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Subject: Tracing Blocks... rss

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Strelnieks *
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This is more about the spirit of the game, but in some situations it would come down to actual rules. This question applies to pretty much any of these Columbia Games block games. I can't imagine this playing a major role, but I used to wargame with a guy who was of a personality type where this kind of thing could become very important. He lawyered EVERYTHING, took FOREVER for his turns, and NEVER lost (NEVER).

How closely is a player allowed to follow individual blocks? I'll post a few questions here, but it all pretty much comes down to the same issue.

Q 01
Can I put my hand in front of a hex full of my blocks and mix them up so that my opponent can't see that a particular unit he knows something about is among those that are now moving? (He might know it suffered forced march loss last turn, that it is cavalry, etc.) Similar on the battlefield with positions, not hexes.

Q 02
I have several units in each of two hexes which are close to each other (adjacent, for example). Can I just expose a leader to activate both hexes and then cover the hexes from my opponent's view and end my move with the same number of units in each hex - and do so such that he can't see whether I have switched units or done nothing at all? Or is he allowed to know that a particular number of units actually moved from one hex to the other? Same principle: Two units switch positions with strategic moves by rail. Can I "pretend" to do this, but not, or better: Activate two strategic moves, and NOT SAY OR SHOW the moves at all - leaving my opponent in doubt as to whether adjacent pieces switched, two strategic moves switched, or nothing happened at all? (Can I ask my opponent to not look at the board while do this?)

Q 03
Can I hide where I am taking replacements?


There is a bit of a problem in all of this in that the blocks are not identical. In my old Avalon Hill Napoleon set the blocks are VERY hard to tell apart. But in my new Bobby Lee set, I found when putting on the stickers that the blocks are somewhat unevenly grained and painted. I doubt it will be very important, but again, there are people who will use every possible means to win.

Strel
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Dan Raspler
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All that close observational tracking of specific blocks goes against the spirit of the game. If you can't establish a home custom where you do not try to violate that spirit, I guess it would be necessary to legislate the awkward questions you're asking.

Either that or find a different opponent.

You can certainly mix up the blocks once they're in a hex together.

But you can't obscure which units are moving from which hex to which destination.

Of course, if you're moving units by rail, and if your opponent is annoying you, you can probably come up with some counter-intelligence tricks to mess him up. Move a unit, take back the move, move another unit, move the first again, take back the second move, etc. But that seems to be a lot of foolishness if you ask me. And it increases the chances that you'll make an mistake which might wreck the game completely.

The question of tracking enemy replacements is a tricky one. Here's the rules section that addresses it:

Quote:
NOTE: the Supply Turn is simultaneous so that players cannot pay full attention to their opponent’s replacement strategy. However, if a conflict arises as to which player performs an action last, the CSA player always has this right.


So it seems the enemy shouldn't be able to track friendly replacements... except for the rebs tracking the Union final build? Or something. But the point is, it's clearly against the spirit of things.
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Chris Rice
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I second what Dan said, and would add, why would anyone want to play with the sort of opponent you describe. I would rather not play at all than put up with that.
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Strelnieks *
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Thanks for the responses. It does indeed come down to the spirit of play in most cases, I think.

I would no longer put up with such an opponent today. Back then (this was 20 years ago) I was in a new city and looking for players. There were 5-6 of us in the circle playing, the only people I knew in the new city, and we all thought the guy was over the top, but he was part of their "clique" and I was the new guy.

Strel

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