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Subject: "Forgetting" the colonist ship rss

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Yehuda Berlinger
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This has come up elsewhere before, but I don't remember where, so let me ask again, here. The question is about forgetting to put colonists on the ship.

I am trying to figure out whether this is meant to be a playable strategic choice. I can see arguments for both sides.

The rules state:

1) As his last duty, the mayor puts new colonists on the colonist ship to be used in the next mayor phase.

2) If a mayor forgets (players may remind him) to place new colonists on the colonist ship, players later place the minimum (number of players) on the colonist ship.

(emphasis mine)

Now without these explicit statements in the rules, I would assume that anyone trying to take advantage of "forgetting" would be attempting to cheat in some way. But these rules do seem pretty clear, except for the use of words like "forget", "may", etc...

Is it true that if one player can gain advantage by not reminding the mayor not to place colonists, that it is within the letter and spirit of the game not to remind him (i.e. may, not must)?

Is it legal (letter/spirit) for the mayor himself to deliberately "forget" to place colonists, unless someone reminds him?

Yehuda
 
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Andy B
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Shade_Jon (#20529),

In my opinion players can't be thought-controled so there is no way to determine if someone is "forgetting" on purpose or not. I would say that if this is a problem then it should be delt with. If it's suspected that someone is cheating this way then I'm sure that the other players would really be on the lookout for it. And if players STILL can't remember to load the colonists then something else should be done...like, say, setting a big ol' bowl of chips or something on top of the role cards so that the next person to chose a role will have to remove it thus triggering the colonists on the ship check.

I beleive that the reason to simply put the minimum number of colonists on the card after it's discovered that they were forgotten is because by the time it's discovered the original count of unoccupied buildings may have changed so rather than trying to recall and rollback it's easier to just add the minimum and scold everyone for forgetting and try to remember the next time.
 
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Scott Russell
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Shade_Jon (#20529),
We were playing a pickup game at Gencon and some newly met opponents were arguing that the mayor could 'forget' even if someone reminded him. This approach basically gave the mayor role an extra decision. Jay Tummelson (Mr. Rio Grande) decreed that if reminded the ship had to be filled.

I agree with an earlier poster that the reason that there is a set number of colonists in the case of real forgetting is so the players do not have to recreate the situation at the time of the mayor. Our group plays that if the 'proper' number can be ascertained without disagreement that we put that amount on. Rarely, do we use the number of players route.

So I think your last question is that the mayor deliberately 'forgetting' is breaking, at a minimum the spirit and probably the letter of the rule.

Happy Gaming,
Scott
 
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Yeh Fang
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
qzhdad (#20578),

I had the same thoughts about this rule, but so far, everytime we've been able to recreate the situation and put the correct number of colonists on the ship.
 
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
UncleBuck wrote:
Shade_Jon (#20529),

... I would say that if this is a problem then it should be delt with. If it's suspected that someone is cheating this way then I'm sure that the other players would really be on the lookout for it ...


Your response seems to be making the exact assumption that I am trying to question. Is deliberately not putting colonists on the ship, unless someone vocally reminds you, cheating? You seem to take it for granted that it is.

Yet it states quite clearly that players MAY remind the Mayor, not MUST. That seems to me that reminding the Mayor is optional, not mandatory. Therefore, failure to remind the Mayor, even if you remember, is not cheating, it is tactics.

The question is more in doubt about the Mayor himself. Can the Mayor deliberately not place colonists on unless he is reminded by another player within the rules of the game? Or is he required to place colonists if he remembers? I am not asking what to do with cheating players; none of my players cheat. We all want to know if it is required in the rules of the game.

Yehuda
 
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Eric Nielsen
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
The rules are clear:
"As his last duty, the mayor puts new colonists on the colonist ship to be used in the next mayor phase."

Forgetting to place colonists on the ship is like forgetting to dump unstorable crops or pay for a building. The rules oblige you to perform these actions at certain times. If a player deliberately avoids doing so, he or she is cheating...even under the guise of "I forgot".

It is quite possible to gain an advantage if someone else forgets to dump crops or pay for a building since it will change the shipping/trading/building distribution in future rounds. Is is acceptable to not call attention to this when it helps you?

My personal opinion on general gaming ethics in similar situations is this:
Anybody who notices a rules breach but decides to point it out *after* assessing how it affects their position is, at heart, a cheater.

With Puerto Rico, this problem vanishes for experienced players. Refilling the ship becomes as automatic as everything else.
 
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Travis Hall
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Shade_Jon (#20529),
If a mayor deliberately chooses not to place colonists on the ship, that player has not forgotten. If he had forgotten, he would not have had the opportunity to make a choice.

Now, certainly it is impossible to force the mayor to "choose to remember", but the fact remains that the rules do not permit the mayor the choice. A deliberate violation of the rules is cheating, whether or not you are caught, whether or not you can be caught.

It could perhaps be argued that the other players are not in violation of the letter of the rules if they don't point out a failure on the part of the mayor to fill the colonist ship (because the rules do say "may". However, I think most would agree that this is a violation of the spirit of the rules.

Given that this particular rule cannot be enforced, my suggestion is to simply stop playing with anybody you believe to be deliberately violating this rule on a regular basis.

The Wraith
 
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
It sounds to me like most people belive that:

a) the mayor is not allowed to choose not to put colonists on the ship.

b) the word "may" is incorrect, and should have been "must" for the other players to remind the mayor.

That's fine, but I think the game has a slight flaw, then, as it should not go about trying to cop out of the difficulty of remembering how many colonists "should" have been on the ship with the "number of players" rule. It should have provided a mechnism that makes it impossible to forget, e.g.

- phases are initialy placed on one side of the board, placed in the middle board when chosen, and placed on the other side of the board when finished.

- An additional board and marker system is used. When a player gets the marker, he puts in on the board and follows the instructions on the board in order. The next player can't play until the marker progrsses through all steps of the pahse and is then handed to the him. E.g., when Mayor is chosen, the marker is moved to "take colonists", "arrange colonists", "fill colonist ship". Noone can take a phase until the marker is returned to the next player.

- A person who takes a phase takes a series of pieces, not just the one cardboard piece used now. He places all of them down on the board in order, and play passes when he is done.

Any of which would have solved the problem.

Yehuda
 
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Jason Sato
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Shade_Jon (#20661),

There is a simpler solution. Just play exclusively on BSW, since there the colonist ship is automatically refilled at the end of the Mayor phase.
 
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Andy B
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Shade_Jon wrote:
It sounds to me like most people belive that:

a) the mayor is not allowed to choose not to put colonists on the ship.

This is covered clearly in the rules. It is the mayor's duty to put the colonists on the ship.

b) the word "may" is incorrect, and should have been "must" for the other players to remind the mayor.

This need not be changed to "must" since it really doesn't matter if a player reminds the previous mayor or not. When the Mayor role is chosen the next turn and it's discovered that there are no colonists on the ship, due to the fact that either the previous mayor honestly forgot or deliberatly forgot and nobody reminded him later, the colonists will immediatly be placed on the ship in order to continue the turn.

That's fine, but I think the game has a slight flaw, then, as it should not go about trying to cop out of the difficulty of remembering how many colonists "should" have been on the ship with the "number of players" rule. It should have provided a mechnism that makes it impossible to forget, e.g.

It's pretty picky to call this a flaw when there is a very explicite rule stating what to do in the event that the ship is not refilled.

- phases are initialy placed on one side of the board, placed in the middle board when chosen, and placed on the other side of the board when finished.

This is a good idea but it still may not remind anyone to refill the ship.

- An additional board and marker system is used. When a player gets the marker, he puts in on the board and follows the instructions on the board in order. The next player can't play until the marker progrsses through all steps of the pahse and is then handed to the him. E.g., when Mayor is chosen, the marker is moved to "take colonists", "arrange colonists", "fill colonist ship". Noone can take a phase until the marker is returned to the next player.

Another potential solution albeit a littly "Nanny-ish". But then again if everyone that one is playing with is having serious problems remembering this step and the solution provided in the rules is inadaquate for the group I suppose this is a decent way to help remember. On the other hand what if the sneaky mayor decides to distract the other players by telling the to quickly look behind themselves and then moves the "phase stage marker" over the space that reminds everyone that the ship needs to be refilled?

- A person who takes a phase takes a series of pieces, not just the one cardboard piece used now. He places all of them down on the board in order, and play passes when he is done.

Any of which would have solved the problem.

What problem? It's handled in the rules already.

Yehuda


Look, if one thinks it's a good play to "forget" to refill the ship for some reason then go for it. If it's caught right away then it's not a problem. Follow the rule that says to count the number of unoccupied buildings, etc. to fill it up. If it's been so long and so many things have changed and nobody can agree how many to place then just place the minimum (like the rule clearly states). If someone throws the board up in the air over it then I would suggest that it's time to pick a new opponent or a new game.

Just my thoughts. It's your game, you bought it, play it however it works for you.

Happy gaming,

UB
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
My recommendation is to always reconstruct the situation and put the correct # of colonists on the ship, if you forget.

There will be times when it is in certain players interest to 'forget' and put the minimal number on the ship, but this should not be considered a tactic. Forgetting the rules is not a tactic. The rule doesnt give the mayor the option of putting the minimum number.

Since I play mostly on BSW, when I play in person I often forget the ship. When my group forgets, we always make sure we get the correct number, remembering what buildings have been purchased after it.
 
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Travis Hall
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Shade_Jon wrote:
It sounds to me like most people belive that:

a) the mayor is not allowed to choose not to put colonists on the ship.


Yup. The rules are quite explicit. The mayor puts the colonists on the ship, simple as that.

b) the word "may" is incorrect, and should have been "must" for the other players to remind the mayor.

I think "should" would have been a better word. "Must" leaves a gaping hole for when the non-mayor players don't notice the error themselves.

That's fine, but I think the game has a slight flaw, then, as it should not go about trying to cop out of the difficulty of remembering how many colonists "should" have been on the ship with the "number of players" rule. It should have provided a mechnism that makes it impossible to forget, e.g.

There's no such beast. Some groups might find your ideas helpful, but other groups won't. There's nothing to stop a player (accidentally or deliberately) moving a marker or a card early, without doing whatever it is that should be done before the move.

Puerto Rico certainly isn't the only game with rules to deal with irregularities, either. Pick up a copy of FIDE's The Laws of Chess, in which there are even rules covering the conduct of the official presiding over a match. Canasta has rules concerning what to do if a player forgets to put out a red three. Many card game have rules covering what happens if a card is accidentally flipped during the deal. Gamers are just human, so screw-ups happen occassionally. Irregularity rules are just a means to continue the game when that happens, and shouldn't be taken to be anything more. Most especially, they should not be taken as leave to act in anything less than an entirely honourable fashion.

Travis Hall
 
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Yehuda Berlinger
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Wraith wrote:
Puerto Rico certainly isn't the only game with rules to deal with irregularities, either. Pick up a copy of FIDE's The Laws of Chess, in which there are even rules covering the conduct of the official presiding over a match. Canasta has rules concerning what to do if a player forgets to put out a red three. Many card game have rules covering what happens if a card is accidentally flipped during the deal. Gamers are just human, so screw-ups happen occassionally. Irregularity rules are just a means to continue the game when that happens, and shouldn't be taken to be anything more. Most especially, they should not be taken as leave to act in anything less than an entirely honourable fashion.

Travis Hall


Thank you. That is exactly what I was looking for. Now it makes sense.

I couldn't understand why there was this rule to do things differently depending on when the action takes place, without it being equivalent to any other game rule (i.e. one that can be played for).

Now it is obvious to me that the rule is designed to correct actual mistakes only (it was obvious to everyone else on this message board already, just not me).

Perhaps it's better to just play with the "figure out how many colonists you should have put on" anyway. Otherwise, at point does it constitute "forgetting"? After the next phase is taken? After the next builder is finished? After the round? At the beginning of the next Mayor?

I would like to have a consistent rule for this; I don't want to sometimes fill it to what it was supposed to be, and sometimes to the number of players.

Yehuda
 
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Travis Hall
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
Shade_Jon wrote:

Perhaps it's better to just play with the "figure out how many colonists you should have put on" anyway.


I think you would find that most groups will do this anyway. Most social canasta players won't penalize a player who forgets to put down a red three either, unless somebody ends the round before the offender remembers. Irregularity rules are generally something that players prefer to avoid, when possible, because they are outside of the "proper" flow of the game.

I would like to have a consistent rule for this; I don't want to sometimes fill it to what it was supposed to be, and sometimes to the number of players.

The problem is, sometimes the preferred option simply isn't possible. Almost everyone, I believe, would prefer to fill the colonists' ship with the number of colonists required to fill buildings (when this is greater than the number of players). However, if you have two or three building phases after a mayor phase during which you forget to fill the ship, it can be very difficult to work out which buildings are new. And what happens if the players disagree on what had gone before (because I assume you aren't keeping a formal record of the game). Thus, we have the irregularity rule, which we can use if we can't follow our preferred method. If everyone agrees that more colonists should go on the ship, you don't have a problem, because everyone agrees, but if not the rule covers you (even if not to everyone's complete satisfaction).

Travis Hall
 
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Heinz Kiosk
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
All,
My group absolutely insists on the "number of players" rule once the correct moment has passed by, even when this is manifestly far from what would have happened and if no builder phase has since occured. Because "that is what the rules say". I'd rather try to recreate usually but there you go.
Tom
 
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Re:"Forgetting" the colonist ship
tom.mcclelland wrote:
My group absolutely insists on the "number of players" rule once the correct moment has passed by, even when this is manifestly far from what would have happened and if no builder phase has since occured. Because "that is what the rules say". I'd rather try to recreate usually but there you go.


That's too bad really. I think that it takes away from the spirit of the game to do it that way. But when a group runs into trouble like this and can't agree what to do it doesn't matter what the logic is once everyone has attempted to sway others to thier point of view. The group simply must take a vote and play that way until some clarification is put out (if at all.) I would hope that the group that you're playing with AT LEAST TRIED to play it by putting the proper number back on if an accurate/agreed upon number is calculated.

Just out of curiosity what is the "correct moment" for your group? Does your group consider the moment passed as soon as the current mayor says "I'm Done!" or after the next role is picked? If it's the former then that would INDEED create a situation where the mayor may be "cheating" by intentionally forgetting. However, like I've said before, it's your game.

UB
 
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Re: "Forgetting" the colonist ship
I've heard people call this the "Gimped Ship", "Shady Mayor", and/or "Opps, Wha Happen't?" rule.

In my experience, any ruleset that directly addresses "forgetting/reminding" and thusly corrects the situation with a non-variable (e.g. # of players only a variable BEFORE 1st Round) makes intentional forgetting possible.

The official rules don't punish "forgetting," and in many cases, reward the culprit. That Shady Mayor, fudging the manifesto to suit his needs. Who else could manipulate population boons? Who else has the power?

Opps, Wha Happen't?

The only reason Online versions of PR auto-fill the Colonist Ship is to save on the ridiculous amount of code required to make the "Shady Mayor" feature work right. Not to mention extra UI to allow players to catch the Mayor at his shadiest, which by design, would make it hard for players to "forget" he "forgot". There'd be no Shady Mayors if you have a big ole button saying, [FORCE MAYOR TO FILL SHIP APPROPRIATELY].
 
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rock lobster
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Re: "Forgetting" the colonist ship
incorrect. All colonist on the colonist ship unload during the Mayor Phase. If you dont have employment for them, they go to San Juan.

you'd want to be a Shady Mayor towards the end of a game where skilled players weren't choosing Mayor often in efforts to work on building/shipping. You can help stall population boon / endgame two ways: electing not to take your Mayor priviledge (but still taking your colonists-Action e.g. from Ship); pulling a Shady Mayor at end-phase *if* there are more empty buildings (plantations do NOT count towards the refilling of the ship) than # of players and hoping you're not caught.

there's no point in pulling a Shady Mayor if the empty buildings do not exceed the # of players.

Towards the endgame, even 1 colonist in the supply will force another round. So never underestimate the power of the Shady Mayor. In my playgroup, our Mayor(s) start auto-declining the priviledge around mid- late-game, unless they're an unchecked Corn-Zerger who supports unchecked immigration.

Our group takes it a step further: Shady Mayor can "forget" about the Empty Building rule and fill the colonist ship with the # of players! It's then up to the other players to call "You Shady *BEEP* Mayor!" This makes the Mayor-role a lot more interesting... and yes, our group plays a lot of Junta when we're not playing PR.

example: 5 open buildings in a 3-player game (4 colonist in supply--This *should* be the last Round), Shady Mayor places 3 colonists on the ship instead of 4 and if nobody notices before the next player chooses a Role, gets away with it. Thus, forcing another round.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Re: "Forgetting" the colonist ship
Alexfrog wrote:
My recommendation is to always reconstruct the situation and put the correct # of colonists on the ship, if you forget.

There will be times when it is in certain players interest to 'forget' and put the minimal number on the ship, but this should not be considered a tactic. Forgetting the rules is not a tactic. The rule doesnt give the mayor the option of putting the minimum number.

Since I play mostly on BSW, when I play in person I often forget the ship. When my group forgets, we always make sure we get the correct number, remembering what buildings have been purchased after it.

I agree, and I'll also point out that in most cases it is decidedly easy to 'recreate' the situation.
 
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maybe I'm being anal (perhaps we all are), but what you're missing is the fact that nowhere in the rules does it state that "forgetting" to place the colonists on the ship during the Mayor Phase is an error.

if it was an error, the ruling would read:

If the Mayor forgets, place the appropriate amount of colonist on the ship governed by the EMPTY BUILDINGS rule. Do not count any buildings built *after* the last Mayor Phase.

I've read all versions of the ruleset, and while it could very easily "fix" this issue. It doesn't. It defaults to "# of players." So to place the amount of colonist on the ship according to the EMPTY BUILDINGS rule after the Mayor "forgets" (not counting new buildings built after the last Mayor phase) would be in error. This gives coy players the option to forget, and smart players the option to study the Mayor's every move.

Makes sense to me.

What we have are two camps: Those who follow the rules--strange as they may seem, and those who seek to change them.
 
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Dude I love your "Outdoor Survival" avitar. Sweet!! Classic!!
 
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Paul Sauberer
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rainofwalrus wrote:

This gives coy players the option to forget, and smart players the option to study the Mayor's every move.

Makes sense to me.


Any "coy players" in this scenario have another name: "cheaters."

"Forgetting" is not an option. The Mayor does not have the choice as to whether to fill the ship. It is a requirement. Intentionally failing to fill the ship is cheating, plain and simple.

Of course, it may not be possible to prove that a Mayor did this, but that does not make it any less cheating.

The alternate fill rule is there to cover exactly what it says, a case wher the mayor forgets. In some cases, if this happens it is impossible to figure out what should have been filled. The rule solves that dilemma, nothing more, nothing less.

 
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Robert Crawford
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Psauberer wrote:
rainofwalrus wrote:

This gives coy players the option to forget, and smart players the option to study the Mayor's every move.

Makes sense to me.


Any "coy players" in this scenario have another name: "cheaters."

"Forgetting" is not an option. The Mayor does not have the choice as to whether to fill the ship. It is a requirement. Intentionally failing to fill the ship is cheating, plain and simple.

Of course, it may not be possible to prove that a Mayor did this, but that does not make it any less cheating.

The alternate fill rule is there to cover exactly what it says, a case wher the mayor forgets. In some cases, if this happens it is impossible to figure out what should have been filled. The rule solves that dilemma, nothing more, nothing less.



I agree completely. The rules say "if the mayor forgets." Choosing to not do something is NOT "forgetting." It is impossible to "purposely forget." By definition of the word, "forgetting" is something that cannot be purposely done.

-Gendo
 
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