|Type(s)||Action - Attack|
Each other player with 4 or more cards in hand puts cards from their hand onto their deck until they have 3 cards in hand.
Ghost Ship is an Action–Attack card from Seaside. It is a handsize attack that forces its victims to return cards from their hands to their decks instead of discarding them. This slows down their deck cycling in addition to reducing handsize, and—unlike other handsize attacks—it does not allow them to simply discard and bypass dead cards to avoid weakening their current hands; the dead cards in this case would still only move to the next turn if topdecked. It was removed from the second edition of Seaside.
- Each other player keeps putting cards from their hand onto their deck, in any order they choose, until they only have 3 cards in hand.
- Players who already had 3 or fewer cards in hand do not put any cards onto their deck.
Before it was removed, Ghost Ship was a terminal draw card with a powerful handsize attack. Because it forces your opponents to topdeck rather than discard cards from their hand, the attack can differ significantly in impact from other attacks, e.g. Militia, that also reduce them to a starting hand size of three.
Early in the game, or when a deck-drawing engine isn’t possible, the main impact of the Ghost Ship attack is to greatly slow down cycling, impeding your opponents in finding their good cards and getting through each shuffle to play their new cards. Infrequently, the topdecking may offer a slight benefit in this situation, allowing an opponent to topdeck excess Treasures or mitigate terminal collision. However, in many cases the attack is significantly more oppressive than a discarding attack, especially if you can play Ghost Ship on multiple consecutive turns. This is because your opponents face a choice between keeping the best hand of three cards and keeping a dud hand to get bad cards out of the way with the hope of a full turn subsequently with the topdecked cards. With Ghost Ship in the Kingdom, it is usually very important to achieve deck control, usually via strong draw, as soon as possible, both to reduce the impact of your opponents’ attacks and to put more pressure on them by consistently playing your own Ghost Ships. Before this point however, and because Ghost Ship greatly impedes your opponents in getting deck control, it is often a priority to get a Ghost Ship as soon as you can afford it. You can even use effects such as Scheme or Star Chart to play your Ghost Ships more consistently before you’re able to get full control.
In addition to more general defensive effects, such as Lighthouse, a number of strategies can help to counter the Ghost Ship attack:
- Cards that can trash or discard bad cards from the top of your deck, such as Farming Village or Lookout.
- Effects that allow you to benefit from a smaller starting hand size (e.g. Menagerie or Diplomat) or restore it with a draw-to-X effect such as Guide or Watchtower may actually result in a net benefit from being attacked.
- Effects that allow you to make some use of the opportunity to set up the two cards on top of your deck, e.g. by drawing with Wishing Well or Magpie, or playing one with Herald or Piazza.
External strategy articles
Note: Article(s) below are by individual authors and may not represent the community's current views on cards, but may provide more in-depth information or give historical perspective. Caveat emptor.
Other language versions
Second Edition Removal
I'm not breaking into anyone's house and taking their Ghost Ships either. Play with it as much as you want. You can still put it into a game on dominion.games too. I had the opportunity to make Seaside better for future people getting it, and that included replacing Ghost Ship. That decision wasn't just drawn from a hat, and lots of people weighed in. I know that people will "miss" any card I cut, but that a strong card will meet a lot more dissent than a weak one. Ghost Ship still had to go.From my perspective, it's business as usual; cards are constantly leaving sets, that haven't been published yet. If a premise has merit, I try it again later; Royal Galley was an outtake from the original Seaside. The particular experience of e.g. Ghost Ship isn't essential to Dominion; in fact most games it won't be on the table. When it's on the table, it needs to bring us something new and fun. Ghost Ship brought something new; for a lot of players it was miserable though.