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Subject: Ruling Request: Set Up - Step 5. Place Forces rss

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Eric Little
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Are players allowed to use maneuver templates, print-outs, or any other aides for placing ships during set up? i.e. Beyond the basic "lay[s] the Range Ruler straight out from the edge of the play area and places the ship anywhere that is entirely within Range 1" that the setup rules allow.
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Last night we had our OP6 Event and we had a player, a very active member of this community and typically very on-point about rulings, doing something during setup that I fundamentally disagreed with.

He was using maneuver templates to decide at what angle and where he was placing his ships.

Technically, the maneuver template he was using coupled with the direction he was placing it was not giving him any direct information about where he was going to be at the end of his first maneuver (he was using a 3 bank arced back towards the edge of the table, which if he DID use that maneuver would have sent him flying off the board). However, the precedent being set there is allowing players to use aides to assist with set up.

As the TO for our venue I told him he was not allowed to place ships using maneuver templates to aide him, so he asked if he could use these paper cut-out tools he made for placing his ships at a very specific angle. I said that was fine on the proviso that I get an official answer before the next OP.

He told me there was a specific ruling somewhere (which I have yet to be able to find) that explicitly stated that "players are allowed to use any aides/tools they need during setup before the game starts". He sees no difference between using the range rulers to determine the space you are allowed to place your ships within, and having templates with specific positions for your ships to start in.

I proposed in theory that essentially a player could print out a 4" x 12" piece of paper with base positions on it, and he said he believes that to be perfectly acceptable. I do not.

The rules for Place Forces under Set Up are as follows:
Quote:
Place Forces: Place each ship int he play area in order of Captain Skill (the gold number on the Captain ID Token), from lowest to highest (i.e. the ship with the lowest Captain Skill is placed first; the ship with the highest Captain Skill is placed last). If multiple ships share the same Captain Skill, the ship with Initiative is placed first (see "Initiative" on Page 18).

2 Players: To place a ship, its owner lays the Range Ruler straight out from the edge of the play are and places the ship anywhere that is entirely within the Range 1 section, facing any direction.

3 Players: To place a ship, its owner starts by measuring out his 4" x 8" starting area as shown on the "3-Player Setup Diagram" on page 7. The ship's owner places his ship anywhere that is entirely within his starting area, facing any direction...



 
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Skyguard
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ejlittle wrote:

Technically, the maneuver template he was using coupled with the direction he was placing it was not giving him any direct information about where he was going to be at the end of his first maneuver (he was using a 3 bank arced back towards the edge of the table, which if he DID use that maneuver would have sent him flying off the board). However, the precedent being set there is allowing players to use aides to assist with set up.


On a personal note I wouldn't have a big issue with this as long as the maneuver template isn't leaving the setup area. e.g. I want to make sure all my bases are move 1 from the edge or all start at 22.5 degrees pointing port. Really once you start playing space drift is going to happen and it's not a big deal.

However I wouldn't let someone use a maneuver template in a way that part of it leaves the start area or gives them any idea where they would end up.

A good setup can help you, but like they say "No plan survives contact with the enemy"
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Hero Guy
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I wouldn't mind if my opponent did that. Honestly, any player with enough experience is going to know the relative distances by using the range ruler. The only thing left is if you wanted to start with your base at a very specific angle and if you don't allow guides for that, which is perfectly within the right of the TO, then you're potentially dealing with a player fiddling with each ship for 2-3 minutes trying to eyeball the exact angle.
 
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Nova Cat
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During setup, players are allowed to use any aids they wish to place their ships. It is only during the planning phase that measurement is restricted. And even then, players are always allowed to measure firing ranges with the range ruler.
 
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Nova Cat
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ejlittle wrote:
I proposed in theory that essentially a player could print out a 4" x 12" piece of paper with base positions on it, and he said he believes that to be perfectly acceptable. I do not.

Why not?
 
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Dave Benhart
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I've used the movement templates to help setup plenty of times and no one has complained. Now, it's typically a straight maneuver to measure how far ships are apart. The thickness is a very good way to space ships apart to prevent collisions. Or the a Straight 1 if they need to be a bit further, a base, apart. (Yes, I realize a Straight 1 is slightly shorter than a ship base.)

The only time I had someone complain during setup was when I referenced a picture I'd taken of the initial placement. It had range rulers, move templates, etc., all set out so I could get things exactly where I wanted them. This was for OP4 and I was measuring to be at very precise (within 1/8" or so) distances from the planet.

Most of the people I play with use the movement templates too. Not setting their first move, but as reference to the edges of the board. Typically they only go beyond the starting area as an incidental, not to measure where the ship would end up if that move was used.
 
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I agree, it says you can place anywhere in your starting area, that is pretty clear to me they can use any aids they feel like to figure out where they want to do this. I do not see any issue even with bringing in a custom template, as I have memorized several starting locations by use of different ship bases and icons on the bases to do pretty much the same thing.
 
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Eric Little
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I probably won't be able to articulate this very well, but gut feeling about it just feels wrong.

Spending time at home preparing for an ideal set-up is perfectly fine, but the entire movement system in this game is based around the core concept of relative knowledge of the distance of maneuver templates. Set up should be no different, relative knowledge of the angles you've prepared for, and adjusting accordingly because as Skyguard quoted above: "No plan survives contact with the enemy".

Ultimately I want to make sure we're playing this correctly, and that it's fun for all parties involved. It's interesting to see the first few responses being so one-sided, but I also imagine that the vast majority of folks responding to rules questions probably have a pretty a firm grasp of the rules and/or lack thereof as to best take advantage of them.

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docvulcan wrote:
I agree, it says you can place anywhere in your starting area, that is pretty clear to me they can use any aids they feel like to figure out where they want to do this.


That is a pretty major leap of logic there. Nowhere does it mention anything about, against or for, the use of measuring aides.

davedujour wrote:
The only time I had someone complain during setup was when I referenced a picture I'd taken of the initial placement. It had range rulers, move templates, etc., all set out so I could get things exactly where I wanted them. This was for OP4 and I was measuring to be at very precise (within 1/8" or so) distances from the planet.


I wouldn't have felt comfortable with that either. Being able to know exactly where you're going to end up defies the core concept of using maneuver templates blindly while playing. This just proves to me why setting up with precision is wrong because you literally know exactly where you're going to be, 2-3 turns from now (again, assuming no interference in a vacuum).

Novacat wrote:
During setup, players are allowed to use any aids they wish to place their ships.


Is there some official ruling on this? Just saying it with conviction doesn't make it true. Have you ever considered that nobody has complained about it because when they ask they are taking your assumptions as truth just because you sound like you know what you're talking about?

Hero_guy wrote:
Honestly, any player with enough experience is going to know the relative distances by using the range ruler.


"relative distances" != "exact distances"

If I can't measure out on the field while we're engaged, why am I allowed to measure during set up?

 
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Dave Benhart
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ejlittle wrote:
If I can't measure out on the field while we're engaged, why am I allowed to measure during set up?



Because there's enough "play" in the movement templates that you don't know exactly where you're going to end up. Try putting the Straight 6 in front of a ship for 2 moves and put a ship next to it & move Straight 4 three times. It's very, very easy to accidentally not have those ship parallel anymore.

Setup is a one time thing. After a couple of turns it simply doesn't matter where you started anymore. Sure, it's important for the first or second turn, but that's it.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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In my last casual game, my opponent did something like this. I was kind of surprised. Instead of coming at me in a straight line, he kept measuring curves along the board, placing a bunch of curve movement templates next to each other in a zig-zag pattern. He then checked his firing angles and range when coming near the space station I was to defend.

It was very fascinating to watch. When he finally got near to the space station and started measuring weapon range from the end of the last placed movement template, I chose then to point out "you forgot to account for the width of the bases when placing the movement templates next to each other".

He cursed, and rather than do it all over again, he just placed his ships and said "Let's go."

I was dead five turns later.
 
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Nova Cat
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As for an official ruling, yes. It was answered in the FAQ thread about a month ago (I asked the question). Also, there is an explicit rule about measuring, which restricts the measurement of movement during the Planning Phase. Other measurements, or measurements at other times are legal.
 
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Eric Little
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Since you asked the question and received an answer to it, mind providing a link? I'd be curious to see it.

That FAQ thread is stupidly large now, and I can't figure out the right combination of keywords to get it to come up in search.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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Eric, I understand how you feel. I think the rules are against you in this particular instance, but if you asked me not to do this in one of our games I could definitely see your reasons and would agree out of sportsmanship.

In terms of rules, I definitely think this was legal and hold with the position that it really doesn't matter in the end. If you did it in one of our games, I might find it amusing. By all means, make your perfect battle plans. Check your iPhone for the latest combos. Plan your moves ten turns in advance down to the microscopic detail. It's like you said earlier, "no plan survives engagement with the enemy". And if it's one thing my captains do well, it's "Engage!".
 
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Eric Little
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I dug through your comment history NovaCat, and the person that responded to confirm your question is the mysterious "person" who caused this thread to exist in the first place.
 
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Eric Little
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lordrahvin wrote:
I think the rules are against you in this particular instance...


I just don't see anywhere where this is set in stone as an actual rule. The rule book makes no mention of it for or against.

For what it's worth, I am purely TO for this event. If I had been playing I personally couldn't care less, I wouldn't have internally agreed with it but I would have let it slide because I honestly don't really care all that much.

I had a particular player express concern over it, and several others chimed in that they agreed that it felt wrong. Was just searching for something official.
 
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davedujour wrote:

Because there's enough "play" in the movement templates that you don't know exactly where you're going to end up. Try putting the Straight 6 in front of a ship for 2 moves and put a ship next to it & move Straight 4 three times. It's very, very easy to accidentally not have those ship parallel anymore.


For the record, a ship moving 2 straight 6's and a ship moving 3 straight 4's should never line up. the one doing the 6's would have moved 13 base lengths forward and the one doing the 4's would have moved 14 base lengths.


Anyway, I see no big deal on this for setup. Once the game is in play its right in the rules that you can't do it. I see nothing against it during setup unless someone is using it to take a crazy amount of time doing it which I would consider stalling.
 
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Nova Cat
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You found it just slightly faster than I did.

Well, even so, my second statement is still true. There is no explicit prohibition against using templates for set-up. The restriction is SPECIFICALLY for measuring movement, and SPECIFICALLY during the planning phase. No such statement exists for the Setup Phase.
 
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Nova Cat
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ejlittle wrote:
I just don't see anywhere where this is set in stone as an actual rule. The rule book makes no mention of it for or against.

And when the rules don't prohibit something, the default answer should be to allow it, unless it creates an unfair advantage for one players, or ruins the game for others. I can't see how using templates to set up your ship could possibly constitute either of those things.
 
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Dave Benhart
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Ender02 wrote:
davedujour wrote:

Because there's enough "play" in the movement templates that you don't know exactly where you're going to end up. Try putting the Straight 6 in front of a ship for 2 moves and put a ship next to it & move Straight 4 three times. It's very, very easy to accidentally not have those ship parallel anymore.


For the record, a ship moving 2 straight 6's and a ship moving 3 straight 4's should never line up. the one doing the 6's would have moved 13 base lengths forward and the one doing the 4's would have moved 14 base lengths.


Anyway, I see no big deal on this for setup. Once the game is in play its right in the rules that you can't do it. I see nothing against it during setup unless someone is using it to take a crazy amount of time doing it which I would consider stalling.


I was taking a guess at the end points there. But try it and just see how easy it is to unintentionally make those "straight" lines cross. It is very, very easy to crash those 2 ships without meaning to. The templates wiggle that much. Put the Straight 6 down in front of a ship and see how far that end point will move while still being "flat" against the base. It's can be quite a bit.
 
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