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Subject: Must a ship be placed in command if it can be? rss

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Mike Smith
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If playing with the Initiative Cards there are a few possible situations where you might be tempted to voluntarily classify a ship as out of command, even when it is physically in radius or formation with a commander. Would that be allowed?

We played not, and that a ship in such a position must be placed in command.
What do others think?
 
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Chris Montgomery
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If you play RAW, you could voluntarily declare what ships are out of command.

If you want to play historically accurately, then a ship would never be voluntarily out of command.
 
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Mike Smith
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The RAW never actually says that you can choose to put a ship that qualifies to be in command "out of command".
1)Group Commands (p6) says "may be part of.." but that could be there simply because you may have a choice as to which command to have a ship be part of if you have several commanders.

3.3.4 (p6) says "Any ships that cannot be included in a command are marked with an Out of Command marker." - "cannot" could be interpreted strictly as meaning that a ship must be in command if in a position to be so.

None of this mattered when these rules sections were originally written because at that stage the Initiative cards did not exist and you would always want a ship in command if it could be. But with the advent of the Initiative Cards, you might consider the possibilities of playing a different card on a ship from the one played for the main formation or command it could be part of, even with the risk of being restricted by failing a Command test.
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Chris Montgomery
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My interpretation of the rules is as I have already stated.

I can see this discussion devolving into a "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" - and would rather avoid that.

Here is my thinking: nowhere in the rules for the Command Determination Phase does it say anything about requiring a ship to be in a command if possible. Intentional or not, that phrasing is not in there. I also think that such a requirement would be a pretty important thing to make clear if it were required, IMHO. So I don't think the rules require it.

But as I said, historically, a ship would *never* voluntarily be "out of command."

Certainly if you interpret the rules differently, there's nothing wrong with that.

Cheers!
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Mike Smith
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It may sound like I am trying to make angels dance on pinheads (do they do the hornpipe?) but practically speaking I am very happy to make my own interpretations and variants without worrying too much about whether I am straying from the "official" version. But I do like to know what the consensus is on what is the official way.

So, for instance, I think the new rule on broadsides obscured temporarily by friendly ships that has appeared in the last two iterations of the living rules is a bad rule that is inconsistent with the way the rest of the system works, so I don't play by it. Instead I just rule that you can't fire a partial broadside from/to a two hex ship if one of the LOS is blocked if it is a friendly ship doing the blocking. By the way, I love the Event card that can lead to you hitting your own ship if you try to fire past a friendly ship.
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Mike Nagel
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No. A ship must be in command if it can be. The last thing an admiral would want is chaos within his own line!
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Chris Montgomery
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But how is this to be enforced? A player could certainly put ships out of command the turn before by placing them in such a way as to insure that they don't meet the requirements to be in command . . .

The base game rules (without initiative) didn't really need a statement to this effect, but if the initiative cards change some things, then perhaps this should be errata'd to make it clear?

Thanks for the reply, Mike.
 
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Mike Nagel
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Chris,

To reiterate: if it can be. Whether using the cards or not, there will be situations where ships will fall out of command. If keeping one ship in command forces two to be out of command, that's your choice as admiral. What you can't do is put a ship out of command when it clearly can remain in command. The goal of the cards is to make keeping things in command that much more of a challenge.

I'll get this issue added to errata.
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Loris Pagnotta
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Thanks to all for this discussion, that is of great help (at least for me).
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Mike Smith
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Thanks Mike, helpful and clear!

Now I need to start another thread moaning against the addition to the rules about masked broadsides. To my mind it is an added rule that is inconsistent with the original firing system. In all other ways the firing system assumes that a broadside occurs at a particular moment even though it actually represents repeated broadsides spread out over a longer period of time. That's a deliberate gamey fudge that actually makes the game work, and adds clarity to the importance of particular decisive moments, such as the particular broadside that secures a rake. In other words its not strictly realistic but it is vital to making the game both playable and tactically skilful and nuanced. The new Masked Broadsides rule ruins that because it makes a LOS situation at a finite moment last for the rest of the turn.
 
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Mike Nagel
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Mike,

Funny you should say that. We instituted the masked broadsides specifically to address gamey tactics (the equivalent of "skulking").

Regardless, the time continuum is the hardest thing to model in a linear fashion. You can assume that all of this stuff is going on mostly simultaneously.

There's nothing to stop you from ignoring the mechanic if you don't like it. We'll turn away from the hidden cameras that we've installed in your gaming area ... ninja
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