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Subject: Free Action Cubes rss

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Nick Case
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I appreciate that merchant and free action cubes are moved from the available stock to the available spaces on the Action Cubes section. These are then 'spent' on actions. What I don't understand is the instruction on page 7, paragraph 2 which states;

'When you expend a free action cube to perform an action you move the cube either from your action cubes section OR FROM YOUR AVAILABLE STOCK.'

If you can freely use black free action cubes from stock, what is the point of having an allocation space for black cubes in the action cubes section?
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Thomas Leitner
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Free action cubes are taken from the pool to your Action Cubes section, not from your Available Stock. I missed this on my first reading of the rules, probably because this is such an odd rule.

Every turn you do not use the FA cubes, they are moved up to your Available Stock, thus giving you a bigger pool of FA cubes for later turns.
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David Larkin
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You can use any of you free actions when ever you want.

After the first era you get additional free actions every turn. If you don't use them put them with the rest of your free action cubes. The way it is written is a bit odd but I think it just serves to remind you how many free actions you acquire each turn
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Michael Noakes
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Zark wrote:
You can use any of you free actions when ever you want.

After the first era you get additional free actions every turn. If you don't use them put them with the rest of your free action cubes. The way it is written is a bit odd but I think it just serves to remind you how many free actions you acquire each turn


Unfortunately, no. It would make it a lot easier--but also reduce the value of oil in the game.

From the rules, under Tidy Up:

"The final part of your turn involves some minor cleaning up.
Any free action cubes in placed back in the pool."

Unlike the two (extremely valuable!) cubes you start with, or any other free action cubes you collect by conquering cities, those you get at the start of your turn are use-em'-or-lose-em'.

At least, that's how I've been playing it....

-M.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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You're wrong. Quoting the same paragraph :
Quote:
Any free action cubes in ‘Action boxes’ should be removed and placed back in the pool.

This means that the FA cubes that were used to perform actions are placed in the pool. But only these.

Quote:
Any free action cubes that are still in your ‘Action cubes’ section, i.e. cubes you have not played, are moved to your available stock. Free action cubes are different from your merchant cubes in that you can retain un-played ones for use in later turns.

This section speaks by itself.
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Lochi Lochi
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Weloi Avala wrote:
Zark wrote:
You can use any of you free actions when ever you want.

After the first era you get additional free actions every turn. If you don't use them put them with the rest of your free action cubes. The way it is written is a bit odd but I think it just serves to remind you how many free actions you acquire each turn


Unfortunately, no. It would make it a lot easier--but also reduce the value of oil in the game.

From the rules, under Tidy Up:

"The final part of your turn involves some minor cleaning up.
Any free action cubes in placed back in the pool."

Unlike the two (extremely valuable!) cubes you start with, or any other free action cubes you collect by conquering cities, those you get at the start of your turn are use-em'-or-lose-em'.

At least, that's how I've been playing it....

-M.


You've been playing wrong:

rules, p.13 wrote:

Any free action cubes in ‘Action boxes’ should be removed and
placed back in the pool. As mentioned before, merchant cubes
remain in your ‘Action boxes’.

Any free action cubes that are still in your ‘Action cubes’ sec-
tion, i.e. cubes you have not played, are moved to your available
stock
.
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Michael Noakes
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Huh, well there you go then! Good to be corrected on that.

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Seth Jaffee
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The graphic design of this game isn't doing anybody any favors. We played this wrong for 1/2 a game as well.

I would humbly suggest that in future printings the following graphic changes to the player board could aid the learning and playing of this game:

1. Add a down arrow atop the player colored cubes in the Action Cubes space, as a reminder that they come down from the Available Cubes space.

2. Delineate a separate box for Free Action cubes that is not part of the Available Action Cubes space, and indicate that you start with 2 black Free Action cubes in it (remove the indicator that you start with 2 black cubes in Available Cubes).

3. Instead of a 0/1/2 black cubes shown in the Action Cubes space, show 0/1/2 black cubes with an arrow toward what looks like that new Free Action Cube box, indicating that at the beginning of the round, in addition to moving 2 of your Available cubes down to this Action Cube box, you also add 0/1/2 black cubes to your Free Action cube box.

Note that this is functionally identical to the game as-is, but it makes a lot more sense as there aren't cubes in places that act differently from other cubes in the same place.

Currently there are both black cubes and red cubes (for the red player) in the Available cubes space, but
- Black cubes there can be spent on actions, Red cubes cannot
- Red cubes come down to Action Cube box at the beginning of the turn, black cubes do not (despite the iconography that looks the same for both colors)
- Red cubes in the Action cubes space come from Available cubes, while Black cubes there come from the pool (despite iconography that looks the same for both)
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Just to add a word from the Man himself in case anyone is traversing these rules topics in the future:

— free action cubes are limited in stock, so once they run out, they run out; and
— despite the admittedly somewhat confusing iconography Seth has already addressed the number of printed black squares ought not to be interpreted as a limit on how many free actions you can take per turn.

Although he has, for the time being, not addressed what happens in the case of the free action you get if you have no cubes in your pool at all and the stock of free actions having run out, I am inclined to say that you get a virtual cube; and that being in a situation where others take more actions per turn than you is a great incentive to execute a merchant recall which would solve the issue Real Quick. And if you think you can manage on one action per turn for the rest of the game, you've either already won or no longer care. In other words, it's not really an issue needing a ruling.
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James Clarke
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In a regular oil token for black cube exchange, the black cube must be instantly spent.

I'm therefore wondering if an oil counter can be exchanged for a 'virtual' black cube, when there aren't any actual black cubes in stock?

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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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cymric wrote:
Just to add a word from the Man himself in case anyone is traversing these rules topics in the future:

— free action cubes are limited in stock, so once they run out, they run out; and
— despite the admittedly somewhat confusing iconography Seth has already addressed the number of printed black squares ought not to be interpreted as a limit on how many free actions you can take per turn.

Although he has, for the time being, not addressed what happens in the case of the free action you get if you have no cubes in your pool at all and the stock of free actions having run out, I am inclined to say that you get a virtual cube; and that being in a situation where others take more actions per turn than you is a great incentive to execute a merchant recall which would solve the issue Real Quick. And if you think you can manage on one action per turn for the rest of the game, you've either already won or no longer care. In other words, it's not really an issue needing a ruling.


I am still confused about using the free action cubes. Can I use a free action cube if there is no free action cube space in my action category? Or put another way, can I use a free action cube during the first turn of the game?
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Yes; yes.

Again, I repeat: the presence or absence of black squares in that area in no way ought to be interpreted as the limit of how many free actions you can take during your turn. That limit is actually the sum of the amount of free action cubes in your pool plus what you got from the stock at the beginning of your turn. And what you got from the stock is precisely depicted by those black squares.

If there are no more free action cubes in the stock, then you don't get any either whenever you are entitled to them (with the exception of that virtual cube I mentioned above **)).

If you don't use the free action cubes you got from the stock, then they move to your pool at the end of your turn, i.e., you can hoard them. It also means that, stock levels permitting, you get new free action cubes as indicated by the appropriate number of black squares at the beginning of your next turn.

Any free action cube used, i.e. moved to an action space, irrespective of its legitimate origin, will be taken off your board and returned to the stock at the end of your turn. This might of course cause players after you getting free action cubes in larger amounts again.

And that's really all there is to it.


** You could easily houserule this by the way, overruling the rulebook, by simply not allowing someone to end up with zero cubes right before executing actions, or forcing that person to pass his turn. This would avoid the virtual cube-thing entirely, and make it clear that timely merchant recalls are essential. I think I'll be adopting this interpretation in future games: there are more games where such attention is required from the players.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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cymric wrote:
J— free action cubes are limited in stock, so once they run out, they run out

Now that's very interesting.
Hoarding black cubes may hence provide a very nice advantage : reduced actions for every player. Which impacts the hoarder much less, as you have your stock ready to rock when needed.
What I don't know is how hard it is to make the stock of black cubes run out.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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cymric wrote:
** You could easily houserule this by the way, overruling the rulebook, by simply not allowing someone to end up with zero cubes right before executing actions, or forcing that person to pass his turn. This would avoid the virtual cube-thing entirely, and make it clear that timely merchant recalls are essential. I think I'll be adopting this interpretation in future games: there are more games where such attention is required from the players.

Forcing a player to pass their turn because they have no available cubes will likely result in them having to pass again the following turn, and every turn thereafter for the rest of the game.

I seem to recall a rule in the rulebook which states that if for any reason you have NO cubes at the beginning of your turn, you get to take a free action. That (in addition to the iconography) actually contributed to my misunderstanding the black cube income and thinking the black cubes had to come down from the Available box, because if you get a black cube as income then how could you ever not have any cubes? The only answer we saw was in the Galley age, when you DON'T get a black cube income.

The easy answer I see is that if you have zero cubes, force a Recall action, which is what a player probably ought to be doing with that "virtual" cube anyway, lest they have a crappy turn next turn as well.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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sedjtroll wrote:
Forcing a player to pass their turn because they have no available cubes will likely result in them having to pass again the following turn, and every turn thereafter for the rest of the game.

Not necessarily so, because at some point it is likely there will be black cubes in the supply again which he would get for real, thus giving him actions again.

But other than that: yes, tough luck on the player. Take care not to get into that situation the next time (unless you want it to happen). As I said, such an 'attitude' is not without precedent in boardgaming land. And, to be honest, how hard is it to remember you need to conserve actions for a subsequent turn?

Quote:
The easy answer I see is that if you have zero cubes, force a Recall action, which is what a player probably ought to be doing with that "virtual" cube anyway, lest they have a crappy turn next turn as well.

Probably, but if you read that paragraph it states that you get a free action cube, meaning you're allowed to do with that cube what you want. This is made even clearer if there are still black cubes in the main supply, because you'd receive an actual cube, which could be used anywhere. Frankly I think it unnecessarily gamey to let the game pick up the tab for your lousy (or intentionally extremal) cube management. It will cost you a full turn anyway.

In the end play as you see fit, of course. Apart from how to treat the amount of free action cubes, this is merely the interpretation of a Random Internet Nobody.
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William Wu
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Still a little confused...

So for the sail/steam era I would get 1/2 black cubes from the pool into my action box.

If I dont use the free action cube it goes to my stock. Are those free action cubes then available to be used in a later turn? If I hoarded 5 free action cubes in my stock could I then use them all in some other turn?
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Hrage wrote:
Still a little confused...

So for the sail/steam era I would get 1/2 black cubes from the pool into my action box.

If I dont use the free action cube it goes to my stock. Are those free action cubes then available to be used in a later turn? If I hoarded 5 free action cubes in my stock could I then use them all in some other turn?

Correct.
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Seth Jaffee
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Additional question on Free Action cubes... I have to assume that when you do a Recall Cubes action and return all your Merchant cubes from our Action boxes, you discard the already spent Free Action cubes from your Action Boxes back to the supply... do the rules in fact say that?

I don't have the rules with me, but from the quotes and discussion in these threads, and what I remember of the rules off the top of my head (and the "concise rules" someone posted here), it just says that at the end of the return you discard used Free Action cubes, and that the Recall action moves all the cubes from your Action boxes to the Available Cubes space.
 
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Tom
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My question is how many free action cubes could a player actually horde? It is quite possible I missed a rule because I just got the game and played once but I mean there are not that many spots on the board to get free action cubes, the oil requires a user to spend free action cubes right away, and a player won't get any more free action cubes unless they are out of all of their merchant and free action cubes. In any case a player must use that free action cube right away.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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johnnyspys wrote:
My question is how many free action cubes could a player actually horde? It is quite possible I missed a rule because I just got the game and played once but I mean there are not that many spots on the board to get free action cubes, the oil requires a user to spend free action cubes right away, and a player won't get any more free action cubes unless they are out of all of their merchant and free action cubes. In any case a player must use that free action cube right away.


In the Sailing and Steam eras, you receive one or two free action cubes each turn, and if you don't use them, they go into your supply. That's the only good way I can see to hoard them.
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Tom
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sedjtroll wrote:
The graphic design of this game isn't doing anybody any favors. We played this wrong for 1/2 a game as well.

I would humbly suggest that in future printings the following graphic changes to the player board could aid the learning and playing of this game:

1. Add a down arrow atop the player colored cubes in the Action Cubes space, as a reminder that they come down from the Available Cubes space.

2. Delineate a separate box for Free Action cubes that is not part of the Available Action Cubes space, and indicate that you start with 2 black Free Action cubes in it (remove the indicator that you start with 2 black cubes in Available Cubes).

3. Instead of a 0/1/2 black cubes shown in the Action Cubes space, show 0/1/2 black cubes with an arrow toward what looks like that new Free Action Cube box, indicating that at the beginning of the round, in addition to moving 2 of your Available cubes down to this Action Cube box, you also add 0/1/2 black cubes to your Free Action cube box.

Note that this is functionally identical to the game as-is, but it makes a lot more sense as there aren't cubes in places that act differently from other cubes in the same place.

Currently there are both black cubes and red cubes (for the red player) in the Available cubes space, but
- Black cubes there can be spent on actions, Red cubes cannot
- Red cubes come down to Action Cube box at the beginning of the turn, black cubes do not (despite the iconography that looks the same for both colors)
- Red cubes in the Action cubes space come from Available cubes, while Black cubes there come from the pool (despite iconography that looks the same for both)


I finally received the game and played for my first time. Before I played it I looked over some of the rule questions and I thought you were perhaps over reacting in regards to how confusing the graphics are. However, now after a game I think you were under reacting. I would not only include your ideas but I almost think the second paragraph on page 7 needs to be highlighted. In fact, all the rules that are a bit tricky because they break other rules might be best be highlighted and put at the end under some kind of heading like friendly reminders, don't forget these rules, or rules that you might forget. Thanks for bringing this up!
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Drew Gormley
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So, just to be clear...there is NO functional use to bringing free action cubes in one's available stock into one's action cubes because free action cubes in a player's possession (excluding those in action boxes) can be freely used whenever, yes?
 
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Dave Eisen
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bchlax944 wrote:
So, just to be clear...there is NO functional use to bringing free action cubes in one's available stock into one's action cubes because free action cubes in a player's possession (excluding those in action boxes) can be freely used whenever, yes?


Correct.
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Scott Nelson
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the hording of black cubes almost has a Duck Dealer thing built into it.

save up and get a big final turn....
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