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Race for the Galaxy: The Brink of War» Forums » Rules

Subject: Limits of the requirement to place a world after selecting it rss

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Vladimir Filipović
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In the Settle phase, after I've selected and revealed a world I want to place, I understand that the general principle is that I am required to use any combination of payments and Settle powers (granting temporary military or temporary discounts) that will ensure that I actually place the world.

But I'm not sure how far exactly this obligation reaches in a couple of hairy cases.


(1) Say the only way to successfully place the world is to change the kind of my Alien Oort Cloud Refinery and then use its good to fuel another power. Am I obliged to do so?

I believe it's in the spirit of the game that yes, I must do this. But I can see that a case could be made for the opposite.


(2) Say the only way to successfully place the world is to use the Terraforming Engineers' power to replace a world, and then use the resulting prestige point or windfall good to fuel another power.
(I believe that this is not "combining" the TE power with another Settle power. I'm simply using the TE power on its own, then noticing that I have (for example) exactly 1 PP, then using a separate power of the Alien Booby Trap that just happens to be fueled by 1 PP.)
Am I obliged to use this combo?

The problem is that this option's existence depends on what's in my hand, unseen by other players.
I think an honour system is a reasonable house rule here: I must do it if I can, but if I say I can't the other players take my word for it. This can't be a good interpretation of the official rules though, because the rest of the game is never dependent on any kind of an honour system.
The only other easy and clean ruling I can think of is to say that no, I am never required to take this option, even if other players know for a fact it exists (e.g. thanks to a recent Search action).

ETA: I just thought of one more potential solution that's maybe a little clumsy but it's still fair, deterministic and IMHO consistent with other rules: if this situation actually happens, and there's any possibility (from the point of view of not knowing what's in my hand) that I might theoretically be able to play this sequence, then I must either play it, or prove that I can't play it by showing my hand to everyone.


(3) Am I allowed to use a sequence of Settle powers that leave me in a state in which I suddenly can't place the world anymore?

Example:
I reveal that I have selected the Alien Departure Point. I have 9 cards in my hand, barely enough to pay for it. After seeing other players' selections, I now use the Mercenary Fleet's power to temporarily increase my military. Oops, now I have 8 cards in my hand and can't settle the ADP anymore.

It seems to me that this gambit is supported by the "player may freely choose the order in which to invoke powers" formulation (RftG pg. 4) and that it's sufficiently similar to strategic ordering of Consume powers to be in agreement with the spirit of the game.


(3a) If the answer to (3) is "that's allowed", there's an ugly corollary:

My total military is 2, coming from Mercenary Fleet.
I select Malevolent Lifeforms to place.
I see other players' selections and decide I'd rather not place ML after all.
I use MF's power to spend exactly one card and temporarily boost my military power to 3. Strictly according to the rules, I've now used this power and can't use it later in this phase to further increase my military (except to defend from a takeover).
(If you're not satisfied that I've irrevocably finished using the power, you can say that now I use one more, unrelated Settle power.)
Now I'm unable to place ML, so it goes back into my hand.
Correct me if that's wrong.

This feels to me like an abuse of the decision that (3) be allowed - Mercenary Fleet shouldn't give this kind of a flexibility.
It's easily and cleanly fixable with a house rule ("partially-used temporary-military powers can be used further up to their limit, not only in takeover defense but at any time during the phase") but that would clearly go against rules as written. This may be an argument for deciding that (3) shouldn't be allowed.
 
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hemflit wrote:
In the Settle phase, after I've selected and revealed a world I want to place, I understand that the general principle is that I am required to use any combination of payments and Settle powers (granting temporary military or temporary discounts) that will ensure that I actually place the world.

But I'm not sure how far exactly this obligation reaches in a couple of hairy cases.


(1) Say the only way to successfully place the world is to change the kind of my Alien Oort Cloud Refinery and then use its good to fuel another power. Am I obliged to do so?

I believe it's in the spirit of the game that yes, I must do this. But I can see that a case could be made for the opposite.
So this isn't really a gameplay rules issue, as we're now more into a meta-gaming like case such as playing Chess and implementing "touch move" that's often used in tournaments, but hardly in any other setting.

If this is a tourney, then perhaps yes. Otherwise, in more friendly games, if you wanted to undo that and build something else or pass, I'd be usually fine with that.

hemflit wrote:
(2) Say the only way to successfully place the world is to use the Terraforming Engineers' power to replace a world, and then use the resulting prestige point or windfall good to fuel another power.
(I believe that this is not "combining" the TE power with another Settle power. I'm simply using the TE power on its own, then noticing that I have (for example) exactly 1 PP, then using a separate power of the Alien Booby Trap that just happens to be fueled by 1 PP.)
Am I obliged to use this combo?

The problem is that this option's existence depends on what's in my hand, unseen by other players.
I think an honour system is a reasonable house rule here: I must do it if I can, but if I say I can't the other players take my word for it. This can't be a good interpretation of the official rules though, because the rest of the game is never dependent on any kind of an honour system.
The only other easy and clean ruling I can think of is to say that no, I am never required to take this option, even if other players know for a fact it exists (e.g. thanks to a recent Search action).
1st, using TE's replacement power is optional.

Even if you did replace a world, I believe that part is always done at the end of the III phase where there shouldn't be anything left. If you have TOs to account for, then those abilities that use PP (Pan Gal Security Council) or goods (Rebel Fuel Refinery) to affect TOs are optional anyways.


hemflit wrote:
(3) Am I allowed to use a sequence of Settle powers that leave me in a state in which I suddenly can't place the world anymore?

Example:
I reveal that I have selected the Alien Departure Point. I have 9 cards in my hand, barely enough to pay for it. After seeing other players' selections, I now use the Mercenary Fleet's power to temporarily increase my military. Oops, now I have 8 cards in my hand and can't settle the ADP anymore.

It seems to me that this gambit is supported by the "player may freely choose the order in which to invoke powers" formulation (RftG pg. 4) and that it's sufficiently similar to strategic ordering of Consume powers to be in agreement with the spirit of the game.
I answered 3a first, but I'm going to point to my response in 3a, and say you can't do this. You placed Alien Dep. Pt., you gotta pay for it if you legally can. If you wanted to invoke Merc. Fleet's pfms power if you still had enough to pay for it, then that would be fine.

If you flip up ADP and realize that that's not what you wanted to do, that'd be bad form in non-tourney games, but in my more casual games, I'd allow you to undo that so long as I'm getting the impression it was an honest mistake and not a way to gleam extra info. In tournament games of RftG, you'd need to pay for it if there are official rules on that.


hemflit wrote:
(3a) If the answer to (3) is "that's allowed", there's an ugly corollary:

My total military is 2, coming from Mercenary Fleet.
I select Malevolent Lifeforms to place.
I see other players' selections and decide I'd rather not place ML after all.
I use MF's power to spend exactly one card and temporarily boost my military power to 3. Strictly according to the rules, I've now used this power and can't use it later in this phase to further increase my military (except to defend from a takeover).
(If you're not satisfied that I've irrevocably finished using the power, you can say that now I use one more, unrelated Settle power.)
Now I'm unable to place ML, so it goes back into my hand.
Correct me if that's wrong.

This feels to me like an abuse of the decision that (3) be allowed - Mercenary Fleet shouldn't give this kind of a flexibility.
It's easily and cleanly fixable with a house rule ("partially-used temporary-military powers can be used further up to their limit, not only in takeover defense but at any time during the phase") but that would clearly go against rules as written. This may be an argument for deciding that (3) shouldn't be allowed.
This feels like it goes back to the rule or convention of "touch move" in Chess where if you touch your own piece and you can legally move it, you must move it. If you touch an opponent's piece and can legally capture it, then you must capture it.

In this case, if you physically place ML on your tableau face up and can legally conquer it, you must. Since in your example you have have at least 2 cards in hand, you're forced to feed them to Space. Merc. pfms power to place ML.

If you didn't have the cards in hand, from my understanding of RftG (the series, not just this BoW expansion), you shouldn't have flipped up ML in the first place, much like you shouldn't be flipping up a 6-cost dev during II if you didn't have the cards to pay for it.
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Vladimir Filipović
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Thanks a lot!

Yes, I did mean it all mostly in a nitpicking rules-lawyerly way .
Maybe I should also clarify my motivations for asking the questions.

I mostly play with groups where it's okay to select a card that you can't possibly place (e.g. a development in Settle phase) as a way of bluffing and not letting others players' decisions be even accidentally influenced by the knowledge that you're not developing/settling. I think this is a fine rule because it improves the transparency of the game a bit, and it offers a clear and consistent way to treat honest mistakes that doesn't depend on actually judging what was or wasn't an honest mistake.
If one of those corner cases from the OP (1-3) came up, I wouldn't be 100% clear on what the "right" thing to do is by the rules, or my opinion might differ from someone else's at the table, so now I'd like to preemptively get some more people's perspectives on it at least.

The other motivation is that I'm simply more comfortable if I know exactly what the rules do in a situation, even if the situation is unlikely in practice.

For that reason I'd add that we can assume nothing the player ("I") did in the examples is an honest mistake - it can all be a deliberate choice, and the player would be forthright in admitting to it.

ackmondual wrote:
1st, using TE's replacement power is optional.

Even if you did replace a world, I believe that part is always done at the end of the III phase where there shouldn't be anything left. If you have TOs to account for, then those abilities that use PP (Pan Gal Security Council) or goods (Rebel Fuel Refinery) to affect TOs are optional anyways.


Are you saying that all consequences of TE's replacement power are resolved only at the end of the Settle phase? I'm thinking:
- getting a PP from the TE power
- getting another PP because the replacing world has the prestige symbol on it
- getting a windfall good
- losing the original good from the replaced world (this could affect a goal, or fuel another power after the TE power is declared)


I'd disagree with one argument you've put: that many Settle powers are optional. I'm not forced to use e.g. pfms in every Settle phase, but if I have the cards to pay for it and it's needed for me to be able to place my selected world, I'm quite sure it's no longer optional. I just don't know how to treat a sequence of such conditionally optional powers.
 
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Yao-ban Chan
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I can't speak to the rules themselves, but for the situation you mention I think there is a simple solution. As I understand you, people who do not wish to settle are deliberately choosing worlds that they cannot settle, but are sometimes getting burned by the fact that they (accidentally) could settle it if they used some combination of powers. I would simply rule that if you do not wish to settle, you place a card face-down like everyone else... and then when the reveal comes, do not flip it over, but simply withdraw it and say "no settle". Then the situation you describe would never come up.
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ackmondual wrote:
hemflit wrote:
(2) Say the only way to successfully place the world is to use the Terraforming Engineers' power to replace a world, and then use the resulting prestige point or windfall good to fuel another power. [...]
1st, using TE's replacement power is optional.

This is the easiest question to answer, and ackmondual is mentioning the reason: Using TE's replacement power is an optional power that is invoked _after_ everybody has selected a world to settle (and payed for it). A world that is put down at the start of the settle phase can never be used to replace a world -- it must be payed for by normal settle powers.

Therefore, if it can only be payed for by "trying to use TE", it must be taken back in hand. (And of course it may be revealed later during the Settle resolution step to actually be used for replacement.)
hemflit wrote:
Are you saying that all consequences of TE's replacement power are resolved only at the end of the Settle phase? I'm thinking:
- getting a PP from the TE power
- getting another PP because the replacing world has the prestige symbol on it
- getting a windfall good
- losing the original good from the replaced world (this could affect a goal, or fuel another power after the TE power is declared)
Yes. Well, technically not at the end, but after the replacement is done, which in any case is after the normal settle payment has been done. (It is possible to use the PP from TE to aid in declaring a takeover, for instance.) If in doubt, consult the Comprehensive script.
 
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hemflit wrote:
I mostly play with groups where it's okay to select a card that you can't possibly place (e.g. a development in Settle phase) as a way of bluffing and not letting others players' decisions be even accidentally influenced by the knowledge that you're not developing/settling. I think this is a fine rule because it improves the transparency of the game a bit, and it offers a clear and consistent way to treat honest mistakes that doesn't depend on actually judging what was or wasn't an honest mistake.
I don't remember currently where the suggestion to put down a card that cannot be placed originates (it is not in the base rules). [Edit: Ah, I see it now, under II: Develop, but only about placing a world in II (and, by extension, a development in III).] But I am quite sure that _revealing_ the card is an exceptional case. Either you reveal the card and intend to pay for it, or you take it back _without_ revealing it.

This rule in the base game, which is the center of this thread
Quote:
An optional power (such as a Colony Ship) must be used if it is needed to place a development or world which a player has selected and then revealed.
covers cases where a player claims that he cannot pay for the card, and he actually can. All information about optional powers and payment is public (cards in tableau, hand size and Prestige chips).

hemflit wrote:
(1) Say the only way to successfully place the world is to change the kind of my Alien Oort Cloud Refinery and then use its good to fuel another power. Am I obliged to do so?

I believe it's in the spirit of the game that yes, I must do this. But I can see that a case could be made for the opposite.
From what I can see, if changing the Oort's kind (an optional power) is needed to place the world, then you must change the kind. What cases do you have for the opposite?
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hemflit wrote:
(3) Am I allowed to use a sequence of Settle powers that leave me in a state in which I suddenly can't place the world anymore?
This is the most interesting question. The rules say
Quote:
[All players] simultaneously turn [the cards] face up and then pay for (or conquer) them.
To me, it is implicit in the rules than when you reveal a card, you must pay for it, by any means necessary. And "by any means" includes _not_ using optional powers that disallow you from paying.
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Tom Lehmann
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If the goal is to be able to place a card face down when you don't intend to Settle, then -- when everyone is ready to flip over their settle cards -- why not use the convention that players who don't wish to settle say "No Settle" or "Knock" as other players are flipping over their cards, taking the "bluff" cards back into their hands?

This way, no card is ever exposed that is not an actual intended Settle and this rules issue simply doesn't arise.

Is it because you are concerned that some players will cheat and look at what the other players are doing and then quickly decide either to say "No Settle" and take their card back or to leave their card face up and settle it?

In my experience, this "take back or flip" method works fine in practice. Have you tried it?
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Tom Lehmann
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As far as the rules goes, the first thing a player who has placed a card in either Develop or Settle must do after flipping it face up is to pay for it, invoking all powers needed to do so (even optional ones).

Develop and Settle differ from Consume and Produce in this respect. You may invoke your powers in any order in Consume and Produce. You are constrained in Develop and Settle in that you must first invoke powers needed to complete your payment for your placed card *before* invoking other powers. After doing this, you are then free to invoke your remaining Develop or Settle powers in any order.

So, a player paying cards for a non-military world may not first invoke an optional military power that expends cards so as to then be unable to pay for the non-military world placed. *That's against both the spirit of the game and the intent of the rules.*

A player who places a military world that can only be conquered by invoking a power that discards a rare good to increase their military must do so, even if that means re-declaring Alien Oort Cloud Refinery's kind in order to be able to do this.

If no combination of visible powers, goods, and prestige can be used to place a placed development or world, then that card was placed *illegally*.

At this point, it is up to your play group (or a tournament director) to decide what to do. If your play group has adopted some convention regarding illegal worlds placed to be taken back into your hand, that's up to you. At this point, we depart from the rules to your group's play conventions.
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Vladimir Filipović
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Thanks everyone!

In practical terms, I honestly never gave much thought to the option of just withdrawing the bluff card face down. That sounds like it would work well, and I'll try to push for it with everyone I play with.
The interpretation "it is always illegal to select and show a card and then not place it" does makes lots of things simple in practice.

As to "are [you] concerned that some players will cheat", that would be overstating it (I've never in my life actually gotten to suspect anyone of cheating in RftG on purpose) but in essence, yes, that was one general direction in which I was worrying a bit - it's reassuring when at least some kinds of cheating are not possible even on accident.


borgemik wrote:
This is the easiest question to answer, and ackmondual is mentioning the reason: Using TE's replacement power is an optional power that is invoked _after_ everybody has selected a world to settle (and payed for it). A world that is put down at the start of the settle phase can never be used to replace a world -- it must be payed for by normal settle powers.

I may have been a bit unclear there. Just for completeness, I didn't imagine that I could use TE's power as some kind of a replacement for the actual step of settling; the scenario was meant as choosing World X to settle, but needing to first use TE's power to replace World Y (already in the tableau) with World Z (from hand) because that will provide a PP or windfall good which will fuel some further card's settle-discount or pay-for-military power (already in the tableau), that power making possible the settling of World X.

Quote:
Yes. Well, technically not at the end, but after the replacement is done, which in any case is after the normal settle payment has been done. (It is possible to use the PP from TE to aid in declaring a takeover, for instance.) If in doubt, consult the Comprehensive script.

I did try getting my answers from the script (it's pretty cool BTW!) but I interpreted it differently than you seem to be explaining it now. The step III.c there consists of:
Quote:
* Each player
– May invoke any Temporary Military powers at any time […]
– If they selected a world, they must [pay etc., using a subset of Settle powers]
– Additionally, in any order (constrained by the clauses below),
[…]
* the player may replace a world with Terraforming Engineer’s power
- [other clauses]

I do see now it's being mentioned in the same breath with TO declarations (which I know happen after payment) but otherwise that "additionally" formulation did not sound to me like the TE power only becomes usable after payment.

I guess I'm asking: Am I understanding you right now? Was that kind of timing what you meant when you wrote up the script? And pardon my asking, what's the basis for that interpretation?

borgemik wrote:
This rule in the base game, which is the center of this thread […] covers cases where a player claims that he cannot pay for the card, and he actually can. All information about optional powers and payment is public (cards in tableau, hand size and Prestige chips).

Except TE's replace power, which depends on the non-public information of what exactly is in my hand.
The question does seem to boil down to whether that's a valid power to use when paying for a settle.

Quote:
From what I can see, if changing the Oort's kind (an optional power) is needed to place the world, then you must change the kind. What cases do you have for the opposite?

"It's not a power that directly enables me to place the card, it merely changes game state so that a totally different power would become viable(/mandatory). The rules don't say that sequences of independent powers must be used the same way individual power must."
(Quotation marks for distancing - I'm not making that argument myself.)


Tom Lehmann wrote:
As far as the rules goes, the first thing a player who has placed a card in either Develop or Settle must do after flipping it face up is to pay for it, invoking all powers needed to do so (even optional ones).

If no combination of visible powers, goods, and prestige can be used to place a placed development or world, then that card was placed *illegally*.

Thanks again for all the insights!

Just to be 100% sure I'm not reading these quoted parts too loosely or too literally, would this be a legal play:

My tableau is Terraforming Engineers, Alien Booby Trap, and Pilgrimage World (=any cheap world without Settle powers). I have 0 PP.
I reveal I've chosen to settle New Sparta.
I use TE's power to replace PW with any valid card from my hand; this scores me 1 PP; then I use ABT's power to spend 1 PP and boost my military; then I'm actually able to place NS.

If it's not legal, is that because TE's power simply can't be used at that moment, or because at the moment when I'm revealing NS it's not yet visible that I do have a card in hand that makes the play possible? (Or some other reason?)
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hemflit wrote:
Just to be 100% sure I'm not reading these quoted parts too loosely or too literally, would this be a legal play:

My tableau is Terraforming Engineers, Alien Booby Trap, and Pilgrimage World (=any cheap world without Settle powers). I have 0 PP.
I reveal I've chosen to settle New Sparta.
I use TE's power to replace PW with any valid card from my hand; this scores me 1 PP; then I use ABT's power to spend 1 PP and boost my military; then I'm actually able to place NS.

If it's not legal, is that because TE's power simply can't be used at that moment, or because at the moment when I'm revealing NS it's not yet visible that I do have a card in hand that makes the play possible? (Or some other reason?)

No, it is not legal. This is because TE's power cannot be _executed_ until after the settled world has been payed for.

hemflit wrote:
Quote:
* Each player
– May invoke any Temporary Military powers at any time […]
– If they selected a world, they must [pay etc., using a subset of Settle powers]
– Additionally, in any order (constrained by the clauses below),
[…]
* the player may replace a world with Terraforming Engineer’s power
- [other clauses]

I do see now it's being mentioned in the same breath with TO declarations (which I know happen after payment) but otherwise that "additionally" formulation did not sound to me like the TE power only becomes usable after payment.

I guess I'm asking: Am I understanding you right now? Was that kind of timing what you meant when you wrote up the script? And pardon my asking, what's the basis for that interpretation?
The script is meant to be read sequentially, except where noted otherwise. Maybe additionally is not the best word, but the point is that all these clauses must be made after payment, and it is written in this way because declaring takeovers, and executing powers from Improved Logistics, Rebel Sneak Attack and Terraforming Engineers can be made in any order.

I can see now that there is actually no text in the description of TE's power similar to IL and RSA ("This extra world is placed as part of executing Settle powers (after fully resolving settling a world)."), so I can see where you are coming from, but I am quite certain that all these powers should have the same timing. I cannot give you a definite source right now, but I am sure Tom will chime in shortly.

Further digression: As for the "not-all-powers-are-created-equally" (why can pay-for-military be invoked during payment, but not TE), there are some subtle timing issues that Tom has mentioned several times (especially regarding the use of Contact Specialist both for the regular Settle and for IL) that existed in the original design that were simplified when the rules were written, but from what I can remember, there is a difference in time between invoking and executing a power.
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Vladimir Filipović
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Thanks!

borgemik wrote:
Further digression: As for the "not-all-powers-are-created-equally" (why can pay-for-military be invoked during payment, but not TE), there are some subtle timing issues that Tom has mentioned several times (especially regarding the use of Contact Specialist both for the regular Settle and for IL) that existed in the original design that were simplified when the rules were written, but from what I can remember, there is a difference in time between invoking and executing a power.


What you're mentioning here does make total sense in principle - I get that takeover powers are invoked (potentially) well ahead of resolving their effects, and that there's been a clarification that the timing of TE's power interacts with takeover resolution in a very specific way. (My mental model of the timing of other Settle powers admittedly feels a lot simpler than those two cases.) I just haven't seen any firm reason to that this kind of special timing should apply to this case too.

Well as you say, it's good we've got the game's head designer here in the thread.
 
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hemflit wrote:
I just haven't seen any firm reason to that this kind of special timing should apply to this case too.
By looking at it more firmly, I only reasons I can see at the moment is that it avoids the problems you have put forth, and that the designer said that
Tom Lehmann wrote:
If no combination of visible powers, goods, and prestige can be used to place a placed development or world, then that card was placed *illegally*.
A card in your hand is not visible, so if you have to use Terraforming Engineer's power to be able to pay for the card, it is placed illegally, implying that TE can only be executed after payment. However, we're left with the scenario that you _are_ able to pay for the settled world without using the power, but would rather pay for it using Prestige (that you don't have until you have replaced a world).

I would very much like to get an official answer to whether this is allowed or not.

Edit: Rereading the post above, I guess I found the answer:
Tom Lehmann wrote:
You are constrained in Develop and Settle in that you must first invoke powers needed to complete your payment for your placed card *before* invoking other powers. After doing this, you are then free to invoke your remaining Develop or Settle powers in any order.
And since TE is not *needed* to complete the payment, you are not allowed to invoke it.

Remark: The exact same issue arises in Alien Artifacts: Terraforming Project's power (Discard to place at 0 Cost) seems to have the exact same timing as Terraforming Engineer's power. If TE's power could be executed during payment, you should also be able to use TP to bring a rare good into play, which you could use on Imperium War Faction to boost military, instead of discarding cards for temporary military.
 
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Vladimir Filipović
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borgemik wrote:
A card in your hand is not visible, so if you have to use Terraforming Engineer's power to be able to pay for the card, it is placed illegally, implying that TE can only be executed after payment.

I agree, that totally does logically follow from Tom's post.
It was a brief forum comment about a more general case though, so I'm still eager to see him confirm or deny that's exactly how it applies to this unusual case.

Quote:
However, we're left with the scenario that you _are_ able to pay for the settled world without using the power, but would rather pay for it using Prestige (that you don't have until you have replaced a world).

Yes, but looking in that direction I'd add for completeness that we also have the intermediate scenario where I can't pay without invoking some optional powers, but I have a choice between the questioned TE play and for example New Military Tactics.

Quote:
Edit: Rereading the post above, I guess I found the answer:
Tom Lehmann wrote:
You are constrained in Develop and Settle in that you must first invoke powers needed to complete your payment for your placed card *before* invoking other powers. After doing this, you are then free to invoke your remaining Develop or Settle powers in any order.
And since TE is not *needed* to complete the payment, you are not allowed to invoke it.

You might be 100% right in the broader picture, but in this particular argument I'm quite convinced you've interpreted Tom's comment too specifically. By that same interpretation, you might conclude that I'm not allowed to spend a Colony Ship on a 0-cost world.
So I'm pretty sure he meant "needed" in a weaker sense, along the lines of "making at least a nominal contribution to securing the placement".

I guess it still boils down to the question of whether using TE's power during payment is legal. I think the possibilities you and I have thought up so far are:
- totally illegal (so it can't be "needed" in any relevant sense)
- totally legal (my original understanding, but probably impossible now because I'm pretty sure it would contradict Tom's comment above)
- legal only if it's contributing to securing the placement, at least nominally (might be corner cases where this is hard to adjudicate, but I'm failing to construct one now)
- legal only if it's the only possible way to secure the placement




As a side note, I realized this could create one more curious (highly hypothetical) situation:
Suppose I'm planning to use TE's replace power with the primary intention of gaining PPs or a windfall good, in order to keep/win some Goal tile or the sole-prestige-leader position.
An opponent anticipates this, and decides to declare a takeover on the world I'm hoping to replace. Even if the takeover has no chance of success, its resolution will delay my gain of the PPs/good, and thus affect the Goal tile, or the eventual presence of chips on my prestige-lead tile.
But I in turn anticipate that, so I place myself in a situation where it's legal to use TE's power during the payment step (if such a situation can ever exist). Now the replacee world disappears from my tableau before any takeovers can be declared, so my opponent's plan is thwarted, wrahaha !
I don't think there are any new rules doubts here, it's just a surprising possibility because this kind of moves are not what an RftG game is normally made of.

Oops, 100% wrong, please disregard that paragraph.


(I'm sorry, I haven't seen Alien Artifacts at all. It would probably give me a better insight into how these things interact.)
 
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hemflit wrote:
Suppose I'm planning to use TE's replace power with the primary intention of gaining PPs or a windfall good, in order to keep/win some Goal tile or the sole-prestige-leader position [...]

Huh??? Goals or the Prestige Lead are gained at the *end* of a phase (after takeovers are resolved); delaying the resolution of a power to the end of the Settle phase by declaring a takeover won't affect gaining these things.

Goals / the Prestige Lead are *lost* immediately. If you're in the position where you hope to use some power to keep an item you don't currently qualify for, you've already lost it! Delaying a power's resolution by declaring a takeover has no effect on this situation.

I realize that this doesn't address the "in addition" issue with TE and TP; I'm mulling this issue over. Today was a travel day and the next two days will be "catch-up" days, so I should have a definitive ruling by Friday, if not earlier.
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Thinking more about this, with apologies if I'm coming across as spammy, I think with this post I can improve the signal/noise ratio of my contributions to this thread.

The big eye-opener for me so far has been the idea (probably obvious to many of you) that it is always illegal to reveal a world to place and then fail to secure that placement (via payment and appropriate powers). With that in mind, this is how I now picture the algorithm for that one step of the Settle phase.


(Aiming for a kind of brevity that helps me think about it, not for the kind of exactness the comprehensive script has.)
After worlds to be settled are revealed, and before takeovers are resolved, each player in order goes through a payments/powers step.
In this step, generally any* Settle powers may be invoked, in any order**, and they're resolved immediately***. At any point the player can actually place the world by noting that he has enough military, or making the correct payment in cards from hand****; placing the world immediately triggers all the "after settling" effects; after that the player may keep invoking other powers. It's illegal to reach the end of this step failing to place a world you've revealed as one to be placed. Anything else is fair game.

* Except it's of course illegal to invoke a power in a way disallowed by the card's text itself. Notably, mil-to-civ, civ-to-mil and discount powers have consistently been interpreted as allowed only if there is a world being placed to which that power can apply.
** Noting that the text of IL and RSA includes explicit limitations on timing.
*** Except: Takeover powers will be resolved in a later step. IL, RSA and TE powers, if interacting in specific ways with pending takeovers, will be resolved after all takeovers.
**** A payment of 0 cards still happens at a specific moment that the player chooses.


I think this is in the spirit of the game, though I understand it's not quite congruent with the letter of Tom's explanation earlier in this thread. For the moment, I'm finding it convenient to read his explanation as focused on illuminating the core misunderstanding behind my original questions (that it might be legal to fail to settle a world).
 
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
Huh??? Goals or the Prestige Lead are gained at the *end* of a phase (after takeovers are resolved); delaying the resolution of a power to the end of the Settle phase by declaring a takeover won't affect gaining these things.

Thanks, I see I was mixing apples and oranges in parts of that idea. But it's still possible that this timing changes things:

Say that the "most prestige" goal is in the game, I've got the tile, but I'm barely qualifying for it (3 PP). During takeover resolution I'm going to lose 1 PP (with the Security Council). When resolving TE's power, I'm going to win 1 PP.
If at the end of the phase I'm going to be tied for the goal with someone else, it becomes important whether TE's power gets resolved before or after takeovers.
(Edit: corrected the above example.)

The same effect should be possible with most Most-goals. There might also be (I'm not sure) a scenario where somebody starts and will end the phase as the sole prestige leader, but this timing difference affects whether they'll briefly lose that status mid-phase and thus lose prestige chips from on top the PL tile.

Quote:
I realize that this doesn't address the "in addition" issue with TE and TP; I'm mulling this issue over. Today was a travel day and the next two days will be "catch-up" days, so I should have a definitive ruling by Friday, if not earlier.

No hurry at all, and thank you very much for giving these questions your attention!
 
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hemflit wrote:
As a side note, I realized this could create one more curious (highly hypothetical) situation:
Suppose I'm planning to use TE's replace power with the primary intention of gaining PPs or a windfall good, in order to keep/win some Goal tile or the sole-prestige-leader position.
An opponent anticipates this, and decides to declare a takeover on the world I'm hoping to replace. Even if the takeover has no chance of success, its resolution will delay my gain of the PPs/good, and thus affect the Goal tile, or the eventual presence of chips on my prestige-lead tile.
But I in turn anticipate that, so I place myself in a situation where it's legal to use TE's power during the payment step (if such a situation can ever exist). Now the replacee world disappears from my tableau before any takeovers can be declared, so my opponent's plan is thwarted, wrahaha !
This doesn't make sense. Either you are before that other player in turn order, and all he sees during his Settle phase is the replaced world, or you are after him, and all he sees is the original world, thereby delaying TE's resolution. You cannot make any difference by changing the timing of the power.

However, you can avoid losing the most Prestige goal (if you are barely qualifying) by getting Prestige from TE before spending Prestige on payment. As you say, this makes a difference if you end the phase being tied. (This change of timing doesn't have any effect on Prestige leader, though. Yes, you can avoid temporarily losing the tile, but a small argument will show that the net result is the same.)
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borgemik wrote:
This doesn't make sense. Either you are before that other player in turn order, and all he sees during his Settle phase is the replaced world, or you are after him, and all he sees is the original world, thereby delaying TE's resolution. You cannot make any difference by changing the timing of the power.


You're right, I wasn't thinking straight there. Thanks for the correction!

Quote:
This change of timing doesn't have any effect on Prestige leader, though. Yes, you can avoid temporarily losing the tile, but a small argument will show that the net result is the same.


Let's find out.

We're at the start of the Settle phase.
Alice has 10 PP, the PL tile and some prestige chips on top of the tile.
I have 8 PP, and I go before Alice in strict player order, but Spock goes before me.
Spock insists that we always go in strict order. He is far behind in PP.
In this phase, I'll gain 1 PP from TE's power, and spend 1 PP during takeover resolution (on Security Council). Alice will spend 1 PP to pay for her normal settling (on Alien Booby Trap).
At the end of the phase I'll invariably have 8 PP and Alice will have 9 PP and the PL tile. However, presence of prestige chips on her tile will depend on whether we'll have been briefly tied at 9 PP during the phase, which will depend on whether I'll have gotten to resolve TE's power before or after takeovers, which Spock can control by careful invocation of takeover powers.

(Maybe it's possible to simplify the example into just 2 players.)
Am I doing something wrong here?
 
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hemflit wrote:
However, presence of prestige chips on her tile will depend on [..] whether I'll have gotten to resolve TE's power before or after takeovers, which Spock can control by careful invocation of takeover powers.

Am I doing something wrong here?
The example is correct, but again, it doesn't make any difference whether you invoke TE's power before or after you pay for your world, which is what I thought we were talking about.

Spock is before you in turn order and has no idea which world you will try to replace (if any). You make the ultimate decision, by replacing a world that is targeted for takeover (postponing the effect of TE, leaving Alice as PL the whole time), or selecting another world (executing TE immediately, emptying the PL tile when Alice spends her PP).
 
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borgemik wrote:
The example is correct, but again, it doesn't make any difference whether you invoke TE's power before or after you pay for your world, which is what I thought we were talking about.

Oh, I thought that you were commenting on the later post. I get what you meant now.

Quote:
Spock is before you in turn order and has no idea which world you will try to replace (if any). You make the ultimate decision

In the general case, sure. But surely you agree that in some situations Spock can have a very good idea of what I'm likely to do, and base his decisions on that?

Maybe I have exactly one world in tableau that can possibly be replaced by TE; maybe Spock knows what's in my hand (because of a recent Search) and can figure out that it's hugely profitable for me to do the replacement; maybe he's not even sure what I'll do, but he wants to influence my decision (whether or what to replace) by changing the context in which I'll be making it. He's Spock, he can be clever.
 
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Ok. "No idea" was an overstatement. But my case stands, and I think we have digressed into the timings of TE interacting with takeovers, which I have never disputed having an effect on gameplay. ("This timing" in my quote above was perhaps unclear, but refered to the timing of TE before or after payment.)
 
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hemflit wrote:

... However, presence of prestige chips on her tile will depend on whether we'll have been briefly tied at 9 PP during the phase, which will depend on whether I'll have gotten to resolve TE's power before or after takeovers ...


It doesn't matter if you briefly tied, she'll retain the tile with any prestige she gained in the Explore or Develop phases. Re-reading "Prestige Leader" under the GALACTIC PRESTIGE heading in the rulebook (page 3 of the Brink of War rules), you only re-evaluate the ownership of the prestige tile at the end of the phase. So in your example it will go as follows:

Standard Settle Round:
Spock - engages takeover power
You - nothing (8 Prestige)
Alice - settle (10 Prestige -> 9 Prestige)
Prestige standings: Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9

Terraforming Engineers stage
You - replace world (8 Prestige -> 9 Prestige)
Prestige standings: Spock 0, you 9, Alice 9

Takeover stage
You - block takeover with Security Council (9 Prestige -> 8 Prestige)
Prestige standings: Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9

END OF SETTLE PHASE - EVALUATE PRESTIGE LEADER
Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9: Alice retains tile, >[draw] side up.

EDIT: I believe in this case Tom is misremembering the rules for losing the prestige tile. He's 100% correct about losing a Most goal with even a momentary lapse in minimum qualification.
 
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cathexis wrote:
It doesn't matter if you briefly tied, she'll retain the tile with any prestige she gained in the Explore or Develop phases. Re-reading "Prestige Leader" under the GALACTIC PRESTIGE heading in the rulebook (page 3 of the Brink of War rules), you only re-evaluate the ownership of the prestige tile at the end of the phase.
Incorrect. When Alice spends Prestige on Alien Booby Trap (in this example), this rule under Spending Prestige triggers:
Quote:
If an expenditure results in the Prestige Leader losing sole prestige lead, the player immediately returns the tile to the center (or to a new Prestige Leader).
Edit: Also, your settle phase is definitively wrong: There is no "Terraforming Engineers stage". It should go like this:

Standard Settle Round:
Spock - engages takeover power
You - replace world (8 Prestige -> 9 Prestige)
Alice - settle (10 Prestige -> 9 Prestige) Alice loses the Prestige tile
Prestige standings: Spock 0, you 9, Alice 9

Takeover stage
You - block takeover with Security Council (9 Prestige -> 8 Prestige)
Prestige standings: Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9

END OF SETTLE PHASE - EVALUATE PRESTIGE LEADER
Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9: Alice gets tile, > side up, with no Prestige.

If you chose to replace a world that Spock is trying to take over, it should go like this:

Standard Settle Round:
Spock - engages takeover power
You - try to replace world. Resolution is delayed (8 Prestige -> 8 Prestige)
Alice - settle (10 Prestige -> 9 Prestige)
Prestige standings: Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9

Takeover stage
You - block takeover with Security Council (8 Prestige -> 7 Prestige)
You - resolve replacement (7 Prestige - > 8 Prestige)
Prestige standings: Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9

END OF SETTLE PHASE - EVALUATE PRESTIGE LEADER
Spock 0, you 8, Alice 9: Alice retains tile, > side up, with Prestige.
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cathexis wrote:
I believe in this case Tom is misremembering the rules for losing the prestige tile.

No. From BoW rules, page 4, Spending Prestige: "If an expenditure results in the Prestige Leader losing sole prestige lead, the player *immediately* returns the tile to the center (or to a new Prestige Leader)." (original emphasis)
 
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