishing Corp., like our competitor. The Captains are Captain Kirkman and Captain T.C.. If we play the 2P variant, we can choose which one to play against but for solo, we will be facing against both of them.

The rule suggest to choose Captain T.C. for more difficult level and Kirkman for the easier. These captains will be participating in auction, acquire licenses, launching boat in simplified way. At the end, they will score just like regular player and if we can score higher we win.

2P Variant Rule

As the setup, we will be using the 3P rule to form the licenses deck and draw 3 cards for the market each round. The difference is that we will be using only 50 fish crates instead of 75.

As mentioned before, we can choose which Captain to play against. We also need to leave a table space for the virtual player. The required space will be way smaller than regular player.

Captains will not have a hand of cards just cards for launched boats.

We just need a space for the Captain to collect their deck of launched boat cards and license cards, no need to spread them out like regular player. If we use the reference card and/or captain card for the module, just make sure we can view it as reminder.

Auction Phase

In the auction phase of each round, the Captain will only bid the last in turn order. So, the first regular player will compete first with the other player and if one of them pass, the winner will bid against the Captain.

The reference card or Corporation card will tell us how much money the Captain can afford for auction each round. Start with $5 for the first round and $14 for the tenth.

The rule suggests to use one of the unused fish crate as the marker to indicate for which round we are currently in. We can also just use pen and paper to write down and mark the following details.

1st round: $5
2nd round: $7
3rd round: $7
4th round: $8
5th round: $8
6th round: $9
7th round: $11
8th round: $12
9th round: $13
10th round: $14

If the current bid is already higher than the maximum that the Captain can afford for that round, the Captain pass. Otherwise, the Captain will try to overbid.

We will then draw one card from the Boat Card supply and the cash value of that card will determine whether the Captain is going to overbid or pass. If it is a $2 boat card, the Captain will bid +$1 from the current bid,

Now the player has a choice to overbid again, or just give up and let the Captain have the license. If the player choose to overbid, we need to draw random card again, repeating the process for the Captain.

The drawn cards are going to the discard pile, not becoming the Captain possession.

This will keep going until either the Captain pass by drawing the non $2 boat card or the current bid is already higher than the maximum bid of the round. Like the regular mode, every player including the Captain can only acquire one license per round.

If the Captain wins by overbidding, they just take the license from the market and put it in the Captain’s collection.  However, if the Captain has not win any license, after all of the player, it is time for them to just purchase the remaining.

There are rules for which license the Captain will purchase. One is that the maximum bid of each round. But if he can, the Captain will always choose the Premium one over the Standard license.

If there is only standard license, the Captain will only purchase the one he doesn’t own yet. Otherwise he will pass. If there are options of the same priority, Captain will choose the one with the highest printed VP.

The rule then suggests if there are still two or more licenses with the same VP, the Captain will take the one closest to the License Deck.

There is an additional rule for the regular player that is different from the regular mode. If the player didn’t purchase any license, they may draw 2 boat Cards from the supply.

Launch Boat Phase

For this phase, the regular player will carry out their action as in the regular mode. However, for the Captain, it is a bit different.

We will need to draw again random boat cards and the cash value of that card will determine whether the Captain launch the boat or not. Depending on which Captain we play against, the result will be different.

For Captain Kirkman (the easy mode), if the drawn card are either $1 or $3 boat card, he will take the card as their launched boat, added to their tableau or collection. If it is a $2, the card will be discarded.

For Captain T.C. (the hard mode), if the drawn card is $2, he will take the card as their launched boat, added to their tableau or collection. If it is a $1 or $3, the card will be discarded.

It doesn’t matter if the Captain doesn’t have the same license as the drawn boat cards. These launched boats are considered as already captained and with full capacity of fish crates.

Which is why the Captain will not be participating in the rest of the phases for each round.

Scoring

The Captain will get the VP from their launched boat cards, the licenses, bonus VP from Premium licenses, and VP of 4 fish crates of each launched boat cards.

Solo Mode

For Solo Mode, we will be playing against the two Captains. Each captain will have their own collection of licenses and boat cards and get separate final score. So, it’s like playing against two players.

The only difference is from the 2P is the auction part and use only 25 fish crates as the setup. We still draw 3 licenses for the auction market.

In the auction the player will bid, choose the license we want to get and compete with Captain T.C. first. Like the 2P variant, Captain will bid higher if the drawn card is $2 until the current bid has reached the maximum bid of the round.

If somehow, we win and the current bid is still lower than the maximum bid per round, we will compete against Captain Kirkman. So, even if we win against T.C. there is a chance we will lose against Kirkman now.

Otherwise, if we lose to Captain T.C., we can choose again from the remaining license, and compete with Kirkman. If we also lose against Kirkman, we can either buy the last license or pass and draw 2 boat cards from supply.

Like the 2P variant, player and Captains can only acquire one license each round. If we win immediately, Captain T.C. will choose which license to buy first, followed by Kirkman, using the same priority rule as the 2P variant.

They will always go for Premium License if they can afford, and only the standard license they don’t have yet. The same rules for tie breaker also applies.

For the Launch Boat phase, like the 2P variant, $2 cards for Captain T.C. and $1 or $3 card for Captain Kirkman. The same rule for scoring applies for both Captains, separately.

Comment and Suggestion

First, for the 2P variant, the virtual player or Captain will add another randomness to the game. Usually if we only play with 2 and no other player, we tend to compromise. Instead of trying to overbid, we just make a deal with the other player on who gets what.

With the virtual player, we will not be able to do it easily. Because the Captain’s turn is always at the end, even if the other player let us win, the Captain may still beat us.

But that is as far as the Captain can get. If the Captain win at the first auction of the round, the game will simply return to the regular mode. Of course, the virtual player is not perfect.

We can still like team up with the other player on how to predict the virtual player. So, the game becomes like semi cooperative game. Maybe the Captain T.C. as the more difficult opponent can force players to do so.

Still, just like the regular mode, the key to win is not from acquiring the license. We will get the most point from the launched boats. The Captains are just there to kind of blocking us to progress.

The virtual players also introduce a different gameplay experience. With other players, we can predict what they are going to get based on what they already have, the licenses or the boat cards in hand. Are they really desperate to get the license and going to risk not launching any boat at all?

With the virtual players, we really don’t know. They are just pure luck. Sometimes, we just need to make sure, we have enough money and hope that they won’t raise the bid again.

The maximum bid per round is would be the limit that we can take as consideration. So, if we are very unlucky, we should just spend that much money at the start, higher or the same as maximum bid of the round.

I think the set amount of maximum bid is right on spot as well. If we try to just pay the maximum bid, in order to avoid getting overbid by the virtual players, we will lose the game. We will not have enough money to launch the boat or hire captain. At least it will be impossible to beat Captain T.C.

So, if we want to win, we will have no choice but to deal with the overbidding back and forth.

Since the amount of $2 cards available is higher than the $1 and $3 combined, It is understandable that Captain T.C. will launch more boats than Kirkman, making him the more difficult one.

For the solo mode, I think most of the time, we can score between the two Captains. Winning the right license is crucial to win the game, focus on the one that can help us launch more boats every round.

I think there is a trick, to make sure we can get the right license. Since, we are the one to choose the license and open bid, we just need to choose the one we don’t want and just lose it.

By doing so, the virtual players will not have the choice but to take it and we can get the remaining with very low price, which is the one we need. The same trick can be applied to the 2P variant as well.

It’s true that it still depends on luck. We might end up getting the card we don’t need because we somehow draw $1 or $3 boat card. But the chances to get raise by drawing $2 is higher.

I don’t know, maybe I miss anything, some rules that prevent us to do so. Maybe the designer has already addressed the issue somewhere on the forum. If there is any, please let me know.

I really don’t recommend anybody playing that way. Maybe they can fix it by rolling a dice and let the dice choose which license to open bid first. As if the virtual players will be the one to open bid, start with the minimum cost.

For example, with d6, if 1 or 2, the first license, the 3 and 4 for the second and 5 or 6 for the third license. When there are only 2 licenses left, we can do 1 to 3 for the first and 4 to 6 for the second. Or something like that and we don’t always become the first to open bid.

Alternatively, if we don’t want to add external game pieces, we can use the 6 different boat cards. For example, if the drawn card is either Lobster and King Crab, the Captain choose the first license. Then maybe Shrimp and Cod for the second and Tuna with Processing Vessel for the third. We just need to set up some combination of these boat cards.

With the virtual players, it is not impossible but most of the time we will less likely to find where the license will be discarded because nobody is buying. Unless we get a very bad draw or the premium ones come out too soon.

Like the regular mode, I think the crates will be the one to trigger the end game. Sometimes I feel like we need a couple more rounds. The engine  has just started to function.

I think we can still use some house rule and use 50 for solo or even all of the crates. We can also use all of the licenses instead of removing some.

This is not perfect but at least it gives a way to play solo which is good enough. Maybe it will be more interesting if we use some of the expansion modules.

However, some may not work because they rely on cubes of the other players, which the Captains don’t have. They are intended for the multi player only.

Expansion and Accessories

Ever since the publisher introduced the Fleet Game in 2012, they have launched a lot of mini expansions and a big one. Here are the summary that I can find.

I’m not sure if we can even buy any of these expansions directly from the publisher. Even though they have stated several times that it is one of the limited options. At least, that is what we can find from their website.

However, they sometimes offer on Board Game Geek forum to send out any packs if we contact via personal message. Alternatively we can try the Geek Market, see if there is someone who is willing to sell their used copy or so.

The last option would be to wait for another Kickstarter campaign, even if for a different game but still the same publisher. I don’t know why they have run Kickstarter campaigns several times but using different account. So, we might want to follow all of them for the latest update.

Here are their accounts for Kickstarter.

Matthew D. Riddle (Designer)
Eagle Games (Publisher)
Eagle and Gryphon Games (Publisher)

Salvage Yard Licenses (2012)

These are standard license but without any boat cards. Like other standard licenses, there are four of the same copies and if we can acquire more, the greater the benefit.

These was offered alongside Salty Captain Cards as Kickstarter exclusive bonus back in 2012 for the Fleet base game. The publisher then offered this also for the Fleet: Wharfside and Fleet: The Dice Game.

The benefit for having this license is that it allows us to instead launching a boat, we can discard a card from our hands to get a new one. The purpose is to get higher value of cash or because we don’t have the corresponding license to launch it. The action is considered as launching a boat.

This might be good in earlier rounds but not so for later. To be honest, I’m not sure how this actually works since I couldn’t find more details about this.

To purchase this in game, the minimum bid is $5 and each license is worth 3 VP at the end of the game.

Mini Expansion Pack (2012)

This mini expansion pack for Fleet includes 22 new cards. Here are the details.

Salty Captain Cards (8)
Inuit Fisherman Cards (8)
Wharfside Casino Cards (3)
Nunavut Weather Authority Cards (3)

Salty Captain Cards are cards that we can purchase during the Hire Captain phase. Instead of using the boat cards from our hand to hire captain, we can purchase these same 8 captain cards for $4 each.

The benefit is that these captains will generate 2 crates each round instead of just 1 for that boat and can hold up to 8 crates. That means, even though we need to pay probably 4 times higher, we will get additional 4 VP at the end of the game, assuming we can reach the full capacity.

So, it introduces another transaction where we can also use the processed crates to pay instead of just using boat cards.

Salty Captain cards were offered as Kickstarter exclusive bonus for Fleet the base game campaign, alongside Salvage Yards license.

Inuit Fisherman Cards are a combination of boat card and the captain in one card. We don’t even need to have any license to launch this. All we need is to pay $4 during the launch and hire phase. It will generate fish crates but the card itself will not grant any VP at the end of the game.

This card really helps when we don’t have the matching boat and license. Another benefit is that they are still counted for the bonus from license as they are still considered as boat and captains.

The rule suggests only use two cards per player for both the Salty Captains and Inuit Fisherman. These 8 cards are only for the base game, up to 4 players.

8 Inuit Fisherman Cards was also offered as one of the stretch goals for Fleet game via Kickstarter campaign.

Wharfside Casino are Premium Licenses that we can add to the base game, preferably to replace the Fishermen’s Pub. The expansion comes with 3 cards of this and like other Premium Licenses, acquiring more of this license will not increase the benefit.

The minimal cost is $10, as usual, but the starting VP is 7. We can increase the VP by using the gambling feature that this license introduce to the game.

The way this gambling feature works is that after we acquire the license, the owner can spend one of the fish crate from any boat as the first bet. Then, the owner will need to roll a d6 dice to determine the result. Here are the details.

1-3: Bust! Discard the gambled crate out from the game.
4: Win! +1 Crate of fish as profit. We will keep the gambled bet, and get the total of 2 crates of fish.
5: Win +2 Crate of fish as profit. We will keep the gambled bet, and get the total of 3 crates of fish.
6: Win +3 Crate of fish as profit. We will keep the gambled bet, and get the total of 4 crates of fish.

We can use just regular d6 but the publisher does offer a custom wooden dice which the number 6 is replaced by FLEET logo.

Nunavut Weather Authority is another Premium License but the minimum cost is just $5 and will grant 7 VP at the end of the game for each of these 3 cards. Anybody who acquire these license will decide the fate of other players. The owner will roll a d6 again and the number will determine the result.

1:  Calm Seas, nothing happened.
2-4: All of the other players will lose 1 fish crate
5: All of the other players will lose 2 fish crates
6: Arctic Storm! All of the other players will lose a boat.

The owner will also decide which fish crates and boats that the other players will lose. Like for the Wharfside Casino, we can use a regular d6 dice but the publisher offer their custom wooden dice. Both the dice and Nunavut Weather Authority was offered as one of the stretch goals for Fleet Kickstarter campaign.

All of these are mostly cards which we can do PnP if we can’t purchase them. For Salty Captains and Inuit Fisherman Cards, we can just use a paper, one side because they are played face up.

The license, however, we might want to use some of the license from the base game. Print and put them into sleeve alongside the existing license. The game recommends to substitute some licenses instead of using everything.

Custom Wooden Dice (2012)

As mentioned previously, that this wooden d6 dice can be used to play the two premium licenses, Wharfside Casino and Nunavut Weather Authority. The dice is rather big, has the size of 1″ and instead of number 6, it has FLEET logo on it.

Also, as mentioned above, there is no specific function from this custom dice. We can use any regular d6 to play. The publisher also suggests rolling this dice to determine the starting player.

So far, there is no other expansion or module for Fleet game that require to use this dice or other d6. The dice was offered in Kickstarted campaign as one of the stretch goals for Fleet the base game and Arctic Bounty expansion.

Fleet: Arctic Bounty (2014)

This is the big expansion for Fleet the original game and it is not a stand alone game. For the initial price of $25, we will get new cards, more than 120 cards.

The next video is from Rahdo Runs Through again for this expansion.

Here are the list of cards that we will get.

Standard License Cards, 4 of each CHAR, PACIFIC OYSTER and SWORDFISH. Premium License Cards, 3 of each MARINAS, and CANADIAN DFO’s. Special License Cards., 3 of them: HIRE CREWMAN.

Like the base game, the standard license will give more benefit if we can get the same copy of them. There are 64 BOAT CARDS for the new licenses, 16 of each Char, Pacific Oyster, Swordfish and Canadian DFO’s.

Canadian DFO actually introduce the idea of stealing from other players. Each time we launch the boat for this, we can get up to 3 crates from other players or supply but the boat itself will not generate any crate during fishing.

The Marinas are like the Fishermen’s Pub from the base game. It has no specific boat cards but it can still give additional VP by playing a card underneath the license. The base VP is 7 and we can get additional 8 VP.

The idea is as an alternative to launch a boat each round without paying the cost. The boat itself will need no captain and will not do fishing but at the end can generate VP from the boat cards underneath it.

The game actually suggests to use just 5 standard licenses and 2 premium ones, mix and match from the base game and this expansion. That means we also need to use the corresponding boat cards only.

We will also get new Dock Cards, 8 of each TUG BOAT cards and ARTISAN FISHERMAN cards. These cards are optional  purchase we can do during Launch Boat and Hire Captain phase.

For every Tug Boat cards, worth $3  each, the card will generate one boat card during Fishing phase. When we decide to use the generated boat cards, we have to discard the Tug Boat. Otherwise it will generate more cards in later rounds. At the end it will grant no VP.

Artisan Fisherman card is also an alternative for launching a boat without we need to have any license. The card itself can be considered as the boat card and the captain and we will get the bonus from the corresponding license.

During fishing phase it will generate 1 crate and can only store 1 crate. At the end we will also get 2 VP for each of this ARTISAN FISHERMAN which is worth $4.

Then, there are also new BAY CARDS, 20 of GONE FISHIN’ cards and 12 of the CREWMAN. GONE FISHIN’ cards are alternative action for players who didn’t acquire any license from the bidding of the same round.

These cards are free and it can be used as cash, worth $2 each. Or if we can keep the card until the end, we can get 2 VP instead.

The CREWMAN cards are additional bonus we can get for acquiring any license from the auction. Everytime we find the HIRE CREWMAN license from the license deck, one CREWMAN card will be attached to the licenses that are open for bidding.

The bonus are vary between the 8 cards we get from the game, 4 of them are from the same copy. It’s like getting additional turn, action or benefit from license or phase.

This expansion also introduced variants to play solo mode and specific 2 player mode.

There are 3 cards for the variants, one is the CORPORATION CARD and 2 CAPTAIN CARDS.  For 2 player variants, we will also play against one of the Captain but for the solo mode, we will play against both of the Captains.

These cards are actually just a reminder of how one or two virtual players work. We can also use these variants with the base game. If we check the official webpage for this expansion, they share the digital PnP file for this specific module, as mentioned in the SOLO MODE of this article.

All of these are separate modules that we can combine or mix and match with the base game.

This is the link to the Kickstarter campaign for Fleet: Arctic Bounty, We can find some illustrations for each cards.

So, the content of this expansions are just cards but it introduce a lot of new gameplay experience. If we are willing to pay the printing, we can do our own PnP, no need to purchase this expansions. If not all of them, the Marina license. the solo or 2p variant cards are very easy to just print and use with the base game.

Rahdo from Rahdo Runs Through YouTube channel says that this expansion is a must have. It will make the game less harsh and unforgiving with so many alternative for taking action.

We no longer need to worry about losing an auction, not getting the Shrimp or Processing Vessel license. Those two are considered as essential to win the game and this expansions offers some catch up mechanisms. Or we can just exclude those two from the game and use other license.

54 Card Expansion Packs (2014)

For the Arctic Bounty campaign, the developer offer some stretch goals and will give the backers more cards. So, these cards are Kickstarter exclusive content and we probably won’t get them if we purchase the Arctic Bounty from retail.

Here are the details for the 54 cards.

8 House Boat Cards
12 Charter Boat Cards
8 First Mate Cards
6 Trophy Cards
4 Salmon License Cards
16 Salmon Boat Cards

How these cards works in the game can be found in this link for the rulebook (from the iofficial webpage for Arctic Bounty).

House Boat Cards are Dock Cards, like the Tug Boat or Artisan Fisherman Cards. It can be purchased during Launch and Hire phase for $3. It can then  be traded into $5 cash, which we need to spend it immediately for any transaction in the game.

Most likely for auction but it can also be used to pay launching two boats or purchasing other dock or bay cards.

Charter Boat cards are like any boat cards, has the value of $2 as cash, cost$2 to launch and can grant 2 VP at the end. It doesn’t need any license to be launched but it will work as if the boat for that license.

These Charter Boat cards are used for 5 to 6 player mode.

First Mate Cards are also dock cards, so they have their own pile in the game. We can purchase this card during the hire captain part of the Launch and Hire phase. The cost is 1 crate and 1 card.

If we buy this, we will placed it with the recently hired captain from the same round. At the end of the game, if the boat reach full capacity for crates, we will get extra 5 VP thanks to the First Mate. Otherwise we will get only extra 2 VP.

Trophy Cards are additional objective that can be added to the game. Players can compete to be the first to meet the requirement from that trophy to get the card.

At the end of the game, each Trophy card is worth 5 VP. There are 8 of them and 2 of them are not rewarded for the first player to meet the criteria but whoever get the most of either launched boat or standard licenses.

The last of this pack is the Salmon License and the corresponding boat cards. This license is considered as another standard license where the more we have of this same license, the higher the benefit we can get.

In this case, this license allow us to draw boat card during Fishing phase. This card can either be kept in our hands as resources, or tucked it under the launched boat. This additional boat will then generate more crates with the capacity of another four crates.

So, the additional card will give us flexibility to either launch new boat, assuming we have the license or if we don’t we can increase the capacity of the existing one. This is a very powerful one.

Each Salmon license we have will give us one bonus card per round. The boat card for this license is very standard, just like boat card for Processing Vessel or Lobster. It cost $2 to launch, grant 2 VP at the end and worth $2 as cash.

Crab Meeples (2014)

This was also offered as one of the stretch goals for Arctic Bounty Kickstarter campaign.  For those who backed the campaign will get 5 red meeples in the shape of a crab.

Even though they are not cards, but these meeples works as another Bay Cards like the trophy cards. Players will race to be the first to get these meeples.

These meeples will be awarded to the first player to have their full boat of each 5 standard licenses used in the game. At the end, these meeples are worth 4 VP each.

In case of a tie, the first in turn order will be the winner. There is no need to specifically use this meeples. We can use other game pieces like tokens, or even coins or as mentioned before, PnP cards. However, the shape is very good for the experience.

So far, there is no specific rules as how to use this for the solo mode. The virtual captains don’t actually do fishing.

Some notes about this module is that the CHARTER BOATS can also catch this meeples but not the Dock Cards. Boats with Salty Captains or boats for Pacific Oyster must reach their full capacity instead of the standard 4 crates.

Fish Meeples (2014)

This is another addon we can purchase alongside the Arctic Bounty via Kickstarter. We can either get 50 meeples for $3.5 or 100 meeples for $7.

These blue meeples with the shape of fish will replace the blue fish crates cubes. The shape is just aesthetic, will not change how we play the game. However, if we have both the cubes and these meeples, we can use the fish and store on boats and the cubes for the processed.

The base game itself will need 100 cubes or meeples for 4 player game. If we purchase the Arctic Bounty which allow us to play up to 6, we might want to add additional 50 meeples. That is why there are 2 offers. Or if we mostly play with just 2, we can buy just the 50.

Captain’s Club and Research Vessel (2018)

These are the promo cards we can get if we purchased the Fleet: The Dice Game via their Kickstarter campaign.  Fleet: The Dice Game is a reimplementation of Fleet the Card Game with a roll and write mechanism, a stand alone game not an expansion.

The publisher has stated that they may offer this promo again at certain convention or future events. We can’t purchase this directly.

The Captain’s Club is a Premium License like the Fishermen’s Pub which has the minimum cost of $10 but worth 7 VP. However, we can get additional points.

Everytime the launched boat is full with fish, we can move the captain card to this license. At the end of the game, each captain on this license is worth 2 VP up to 8 VP.

The promos came with 3 copies of the same license alongside with 8 Research Vessel cards of the same copy. The Research Vessel card is a dock card, which worth 2 VP each and cost 2 crates.

Like the House Boat cards but instead of getting more coins, we can trade excessive fish crates into points.

Conclusion

Fleet the card game is an auction game where we will be trying to build our fleet of fishing ships. It is a competitive game for 2 to 4 players. The game itself is very compact, with just cards and cubes within a small box that we can carry and play with others.

We start by acquiring some licenses which allow us to catch the corresponding fish or sea life. In order to do that, we need to engage in bidding and overbidding against other players to win that specific license. The right license will also give more bonus and probably essential to win the game.

The auction is not a blind bid and we can keep overbid until the other player choose to pass. To pay the auction we will be using boat cards which has multi use.

Aside from the cash value, the boat cards can become , well, the boat we will launch and catch fish. It can also become the captain we hire to lead that boat. Without the captain, the boat will not catch any fish.

So, there are a lot of things to consider before we use those boat cards. The two boat cards with the same cash value might have different attribute which we will need one more than the other later in the game.

The game feels like an engine building game. Getting the license will help us generate more resources in the form of boat cards, which we need to manage and turn them into the boat we can launch, generate fish and score VP.

This Fleet game may seem complicated at first to learn but the game is very fast and it will take like probably 30 minutes to play. While the game offers an interesting way to play but it requires more content than we can get from the base game.

We might not have that many choice for the best way to win the game. Some of the licenses are more powerful than others and makes them essential to win the game.

The designer already offered a lot of expansions to fix this issue and that includes a way to play solo mode by introducing virtual players. The best part is that they offered a PnP version for this module, so with just the base game, we can already play it.

Most of the expansions are just cards. It will be worth it to purchase any copy of them if we look for a great production value. We might want to check the developer’s Kickstarter accounts for future offer which usually includes older games an add on.

If we include the expansions, Fleet the card game is probably something we shouldn’t miss for its size. I understand that this is on old game. Even I only got a used copy of it.

More Games

If this is not  game for you or you might be looking for more great games, you can try checking this article. It is my review for Rahdo Runs Through YouTube channel about board games.

I haven’t played a lot of these tabletop games whether card games or board games. Here is the list for games that I have written a review for previously.

Hero Realms (Competitive, Card Game, Fantasy Theme, Deck Building)
Imperial Settlers (Civilization Theme, Engine Building, Competitive)
One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows (Dice Rolling, Fantasy Theme, Cooperative)
Peloponnes the Card Game (Auction, Competitive, Civilization)
Tybor the Builder (Civilization, Card Drafting, Competitive)
Villages of Valeria (Civilization, Fantasy Theme, Action Following)

Keep checking this website. I might have added review for more games.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you regarding Fleet the card game. This is the second game that I played that has auction mechanism with the first one being Peloponnes the Card Game. The fishing theme is the first one, totally different than what I have played so far.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find any local store that sell this game. Luckily somebody offered their used copy without losing any of the components. I could try contacting the publisher directly but then the shipping cost will become unreasonable to purchase such game with small box.

This is an old game and I’m not sure but I think we can find a better one these days that offers similar gameplay or theme. They could feature more than just cards like polyomino tiles for example.

If you know better games that are similar to Fleet the card game, please let me know via the comment section below. I do wish to try more games like this, assuming I can get a copy of it.

So, what is your experience in playing Fleet the card game? Please do share if there are things that I missed regarding the game. I would appreciate that.

This article is just my notes of what I can find or learn from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who is planning to purchase a copy of this game. Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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