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Subject: Techs and Worlds in the Tableau rss

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T Patts
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Please can someone clarify how the tableau works for me - this is what I think should go on -

1: I've got my homeworld in the top half of my tableau. At the end of each turn I pay upkeep for it based on whatever suit icons go with it's advancements - the more advancements I have the easier it should be to find something to match.

2: Any complete Techs I draw at the beginning of the turn NEVER enter my tableau but instead their influence only lasts a single turn. As long as I have it in my hand then I can call upon any and all effects providing I'm taking the corresponding action.

3: Incomplete Techs may enter my Tableau on the bottom half. I don't have to pay upkeep for them at the end of each turn. Their influence remains in effect for the whole game and can be called upon whenever the right actions are played.

4: If incomplete techs in the Tableau are completed they enter the top half, next to the homeworld. I will now have to pay for their upkeep at the end of each turn. They continue to stay in effect until the end of the game.

5. Any new worlds that are settled enter the bottom half of the tableau. Their advancements can only be called upon ONCE and then the card is placed into the discard pile. I never have to pay upkeep for these cards.

6. This isn't to do with Tableaus but should every turn end with a Challenge phase? Even if I pay my upkeep phase successfully?

Is any of that right?
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Informally, Smizmazmarlemagne II
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Yeah I think you are getting it.

1. Exactly. If your homeworld has for instance the Art, Economy, and Weapons advancements, you can pay upkeep for it using either a Moon, Hand, or Sun card (i.e., the suits of those advancements, respectively).

2. Correct. Any complete techs drawn from the deck will never be placed in a tableau again. Thematically, these are techs that are 'finished' and exist out in the galaxy and can be used by anyone in the future. You use the completed tech by discarding it from your hand when taking the appropriate action. For example, let's say you discard a Moon card from your hand to take a Settle action and you also have a complete tech in hand with the advancements Infrastructure, Government, and Society. Then if you discard the complete tech too you can settle a new world (Society) and add an extra advancement to it (Government). But note you cannot do Infrastructure since that requires being in Start phase to be used.

3. Incorrect. Incomplete techs drawn from the deck never enter the tableau unless you are taking an Advance action and specifically advancing to a new tech and happen to draw an incomplete tech. The relevant portion in the rules is at the top of page 6 in version 1.2:
Deep Future Rules 1.2 wrote:
Instead of adding an advancement to one of these cards, the player may discard a card from the deck.
o If it is an incomplete tech, he places it in his tableau, adding a new advancement (using Table 5) to a suit without one on the tech.


The rules probably should specify that you place the incomplete tech in your tableau with your other techs. Techs in the tableau only ever go on the "top" line and always require upkeep. If you get one, you basically rediscovered some older civilization's research, giving you a leg-up, and now you own it and can finish it (and have to pay upkeep as usual). So it takes a bit of luck to draw an incomplete tech randomly when advancing to a new tech, but this unknown makes the History advancement very handy since you get to see if an incomplete tech is available to be advanced. Incomplete techs are otherwise not useful. But, if you have two complete techs, advance to a new tech, draw an incomplete tech with 2 advancements, then you get to immediately finish it (satisfying the win condition of having 3 complete techs).

4. Again, techs only ever go in the top part of the tableau as I discussed above and always require upkeep.

5. Exactly.

6. Yes. Every turn ends with a Challenge phase and there is always a minimum of 1 challenge you must face. For every card in the top line of your tableau (your homeworld and techs) that you do not upkeep, you must face 1 more challenge.

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Woden Ducky
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"The rules probably should specify that you place the incomplete tech in your tableau with your other techs."

Ah the pit falls of writing rule books. The term would be reiterated, not "specify", because the rules do specify where techs go. Page 3, section 1.4, paragraph 4, 3rd and forth sentence "The upper row contains the player’s homeworld and his techs. The lower row contains any other worlds on which the player has settled during the game.".

When writing rule books the writer should reiterate when needed, but that isn't always obvious to the writer. That's why players should offer suggestions and possible errors.
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Woden Ducky
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To the #6. The smiz's answer sounded confusing to me, so just in case you were the same. Yes, the challenge phase will have 1-5 challenges. In your upper tableau pay upkeep, if not add a card to the challenge pile. When you are finish performing upkeep, add 1 more card to the challenge pile.
Another way to see it is you will have 0-4 from your upper tableau, then one more not related to your tableau at all.
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The rwinder
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Thanks guys for taking the lead on answering rules questions.

I'll note that I believe you can conceivably have more than 5 challenges if you make more than 3 techs (I don't think I wrote this out of the rules). Why would you want to do that? Maybe you want to run the risk to get to make a wonder. Maybe you are finding it hard to go up the tracks and need to get track boosters because none of your techs have them. Pretty minor point, but worthy of remembering if you really want a wonder especially.

It looks like it might be getting close to the point where an official FAQ would be helpful. I know the rules are pretty dense and the guide in the blog (Deep Future: A bit of a tutorial) does only so much to help. I'll give some thought based on the questions that have been asked about what should go into it.
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Woden Ducky
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rwinder wrote:
I'll note that I believe you can conceivably have more than 5 challenges if you make more than 3 techs (I don't think I wrote this out of the rules). Why would you want to do that? Maybe you want to run the risk to get to make a wonder.


Now that I am looking at it. You never specify a limit, nor did you point out that you could go over three. A safe rule of thumb for board gaming is 'if the rules don't say you can, then you can't'. Always assume you can't until you are told you can.

I have had many games so far that I would have gone into a 4th tech (maybe even a fifth) to get a wonder.
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The rwinder
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OdinofDuckies wrote:
rwinder wrote:
I'll note that I believe you can conceivably have more than 5 challenges if you make more than 3 techs (I don't think I wrote this out of the rules). Why would you want to do that? Maybe you want to run the risk to get to make a wonder.


Now that I am looking at it. You never specify a limit, nor did you point out that you could go over three. A safe rule of thumb for board gaming is 'if the rules don't say you can, then you can't'. Always assume you can't until you are told you can.

I have had many games so far that I would have gone into a 4th tech (maybe even a fifth) to get a wonder.


It's an open issue at the moment. I have never pressed the techs as high as they could go to the breaking point of a civilization; I try to win before that. I assume that the inability to keep up with upkeep would eventually crush you, but it might not happen until you get deeper than four or five techs if you have enough banked upkeep to stay alive and perhaps many suns to take power actions. It might be more possible in a deck that has lots of suns and skulls.

If someone discovers this is "broken" I might alter the rules, but for now you should be able to go as deep as you can, so to speak.
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The rwinder
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OdinofDuckies wrote:
I have had many games so far that I would have gone into a 4th tech (maybe even a fifth) to get a wonder.


Also bear in mind that if you start a 4th tech with the goal of getting a final suit for the wonder you have to complete it to get the wonder. You can conceivably win with 3 techs and an incomplete tech, but the incomplete tech will not count even its finished advancements toward the wonder. I believe the rules do make this point. So it's not quite as easy as just starting the tech and then leaving it unfinished when you get the five needed suits for the wonder you want.
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I think it would be easy to finish a fourth or fifth tech. So far my average experience is that the game actually gets easier the more Techs I have. I have a few proposals that would make the difficulty either average out or become more difficult. First possibility is to reduce the number of advancements to two. This makes meeting challenges and paying upkeep harder, You may even consider making the number of techs minimum 4 instead of 3. Next is to change the upkeep/challenge pile. Instead of just 1 more challenge card, you could say +1 for each card in your upper tableau. Another is to just say 2 challenge cards for each missed upkeep. With the challenge pile increase I would soften the challenge table, aka instead of a few large hits, many smaller hits. I say this because I am often holding 10+ cards in the late game and/or being able to modify my hand (via the dis/draw & draw/dis abilities). Also the later the era, the easier. You could integrate the Era into the algorithm too. Maybe it's just the positive aspects of my autism making this game easier for me. In my first galaxy My win/lose ratio was roughly 1/4 (~20% winning), but I didn't keep a chronology and went to my 8th era. Now in my second galaxy the ratio is 5/3 (62.5%). For my second galaxy the percentages are by era I:50% won, II:33% won, IV:100% won, V:100% won. Idk, maybe I broke your system like that guy with the Utopia Engine, oops.
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OdinofDuckies wrote:
I think it would be easy to finish a fourth or fifth tech. So far my average experience is that the game actually gets easier the more Techs I have. I have a few proposals that would make the difficulty either average out or become more difficult. First possibility is to reduce the number of advancements to two. This makes meeting challenges and paying upkeep harder, You may even consider making the number of techs minimum 4 instead of 3. Next is to change the upkeep/challenge pile. Instead of just 1 more challenge card, you could say +1 for each card in your upper tableau. Another is to just say 2 challenge cards for each missed upkeep. With the challenge pile increase I would soften the challenge table, aka instead of a few large hits, many smaller hits. I say this because I am often holding 10+ cards in the late game and/or being able to modify my hand (via the dis/draw & draw/dis abilities). Also the later the era, the easier. You could integrate the Era into the algorithm too. Maybe it's just the positive aspects of my autism making this game easier for me. In my first galaxy My win/lose ratio was roughly 1/4 (~20% winning), but I didn't keep a chronology and went to my 8th era. Now in my second galaxy the ratio is 5/3 (62.5%). For my second galaxy the percentages are by era I:50% won, II:33% won, IV:100% won, V:100% won. Idk, maybe I broke your system like that guy with the Utopia Engine, oops.


Of course, just because I made the game doesn't mean I play it well solo! Even if the system can be cracked for solo, it still should provide something to worry about if you are racing against other players to a victory, but let's leave that aside and focus on solo only.

I guess you can get huge hands through the advancements, but you can't guarantee you'll always have access on your worlds/techs to Economy, Computation, Industry, and/or Energy, let alone many of them. Of course these draw/discard powers have significant diminishing returns when discarded on old techs to use them. Also deck distribution matters a great deal so some galaxies are easier than others in solo play.

But the game definitely does get easier in future eras because of the availability of old techs and experience and it does get easier as the game progresses because you have more ways to pay.

As for solutions, I am not in favor of reducing advancements to two since it makes the techs less interesting to me (a significant fun portion of the game is trying to wrap some concept around three different subdisciplines). Neither do I prefer increasing the number of techs you have to get (and you hypothesize that doesn't really affect the difficulty). I also worry about softening the table; you need occasional big hits to worry about. Taking a hit of two challenges for a missed upkeep seems really punishing early; I'd rather the late game be harder. So the challenge pile really does seem like the thing to modify.

Let's think about a scaling number of challenges depending on techs and eras. The entries below are the number of challenges. The columns are number of techs in the tableau. The row is the era.

XX|0123
---------
01|1234
02|1235
03|1245
04|1345
05|2345
06|2346
07|2356
08|2456
09|3456
10|3457
11|3467
12|3567
13|4567
14|4568
15|4578
16|4678
17|5678
18|5679
19|5689
20|5789
...

Yeah, that pattern gets pretty hard. I am reasonably sure I couldn't survive an early game if I followed that. Maybe just reducing the rate of increase would work. Now the era is the era where it changes:

XX|0123
---------
01|1234
05|1235
10|1245
15|1345
20|2345
25|2346
30|2356
35|2456
40|3456
45|3457
50|3467
55|3567
60|4567
65|4568
70|4578
75|4678
80|5678
85|5679
90|5689
95|5789
...

That might be more workable. Really late eras will be very hard, but I've not cracked era 40 in any of my galaxies so far. But it's kind of unpleasant to have to remember "how many challenges do I have to do in this era and with this many techs?" This might be smoothed out to be more trackable.

Other possible solutions:
Add a "doom track" since time is a resource we don't tax in the game. Let's say you have 20 turns to win (so you'll need to be advancing at least 11 of those turns). Maybe that's too generous, but some decks have very few skulls. I dislike this idea.
Reduce the number of cards you can retain (to 5?); pretty lazy, but it might help to address an exploit.
Ban certain advancements at the start of the game: pick a random tech and say it is taboo in this era. You cannot use any advancements that appear on it from any pre-existing cards and if any are generated for your techs, redraw for them. This way if you have been stacking advancements in your favor, you are now forced to explore other options. This sounds fun to me. I might try it myself in my next game.
Or to make the previous even more convoluted (because why not?) maybe all advancements on neutral worlds are banned...this could very well be clunky if all advancements of one suit appear, but there's some potential here.
Maybe some "benefit/drawback" scenarios. Let's say you want to start in a new sector, but you keep drawing worlds in named ones. Well in a "Frontier Struggle" scenario, you start in a new world in an unnamed sector, but you have to draw one more challenge each round (or something more innovative).

Interesting stuff to think about. Food for thought for a "Deeper Future" variant to address issues of later eras.

Edits: So many errors... don't write long forum posts late at night, kids.
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Thanks for all your input everybody, that clears up a lot of questions.

I had been advancing incomplete techs straight from my hand...oops...which means that my first era's success was "illegal" and there are now far too few incomplete techs out there... ah well!

On a side note, once I have settled a planet, used its advancements and discarded the card is there anyway of keeping track that it belongs to me? Aside from writing it in my history that is? Are there any future benefits to having settled a planet beyond its one-time advancement usage?


I'm really enjoying the game by the way, despite all my questions!
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Tpatts wrote:
Thanks for all your input everybody, that clears up a lot of questions.

I had been advancing incomplete techs straight from my hand...oops...which means that my first era's success was "illegal" and there are now far too few incomplete techs out there... ah well!

On a side note, once I have settled a planet, used its advancements and discarded the card is there anyway of keeping track that it belongs to me? Aside from writing it in my history that is? Are there any future benefits to having settled a planet beyond its one-time advancement usage?


I'm really enjoying the game by the way, despite all my questions!


I've run into this issue too when trying to track the new planets I settle. When I want a complete history, I have to write them down as I make them on a separate piece of paper, so it's not quite as elegant a way to track it as I'd like.

Settling is also kind of a "second-class" action. It's main advantages are:
you can settle in a sector you control to get a "backup homeworld"
you can discard a settled world to use any or all of its advancements modifying the START or an action
you can discard a settled world if any of its advancement suits match a challenge that you can't/don't want to pay for from your hand

So these planets are for exploitation and protection of your civilization more than anything.

On the other topic, I think it might be worthy of an official variant to allow incomplete techs to be played from the hand, if only for solo. It would seem highly unfair in a multi-player game, but I still need to try a galaxy from scratch doing that to see if there's any unexpected consequences of it. I mainly think it would make the game easier, but probably only slightly as you'd win more often and thus there would be fewer incomplete techs to benefit from. It might simply serve to balance the game if it starts getting too hard for a player. Nevertheless, I'd still say it would only be a good variant for solo play.
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