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Subject: Questions about Circuit Breaker option rss

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Ole Steiness
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Just bought this great game, but:

I have a question about the Cirquit Breaker Option. The card states that you must power down next turn if you have three or more damage tokens. While it might be nice to have the option to power down immediately (the following turn), my friends and I was confused that this was mandatory. We clearly did not see this card as a bonus, as we often would play on for a while, and not power down after just three hits.

Am I wrong on this card, or?


Thanks, guys.


Ole

Edit: subject title clarified
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James Perry
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Ok from my copy of RoboRally

Quote:
Circuit Breaker
Any time your robot ends a turn with 3 or more points of damage, it will automatically begin the next turn powered down.


So from this wording, it is manditory. So when you take that hit that would send you to 3 damage you have the strategic option of having that option blown off of your robot, or powering down next turn automatically.

If it stays, you power down.
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Mark Casiglio
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Yes, I think its intention is to be mandatory. I referred to it as "the curse" when I wrote a session report ... but since then we've talked about houseruling it as "you have the option of automatically powering down ..."
 
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Dave Kudzma
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Ahhh....as it was already stated that is obviously the card you want to discard to negate one damage.
 
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Daniel Johnson
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Re: Question about unfair card?
If you would rather spend at least one more turn giving orders to a damaged robot, then you might as well use it to eat damage.
 
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Ole Steiness
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Thank you for the feedback.

I think we will just leave it as it is and then let players decide whether or not to loose the option when hit, as suggested.

We have only played three times so far, and I can't wait to get back in the ring to do some robo-damage robot
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Barry Figgins
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Yeah, just don't forget the option to lose the Option to soak a point of damage.

It's also not a bad card to have if you're ahead - if the only hits you're taking are lucky hits from the other side of the board or some such. If you're not in immediate danger, three points repaired is a pretty good return.

If I were to houserule the card, though, I'd change it from 'three points of damage' to 'five points of damage'. I don't think anyone would complain about shutting down once they're maimed.
 
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Re: Question about unfair card?
This is why they're called Options, not Upgrades.
 
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Ole Steiness
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Thanks.

I think we will make a house rule so the card instead says:

Whenever you want, use this card to shut down at the beginning of the following turn. The card can only be used once and must therefore return to the stack after use.
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Pieter
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Re: Question about unfair card?
I always understood the Circuit Breaker as follows.

It says you START the next round powered down. According to the rules, a player who is powered down at the start of a round has the OPTION to let that power-down remain for the coming round. So the player with the circuit breaker has the option to let his robot be powered down for the new round.

This is in contrast to the normal play: if a player announces a power down, which he has to do at the start of a round, he has to play the complete round before the power down is activated. It took me two games before I understood this. For my first two games, I thought that you could announce a power down and then be powered down for that round. That, however, is not the case if you read the rules carefully.

So, the Circuit Breaker is actually a very powerful card that lets you power down without announcing it a round before. It is not a question of the power down being mandatory, the player can make his decision AS IF his robot had been powered down the previous round.
 
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Dan Mixer
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Important Note:

This has been missed in the above comments. To power down and repair your robot, you have to announce at the BEGINNING of the turn BEFORE you power down. So, if you take a beating on turn 1, you have to announce you are powering down, and then play out turn 2 and hope you don't get fragged so that on turn 3 you can power down and repair.

With the Circut Breaker card, the powering down happens the NEXT turn, so there is not a turn in between taking damage and getting a chance to heal up. This is not a small advantage, especially as damage in RoboRally tends to coe in bunches.
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Mark Casiglio
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Re: Question about unfair card?
No, it's not being missed. That can sometimes be a terrific advantage. But if it's mandatory as has been interpreted (and I don't have the card handy to quote the wording) it's often more of a burden than a help: For example, if you inadvertantly end your turn trapped in the beam of a board laser, you do NOT want to power down. If you're damaged but within striking distance of the final flag you probably do not want to power down.

That's why our group house-ruled it to make it an option the player can activate or not.
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Joe Grundy
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Personally we've always played Circuit Breaker as the rules state... use it or lose it (instead of damage). It's fine how it is.

There's plenty of powerful options. There's plenty of options of dubious benefit. There's various situations where you get a "useless" option you would sacrifice for your next damage anyway, so de facto they're already less useful than circuit breaker. Conversely there's two options we feel are too powerful that we always take out of the game. I wouldn't have even dreamt of calling Circuit Breaker "unfair".

If keeping the option makes the power-down compulsory (as stated on the card) it's still a very useful option. *Usually* you'll want to accept the power down... it's a pretty big benefit not to have to spend an extra turn with the crippled robot while you wait for a normally-declared shutdown to kick in. If the alternative benefit is even bigger, you don't really have a basis for complaint.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Csigs wrote:
But if it's mandatory as has been interpreted (and I don't have the card handy to quote the wording) it's often more of a burden than a help: For example, if you inadvertantly end your turn trapped in the beam of a board laser, you do NOT want to power down.


So if you indaverdently end your turn trapped in the beam of a board laser, it would probably be a good idea to soak up that fifth-phase point of laser damage by scrapping the option.

That's, effectively, where it's optional. If you don't want the 'burden' of an automatic shutdown, soak up the point of damage and lose the option. The only time you're really in trouble is if someone is pinning you down with Fire Control and denying you the choice of sinking your damage into it.

Given the choice of Circuit Breaker or Extra Memory, I'd rather Circuit Breaker just about every time. Even playing the card properly (mandatory shutdown). It may be a minimal help, but it is a help, not a burden.
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Re: Question about unfair card?
jgrundy wrote:
Conversely there's two options we feel are too powerful that we always take out of the game.


Hm. If I had to guess, I'd guess "Big Jet" and "Fire Control".
 
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Joe Grundy
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Re: Question about unfair card?
thatmarkguy wrote:
jgrundy wrote:
Conversely there's two options we feel are too powerful that we always take out of the game.


Hm. If I had to guess, I'd guess "Big Jet" and "Fire Control".


Close. But Big Jet is one use, and worth maybe a one turn advantage in the very best of circumstance.

Yes, we take out fire control. And robocopter.
 
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Geoff Dunbar
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Circuit breaker is underrated, because powering down is underrated. You should usually power down with 3 damage anyways, and this card can save you a turn to do it.

I think the psychology of powering down makes it hard to do; who wants to miss a turn? But getting 9 cards vs 6 (or fewer) makes a huge difference in your robot's ability to move. Sure sometimes you get the right cards with just 6, but the odds are against you.

Agree about Fire Control. But Robocopter? We regularly deposit robots in pits with that guy; are you playing the "if you get pushed or shot Robocopter stops working immediately" rule properly? Although I guess if you're playing with just a few players that might not happen as much; I generally only bring out Roborally with 6 or more.

Geoff
 
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Mark McEvoy
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Re: Question about unfair card?
I think the power of Robocopter and Big Jet is tied to course design. Neither one would make very much of a difference on a Grand Prix course, and either one could earn you many, many turns' worth of advantage if your race spans the "Chasm" board.
 
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Joe Grundy
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Re: Question about unfair card?
gdunbar wrote:
Agree about Fire Control. But Robocopter? We regularly deposit robots in pits with that guy; are you playing the "if you get pushed or shot Robocopter stops working immediately" rule properly? Although I guess if you're playing with just a few players that might not happen as much; I generally only bring out Roborally with 6 or more.

There are two tricks with Robocopter to make the most of all that lovely bonus movement. (Who cares about the "flying" part... minimal utility and sometimes it's even annoying to have to fly.) The first trick is to use Robocopter cautiously... when you can see a few phases fairly clear of enemy (not necessarily a straight path). There'll be time enough to reap the rewards, especially if you fall behind or break out in front.

The second trick is hidden in this little rule:
"If you are blocked or pushed by a robot or wall or pusher, discard the (bonus) movement card... your robot lands and executes the rest of its turn normally".

At a minimum... any time the first thing your robot needs to do is run forward until you reach a wall, you get bonus movement out of Robocopter. For us, when people got Robocopter they would often use it for two or three "safe" register phases at a time and then deliberately run into a wall... getting in a few bonus moves when (mostly) safe plus protecting the option.

Finally, I don't know about your games, but we find (with usually four player it's true although we usually criss-cross on a single board) we rarely get shot in turns where we didn't anticipate it might happen. On the "probably get shot" turns, you just don't touch your Robocopter.

thatmarkguy wrote:
I think the power of Robocopter and Big Jet is tied to course design. Neither one would make very much of a difference on a Grand Prix course, and either one could earn you many, many turns' worth of advantage if your race spans the "Chasm" board.

Yes it's insanely powerful on Chasm. But it's not at all about the "flying". Each turn where you *do* use the Robocopter you gain a few cards movement leverage, which usually adds up to several turns worth of advantage over the course of the course. (And Roborally is all about getting the most movement into the smallest time... while not dying of course.) Leveraging the flying business is just an occassional bonus. Grand Prix's "Back Stretch" board in particular is a great candidate for using Robocopter... lots of unobstructed open distance to cover, and narry a laser in sight! (Ok so if you had six robots and just this board it would be a bit tight for Robocopter, but it would still be a Major Advantage.)

Portals are not Flat... flying into a portal still works.
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Is Not Geddy Lee
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Csigs wrote:
That's why our group house-ruled it to make it an option the player can activate or not.


When did we do that? Ahh, I think it was right before I was going to push you into a pit.....
 
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Re: Question about unfair card?
Csigs wrote:
But if it's mandatory as has been interpreted (and I don't have the card handy to quote the wording) it's often more of a burden than a help: For example, if you inadvertantly end your turn trapped in the beam of a board laser, you do NOT want to power down.


But that is the point of the wording of the card. You do not HAVE to power down. The card says you START the current round powered down. Since you STARTED the round powered down, it is your option to let the power down remain for the current round, or to reactivate the robot and play the current round normally. So if you end the previous round in a laser beam, obviously you are not going to remain powered down, you continue playing.

Normal play would be:
1) PLAY ROUND 1, END IT DAMAGED
2) ANNOUNCE POWER DOWN
3) PLAY ROUND 2
--- GET POWERED DOWN
4) SIT OUT ROUND 3
5) ANNOUNCE WHETHER POWER DOWN SHOULD REMAIN FOR THE NEXT ROUND
etc.

With the circuity breaker it becomes:
1) PLAY ROUND 1, END IT DAMAGED FOR AT LEAST THREE POINTS
--- CIRCUIT BREAKER ACTIVATES, BOT POWERS DOWN
2) ANNOUNCE WHETHER POWER DOWN SHOULD REMAIN FOR THE NEXT ROUND
3) PLAY ROUND 2 OR SIT OUT ROUND 2
etc.

The card could be translated as follows: "If you have three damage or more, you can decide at the beginning of a round to be powered down that round." That is effectively what the card is about. It is just worded in an awkward way. One wonders why that is. I, for one, believe that it is because they wanted to have the description directly related to the title "Circuit Breaker."
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Re: Question about unfair card?
I'm with Flyboy on this one. Allthough the wording can be misunderstood it is obvious that starting the turn powered down is not the same as remaining powered down for the whole turn. To me it has always been clear what this meant. You could decide to REMAIN powered down or you could take your next turn as normal.
 
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Re: Question about unfair card?
I think you guys are intentionally trying to win, in our idiotic games, we drool over getting Remote Control. The second we do, we try our damnedest to stear each other into pits, or just hold them where we can shoot them to bits.
 
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Re: Question about unfair card?
gdunbar wrote:
Circuit breaker is underrated, because powering down is underrated. You should usually power down with 3 damage anyways, and this card can save you a turn to do it.

Correct! And this is even more true with the AH edition, where there are wrench/hammer spaces, instead of double-wrench spaces. If you have three points of damage and you don't power down, it will take you at least three turns to get rid of that damage. And that's assuming you can get from one wrench to the next in one turn. If you sit and spin on a wrench, you're essentially missing the turn anyway and most likely would have been better off if you had powered down.

Quote:
Agree about Fire Control. But Robocopter?

Yes, Fire Control can be especially annoying. But IME, the game-winning options are RoboCopter and Mechanical Arm. Especially with the new version of Mechanical Arm. I think it was monumentally stupid to make the MA even more powerful by (a) letting it work diagonally, and (b) letting it work while powered down. Boo! to the AH rule changes! (except for the wrench-hammer thing, which doesn't necessarily make the game better, but it certainly doesn't make it worse.)
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