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Container: The Second Shipment» Forums » Rules

Subject: A clarification of "clarification" E9.2? rss

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John Sizemore
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This is NOT a Chihuahua. It is a Sphynx cat. A bald, grouchy Sphynx cat who will bite you if you mistake him for a Chihuahua.
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Alright, I thought I understood this game until I got to the very last paragraph of the expansion, which is supposed to clarify the scoring of both the expansion and the base game:

E9.2 A player having one single Container on their Foreign Island at the end of the game is permitted to count that Container at the value printed on their Value of Containers Card. It is not allowable, however to count two or more Containers. For example, if a player has two black Containers on the Foreign Island, he may not count these Containers towards his score.

It reads the same in the German rules; I don't know any of the other languages well enough to know whether they make better sense. It took me a several readings and some head scratching to figure it out, but I think I understand now. I assume that a more explicit wording might be:

A player whose Containers on the Foreign Island at the end of the game are all of one single color is required to discard them before collecting his final score from the bank, as this will necessarily be the color of which the player has the most Containers. The only exception is the case where the player has managed to place exactly one Container in total on his area of the island, in which case he is not required to discard his one Container and may collect for it when it is scored. For example, if a player has two black Containers and no containers of any other color on the Foreign Island, he must discard them without receiving anything from the bank for them.

Agreed, ja? Or am I so confused now that I don't even feel it anymore?
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Russ Williams
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Your interpretation sounds plausible...
I wonder what the point of this bizarre confusing easy-to-overlook exception is: it's covering a rather oddball situation where someone placed exactly one container on the island, and changes the final score by the value of only one container.
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Nathan Morse
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Hadn't noticed that, and yes, it seems quite odd!
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Kevin Nesbitt
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skipsizemore wrote:
A player whose Containers on the Foreign Island at the end of the game are all of one single color is required to discard them before collecting his final score from the bank, as this will necessarily be the color of which the player has the most Containers. The only exception is the case where the player has managed to place exactly one Container in total on his area of the island, in which case he is not required to discard his one Container and may collect for it when it is scored. For example, if a player has two black Containers and no containers of any other color on the Foreign Island, he must discard them without receiving anything from the bank for them.

Agreed, ja? Or am I so confused now that I don't even feel it anymore?


You have it exactly right. This just covers the rare circumstance in which a player has exactly one container on his island. You are permitted to count that one container.

A rare situation to say the least.
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Russ Williams
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otrex wrote:
You have it exactly right. This just covers the rare circumstance in which a player has exactly one container on his island. You are permitted to count that one container.

A rare situation to say the least.

Can you tell what the motivation was to make such an oddly specific exception to the general rule for such a rare situation?
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Walt
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russ wrote:
Can you tell what the motivation was to make such an oddly specific exception to the general rule for such a rare situation?

OCD? Pity?
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John Sizemore
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This is NOT a Chihuahua. It is a Sphynx cat. A bald, grouchy Sphynx cat who will bite you if you mistake him for a Chihuahua.
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otrex wrote:
You have it exactly right. This just covers the rare circumstance in which a player has exactly one container on his island. You are permitted to count that one container.

A rare situation to say the least.


Straight from the horse's (or cow's) mouth--thanks! After really thinking it through, there didn't seem to be anything else it could possibly mean, but it wasn't immediately obvious to me. Great expansion, BTW--I especially like the elegant new finance rules. When lenders compete, you win! 8ˆ)

I haven't played the game a whole lot yet, but I can certainly imagine winning with only one container on-island. I have won at Modern Art (the most similar game that comes to mind) by buying only one or two paintings all game--some people just love to overbid.
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Russ Williams
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Tall_Walt wrote:
russ wrote:
Can you tell what the motivation was to make such an oddly specific exception to the general rule for such a rare situation?

OCD? Pity?

But for me, OCD makes me want to avoid introducing bizarre exceptions and prefer keeping things simple and elegant and clean.

And pity would make me want to give some bonus to the poor guy with ZERO containers, who's even worse off than the guy with ONE container.
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Kevin Nesbitt
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russ wrote:
otrex wrote:
You have it exactly right. This just covers the rare circumstance in which a player has exactly one container on his island. You are permitted to count that one container.

A rare situation to say the least.

Can you tell what the motivation was to make such an oddly specific exception to the general rule for such a rare situation?


I had actually been asked this question several times during demos and games of the base game, and wanted to account for it in the rules of the expansion. In theory it would be possible to take advantage of other players not wanting to bid at the end of the game by simply sending out shipments of 1 container (after all, who would bid on the last shipment if they were just going to lose it anyways).

From a realism perspective, if an isolated community imports just one box/crate/container of items to their nation over a set period of time, you aren't likely to see a major collapse in the value of that commodity (since it's just fulfilling local demand). Import several of that one commodity though and you might see prices fall sharply. Of course, this is massively oversimplified since i) we don't know the size of the community on the island, ii) we don't know how many of that item are in the container, and iii) We don't know what the item is.

Still, it's a situation that's very unlikely to occur, and I just wanted to protect against someone using the one-container shipment as an unrealistic weapon.

EDIT: Modified paragraph 1 for a more complete thought.
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Kevin Nesbitt
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skipsizemore wrote:
otrex wrote:
You have it exactly right. This just covers the rare circumstance in which a player has exactly one container on his island. You are permitted to count that one container.

A rare situation to say the least.


Straight from the horse's (or cow's) mouth--thanks! After really thinking it through, there didn't seem to be anything else it could possibly mean, but it wasn't immediately obvious to me. Great expansion, BTW--I especially like the elegant new finance rules. When lenders compete, you win! 8ˆ)

I haven't played the game a whole lot yet, but I can certainly imagine winning with only one container on-island. I have won at Modern Art (the most similar game that comes to mind) by buying only one or two paintings all game--some people just love to overbid.


Thanks very much for your positive comments.

The financier rules are one that I'm particularly happy with because it was ultimately a tradeoff/decision between either needing a whole bunch of extra cards/components in order to remember what interest rate the player was paying, or needing to stay with a fixed interest rate and therefore having a player be indifferent to offers from other players to loan cash.

I really wanted potential financiers to "bid" for the privelege of collecting interest payments because that's what Container is ultimately all about. I had worked so hard developing the base game design from one of fixed prices into the free-market pricing game that was ultimately printed as Container, and it seemed a shame to go back to fixed pricing on the loans for "The Second Shipment".

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Russ Williams
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otrex wrote:
russ wrote:
otrex wrote:
You have it exactly right. This just covers the rare circumstance in which a player has exactly one container on his island. You are permitted to count that one container.

A rare situation to say the least.

Can you tell what the motivation was to make such an oddly specific exception to the general rule for such a rare situation?


I had actually been asked this question several times during demos and games, and in theory it would be possible to take advantage of other players not wanting to bid at the end of the game by simply sending out shipments of 1 container (after all, who would bid on the last shipment if they were just going to lose it anyways).

You mean in the bizarre situation where all other players had bought no containers on their island?

But by that same argument, you could take advantage of them by sending out shipments of 2 containers of the same color in that case, or 3... So I'm mildly surprised that the special case rule isn't that "if you have containers of only 1 color, then you get to score them."

Quote:
Still, it's a situation that's very unlikely to occur, and I just wanted to protect against someone using the one-container shipment as an unrealistic weapon.

Seems like the game would be self-correcting against that without needing such an obscure special rule. Anyone who wanted to pursue a strategy of "purchase no containers for my island" would of course be running a risk that near the end of the game they won't want to bid on a shipment of one color (whether 1 or 2 or whatever number of containers). I.e. you see it as a side effect that might occasionally happen but is undesirable and so made a special rule against it, whereas I'd see it as a side effect that might occasionally happen but is simply an interesting side effect of the basic rules and needs no additional rule to fix it because it's not broken (to me) - if someone figures out they can ship single containers cheap if all other players have bought none, then good for them!

It reminds me of how the Japanese rules of go are full of special case rulings like "bent 4 in the corner is automatically dead" because most of the time that's true, but not always, and somehow the rule creators felt it was "wrong" that occasionally bent 4 should live, whereas many other go rulesets are content to let the specific game situation be played out according to the consequences of simple elegant rules without trying to special-case various specific situations. It's basically 2 different approaches to game design:

* intentionally adding special case rules to try to direct toward or away from certain types of behavior, because of an idea of how the game should be played

versus

* accepting whatever strategies result from a given minimal/elegant set of rules

It probably depends on how simulationist the designer is striving to be.
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Kevin Nesbitt
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I don't think it affects the elegance of the gameplay at all. It's just a simple ruling on a situation that only a small number of players will ever even encounter, much less need to worry about or strategize around.

The game was tested with both rulings, and was found to benefit from allowing players having one container on their island to score it. Otherwise in the early-game, when 1-container shipments are sometimes not such a bad idea, players hesitate to bid for fear that this may be the only container they end up winning all game, and therefore the price paid is on average slightly lower. This means less money enters the economy, or even worse, the shipping player is incentivized to purchase it himself (thereby draining money from the economy).

However, it's okay to disagree with me. I can handle disappointment.
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Agent J
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I agree with the assessment on early-game one-container shipments. If they're worth nothing, you get low bids. But, really, with that rule interpretation (which is what I play due to not having the expansion yet) the incentives are there to ship two containers early anyway, which is a perfectly reasonable move and gets the economy going a bit quicker.
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