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Mint Tin Pirates - rules & more

2-player, 5- to 10-minute battle game

Min Tin PiratesAye, sworn pirate enemies!

Destroy their crew or sink their galleon to win.

Beware the Pirate Ghost!

Pair of Dice Paradise
Awarded Pair of Dice Paradise Wings

Game setup & play

Pick your color and roll dice. Higher roll goes first.

Place your pirates on your ship and matching damage cube on your ship's damage counter.

Place the gold cube and Pirate Ghost between the ships.

Shuffle and deal 5 cards face-down to each player.

Place remaining deck face-down.

  1. On your turn discard and draw up to 2 cards, if desired.
  2. Play a matching pair, if possible, or your turn is over.
  3. To play a matching pair—roll the dice. If total matches any of the card's bottom numbers, it wins! If not, your turn is over.
    • Knife/Pistol/Bomb/Cannon - Take an opponent's pirate and place it beside your ship as a lost pirate. Count cannon hits with damage cube. Four hits sinks ship and you lose the game.
    • Desertion - An opponent's pirate becomes one of your crew.
    • Davy Jones' Locker - Raise any lost pirate and place on your ship.
  4. If you played a pair, win or lose, draw 2 replacement cards.
  5. Next player's turn.

Doubloons are wild and can be used to complete a pair.

If needed, shuffle discarded cards to continue.

Top right number is the total number of that card in the deck and its chances of success:

      !!! best       !! fair       ! least

Pirate Ghost!

First one to lose all their crew places the Pirate Ghost on their ship and discards 2 cards.

Pirate Ghost always plays with only 3 cards (or 4 cards with the gold). Pirate Ghost is always the last to be lost if you gain back any crew. Losing the Pirate Ghost loses the game.

Dice doubles!

Place gold on your ship and play with an extra card!

If the other player rolls a double, they take your gold and an extra card, and you lose your extra card.

Game interrupted?

Each pirate on your ship is 2 victory points, lost pirates you've claimed are 1 victory point each, and gold is 1 point.

Most victory points wins!

Mint Tin Pirates contains:


Mint Tin Pirates gameplay
by Kate & me



Sea Dog Pirates - longer play time, with Jeff R. mods

Mix any, or use all, of these suggestions to make longer games.

  1. Each pirate can be injured once and continue to fight. This requires reshuffling discarded cards at least once.
    Successful Knife/Pistol/Bomb attacks lay down an opponent's standing pirate first until all are laying down. Once all the opponent's pirates are laying down, subsequent successful attacks take an opponent's lying down pirate and place it beside your ship as a lost pirate.
    • Desertion - If all opponent's pirates are standing, take one and place as part of your crew. If any are laying down, you must take them first.
    • Davy Jones' Locker - Raise a completely lost pirate and place them on your ship. You cannot take an injured pirate.
    • When playing an attack, only show your cards if the attack is successful and then discard face-down (reduces card counting).
  2. Cannon attacks only damage the ship—they don't injure or claim pirates.
  3. Use the gold to do a cannon damage repair.
    Throw the gold back into the sea, don't use an extra card, and to gain the favour of sea demons proclaim "Ye cursed demons of the depths, this treasure and our souls to ye so that we may rid the seas of our scurvy foes." Then slide your damage indicator back. You can decide to do this only once each game or an unlimited number of times.
  4. Improve your chances with three of a kind.
    • Decide if this should apply to all cards, to attack cards, or to hand weapons only (not cannons).
    • Extend the successful rolls by one each way. For example, a knife and pistol was dice roll of a 6 to an 8 but is now a roll of 5 to 9, hand mortars (bombs) were 5 to 9 and now are 4 to 10. This forces harder decisions on hand management.

Mint Tin Pirates solo variant - The Ghost Ship by Nick Shaw

A fantastic single player version that plays very well. Awesome PocketMod version by Nate Johnson. PocketMod folding instructions.

Semi-Cooperative variant - Pirates vs. Aliens by Nick Shaw

Combines Mint Tin Pirates with Mint Tin Aliens.

Mint Tin Pirates: The Multiplayer Experience by Sorry Man, I Farted

We found that if you take two copies (or three for a six player game) of Mint Tin Pirates, shuffle the decks together, and use these simple rule modifications you can have a four player game that is just as quick, but even more cutthroat than the original.

The rules of Play are exactly the same as the base game except that you must declare who you are attacking before cards are played.


Rules in French by Francois

Excellent French translation of the base rules in a PDF.

Rules in German by Erik

Outstanding German translation of the base rules in a PDF.

Mint Tin Pirates Setup

Mint Tin Pirates' cards