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Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents» Forums » Rules

Subject: Going backward in technology rss

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James Rousselle
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Can a player go backward in technology to gain a patent?

For example, Tesla is at level V in AC and owns the patent. If on a subsequent turn, Tesla has a luminary with a $ rating, can he acquire the level IV patent in AC? If yes, are there any technology requirements? After all, Tesla would already have met those requirements when going to level V.
 
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Gillum the Stoor
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The rules indicate that one can acquire a patent only with "Advance in Technology" action, and only at the technology level at which you end that action.

The rules do not provide for moving any of ones markers backward on a technology track.

I would say that, once one of your technology markers reaches a level on its technology track, you can no longer acquire patents at lower levels on that track.
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Adam Solino
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A similar question is if player A achieved level IV bulb and level IV AC and claims a level III contract does he need to pay player B a patent fine if player B holds a level III patent?
 
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Eric Amick
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onilosmada wrote:
A similar question is if player A achieved level IV bulb and level IV AC and claims a level III contract does he need to pay player B a patent fine if player B holds a level III patent?

No. The level of the contract is irrelevant when paying royalties or whatever you want to call them; the level of technology used to fulfill it is all that matters. (See the bottom of pg. 6 in the rules.)
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Gillum the Stoor
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ericamick2 wrote:
The level of the contract is irrelevant when paying royalties or whatever you want to call them; the level of technology used to fulfill it is all that matters. (See the bottom of pg. 6 in the rules.)
Specifically, patent payments are determined by the current technology level (for each technology used) of the player claiming a project.
 
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James Rousselle
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Gillum,

Don't you think it's somewhat arbitrary to disallow a player from acquiring a patent on a technology that he does not plan to use? The idea behind the patent is to make $$.

In my example, I would not move my technology marker backwards, I would simply put my marker on level 4 AC technology patent.
 
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Gillum the Stoor
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JGRno5 wrote:
Don't you think it's somewhat arbitrary to disallow a player from acquiring a patent on a technology that he does not plan to use? The idea behind the patent is to make $$.
My main point was that the rules do not provide any mechanism for acquiring such a patent.

I do not know, but I suspect that this option was not allowed so as to simplify the game - or maybe it was tried and abandoned after playtesting.

Alternatively, it might be intended to reflect a phenomenon seen sometimes in actual technological development. A company may rush to market with a technology that it has not yet had the opportunity (or the resources) to patent. In such cases, the company is choosing to forgo royalties it could have acquired from such patents. Once the technology is in the market, patent laws may prevent it from being patented.

However, another company may come along with a different but comparable technology (e.g., a different "Level II bulb" technology) that it can and does patent. If that other technology is patented (and marketed successfully), it may become dominant despite earlier development of some unpatented technology. In that case, the original developing company may end up paying royalties to the company that developed the later patented technology.

I am not saying that the designers meant to capture these vagaries in the game - rather that game rules do not seem completely unrealistic.
 
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Dirk Knemeyer
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Hi guys,

Here is thematically how the technology is intended to work. For simplicity's sake let's just focus on one of the tech trees, the AC.

There are five levels of technology. Each level represents an entirely different system. Like any technology, from one to the next, there are some shared concepts, parts and approaches but many not as well.

Each action to advance up the tech tree is the intentional invention and manufacturing of ONE AND ONLY ONE of these systems. So skipping from 1 to 3 does not mean "We went and invented and manufactured 2 and then immediately went and invented and manufactured 3". It means "We put a lot of work in and completed skipped a generation of technology to get up to one that is more advanced and refined." So, in skipping from 1 to 3 the company is never developing 2. They are putting in the overall effort required to do both 2 and 3 because 3 is far harder to do in the absence of 2. But they NEVER had 2 as part of their company.

Now, let's look at the project side. Every project on the map has a technology requirement, I thru V. What this requirement means is: "The people in this city, at the time the city becomes interested in the infrastructure of electricity, demand a technology at least as sophisticated is, or moreso than, the level indicated on the map." They are not saying "ONlY a level II will do!" They are saying "That level I stuff is too crummy and obsolete, but anything else would be OK."

Rolling all of that together, then: you are ALWAYS only manufacturing the latest, greatest, and highest technology you own. People prefer it! Your whole works are optimized to be making it! You would not waste time on the older technology as it represents an opportunity cost far greater than patent fees you might be paying on better tech. And so long as the city is at least getting the level of technology they are expecting, they are quite satisfied with any sort of install. If the game had project bidding or competition in some form then it might matter that one company is going even higher than another. But for the mechanic and level of granularity of this game, it is just a requirement to meet or exceed.

In terms of not going back to patent something "old" or after the fact, yeah, it was done to keep the game simple and streamlined. Just four actions is really easy for even more casual gamers to deal with in terms of playing the game in some basic form. Mastering it, as the conversations about the use of stock in the game are indicating, is another matter entirely. But the bar to entry is intentionally low. Besides, other than the top couple of tech levels, it would be suboptimal play to burn an action solely to patent a technology. So removing this possibility also keeps people more focused on actions that would be to their benefit.

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Drew Scott
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dknemeyer wrote:
Here is thematically how the technology is intended to work.

This was a great description, and fun to read. Thank you!
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Peter Roden
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First, Along the same lines, is a player able to claim the III spot of a dual-project city if she already has level IV tech researched? The rules say you're always using your highest researched tech for the purposes of patent disputes, but doesn't mention anything about dual-project cities.

My friend has been researching level IV as fast as possible, then blocking the level III sites from others who took smaller projects early on, and I'm wondering if I can tell him to shove off...

Example: no projects have been claimed for NYC. Bob, who has IV tech in AC and Bulb claims the III project, blocking the less-teched-up James (who has III in both) from claiming anything in NYC until he advances his tech. Is Bob's move of using "inferior" tech legal?

Second, can two luminaries be exhausted at the same time to advance different technologies? E.g. can Latimer (%1,#0) and White (%1,#2) be used on the same move to claim both AC and DC ranks II (total %2,#2)?
 
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Eric Amick
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Whiddin wrote:
First, Along the same lines, is a player able to claim the III spot of a dual-project city if she already has level IV tech researched? The rules say you're always using your highest researched tech for the purposes of patent disputes, but doesn't mention anything about dual-project cities.

My friend has been researching level IV as fast as possible, then blocking the level III sites from others who took smaller projects early on, and I'm wondering if I can tell him to shove off...

Example: no projects have been claimed for NYC. Bob, who has IV tech in AC and Bulb claims the III project, blocking the less-teched-up James (who has III in both) from claiming anything in NYC until he advances his tech. Is Bob's move of using "inferior" tech legal?

Second, can two luminaries be exhausted at the same time to advance different technologies? E.g. can Latimer (%1,#0) and White (%1,#2) be used on the same move to claim both AC and DC ranks II (total %2,#2)?

1. The rules do not require an exact match between your tech levels and the project's tech level.

2. The very first sentence in the description of the advance technology action says it advances only one technology.
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Dirk Knemeyer
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Eric's answers ar correct but to make the first one more explicit: your friend can claim either project he wants. Strategically, you should ALWAYS claim the lower level project as it makes it harder for others' to come and catch up with you.

ericamick2 wrote:
Whiddin wrote:
First, Along the same lines, is a player able to claim the III spot of a dual-project city if she already has level IV tech researched? The rules say you're always using your highest researched tech for the purposes of patent disputes, but doesn't mention anything about dual-project cities.

My friend has been researching level IV as fast as possible, then blocking the level III sites from others who took smaller projects early on, and I'm wondering if I can tell him to shove off...

Example: no projects have been claimed for NYC. Bob, who has IV tech in AC and Bulb claims the III project, blocking the less-teched-up James (who has III in both) from claiming anything in NYC until he advances his tech. Is Bob's move of using "inferior" tech legal?

Second, can two luminaries be exhausted at the same time to advance different technologies? E.g. can Latimer (%1,#0) and White (%1,#2) be used on the same move to claim both AC and DC ranks II (total %2,#2)?

1. The rules do not require an exact match between your tech levels and the project's tech level.

2. The very first sentence in the description of the advance technology action says it advances only one technology.
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Peter Roden
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Okay, thanks!
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