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Through the Desert» Forums » Rules

Subject: Playing camels in enclosed area, a comprehensive discussion rss

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Scott
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I wasn't hugely interested in getting into a discussion, I just wanted to link to a geeklist that discusses the rules but as I wrote I got carried away. The comprehensive discussion is not me here but contained in a geeklist.

I had forgotten about this geeklist for a year but I wrote a post tonight about an "official FAQ" for Scarab Lords, a silver line Knizia game by FFG, and remembered this existed. (I actually just got it approved by geekmod so I'm going to call it peer reviewed.) Posting that reminded me of this apparent rule change for Through the Desert, a silver line Knizia game published by FFG.

If someone finds a third silver line Knizia game published by FFG maybe we can find the third apparent rule change and claim enemy action.
I wrote that before re-reading the geeklist. Blue Moon City is by Knizia, released by FFG and it contains a rule change by the publisher. It's not silver line, and maybe Kosmos did the change, but it's much more fun to waggle the finger accusingly and call, "Thrice is enemy action," here.

The geeklist is pretty long. Even if you don't read the posts some of the comments at the end of each item or the picture captions are amusing.

Quote:
An enclosed area may not contain any other camels (irrespective of who they belong to).

In true rules lawyer fashion in item nine the geeklist reads:
The Elder wrote:
The camel position marked with the blue tick mark is contiguous with the rest of the yellow camels. It is also not contained in the area as, by its very placement, the area enclosed changes.


Seems fair enough.

As far as I gather the argument still hinges upon the word "another" as in "another player".

But it also includes this:

The Elder wrote:
Obviously it is impossible for another player to [place camels into an enclosed area]. Another player would necessarily own a camel with leader inside the area (coloured) in fig. 5a if it were possible to do so. This would falsify ... 'An enclosed area may not contain any other camels (irrespective of who they belong to)'. If it is possible for another player to place a camel in an area that area is not enclosed. This would make bullet point six [It is impossible for another player to place camels into an enclosed area.] redundant, nothing more than a flat restatement of a fact already stated.


The way I understand it is like this:
An area inside a closed loop (of one caravan) or a caravan that starts and ends on the map edge can only be called an enclosed area if there are no other camels inside it.

It follows that if there are no other camels inside this enclosed area then there can be no leader camel present inside either because leader camels are a type of camel.

It then follows that as there's no leader camel inside normal camels can't be be placed the enclosed area because camels can only attach to their caravan which must have a leader in it. "Camels of a colour caravan contiguously," as the old saying goes.

You don't then need a rule that says "another player can't put camels in the enclosed area" because that's already forbidden by the placement rules of the game--unless it actually means what it says: Another player can't. It's phrased awkwardly and I'd prefer a positive statement rather than this negative version but taken literally I don't see that it can really mean other than a player can place camels in what would be his own enclosed area.

It's all moot though considering that FFG changed the expression of the rule explicitly.

Here's the promised geeklist: Through the Desert: Just another Knizia war game--with a thinly pastelled on theme.
 
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Scott
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b a n j o wrote:
Not to derail this thread, but I never liked the FFG added rule which requires each player to play a different colored leader in Round One. It can result in a situation in which the 5th player is unable to follow the rule. FFG has a long history of jamming rules into games.


My only aim was to link to the geeklist and that I've done so derail away my good man. I didn't know that rule was changed in TTD. I like their many of their games and they were very quick in fixing errors/omissions with games I've bought but it makes you wonder if they think before they muck around with little things like this.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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An enclosed area is

— a contiguous area of one or more adjacent hexes containing either empty, water holes, or oases in an arbitrary combination;
— which, when trying to reach other adjacent hexes, only encounters camels of one and only one colour belonging to one and only one player, and/or playing field edges.

This definition avoids the camel issue entirely because it explicitly names what hexes are allowed in an enclosed area; and the lemma that only one colour camel+owner and/or the playing field edge may be encountered neatly deals with common boundaries (not an e.a.), self-contained loops in the middle of the playing field (an e.a.), an enclosed area which is surrounded by a ring of camels in a different colour (the e.a. is obviously an e.a., but the empty ring around it is not), and a corridor from one edge to another edge created by two sets of camels belonging to different players (not an e.a.).

The inspiration of this definition originates in the logical rules to Go.
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Jon Ben
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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cymric wrote:
An enclosed area is

— a contiguous area of one or more adjacent hexes containing either empty, water holes, or oases in an arbitrary combination;
— which, when trying to reach other adjacent hexes, only encounters camels of one and only one colour belonging to one and only one player, and/or playing field edges.

This definition avoids the camel issue entirely because it explicitly names what hexes are allowed in an enclosed area; and the lemma that only one colour camel+owner and/or the playing field edge may be encountered neatly deals with common boundaries (not an e.a.), self-contained loops in the middle of the playing field (an e.a.), an enclosed area which is surrounded by a ring of camels in a different colour (the e.a. is obviously an e.a., but the empty ring around it is not), and a corridor from one edge to another edge created by two sets of camels belonging to different players (not an e.a.).

The inspiration of this definition originates in the logical rules to Go.


I don't think you need to specify that the camels belong to only one player.
Wait yes you do :S My bad. I hadn't considered player A having the same colour camels inside what would otherwise be an enclosed area of player B.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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You do. Look at the last example of creating a corridor between two sets of camels of the same colour, but belonging to different players: that corridor is a contiguous area of, for the sake of the example, multiple adjacent empty hexes, bounded by the edge of the board and camels of one colour, and is thus enclosed area! To deal with that loophole I specified that the camels must also belong to one player.

Edit: you've already seen the light meeple
 
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Jon Ben
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cymric wrote:
Edit: you've already seen the light meeple




Yea I post quickly sometimes and then think about things in more detail. It's a bad system blush
 
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Dan Blum
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b a n j o wrote:
Not to derail this thread, but I never liked the FFG added rule which requires each player to play a different colored leader in Round One. It can result in a situation in which the 5th player is unable to follow the rule. FFG has a long history of jamming rules into games.


FFG did not add this rule.
 
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Scott
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tool wrote:
b a n j o wrote:
Not to derail this thread, but I never liked the FFG added rule which requires each player to play a different colored leader in Round One. It can result in a situation in which the 5th player is unable to follow the rule. FFG has a long history of jamming rules into games.


FFG did not add this rule.


Spill the beans then chum. Original rule as written by the good doctor? Added by developers at Kosmos? A joke played on us by the little board game pixies? We're all friends here. The only bald assertions we'll brook must be tantalising and scandalous.
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Dan Blum
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blaecblaed wrote:
tool wrote:
b a n j o wrote:
Not to derail this thread, but I never liked the FFG added rule which requires each player to play a different colored leader in Round One. It can result in a situation in which the 5th player is unable to follow the rule. FFG has a long history of jamming rules into games.


FFG did not add this rule.


Spill the beans then chum. Original rule as written by the good doctor? Added by developers at Kosmos? A joke played on us by the little board game pixies? We're all friends here. The only bald assertions we'll brook must be tantalising and scandalous.


I have no idea what Knizia's original rules said, but the English translation of the Kosmos rules done by Knizia and Kevin Jacklin has this rule. I have been playing the game since shortly after it came out and have never played without this rule.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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blaecblaed wrote:
Spill the beans then chum. Original rule as written by the good doctor? Added by developers at Kosmos? A joke played on us by the little board game pixies? We're all friends here. The only bald assertions we'll brook must be tantalising and scandalous.

The English rules scan dating back to 2002 from FFG—well before the second FFG edition—available from the files section says
Quote:
In the first positioning round each player must position a camel rider with a different shaded camel, if possible.
I would submit that the FFG wording of the new rules is a stronger version than what is present in the quoted old text; but also, based on my experience with rules writing (I translated a number of old QWG titles), that the author of the English text did not realise what would happen when he rephrased that sentence to remove the 'if possible'.

What then remains is the clearly different rule about placing camels in an enclosed area; and there we just have to live with the fact that the original rules from Kosmos plus first edition FFG are different from those of the second FFG edition. The second edition mentions purposefully that once enclosed an area is off-limits to everyone; that hard statement is not present in the older editions. There's not going to be a definitive ruling on this one: my take is to simply agree on either option prior to playing and go. There isn't a 'best' solution here.
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Jonathan Gingerich
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The gist of this discussion, which is not obvious, is that the 2d edition rules appear to forbid a player from playing into his own enclosed area, while the earlier rules did not.

I was going to point out that this play never has a purpose, as it simply subtracts points from the player. But upon further reflection, I'm wrong. Suppose there are two purple camels left. The player has a purple caravan enclosure, tightly surrounded by opponents. In a close game, he is leading by more than 2 points but his opponents have opportunities in the next round. So if he can play the two purples into his enclosure he ends and wins the game.

---

Which brings up another point - what if there are no other plays? This could happen without an enclosure (a serious family revenge game ;-). It's very unlikely, but not impossible and I don't recall the rules addressing it.
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Russ Williams
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nvrsaynvr wrote:
Which brings up another point - what if there are no other plays? This could happen without an enclosure (a serious family revenge game ;-). It's very unlikely, but not impossible and I don't recall the rules addressing it.

Pathologically unlikely, but indeed I guess it could happen if players conspire to make it happen, or if one player is really incompetent.

I would suppose that the player in question would simply pass the rest of the game...
 
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Jonathan Gingerich
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Upon further review, I see both these questions have been discussed (at length) in other threads. Another reason to play within your own enclosure would be to win the largest caravan bonus. And the "no legal move" issue is unresolved.
 
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Scott
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nvrsaynvr wrote:
Upon further review, I see both these questions have been discussed (at length) in other threads. Another reason to play within your own enclosure would be to win the largest caravan bonus.


That point was analysed in the geeklist originally posted.
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/68680/item/1717104#item17...
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