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Subject: Intermediate Scoring Inquiry (plus a few more) rss

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Enon Sci
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Just had my first game yesterday. Definitely an enjoyable title, though I'm not sure it displaces Trajan, Bora Bora or Macao in my heart.

All that said, a smattering of quick questions:

1) Intermediate scoring:

We found the calculations easy to do, but these elements from the rules caused a bit of needless confusion:

"Add up the total number of Knowledge Points (KP) for each player individually, before you adjust the Counters on the Knowledge Track."

Right, so we total up all the positive and negative values, per player, before adjusting the score.. But then it states:

"Special case: In theory, you could lose points during an Intermediate Scoring. In this case, you cannot fall back behind a red line (this should happen very rarely)."

Wait, what? How can you ever fall back before the line if you're calculating everything before moving? This made us think our initially assumption may have been wrong.

How is are Knowledge Track updates during intermediate score supposed to be done?

2) I know what the rules say (or, rather, are silent on), but on the off chance errata exists:

Can players take an action for no reward (i.e. take a research or lab spot with no card, etc)? Naturally, this would be done solely in the interests of majority control.

3) Can two players (scientists) occupy the same station space? Again, I know the rules are silent, which implies "yes".. but I wanted to make sure errata didn't exist to address this.

Lastly,

4) When taking a lab addition, can the additional station placement (associated with the letter on the lab piece) be forgone? We found an instance where, due to a build up of octapods, the player really didn't want this additional reward.


General Impressions:

I enjoyed the game, but didn't really care for the self similarity of each station space. The board is colorful, and builds up regional specializations over time, but ultimately felt a touch boring (again, the board -- not the game). Also, the octapods were weirdly punitive. One player kept being dragged down due to them, and was spending several actions building up the necessary steps to deal with the problem, when a lab tile shifted the ownership of the zone (see #4 above), unexpectedly offloading the problem to another. In one fell swoop, a -6 vp per round concern (3 octapods) vanished unexpectedly.

I say the octapods are "weirdly" punitive because the game almost doesn't incentivize their control, as the VP one player might gain can often be at the expense of a relative gain for another (e.g. Bob could get some KP from taking care of those Octapods next to Sally, but then Sally will get more KP to take home at the end of the round).
 
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Sam Hillier
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1) You're doing everything correctly. The "special case" refers to ending up with a negative total - lets say you had too many octopods left over. That means that you would lose points during the intermediate scoring. The "special case" just says that you cannot fall back behind a red line. It doesn't have anything to do with the general, "total everything up, including the minuses, and then increase your score" plan.

2) I don't actually know. I would imagine yes, but it's honestly never come up in the games I've played.

3) Yes. It doesn't matter where your scientist really is, just where your bots are. So I can go to the purple part of a section, place my scientist in the purple wedge, and a bot on the control panel. Then you join me in the purple wedge, and kick my bot out to the waiting area.

4) Do you mean placing a bot in the section that matches the lab tile you picked up? Then yes, you can skip this. I believe the rules say that you "may" place another bot. Sometimes its a good idea not to.

You'll soon see that all the VPs in this game come at the expense of others, by choosing one action over another. You'll almost never want to clear out octopods on a room that someone else controls (or, more correctly, will soon control in the future). Remember that killing pods puts your bot in control of that section, so you will benefit from this action (unless someone moves in to that section after you've nicely cleared it out for them -- be careful!)

The sections are supposed to be similar, to make the comparisons easier to do. If every section had totally different actions, then it would be a complete mess to optimize an overall strategy. It would be much closer to the perforative point salad then.

The beauty of Aquasphere is how you have to balance a long term strategy (based on specializing somewhat with red cards and green sections) with the short term tactical situation of what ends up where each round. You cannot be completely focused on one action, even on filling up your lab, but you also cannot just do whatever. The trick is to find those actions that give you extra actions (including programming more bots, killing bonus octopods, or even getting more time) and using that to eek out an advantage on an otherwise very balanced board.
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Jeff M.
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Quote:
Right, so we total up all the positive and negative values, per player, before adjusting the score..

This is correct. Determine the total points for each player, then move their counter on the knowledge track, paying the fee for passing a red line (one crystal or one programmed bot). If you cannot pay the fee, your Counter must stop in front of the red line and remaining points are lost. Note well that the red lines are ignored during final scoring. See page 3 and page 10 of the rulebook.

Quote:
How can you ever fall back before the line if you're calculating everything before moving?

If you had a very poor round, you could end up only having negative points (e.g., you had a lot of octopods in the areas you controlled, so your point total during intermediate scoring is negative). If this happens, you cannot fall behind the red line.

Quote:
Can players take an action for no reward (i.e. take a research or lab spot with no card, etc)?

Yes, performing the bot's action is not mandatory. Page 7 of the rulebook, section 3, "You may now carry out the action of the Action Area that is occupied by your Scientist ...."

Also, the publisher, Ralph Bruhn, answered this here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1246393/rule-question-labor...

Quote:
Can two players (scientists) occupy the same station space?

Yes. Scientists do not block the station they are using. I recall a forum thread that mentioned scientist blocking was play-tested, but I do not have the source. Some people have played with blocking as a house-rule variant.

Quote:
When taking a lab addition, can the additional station placement (associated with the letter on the lab piece) be forgone?

Yes. From page 8 of the rulebook, "If the Lab Expansion shows 1 or 2 letters, you may place 1 Bot on the Control Spaces of each of the corresponding Sectors." (emphasis in the original).

I'm referencing the English rulebook, Pegasus edition (available here: http://www.pegasus.de/fileadmin/_downloads/regeln/englisch/A...).
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Will Yum
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One thing some players miss is that you can de-program a bot to get two time markers. This can be done multiple times. It's not a great thing to do, but sometimes might be necessary. And useful in getting time in order to use certain cards.

And I think of the octopod action as freeing them and allowing them to return to the wild. laugh The poor creatures have wandered into the lab and got stuck and want to return home. cry
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Billy
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Octopods are the Mynocks of the sea. Exterminate with extreme prejudice!
 
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Nikki Ebright
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New Avatar! So much Excite! Photo credit to Debbie Ohi, who is Awesome!
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b414213562 wrote:
Octopods are the Mynocks of the sea. Exterminate with extreme prejudice!


Noooo! Release them back to their natural environment!

I feel I need to start a chapter of SPOW - The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Octopod Welfare.

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