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Subject: timing of Mermaid town forming rss

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Brandon Irvine
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I only play with the base set, so this question just regards base set:

Normally, your towns are only founded during your turn (not others' turns) because your new town comes from an upgrade/new Dwelling that you add in a Terraform/Build or Upgrade action. In fact, if you inadvertently create a town while building/upgrading, you have to take a town tile and form a town, even if you don't want to (not that there are many case where you wouldn't want to form a town).

Consider the Mermaids, however, whose faction ability (in English) is to form what I call a "River Town" -- a town that crosses a river.
The English rules say the Mermaids play can do this whenever he wants.

My question is, are there any limits on when the Mermaid player can do this?

Say I'm Mermaids, my left neighbor is Dwarves and his left neighbor is Darklings.

I end my turn so that if I place a river town tile, I can make a town, but I haven't chosen to do that.

Consider these scenarios:

Scenario A (River Town formation between turns): I let the Dwarves build their town without trying to build my own town. But I'm worried the Darklings will build a town and take a town tile I want. Can I build my River Town between the Dwarves' and Darklings' turns?

Scenario B (River Town formation interrupting another's turn): I don't try to form a town between the Dwarves' and Darklings' turn and wait to see what the Darklings do. The Darklings upgrade a building, which means they are about to found a town, but the Darklings player hasn't chosen a tile yet. Can I found my town *right now* and chose a tile before her?

If you can cite something official to answer these questions, that would be best, because I think the wording in the rule book suggests the Mermaids can found a River Town *whenever they want*.
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Rhett Morgan
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Doesn't override the fact that you can only take actions or moves during your turn. The only thing you can do on others turns is leech. Sorry, not in a place to quote the rule book.
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Robert
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Rules:
Quote:
Ability: You may skip one River space when founding a Town. (You
decide if and when you want to use this ability. When founding a Town in
this fashion, put the Town tile on the skipped River space. Of course, you
may build Bridges as usual.)
Not sure whether this translates to "whenever you want" - my take is that it's something you can only do when it's your turn. You already showed in your examples that if you really interpret this ability as "whenever you want", you get the practical problem of which actions of the other players are interruptable or not.
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James Mathias
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The rules are allowing you to choose not to immediately form a town as soon as you can (which is contrary to normal town forming rules, hence the exception). The rules are not giving you the option of doing so on or between another player's turn(s).

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Brandon Irvine
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DocCool wrote:
Rules:
Quote:
Ability: You may skip one River space when founding a Town. (You
decide if and when you want to use this ability. When founding a Town in
this fashion, put the Town tile on the skipped River space. Of course, you
may build Bridges as usual.)


Not sure whether this translates to "whenever you want" - my take is that it's something you can only do when it's your turn. You already showed in your examples that if you really interpret this ability as "whenever you want", you get the practical problem of which actions of the other players are interruptable or not.


I tend to agree with you, but it's not really clear from the rules. I mean, the rules also specifically state that there are only 8 actions you can do on your turn, plus any ordinary conversions, so where does that leave River Town founding?

It also brings up some odd questions: Can you take an action AND found a town on your turn? I mean, why not?

I think they just should have specified better in the rules.

My fix would be a version of your rule, but more specific: You can found a town using a river tile whenever you would be able to do a conversion -- i.e. before or after your regular turn action, but on your turn.
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Brandon Irvine
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jmathias wrote:
The rules are allowing you to choose not to immediately form a town as soon as you can (which is contrary to normal town forming rules, hence the exception). The rules are not giving you the option of doing so on or between another player's turn(s).



So when *are* you allowed to found a River Town? On your turn? Is it an action?

The problem is, in part, that founding a town for any other faction is not an action or choice that a player makes, but just something that happens as a necessary consequence of the game. That is, for other factions, *players* don't found towns so much as they upgrade and then towns happen without player interference/choice.

As I say in my other response, I think the easiest fix is to say River Towns can be founded when you would do conversions. But that's kind of arbitrary -- the rules are just unclear, I think.
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James Mathias
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irvinicus wrote:
jmathias wrote:
The rules are allowing you to choose not to immediately form a town as soon as you can (which is contrary to normal town forming rules, hence the exception). The rules are not giving you the option of doing so on or between another player's turn(s).



So when *are* you allowed to found a River Town? On your turn? Is it an action?

The problem is, in part, that founding a town for any other faction is not an action or choice that a player makes, but just something that happens as a necessary consequence of the game. That is, for other factions, *players* don't found towns so much as they upgrade and then towns happen without player interference/choice.

As I say in my other response, I think the easiest fix is to say River Towns can be founded when you would do conversions. But that's kind of arbitrary -- the rules are just unclear, I think.


You are allowed to found the Mermaid town, at any time on your turn. It is not an action.
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Brandon Irvine
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jmathias wrote:
irvinicus wrote:

As I say in my other response, I think the easiest fix is to say River Towns can be founded when you would do conversions. But that's kind of arbitrary -- the rules are just unclear, I think.


You are allowed to found the Mermaid town, at any time on your turn. It is not an action.


If founding a River Town is not an action -- and clearly it's not a conversion either -- then how do we know when it's supposed to be possible if the rules don't mention the timing of such a choice?

Here's the relevant passage again:

Quote:

Ability: You may skip one River space when founding a Town. (You decide if and when you want to use this ability. When founding a Town in this fashion, put the Town tile on the skipped River space. Of course, you may build Bridges as usual.)


I don't think the rules above are clear, thus my proposed fix. Take it or leave it, but I don't see how you've shown that the rules really determine the answer.
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Pete Goch
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The general rule for founding a town has it occurring automatically as a result of some action taken by the active player. Consequently, towns can only be founded during the active player's turn.

The mermaid's special ability simply allows the mermaid player the ability to delay when the town conditions are met when there's an intervening river space. It doesn't expressly change the fact that towns are only formed during the active player's turn.

The rules don't explicitly state that towns may only be founded during the active player's turn but it can be readily deduced from what the rules do say...
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Rainer Ludwig
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My approach would be to leave Mermaids' town founding as close as possible to other factions' town founding (lacking explicit instructions to the contrary). I. e. town founding takes place as an immediate consequence of building/upgrading. The only difference is that if there's a river involved, the Mermaids may decide whether to found the town now or let it be. If they decide not to found the town right away, that can't change their mind at a later stage unless they do another build/upgrade action in the future town's area.
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Robin Zigmond
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thuki wrote:
My approach would be to leave Mermaids' town founding as close as possible to other factions' town founding (lacking explicit instructions to the contrary). I. e. town founding takes place as an immediate consequence of building/upgrading. The only difference is that if there's a river involved, the Mermaids may decide whether to found the town now or let it be. If they decide not to found the town right away, that can't change their mind at a later stage unless they do another build/upgrade action in the future town's area.


That's definitely not true - at least if the snellman implementation is correct. Bear in mind that it was used for expansion playtesting, so I am sure the designers would have said if the mermaids' special ability was implemented wrongly. It is, as another poster has already said, essentially like a conversion - it can be done before or after a normal action, on their turn, but that main action can be anything, not directly related to the town. (It might even be something like sending a priest to a cult, or even passing, although I've never seen that done.)

It really doesn't matter most of the time. There are only two real reasons to delay. By far the most common is that there is town scoring coming up in a later round and you value the 5 VPs more than an earlier choice of town tile. The other is when you hope to make 2 separate towns separated by the river - but this isn't really "delaying" the town formation because you aim never to form a town across the river at all. (This is almost certainly the reason why the rules did not make it compulsory to found the town across the river.) But it could happen that you hope for 2 towns and find later that you lack the resources for it, in which case you might as well take the 1 town. (But that would mean you couldn't form a genuine town on either side of the river, which I can't imagine happening.)

Certainly, the OP's original question regarding founding towns on another player's turn, while intriguing from a "rules-lawyer" perspective, is something that make essentially no difference in practice.
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Brian B.
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I 100% agree that the rules don't make this at all clear. But I would agree with the above analysis that you can only found the river town on your turn and that it's in addition to your normal action. Why do I believe each half of that?

1. On your turn only: the only thing other than river town founding you can do between players' turns is leech. The rulebook is explicit that leeching is allowed between players' turns. (In fact, leeching is not just allowed, but required to occur between turns.) So the pattern is that unless the rules explicitly state the action is allowed between other players' turns, it's not.

2. In addition to your normal action instead of as your normal action: This is because founding a town is, in general, not your main action, but rather in addition to whatever your main action was. Look at other races that have enhanced versions of "basic" mechanics and you'll see that whether the enhanced action costs your turn's main action is identical to whether the original action costs your turn's main action. For example, the witches' ability to carpet ride to an available forest space costing a full-turn action matches the fact that a standard build a dwelling mechanic costs a full-turn action. But the chaos' magicians ability to take two favor tiles is in addition to building a temple/sanctuary, just like the standard one favor tile any other race gets get is in addition to building a temple/sanctuary. Thus, I would argue that since the standard way to found a town is that it's an addition to your main action, the mermaids' ability to do so when they want is in addition to their main action.
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Brandon Irvine
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robinz wrote:
Certainly, the OP's original question regarding founding towns on another player's turn, while intriguing from a "rules-lawyer" perspective, is something that make essentially no difference in practice.


Yup, definitely true. I was sort of curious if anybody had a good rationale for one ruling or another, but it's a rules-lawyering issue to be sure.

LiteBulb88 wrote:
I 100% agree that the rules don't make this at all clear. But I would agree with the above analysis that you can only found the river town on your turn and that it's in addition to your normal action.


The analysis you provide (which I don't quote because it's so long) is persuasive and probably the best we'll get for this issue. Thanks for at least agreeing that the rules aren't clear; I sort of go crazy when people keep insisting rules are clear when they're patently not.
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E Thomas
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irvinicus wrote:
Thanks for at least agreeing that the rules aren't clear; I sort of go crazy when people keep insisting rules are clear when they're patently not.


That's because while the rules are not 100% clear semantically, they are 100% clear "spiritually". The spirit of the rule is very clear as the rules are written. The arguement comes from which way you approach the question.

Just stepping back for a moment, think about what the out of turn mermaid ability would do to the game. It would take a deep, strategic, low randomness game and turn it into a chaotic, take that oriented guessing game when the mermaids are involved. Totally not in the spirit of what the game is.
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Robin Zigmond
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That's a curious statement, given that, as I have already observed (and no-one has attempted to argue otherwise), it would make essentially zero practical difference to the game if this was allowed.

I totally agree with you that it would feel messy, somehow "not right", to allow this, based on how everything else in the game works - but as the rules are written it's definitely not as clear as I would like. But please don't pretend that it would make any real change to how the game plays if it turns out that we are wrong and that the designers did intend the mermaid player to be able to decide to form a town on another player's turn.
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E Thomas
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robinz wrote:
That's a curious statement, given that, as I have already observed (and no-one has attempted to argue otherwise), it would make essentially zero practical difference to the game if this was allowed.

I totally agree with you that it would feel messy, somehow "not right", to allow this, based on how everything else in the game works - but as the rules are written it's definitely not as clear as I would like. But please don't pretend that it would make any real change to how the game plays if it turns out that we are wrong and that the designers did intend the mermaid player to be able to decide to form a town on another player's turn.


I'm not trying to get in an arguement over this, but to my way of thinking (and I suspect the thinking of most others), Mermaids building towns out of turn has a huge practical impact on the game.

Letting it go now...
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Robert Stewart
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wavedog98 wrote:
to my way of thinking (and I suspect the thinking of most others), Mermaids building towns out of turn has a huge practical impact on the game.


For the Mermaids forming a town out of turn to make a difference to the game (assuming it doesn't just crash the game) you need three conditions to be met:

1) The Mermaids' decision to form a town, choice of town tile, or, if relevant, which town to form, has to depend on a decision made on another player's turn (otherwise Mermaids could just form the same town at the end of their previous turn).

2) A player's decision has to be changed by the Mermaid's forming a town or their choice of which town tile or sets of buildings to use (otherwise the Mermaids could just form the same town at the start of their next turn).

3) The event satisfying the second condition has to occur after the event satisfying the first condition (otherwise forming the town between them is the worst case rather than the best).

The only case I can think of where you only want to build a town before your next turn if someone else makes a particular choice is if you're allowed to interrupt someone's action to form your town, and another player has a choice between forming a town somehow and some other action/decision that would disadvantage you more, but would choose the town if and only if a particular tile were still available, and that tile is also the one you want to take - where you'd delay forming the town to try to sucker them into committing to the action that would form their town, and then grab the tile before they can.

Otherwise, you're looking at scenarios where you want the right town tile to counter someone's blocking action (for example, if you want both workers and coins, but expect someone to take whichever of the two power actions you need if you choose a town tile before their action) but another player, later in the turn order, is poised to form a town of their own, and you expect them to take whichever town tile you need if you don't get there first.

None of these are conditions you'd expect to be satisfied often - usually, if you're in a position to form a town, you know which tile you want, and, since it's a free action, there's no gain in not taking it immediately unless you want to wait for a later round.

While allowing the Mermaids to form a town between any two players' turns would probably mean them routinely postponing town formation until just before a player could block their plan for the town tile in order to give other people the opportunity to misjudge what the Mermaids have planned, in practice, in the vast majority of cases, the practical effect will be nil - you'd end up with the same situation at the Mermaids' next action by either forming the town on their previous turn (to avoid being blocked) or at the start of their current turn (to react to another player's choice).
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Helge Ostertag
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The Mermaids can form a town in their turn only.
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