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Subject: Can you use the Union multiple times in one turn? rss

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Victor L
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If you built the Union, can you, for example, spend 4 Coin to earn 2 Labor (like you can spend 4 Labor to earn 2 Coin)? I think not, but the rules aren't explicit about it.
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Nick Shaw
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You're right, the rules do leave it ambiguous. I'd say it's a once-per-turn thing, as you suggest, but there are two conflicting examples in the rules:

- The Grind section specifically states you can grind more than once in a turn.
- The Harbor section specifically states you can only hire one sailor per turn.

So... over to Laboratory for a rules ruling please!

[edit: added italics for emphasis]
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Mark Maginity
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My interpretation is that multiple uses are allowed. I just see it as the inversion of Grind that fills in a gap in the configurability of resources in the starting configuration of the game.

This really isn't like Harbor at all. The sailor in Harbor is a special resource that, once placed, is available for free, whereas money has to be spent every time you use Union. So it's appropriate to limit such a permanent enhancement to one hire per turn. Also, the placement of sailors has to be limited to one per turn in order to keep the first player to hire sailors from locking out the other player's sailors by hiring all three of his at once.
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Laboratory
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You are absolutely correct. The Union acts as an inverted Grind action, you can use it as many times as you can afford on a given turn. The Union is totally necessary if you're going for a moneycentric play-through (i.e. getting the Bank and having the Camp and Village or Sailors).

-Sam @ Laboratory
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Victor L
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Thanks for the clarification. I had assumed that it could be used multiple times initially, but I think the rules as written and interpreted most straightforwardly suggest the opposite. In any case, a reasonable case can be made for either interpretation, so it would be good to include in a FAQ, and to make explicit in any future reprinting.

Also, if you do such a reprinting, I suggest that the various buildings that give extra resources (e.g., Mill, Smith, Harbor when the coins come up the same) give those resource during the Work Cycle Phase rather than "at the start of your turn". That's when most resources are produced (other than those from Grind and Union), and it resolves a potential ambiguity about whether the resources earned from Harbor occur before or after the coins are flipped. Alternatively, you might say that the coins are flipped immediately *before* the Harbormaster's turn.
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Mark Maginity
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Victor, how can Harbor earn resources before the Ship Tokens are flipped? You can't use a resource if you don't know what it is yet!

Remember, hiring a Sailor occurs during the Resource Spending Phase, NOT the Work Cycle Phase. So you're already going to have any money you've earned in hand before you can hire the Sailor. I'm really not seeing any ambiguity here.
 
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Marty McFly
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mmaginity2 wrote:
Victor, how can Harbor earn resources before the Ship Tokens are flipped? You can't use a resource if you don't know what it is yet!

Remember, hiring a Sailor occurs during the Resource Spending Phase, NOT the Work Cycle Phase. So you're already going to have any money you've earned in hand before you can hire the Sailor. I'm really not seeing any ambiguity here.

The ambiguity isn't related to Sailors, it's related to Labor and Coin. If, as the Harbormaster, you gain the resource at the beginning your turn (which the rules state -- remember that the other player can also gain the Harbor benefit by either building a Harbor or using the Lender) and you flip the Ship tokens at the beginning of your turn (which the rules state), which comes first? Do you...

1. Get the resource and then flip (and not get the benefit of the new result since it's no longer the beginning of your turn)?

- OR -

2. Flip the tokens and then gain the benefit of the new result during your turn?

I agree with Victor. Changing the Harbor rules to give the resources during the Work Cycle would clarify the actual intent (which I believe to be #2 above).
 
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Mark Maginity
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O.K., now I see what you considered ambiguous.

The rules say
Quote:
The Harbor-Master must shake and cast the Ship Tokens at the start of each of their turns.

I read that as the casting of the Ship Tokens is the very first thing that happens, before any benefits are awarded.
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Marty McFly
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mmaginity2 wrote:
O.K., now I see what you considered ambiguous.

The rules say
Quote:
The Harbor-Master must shake and cast the Ship Tokens at the start of each of their turns.

I read that as the casting of the Ship Tokens is the very first thing that happens, before any benefits are awarded.

I think that's the intent, but the rules also say (emphasis mine):
Quote:
The Harbor benefits indicated at the top of the Province Board are: If the tokens are white, earn 1 Labor at the start of your turn. ... If the tokens are black, earn 1 Coin at the start of your turn.

If the tokens are both white or both black, an argument could be made that the Harbormaster can earn the benefit and then cast the Ship Tokens and then (still the start of his turn since he hasn't gotten to the Work Cycle phase yet) gain the Harbor benefit again.

I do not believe that is the intent, but the way that the rules are worded, it is a valid argument. Moving the benefits to a turn phase (Work Cycle or Resource Spending, depending on the benefit) will resolve this ambiguity.
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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mmaginity2 wrote:

I read that as the casting of the Ship Tokens is the very first thing that happens, before any benefits are awarded.

During the kickstarter I suggested that they add a "start of turn" phase to the rules to avoid this ambiguity. They decided that for a small game it didn't need overly complicated rules.

I play that there is such a phase and thus the coin flip is before the worker phase.
 
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Victor L
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Marty had my question exactly right.

I also think they may have intended to take Joe's advice by adding the phrase "at the start of your turn" in various places. I do think this would have been sufficient if they had said that the resources from the Harbor were earned during the Work Cycle Phase instead of at the start of the turn, since the ambiguity wouldn't arise. The rulesheet is quite tight on space, but this change wouldn't have taken any more space.
 
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