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Alchemists» Forums » Rules

Subject: Attemting to sell a potion with no ingredients rss

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James Jones
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If you have placed cubes on the sell potion space and have not yet gathered at least 2 ingredient cards, what happens?

Does the person:

1) have to decline before offering a discount
2) offer a discount

If they are allowed to offer a discount and get the chance to sell, do they at this point simply decline, or is there a penalty for not selling, such as loss of reputation?
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Paulo Renato
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I would say if you reach the selling potion action and you have no ingredients in your hand to make a potion you can't offer to sell and your 2 cubes go immediately to the spot where cubes that didn't take an action go (can't remember the name) and at the end of the round you'll get 1 favor card for each pair of cubes you have in that spot...

I don't think you can offer a discount for something you can't make... makes no sense
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Brian Hykes
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The number and types of cards you posses are always public knowledge, therefore you might as well just decline the action and place your cubes in the unused cubes space before bidding starts, because even if you outbid the others and go first it will end up with you being forced to decline your action. The cubes would then get placed on the unused cube space and don't end up blocking a potion that another person might wish to sell. This means nobody would worry about what you're attempting to bid as a discount.


In short, there's no way to block someone from selling a potion if you don't have cards to mix a potion with to sell to the adventurer, so it's not worth attempting.
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I don't think there's any harm in playing the discount game. In fact, it could possibly be part of a legitimate strategy to get the other player(s) to offer higher discount cards to outbid you (assuming they weren't paying careful attention to how many cards you have).

Once you have bid, when it comes your time to sell a potion, you'd have to simply decline at that point.

Of course, I don't have the rules in front of me. Maybe there's something in there I'm not recalling. But that seems to make sense to me.
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Brian Hykes
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According to the rules, there's nothing saying you have to have the required ingredients to take a space, you just have to decline when it's time to mix.

The issue here is that it could be seen as poor form to BLUFF that you can mix a potion when it should be obvious to all players that you can't based on the fact you don't possess the ingredients.

Really, this is one of those situations which can start a pretty bad argument.


Based on that fact though, if you DO have the ingredients and don't mind wasting your action cubes you can bid to force your opponent to discount their offer, then just decline even if you wind up able to sell the first potion. That would be a fair way to urge your opponent(s) to not make as much money as they could have.
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James Jones
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WizardRandom wrote:
According to the rules, there's nothing saying you have to have the required ingredients to take a space, you just have to decline when it's time to mix.

The issue here is that it could be seen as poor form to BLUFF that you can mix a potion when it should be obvious to all players that you can't based on the fact you don't possess the ingredients.

Really, this is one of those situations which can start a pretty bad argument.


Based on that fact though, if you DO have the ingredients and don't mind wasting your action cubes you can bid to force your opponent to discount their offer, then just decline even if you wind up able to sell the first potion. That would be a fair way to urge your opponent(s) to not make as much money as they could have.


That's interesting. I was under the impression (probably erroneously) that once you won the chance to sell first, it was too late to decline.
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Bryan Gerding
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How did you get to this position in the first place?
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Pawel Bulacz
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For me you can't do this.
Selling starts by declaring discounts.
From that moment buyers are interested in your sell.
And if you deny the sell after that...
Well, as a buyer, that would angry me more then buying a wrong potion.
I would definitely lower the reputation of such a wizard.
Is that a logical answer?
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Brian Hykes
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Mudflap wrote:


That's interesting. I was under the impression (probably erroneously) that once you won the chance to sell first, it was too late to decline.


The rules just state "If you don't like your options when it is your turn to sell, you can decline and move your cubes to the unused cubes space." There's no caveat to say the first to sell a potion can't just decline when it is their turn to sell, immediately after winning the discount bid.

Is it a very odd move? Yes.

Is it against the rules? No.
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Brian Hykes
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pabula wrote:
For me you can't do this.
Selling starts by declaring discounts.
From that moment buyers are interested in your sell.
And if you deny the sell after that...
Well, as a buyer, that would angry me more then buying a wrong potion.
I would definitely lower the reputation of such a wizard.
Is that a logical answer?



While that's logical, this creates a different problem because an adventurer wants specific potions and the first to sell can block the others from attempting to sell one of them.


For example, let's say the Necromancer (What our group has named the sorcerer adventurer) comes in wanting a negative red, a negative green and a positive blue potion. Bidding goes as normal. The person who won the bid knows the second player only knows how to make positive potions, so they attempt to sell the positive blue potion.

Now oddly enough, even if the first person mixes the wrong potion for the Necromancer, the second player CAN'T attempt to sell positive blue again. They're stuck with either the negative red or negative green. So to avoid reputation loss the second player can just decline by placing the cubes in the unused cubes spot and just let any other players sell who are after them.


In the rules there's actually a direct example of this same thing happening, so while odd, it's a valid thing to do in the game.


If a player was FORCED to sell a potion when they placed the cubes on the sell potions space, it would make the space a bit less desirable as you might be forced to waste two ingredients and wind up taking reputation loss with no extra gold for the pain.
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Brian Hykes
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HeirToPendragon wrote:
How did you get to this position in the first place?


You could be really dumb and choose not to forage when you only had 0 or 1 ingredients.

SHOULD this happen? No.

COULD it happen? Yes.
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Darren
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WizardRandom wrote:
The number and types of cards you posses are always public knowledge

If you keep track of each players foraging for ingredients and any favour cards they play that give them extra ingredients, you will be able to know how many ingredients they have, but you will not necessarily know which ones they have. If they blind pick in the forest you won't know. If they draw extra cards via a favour card (i.e. Herbalist: draw three, discard 2), this will also throw a wrench into keeping track of their card types as they could throw away ingredients you had previously watched them pick up in a previous step. All of the ingredient cards should be kept behind the personal laboratory screen of each player as per the instructions on page 6 of the instruction manual:

Private Section
The types of ingredients and favor cards in your hand, the types of seals
you play, the ingredients in your experiments, and your deductions from
results are always kept secret from the other players. This information
can be hidden behind your laboratory screen.

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Darren
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Here is my interpretation of the rules for selling:
1. During the Action Phase, Players place their 2 action cubes on the Selling Action boxes. Final order will not be determined until discounts and reputation bonuses have been worked out. A player will not know at this time if they can get the right ingredients for the desired potion as they may not be successful when foraging earlier. They also may be placing their action cubes here hoping to scare away an other player from selling since no one knows what ingredients any one has (but they do know if you have previously made the desired potion via the public players board). Just because you were successful in making a potion in a previous round does not mean you have the right ingredients to repeat it!
2. It is now "Selling Time" so players begin by offering a discount which will potentially change the current selling order. Everyone makes their offer (you can't offer zero or less for a potion) and using the discounts plus the current reputation bonuses to determine the new selling order. Rearrange the action cubes to show this new order. Do not start selecting which potions to sell yet. Leave the cubes where they are for the moment...

Note: The number of potions that can be sold are set to 1 less than the number of players playing. In the case of:
- a 4 player game, only 3 potions are available to be sold and each potion has a selling box under it for identification.
- a 3 player game, only 2 potions out of the 3 visible potions can be sold which is identified by the selling boxes with a 3 in them. Potions 1 and 2 are tied to the first selling box and Potion 3 is tied to the 2nd selling box with a 3 in it. Ignore the selling box with a 2 in it under the two selling boxes containing 3's as it is only used for a 2 player game. If potion 1 or 2 is selected, then only potion 3 is available for the next player. If potion 3 is selected, then both potion 1 or 2 is available for the next player to choose.
- a 2 player game, only 1 of the 3 potions can be sold. There is only 1 selling box with a 2 in it which is used for this action.
- The guarantee boxes are not limited to a single cube. Cubes can be stacked here as each player makes their decision on their selling turn.

3. Each individuals time to sell now occurs:
1st Selling Player: The player at the top of the selling list takes their 2 cubes from the Selling Action boxes and makes a decision: To Sell or To Walk Away. If they decide to sell, they place a cube on either Potion 1, 2, or 3 (in a 4 player game) and the other cube on the type of guarantee they will offer. If they decide to Walk Away, they move both cubes to the "Unused Cubes Space" with no reduction in reputation. If they chose to create a potion, they mix it and see what happens via the apps response. If they were unable to mix a potion due to lack of ingredients, they would be forced to walk away and move their two cubes to the "Unused Cubes Space".

2nd Selling Player: It is time for the second player to make his decision. To Sell or to Walk Away. If there are cubes in place from the previous player, he has to obey the rules in selecting potions and a guarantee. If he is happy with what is available, he can choose to Sell a Potion and move his cubes to the available/allowable action boxes for the potion and guarantee. If he doesn't like what is available, he can Walk Away and move his cubes to the "Unused Cubes Spaces". If he sells a potion, use the app to determine the result. If he did not have enough ingredients to make a potion, he is forced to walk away and move his cubes to the "Unused Cubes Space".

3rd Selling Player: Repeat as above.
4th Selling Player: Repeat as above.

The last players (depending on the number of players playing) might not get a chance if everyone in front of them did make a guarantee with a customer regardless if the potion was made or not. There is a chance that previous players Walked Away so they do have a chance to mix whatever potion is left to select and make a guarantee with the customer.

The key for all of this is not moving all of the players cubes from the Selling Action Boxes immediately to the potion/guarantee at the same time. Each player has to do it one at a time. That being said, the moment you place a cube on a guarantee box, you are now entering an agreement and your reputation is at stake (unless you can't mix a potion and are thus forced to move your cubes to the "Unused Cubes Space").

Hope this helps.
Edit: Updated for when a player can't mix a potion
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Brian Hykes
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Kaiyoot wrote:
All of the ingredient cards should be kept behind the personal laboratory screen of each player as per the instructions on page 6 of the instruction manual:

Private Section
The types of ingredients and favor cards in your hand, the types of seals
you play, the ingredients in your experiments, and your deductions from
results are always kept secret from the other players. This information
can be hidden behind your laboratory screen.



Also as per page 6 of the instructions:

Public section:
The types of potions you have already made, your grants, your artifacts, your number of gold pieces, and the number any types of cards in your hand are always public knowledge.

While you do want to hide which SPECIFIC ingredients you have from your opponents, the fact that you HAVE ingredients to mix is something everyone should know. That's the important thing to keep in mind with the instance being discussed.
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Darren
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WizardRandom wrote:
While you do want to hide which SPECIFIC ingredients you have from your opponents, the fact that you HAVE ingredients to mix is something everyone should know. That's the important thing to keep in mind with the instance being discussed.

On page 6 the public section is described as:

Page6 of the Rules wrote:
Public Section
The types of potions you have already made, your grants,
your artifacts, your number of gold pieces, and the number
and types of cards in your hand are always public knowledge.

I don't see it mentioning any where that you are required to identify how many ingredients you currently hold. I also don't see a spot on the public board where you would keep your face down stack of ingredients on.

I'm not sure how you would identify to everyone that you have ingredients or not beyond keeping them in view face down which would then hinder your thinking process of figuring out what you want to do next. I mean, nothing is stopping someone from counting your cards as you start the game and gather ingredients or transmute them into gold. I would keep my ingredients behind the screen and would let my opposition keep track of it themselves. I mean, it you don't keep track then that is your decision. I don't see any where within the rules that I must keep my stack of ingredients in plain view face down. So I don't think you should show your opponents what you are currently holding beyond what is stated as public knowledge on each players public board.

If there is a place in the rules where it states the number of ingredients should be visible, please show me as I am currently playing the game with my ingredients hidden at all times.
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Geoff Speare
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I believe ingredients are "cards" of a specific type, and thus fall under the rule you quoted.

Normally people will keep cards hidden if they choose, but provide a count upon request, so as not to slow the game down or hinder anyone's thinking process.
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Cameron McKenzie
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I see no problem at all with somebody offering a discount, winning it, and then passing on their action. The rules say you can pass when it is your turn to sell.

People may ask, why did you even put the cubes there if you never had any intention of selling? Well, it's totally possible that I DID have intentions of selling but by the time I got to the action, things hadn't gone as I planned.

Maybe I was planning to sell with something I foraged, but the ingredient I wanted was taken by someone else and I elected to pass on foraging. In that case, I could easily get to sell potion with no intention to sell, but the orher players don't know this, so playing the discount game means the other player might undersell because of perceived competition.

If it's literally impossible for me to make a potion because I have one ingredient, my opponent should know no discount is needed. On the other hand, it might be impossible because both of my ingredients are the same. Forcing me to withdraw the action because it's impossible, before offering a discount, means I'm having to reveal that the action is impossible, as the other players don't know it. It's unnecessarily harsh to have to reveal that info AND have to pass your cubes AND lose the ability to influence others discounts.
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MasterDinadan wrote:
I see no problem at all with somebody offering a discount, winning it, and then passing on their action. The rules say you can pass when it is your turn to sell.

People may ask, why did you even put the cubes there if you never had any intention of selling? Well, it's totally possible that I DID have intentions of selling but by the time I got to the action, things hadn't gone as I planned.

Maybe I was planning to sell with something I foraged, but the ingredient I wanted was taken by someone else and I elected to pass on foraging. In that case, I could easily get to sell potion with no intention to sell, but the orher players don't know this, so playing the discount game means the other player might undersell because of perceived competition.

If it's literally impossible for me to make a potion because I have one ingredient, my opponent should know no discount is needed. On the other hand, it might be impossible because both of my ingredients are the same. Forcing me to withdraw the action because it's impossible, before offering a discount, means I'm having to reveal that the action is impossible, as the other players don't know it. It's unnecessarily harsh to have to reveal that info AND have to pass your cubes AND lose the ability to influence others discounts.


I agree with all that... but the original question was:

if a player has NO ingredients to make a potion (meaning 0 or 1 ingredients) can he offer a discount?

In this case I would say no, when the selling part comes and a player has not enough ingredients to make a potion he can't offer a discount on something he can't produce...

if he has at least 2 ingredients, even if they are the same, then all the other players know is that that player might be able to make a potion, so it's fair game...

But when there's no way to make a potion and this information is public knowledge why should that player be able to offer a discount? Makes no sense... and even if it's possible everyone knows that that player will have to bow out so, he won't be blocking anyone from selling nor any type of potion because he has to remove both of his cubes from the action...

So, from now on when I go to the Sell Potion I will always ask all players how many ingredients they have in hand, that way I'll now if I have to be worried about the discount they provide or not... simple
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James Jones
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HeirToPendragon wrote:
How did you get to this position in the first place?


A combination of poor planning and poor foraging. I had one ingredient at the beginning of the round with one cube each on forage and transmute, plus cubes on the sell action. When the one ingredient I foraged was not useful for a sell, I used it to transmute leaving me with one ingredient. I thought then that I could try to offer a discount to try and get those who weren't paying attention to how many ingredients I had to also offer a discount.
 
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Muse23PT wrote:
if a player has NO ingredients to make a potion (meaning 0 or 1 ingredients) can he offer a discount?

In this case I would say no, when the selling part comes and a player has not enough ingredients to make a potion he can't offer a discount on something he can't produce...

if he has at least 2 ingredients, even if they are the same, then all the other players know is that that player might be able to make a potion, so it's fair game...

But when there's no way to make a potion and this information is public knowledge why should that player be able to offer a discount? Makes no sense... and even if it's possible everyone knows that that player will have to bow out so, he won't be blocking anyone from selling nor any type of potion because he has to remove both of his cubes from the action...

So, from now on when I go to the Sell Potion I will always ask all players how many ingredients they have in hand, that way I'll now if I have to be worried about the discount they provide or not... simple
Yes he can offer a discount as all the discount does is rearrange the selling order.

Maybe that player wants to prevent you from getting the gold to buy an artifact in the next action. All the discount does is change the order of who gets to sell first. It does not go into details of which potion and what type of guarantee you will offer. That happens on an individual basis once the selling order has been set. So even if they can't make a potion, they could give a better discount, become first in line to sell, and then select the potion they know you can make since it is public knowledge and set the guarantee, and then fail to fill that guarantee forcing them to lose at least reputation point. What they did succeed in doing was selecting that potion you wanted to make so you can't make any gold from it this turn which might mean you can't buy an artifact or publish a paper in the next buy and publish actions.

Maybe he is just bluffing on selling a potion and is just trying to get you less gold by offering a discount but has no plans on selling the potion (i.e. walks away on his selling turn). This would cost him two action cubes (but get him a favor card) but also get you less money if you fell for his trap. If you were on top of things and knew he couldn't sell the potion and was most likely to walk, you could settle for second place in the selling order by not offering a discount and get what you want for full price regardless UNLESS he sticks around and sells, at which point he would fail his guarantee and take the reputation loss.

It is all part of the strategy!
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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The thing is, if a player has less than 2 ingredients, and everyone knows this, then having that player offer a discount is pointless. It won't affect how the action is carried out for anybody else.
The only way the player can benefit from offering discount is if his opponents don't realize he has less than 2.
So, I think it really depends on what kind of players you are. If you are ok with trying to be sneaky and fool the other players based on their lack of attention, there isn't any rule against it.
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It isn't pointless as he can still enter a guarantee with the seller for a specific potion and not come through with the sale (he could not make a potion, therefore he did not fulfill the guarantee) costing him some reputation points BUT preventing another player from getting the gold for that potion as his offer used up that specific potion. It is a strategy someone may want to use.

This all comes down to the order of "selling" operations:
1. Determine selling order via discounts and original player action order cubes
2. Based on the revised player order from step 1, each player takes their turn selecting a potion and setting a guarantee (or walking away) and then producing/failing the potion. Results of the guarantee are done (get gold or lose reputation).
3. Next player does the same thing on what is left for potion selection.
etc...

This is what the rule book says but in a convoluted/out of order manner.
 
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James Jones
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Kaiyoot wrote:

So even if they can't make a potion, they could give a better discount, become first in line to sell, and then select the potion they know you can make since it is public knowledge and set the guarantee, and then fail to fill that guarantee forcing them to lose at least reputation point.


So you're saying that even with just one ingredient, I can not only offer a discount but, becoming the first player, I can also offer a guarantee and block others? The penalty, of course, being a loss of reputation.
 
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Mudflap wrote:
Kaiyoot wrote:

So even if they can't make a potion, they could give a better discount, become first in line to sell, and then select the potion they know you can make since it is public knowledge and set the guarantee, and then fail to fill that guarantee forcing them to lose at least reputation point.


So you're saying that even with just one ingredient, I can not only offer a discount but, becoming the first player, I can also offer a guarantee and block others? The penalty, of course, being a loss of reputation.

Yes. A loss of reputation but no gold at all since you did not even produce a potion. The second you move your two action cubes from the original sell order box to the potion and guarantee boxes, you have now entered an agreement with the seller. If you fail that guarantee, it costs you reputation, as per the rules. Depending on what guarantee you selected, you might get gold out of it if you were able to make a potion. If you couldn't even make a potion, then I'd say you just lose reputation.

Rules Page 12 - (bottom example in the middle column) wrote:
Even if Red is certain she cannot meet the terms of the correct sign
guarantee, she can still offer it. (Maybe she wants to see if
her two ingredients make a neutral potion. Or maybe she just
wants to block that potion for those who play after her.)
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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I don't think you can block a potion and make a guarantee and then decline to make a potion. There is nothing in the rule to suggest that you can do this, nor is there any mention in the reputation loss that failing to make a potion is a possible outcome.
If you can't make a potion, or don't want to, you have to pass when it is your turn to sell (but not before offering a discount)
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