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Subject: Planet-Ships rss

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Lou Lessing
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Bear with me for something silly.


The rules for swinging planets around when placing a new space lane technically allow for one arrangement of planets that's very special.

It looks like this.



These two planets can fly. You can swing either around the other, which allows you to move them nearly anywhere on the map, as long as you have sufficient room to maneuver. They'll only ever be able to make one journey, but that journey is one of the most theoretically-powerful movement options in ST:A. It's the reason the rules specify that home systems are always fixed.


One might think that a single isolated planet would be an even more maneuverable planet-ship, but under a strict reading of the rules, it isn't. You can swing any planet connected to exactly 1 space lane around the other end of that space lane. You can't move planets connected to 2 or more space lanes. The rules have nothing to say about planets connected to 0 space lanes, other than "home systems are fixed,", so technically the behavior of the single-planet planet-ship is undefined -- but I'm pretty sure it doesn't move at all.

On the surface, it seems like it's impossible to build such a thing. It's fun to think about, but it doesn't actually work in-game. But it turns out, in true Star Trek fashion, that it isn't impossible -- you just have to follow some very specific steps and get really quite lucky.

Here's how you do it.

First, you explore a hazardous system and die to the hazard. Then you draw a face-down exploration card and put it on the system -- the first player to successfully brave the hazard will encounter that card.



Then, you warp past it with another ship. Explore a new system. connected by the hazard by 1 space lane. This is the first system of your planet-ship.



Then, you explore a new system from that system. This is the second system of your planet-ship. At this point, you're technically capable of launch. If you used the same forces you're planning on using to 'crew' the planet-ship to explore it, you might actually launch it immediately.



If you don't want to launch it immediately, you probably want to connect it back to the hazard system to make it harder for another player to connect to it while you're setting up. Don't let anybody connect either system to anything but the hazard system, or it'll be ruined.



When you're ready to launch, send a ship to the hazard system and brave the hazard. After you brave the hazard, you encounter the face-down exploration card from way way back. If it's anything but Planet Eater, your planet-ship isn't going to fly. I did say there was some RNG. If it is Planet Eater, unfortunately, your explorers are going to have to die. Sometimes science requires sacrifice. Let the planet eater eat the system. The attached spacelanes collapse, and your planet-ship is unmoored.



Now you can go almost anywhere. Sure, it's an enormous, hugely expensive way to build a ship. Sure, you have to blow up a planet to do it. Sure, that only works one time in sixty. Sure, you only get one jump. But it's so much faster than traditional warp technology!



A few other tips:
-The length of the space lane that connects the two systems of your planet-ship matters a lot to it's maneuverability. It might be worth using commands to grind for a 2.
-Build your planet ship somewhere with ready access to open space on the map. They're very good at going around the edges of the map, not so good at going through the middle.
-You can't reconnect the planet-ship to anywhere that already has it's maximum number of connections. Advanced Stellar Cartography mitigates this (relatively minor) drawback.
-When you reconnect, you still have one free end. You can build bridges.
-You can build up warp tokens on ships in the planet-ship systems before you launch the planet-ship, for even more reach.
-Like any other floating system, you can move it to make a new space lane from it, or a new space lane to it. So can anybody else.
-Once you launch your planet-ship, you have to use it that turn. If you pass turn with it still free-floating, the next player gets control over where it lands.

I don't think this is, in any way or in any context, a viable strategy. But maybe, the next time you see a facedown exploration card on a planet, you could give it a try anyway. You might get to see something cool.
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Daniel Grant
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LOL. Bravo!
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Angelus Seniores
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the rules dont clarify it, but i do think that as long as a system hasnt been explored, that its still a "new" system so ships would have to stop there and resolve the exploration card first
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Tommy Roman
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Talk about edge cases...

You should apply to GF9 as a play-tester and show them how to "break" their games.
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Lou Lessing
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Angelsenior wrote:
the rules dont clarify it, but i do think that as long as a system hasnt been explored, that its still a "new" system so ships would have to stop there and resolve the exploration card first


That's possible, but it would surprise me. The rules just say "If your Ships do not survive entry into a Hazardous Planetary System, place an Exploration Card face down on that system. The first player to Brave the Hazard must resolve the card."

I think if the intention was for these partially-explored systems to block warp movement, there'd be some mention of that.

"Moving into a newly placed System always ends your Movement," but that really is not the same thing as landing on a planet with an exploration card on it. This rule explicitly refers to placing the system disks, I don't think it has anything directly to do with exploration cards at all.

Mechanically, that rule exists to stop you placing more than one system during your move. Flavor-wise, it makes sense that you can't warp a bunch of times through unknown space with the way space lanes work in this game. You can't plan a long warp journey through unknown space, once you're off the map you have to stop every so often and figure out where you are and where you're going. When you place an exploration card on a hazardous system, what that means is that you've successfully mapped the system, but were destroyed before you made contact with the planet. Apart from the Federation's mandate to seek out strange new worlds, there's no reason it would be harder to warp past an uncontacted planet than any other hazardous system.

Of course, only GF9 knows for sure. But I'm pretty sure exploration cards don't block warp movement.
 
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William Hardy
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Your reasoning appears sound but I have always played that the system is not fully there until the exploration card has been resolved, and no ship can move though it without trying to resolve it (once it's turned over, even if it remains in play, the matter is now resolved). In any case, I think it is necessary to play that way, for logic's sake. LLAP
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clarence neal

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Once the "ship" is created what would keep one of your opponents from moving it?
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Lou Lessing
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Ihwarrior wrote:
Once the "ship" is created what would keep one of your opponents from moving it?


Nothing at all. Once you 'launch' it by blowing up the planet, you have to use it that turn or the next player gets a chance to move your ship.
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Michael Cyr
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Sorry for the bump of an old post, but I just wanted to point out that technically the rules don't allow this. The last bullet under Additional Map Rules on page 14 states, "A System is only considered Floating if it is connected to a Fixed System." So the Systems in your two-planet "ship" are not Floating Systems, and therefore the rules for moving Floating Systems do not apply to them.
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Luke O'Hearn
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You're no fun!
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Lou Lessing
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mikecyr wrote:
Sorry for the bump of an old post, but I just wanted to point out that technically the rules don't allow this. The last bullet under Additional Map Rules on page 14 states, "A System is only considered Floating if it is connected to a Fixed System." So the Systems in your two-planet "ship" are not Floating Systems, and therefore the rules for moving Floating Systems do not apply to them.


Balls.
 
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Mattias Elfström
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mikecyr wrote:
Sorry for the bump of an old post, but I just wanted to point out that technically the rules don't allow this. The last bullet under Additional Map Rules on page 14 states, "A System is only considered Floating if it is connected to a Fixed System." So the Systems in your two-planet "ship" are not Floating Systems, and therefore the rules for moving Floating Systems do not apply to them.

But if they are not floating, I suppose they have to be fixed and thus both connected to fixed systems. Which means they are floating...
 
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Michael Cyr
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Mattias wrote:
But if they are not floating, I suppose they have to be fixed and thus both connected to fixed systems. Which means they are floating...

I know you're just being facetious, but no, they're not Fixed either, because a System is only Fixed if it is connected to two other Systems (or is a Home System). So they are neither Fixed nor Floating, so the rules don't cover them.

That's probably why it's best to avoid the situation entirely and simply rule that you can't explore out of a System which has an unrevealed Exploration Card.
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Lou Lessing
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mikecyr wrote:
Mattias wrote:
But if they are not floating, I suppose they have to be fixed and thus both connected to fixed systems. Which means they are floating...

I know you're just being facetious, but no, they're not Fixed either, because a System is only Fixed if it is connected to two other Systems (or is a Home System). So they are neither Fixed nor Floating, so the rules don't cover them.

That's probably why it's best to avoid the situation entirely and simply rule that you can't explore out of a System which has an unrevealed Exploration Card.


Single disconnected non-home systems are in the same state, neither Fixed nor Floating. I think it's most reasonable to conclude that you can't move them, because nothing says you can. I suppose an argument could be made that you can move them because nothing says you can't. I'd just rule one way or the other though, I don't think you need to add an entire brand new -- and not very thematic -- rule to the game just to address this corner case.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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brisingre wrote:
I think it's most reasonable to conclude that you can't move them, because nothing says you can. I suppose an argument could be made that you can move them because nothing says you can't.


It's pretty reasonable that you need a rule you validate any game action you wish to perform. There's a rule that allows us to pivot floating systems. Without that rule it would be illegal.
 
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