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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » Rules

Subject: First-Timer Questions: Emitter Drones, Cloaked Mines, Planet Eater rss

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James J

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So, after lots of BGG reading and messing with the components, my group got this to the table. And we had a blast. The rules generally clicked, and although we ran long it didn't seem to bother anybody. Despite having a really poor draw of Federation planets that never enabled my production to get off the ground, I almost squeaked an Ascendancy victory from the massive Klingon and Romulan empires. LOL. The Romulans had to take Earth to stop me, and that left them open to the Klingons who managed a supremacy victory.

The rule we almost missed: You must still control your homeworld for an Ascendancy victory. I had the culture even after losing Earth, but luckily someone else caught the rule in time.

We only had 3 situations pop up that we weren't 100% decided upon, and I couldn't find discussion elsewhere. I'd like to hear what others think of these.

Multi-Spectral Emitter Drones (Romulan)
On your turn, you may use a Command to Exhaust a Trade Agreement of a Rival with whom you've made contact.
Q tossed the Romulans next to Earth right at the start of the game, so we were able to trade before making First Contact. Since "contact" on the card wasn't capitalized, we assumed this advancement could still be used on the Federation, since our ships had made contact, even though our homeworlds were not connected. Along those same lines, if the Klingons made First Contact but didn't come in contact with any Romulan ships or nodes, we assumed this advancement could not be used on them.

Cloaked Orbital Mines (Romulan)
When Hostile Rival Ships enter a System you Control, roll a die for each Rival Ship. On a roll of 6 they are destroyed, regardless of their Shields.
The discussion here was the meaning of "enter". Did it mean stopping in a system or passing through? The Klingons sent a fleet towards Romulus, and it had to pass through several developed Romulan worlds (which held no fleets). The Romulan player chose to treat it like a Phenomenon (ie, you can pass through the system without braving it by going around it) and only triggered the mines when the Klingons stopped at Romulus. But we could also see the mines being used in every sector as the ships pass through.

The Planet Eater (Crisis)
Level 3 Hazard. If any Ships survive, you may sacrifice a Ship to destroy the Planet Eater and save the System. Otherwise, the System is destroyed; remove it from the game.
This may be a dumb question, but what if you survive with one ship and don't want to sacrifice it? This wasn't an option since the single ship was destroyed during the hazard roll, but we ruled that it could have retreated back to the space lane if it had survived, and then the system disc would be discarded. This made thematic sense, but you could also rule that the ship was in the system when it was destroyed, taking everything with it. But if that was the case, why give you a choice at all?

We all agreed that the game would benefit from a fourth and maybe fifth player (time becomes the limiting factor), but everyone is eager to get this back to the table, pronto!
 
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Angelus Seniores
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Multi-spectral emitter drones:
First contact is when you have established an unbroken path of spacelanes/systems from your homeworld to another faction's homeworld.
So while Q may put you adjacent early with another faction, it isnt first contact yet.
its a bit of a confusing situation with Q, but you would have to consider the ship as 'stranded' ie disconnected from its homeworld. the rules allow trade, but its not first contact yet.
for the klingons, once first contact is made, it doesnt matter which race contacted with which, and the tech can be used on them if the klingons made first contact already themselves.
a FAQ to clarify how Q modifies first contact would be nice, the use of "contact" instead of first contact is confusing.

Cloaked Orbital mines:
there is no clear indication but i do think its only when the ships effectively stop in the system, ie same as phenomenons, I guess a FAQ clarification would be welcome here as well.
it might even be reasonable that ships traveling at warp would be forced to drop out of warp due to the mines thus stopping their movement.
given the game tends to be leaning towards simpler solutions i think the treatment like phenomenon is the best solution so far.

the planet eater:
if you dont sacrifice the surviving ship then the system is indeed destroyed.
the rules dont say what happens to the ship or clarify the effects on the system.
My first thought was that the system is flipped, ie its there but its empty so the surviving ship could simply stay put.
rereading the rules it does seem to imply the system is discarded from the map along with empty spacelanes but i feel it unthematic if you could re-explore the same map space later on to suddenly find a new system there.
Depending the nature of the destruction, a ship in the system might not survive the process anyway so there is a chance that that surviving ship dies anyway along with the system. this seems to be the simpler application which GF9 would choose, but yet again a FAQ would be nice.

its a pity that the rules dont clarify exceptional situations like these.
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Eric Stevenson
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Cloaked Orbital mines: I believe they would only activate if you end your movement in a system OR impulse through them. If you are in Warp and passing through, you are not in real space and I am not sure how the mines would pull you out of Warp. I believe you made the right decision. It makes sense thematically anyway.
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Marc Bennett
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DoctorBox wrote:
Cloaked Orbital mines: I believe they would only activate if you end your movement in a system OR impulse through them. If you are in Warp and passing through, you are not in real space and I am not sure how the mines would pull you out of Warp. I believe you made the right decision. It makes sense thematically anyway.


you can impulse past a phenomenon so why couldnt you impulse past the mines. the lesson here is if you have the mines place a ship in every system.
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Craig S.
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Klaxas wrote:
DoctorBox wrote:
Cloaked Orbital mines: I believe they would only activate if you end your movement in a system OR impulse through them. If you are in Warp and passing through, you are not in real space and I am not sure how the mines would pull you out of Warp. I believe you made the right decision. It makes sense thematically anyway.


you can impulse past a phenomenon so why couldnt you impulse past the mines. the lesson here is if you have the mines place a ship in every system.


No, the wording is different. You can impulse past phenomena as long as you don't end your movement there, because the rules say you can. The mines say they affect anything that enters the system, so you cannot impulse past them. You can warp past them, but not impulse. When travelling at impulse, you enter every sector you pass through; when travelling at warp, you only enter the sector in which exit warp.
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James J

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Angelsenior-I'm 100% in agreement over what constitutes First Contact. But trying to decide if "contact" means "First Contact" is the confusing bit. GF9 put out a decent manual, IMHO, and has been fairly consistent with the capitalized keywords. Hopefully they'll chime in on this one.

Klaxas wrote:
DoctorBox wrote:
Cloaked Orbital mines: I believe they would only activate if you end your movement in a system OR impulse through them. If you are in Warp and passing through, you are not in real space and I am not sure how the mines would pull you out of Warp. I believe you made the right decision. It makes sense thematically anyway.


you can impulse past a phenomenon so why couldnt you impulse past the mines. the lesson here is if you have the mines place a ship in every system.


Yeah, I don't think impulse or warp would make a difference. You could start in the space lane and impulse onto the disc and off the other side. That or warp would have the same chance of triggering it, assuming that's how the mines work.

I don't see how having ships in the intervening systems would make a difference. The Klingons would be slowed down, as they'd have to stop in each space lane. But whether the mines activate or not would only depend on their trigger (passing through or stopping in the system). The only system the Klingon would stop in (intervening ships or no) would be Romulus for the planetary invasion.

Having ships in the space lane opposite the Klingon advance would be most useful, I suppose. Kind of like using a Phenomenon or Hazardous System as a natural defense against invaders. You force the Klingons to stop at the planet, even though they don't want to invade there.
 
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Donald Jensen

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csouth154 wrote:
No, the wording is different. You can impulse past phenomena as long as you don't end your movement there, because the rules say you can. The mines say they affect anything that enters the system, so you cannot impulse past them. You can warp past them, but not impulse. When travelling at impulse, you enter every sector you pass through; when travelling at warp, you only enter the sector in which exit warp.


I would have to disagree, if this were true then enemy ships in sectors wouldn't force you out of Warp. You still travel through the sectors when at warp, you just do it faster.

I would agree that the mines should not effect you based on the same logic as the way phenomenon hazards work, but I could see where an argument for it effecting the ships could be made.
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k c
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These are excellent questions. They have caused me to think more deeply about the game.

My opinion on "contact" is that they intended it to be "First Contact", as it is the only type of contact discussed in the rulebook. Since they didn't specify "First Contact", your interpretation is very logical. and I wouldn't be surprised if an official clarification ruled in your favor.

I played the Cloaked Orbital mines they way you did. I didn't think this deeply about it at the time because we never tried to pass through. I think you are correct in interpreting that entering is different than passing through. If you read the section on pg11 "Entering Rival Territory", it differentiates enter vs pass through.

"As you're moving through space at Impulse or Warp you may not enter or pass through a sector you don't control that contains Hostile rival Ships."

I infer from this that "entering" is different than "passing through". Passing through is clear enough, but I have to guess that entering is synonymous with stopping in a system/ending movement.

Edit: If "entering" is not "passing through" then you should be able to impulse through a Romulan controlled and system without triggering the mines. This fits with their pg12 "Space is big" explanation of why you can pass through Hazards without having to brave them.

My opinion on system destruction is that you would have lost the Ship to the Planet Eater. Exploration cards are resolved immediately, so there would be no time to retreat. I think the intent is that if you don't sacrifice 1 ship, you'll lose them all to the system destruction. Otherwise why not just retreat all of your ships and ignore the Planet Eater, letting it destroy the system.
(GF9 Responded below, you can move your ship(s) to the space lane, just off the Destroyed System.)
It appears that the interpretation is "Feed me a ship, or I will eat this beautiful planet!" If I was a surviving starship captain, my reply would be: "Go ahead and eat it, Warp speed to anywhere but here... engage!"
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Craig S.
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I think you might be misunderstanding how ships blocking other ships works. You absolutely CAN pass hostile ships while in warp. You just cannot end your movement in a sector containing hostile ships. Moving at impulse is different. You enter every sector during impulse movement.
 
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Donald Jensen

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csouth154 wrote:
I think you might be misunderstanding how ships blocking other ships works. You absolutely CAN pass hostile ships while in warp. You just cannot end your movement in a sector containing hostile ships. Moving at impulse is different. You enter every sector during impulse movement.

I think you are the one that is misunderstanding. Page 11: Entering Rival Territory. "As you are moving through space at impulse or warp, you may not enter or pass through a Sector you don't Control that contains Hostile rival ships."

This seems fairly clear and straight forward to me.
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k c
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Entering every sector you pass through while moving at impulse is a very logical interpretation, but I don't see anywhere in the rulebook that "Entering" is defined. I could see it interpreted either way, especially since the rules seem to suggest you can pass a phenomenon safely at impulse (though it does use the term "stop" instead of "enter").

Was there a clarification from GF9 that I missed? I think one could argue that the terms "enter" and "pass through" apply equally to Impulse and Warp.

Further clarification is definitely needed on "entering" if it hasn't been already.
 
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Gale Force Nine LLC
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As others have pointed out, a ship that finds itself suddenly stranded on the other side of the quadrant can establish a Trade Agreement with a rival civilization, but it does not count as First Contact. While that lone ship or fleet or lost colony is trading the resources it needs to return home or sustain itself; formal contact between governments as the result of First Contact has not been established. Any Advancement that requires contact requires that the Home Systems of both civilizations are connected to each other via Space Lanes and Systems.

Like a Hazard, you only have to make the roll for the Orbital Mines when the ships end their movement in Romulan Systems. When moving through the Systems, it’s safe to assume that the Romulan’s rivals aren’t getting close enough to trigger the mines.

Any time there are Ships in a destroyed System, move them into an adjacent Space Lane Sector, unless the Card states otherwise. They could then move into another System ‘discovered’ at the end of that Space Lane, even on the same spot on the table. Keep in mind, the Systems’ exact location in the Galaxy isn’t fixed until it’s connected to another system.
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Craig S.
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DrakosDJ wrote:
csouth154 wrote:
I think you might be misunderstanding how ships blocking other ships works. You absolutely CAN pass hostile ships while in warp. You just cannot end your movement in a sector containing hostile ships. Moving at impulse is different. You enter every sector during impulse movement.

I think you are the one that is misunderstanding. Page 11: Entering Rival Territory. "As you are moving through space at impulse or warp, you may not enter or pass through a Sector you don't Control that contains Hostile rival ships."

This seems fairly clear and straight forward to me.


Shit, yeah I misread that...
 
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James J

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Gale Force Nine wrote:
As others have pointed out, a ship that finds itself suddenly stranded on the other side of the quadrant can establish a Trade Agreement with a rival civilization, but it does not count as First Contact. While that lone ship or fleet or lost colony is trading the resources it needs to return home or sustain itself; formal contact between governments as the result of First Contact has not been established. Any Advancement that requires contact requires that the Home Systems of both civilizations are connected to each other via Space Lanes and Systems.

Like a Hazard, you only have to make the roll for the Orbital Mines when the ships end their movement in Romulan Systems. When moving through the Systems, it’s safe to assume that the Romulan’s rivals aren’t getting close enough to trigger the mines.

Any time there are Ships in a destroyed System, move them into an adjacent Space Lane Sector, unless the Card states otherwise. They could then move into another System ‘discovered’ at the end of that Space Lane, even on the same spot on the table. Keep in mind, the Systems’ exact location in the Galaxy isn’t fixed until it’s connected to another system.


surprise
WOW. You cleared this up fast.

First off, thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion (and even added some new ideas or tangents to think about). I really thought I was just being thick about these particular questions. I'm relieved to see they were worth mulling over.

Huge kudos to GF9 for taking care of us like this. I wish more publishers were this supportive of their new games.

So it sounds like we got the Drones wrong--"contact" is the same as "First Contact". That's easy to remember. thumbsup

But we got the mines and the Planet Eater/destroyed system right. "Entering" a system means stopping in it, just like stopping in a Phenomenon. And the Planet Eater card's choice of destroying a ship or not makes more sense now that we know the ship won't be lost either way.

Thanks!
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k c
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There is another Discovery Exploration card that says something like: "You may exchange trade agreements with the other players, even if you haven't achieved First Contact."

 
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James J

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I doubt it was an oversight, Craig. It won't happen very often since you have to pull one or two specific cards and have it happen before First Contact. And while it may not be strictly thematically accurate, it spices up the game. When it happened to me, it caused one of the tensest negotiations in our entire game. I could have just killed his ship, but making the trade agreement was a lifesaver for me since none of my nearby planets could build production nodes.
 
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Craig S.
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japester1 wrote:
I doubt it was an oversight, Craig. It won't happen very often since you have to pull one or two specific cards and have it happen before First Contact. And while it may not be strictly thematically accurate, it spices up the game. When it happened to me, it caused one of the tensest negotiations in our entire game. I could have just killed his ship, but making the trade agreement was a lifesaver for me since none of my nearby planets could build production nodes.


I don't know. The wording of Diplomatic Summit makes it pretty clear that you aren't normally meant to be able to trade with a rival before making contact with them...unless there is some other reason I am missing for them to put those words on the card at all...

See, it always seemed to me that they always meant for First Contact to be required but just neglected to mention it because, like you said, aside from a couple of edge cases, first contact will always have been made between rivals whose ships or nodes are adjacent or sharing a sector.

 
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James J

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csouth154 wrote:

I don't know. The wording of Diplomatic Summit makes it pretty clear that you aren't normally meant to be able to trade with a rival before making contact with them...unless there is some other reason I am missing for them to put those words on the card at all...


Nope, I agree with you. You aren't normally meant to trade before First Contact. But Diplomatic Summit, along with the Q card (and maybe one other card?) sometimes allow you to get around that. In other words, it's rare. It's really no different than the cards that alter the timing of colonization, for example. They just change the normal order of things.

Looking at the "Q" card specifically, in our game we placed all but maybe a few system discs, and we barely made a dent in the Exploration Card deck. Including the 50th anniversary cards, we used less than a third of the deck. So the odds of pulling "Q" at all are low, and lower still that it will pull before First Contact.
 
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Craig S.
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I can see how allowing trade before first contact would really be no big deal and very rarely come into play. I'm just confused as to why they put that wording on Diplomatic Summit at all if trading and contact weren't meant to be connected.
 
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James J

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csouth154 wrote:
I can see how allowing trade before first contact would really be no big deal and very rarely come into play. I'm just confused as to why they put that wording on Diplomatic Summit at all if trading and contact weren't meant to be connected.


Ah, I get it now. Trading, technically, has nothing to do with First Contact. It only requires rival ships (or nodes) to be adjacent or in the same sector. So why mention "contact" on the card that lets you trade early? I can see how that might be confusing. I think we have a case of poor word choice on the card, even though it ultimately doesn't change the meaning much.

Diplomatic Summit: "You may immediately exchange Trade Agreements with any of your rivals, even those with whom you have not made contact."


So here we have another card (besides the Emitter Drones Advancement) that uses the word "contact", which is not defined in the rules. GF9 has clarified that "contact" is synonymous with "First Contact" in regards to the Emitter Drones ability. But on the Diplomatic Summit card, it must mean "contact" as defined in the Trade Agreement rules (ie, adjacent ships/nodes) since "First Contact" has nothing to do with Trade. First Contact is almost always going to take place before Trade, but it is not actually required.

I guess if they updated the Emitter Drones card to say "First Contact" and leave the Diplomatic Summit card with "contact", it would be clearer.
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