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Leaving Earth» Forums » Variants

Subject: Survey (simple fly-by variant) rss

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Steve Carey
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Survey is the only technology in the game that has just a single outcome card attached to it. As the rules stand, even if an initial Survey fails you can merely expend $5 to discard the failure and immediately conduct another (now automatically successful) Survey. If the Survey initially succeeds, you may remove the outcome card for free per standard procedure (since it's the only/last one).

Now it's true that a turn in LE represents an entire year, which allows for a plethora of possible situations and reactions to occur. But let's consider a fly-by where the window of opportunity (time) to complete the mission is much narrower.

Variant rule change: If an initial Survey fails at a fly-by location (only), then that fly-by is also a failure; you may not re-Survey the same location that same turn with the same spacecraft (note: this means that the spacecraft will normally be lost via the mandated automatic maneuver present on all fly-by locations).

I've found that this simple variant creates some extra tension, plus it adds an additional decision-tree (namely whether planning to place your Survey mission into orbit so that even with an initial failure, you can automatically succeed with the location Survey next turn).

If your Survey mission goes into orbit it is more expensive (more thrust needed) of course, but it makes sense that success occurs (even with an initial failure) since your Survey mission is spending a lot more time over target (with a commensurate amount of time to make needed adjustments).

LE does a wonderful job at abstracting various elements so that players don't become bogged down in a myriad of detail. This variant adds a bit more difficulty to the game, but hopefully at a more thematic glance.
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Will H.
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Since the maneuver was successful, I assume the probe was put in orbit correctly, and any survey failure could be attempted again in another orbit.

I like this variant for fly-by locations. Thematically, the probe would not remain in a position for another survey attempt.

Of course, you could upload a patch or take some other action within the same year to correct the survey failure.

Another option to "fix" this would be to have an automatic maneuver to !LOST at the end of the year. (In fact fly-by locations may in fact have this. I need to look!) That would allow you to correct the problem if you had cash, or lose your probe if you did not.

I guess what I'm saying is, "I like your variant, unless the location cards already take this scenario into account, and it's actually a rule."
 
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Michel Kangro
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Steve Carey wrote:

Variant rule change: If a Survey fails while a spacecraft is on a location with an automatic maneuver, usually a fly-by, then you may not re-Survey the same target from the same location and the same spacecraft that same turn (note: this means that the spacecraft will normally be lost via the mandated automatic maneuver).


Love it, although I'd change the red text, since if there is by any chance another spacecraft there that can do the survey, it should still be possible. Also, since there is no "fly-by-mission" in the game, I'd reword that. :-)
 
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Steve Carey
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Hi Will, yes all current fly-by locations in the game do have the auto lost maneuver.

You prompted me to think of something else however, this variant would not apply to Ceres or Phobos since those are auto revealed upon spacecraft arrival (they have no fly-by location, so I just wanted to clarify).
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Steve Carey
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Hello Michel, that's a good technical correction (thanks) - it should say that the same location cannot be surveyed in the same turn by the same spacecraft (when a failure occurs).

"Fly-by" is just a convenient term to denote the actual location cards that this variant applies to - if the card doesn't say "fly-by", the variant doesn't apply. I'll clarify in the original post (thanks again).
 
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Joe Fatula
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Here's another way you could handle this: change the text on the Surveying advancement for minor/major failure to read:

"Probe/capsule cannot survey again this turn."

That way, if you have redundant probes you could still pay $5, then use the other probe. It avoids any issues of separating/docking to muddy the idea of what counts as "this spacecraft". And it makes it urgent to survey during a fly-by without making the rule depend on anything else.
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Steve Carey
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Works for me, thanks Joe.
 
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Dobby
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I could be wrong because I just got the game a couple days ago, but I was wondering about this...

Steve Carey wrote:
Now it's true that a turn in LE represents an entire year, which allows for a plethora of possible situations and reactions to occur. But let's consider a fly-by where the window of opportunity (time) to complete the mission is much narrower.


Is this true in multi-player games as well? I could see how it's true in solo play, but I thought the rules said you go around and take as many turns as you wanted within a year.

Steve Carey wrote:
Variant rule change: If an initial Survey fails at a fly-by location (only), then that fly-by is also a failure; you may not re-Survey the same location that same turn with the same spacecraft (note: this means that the spacecraft will normally be lost via the mandated automatic maneuver present on all fly-by locations).


I was under the impression that you could Survey then Maneuver to either the Orbit or the Planetary Body on the same turn meaning that the Automatic Maneuver wouldn't happen unless you had a minor failure or not enough thrust to perform one of the Maneuvers.
 
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Joe Fatula
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You're right -- in a year, everyone gets as many turns as they want. In a single-player game, there's no reason to take another turn after your first, though.

At the end of your turn, if you have a spacecraft in a location with an automatic maneuver (marked with a !), the spacecraft performs that maneuver. This means you can't leave a spacecraft in locations like Suborbital Flight or Lunar Fly-By, because they won't be there after automatically maneuvering away at the end of your turn.

In this thread, we've been discussing a possible variant rule where if a probe/capsule fails on Surveying, it cannot attempt to survey again in the same turn.
 
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Dobby
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buffalohat wrote:
You're right -- in a year, everyone gets as many turns as they want. In a single-player game, there's no reason to take another turn after your first, though.

At the end of your turn, if you have a spacecraft in a location with an automatic maneuver (marked with a !), the spacecraft performs that maneuver. This means you can't leave a spacecraft in locations like Suborbital Flight or Lunar Fly-By, because they won't be there after automatically maneuvering away at the end of your turn.

In this thread, we've been discussing a possible variant rule where if a probe/capsule fails on Surveying, it cannot attempt to survey again in the same turn.


Right, I totally agree with the whole if it fails you can't do it again on this turn variant...I think it would make Surveying more interesting. I was just wondering about the other things, because I wasn't sure if I was misunderstanding things or not.
 
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Steve Carey
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I'd like to thank Joe for weighing the feedback and then implementing this rule in the newly released Outer Planets expansion:

"Each probe/capsule can only use Surveying once per turn. This is important when performing a fly-by, where there will be an automatic maneuver at the end of the turn."

Well done.



 
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