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Subject: Improvements rss

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Larry Schneider
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So I'm continuing to learn the rules in advance of getting the game, and am anxiously awaiting word of its availability here in the US. Some say November, others say December, Amazon says January 12!

In the meantime, I have questions about Improvements. In reading posts and watching videos, I've come to understand that since Improvements can't easily be discarded, they may potentially clog up your hand, especially if the Improvement provides you with little benefit.

So that leads me to wonder whether what's written on the card is a requirement when the Improvement is played or optional. Examples:

If I play the Anvil Improvement (109), am I required to convert 1 wood and 1 clay into 1 tool or is that optional? If I didn't do it, wouldn't I effectively be discarding the card?

Similarly, if I play Clay Oven (113), am I required to convert 1 wood and 1 clay into 1 brick and then do it a second time? If so, I presume that means that if I didn't have 2 clay in storage, I couldn't play the card at all?

A Building Contract card such as 117 says build a Forester's House for 2 Tools and 2 Wood. So I couldn't just play that card to get it out of my hand, I'd actually have to have the tools and the wood necessary to build the Forester's House?

Then there's card #120, pay 1 tool and 1 wood to build a storage shed and do it twice. Again, what part of this is required and what part is optional?

I assume I couldn't get a permanent Improvement out of my hand without paying for it and placing it in front of me even if I didn't want the benefit?

If I paid for the Kiln permanent Improvement (#215), would I have to convert 2 clay into 1 brick during Production or would that be optional?

FINAL QUESTION: Is playing an Improvement considered an "action?" So if I have level 2 relations with the Altruist Colony and the Altruist Ambassador is on, say, a Riverbank Grove, would the 2 Wood discount apply to whatever cost might be shown on the Improvement card? If yes, can you think of any outlays of resources that wouldn't be covered by the Altruist discount? Payment of a fee, for instance?

Whew! Thanks to any and all that can shed light on this subject. I really appreciate it. Trying to wrap my head around all the rules without having the game in front of me is difficult to say the least.

Happy Holidays!
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Jeff Thornsen
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My Opinion:

1. If the Improvement card has a cost at the very top of the card, that cost must be paid in order to play the card. Altruist discounts do apply here (if applicable).
2. The bottom part of the card is entirely optional IMO. You can always choose to forfeit the cards ability. Maybe you just wanted the 2 tools from the Developer space, or you wanted to be able to walk thru the Developer space to get to something behind it.

Note also that without a Library or Scholars Colony, you cannot draw more cards if you already have 6. So yes, it's possible to get stuck with a bunch of cards you can't or don't want to play.
 
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Annemarie Post
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I'm quite curious for answers on your first questions, though I would say that you need to be able to pay the costs of the card in order to play it. That would be in line with the 'you need to be able to do the action in order to go to a place' rule.

schnel wrote:

FINAL QUESTION: Is playing an Improvement considered an "action?" So if I have level 2 relations with the Altruist Colony and the Altruist Ambassador is on, say, a Riverbank Grove, would the 2 Wood discount apply to whatever cost might be shown on the Improvement card? If yes, can you think of any outlays of resources that wouldn't be covered by the Altruist discount? Payment of a fee, for instance?


You mainly play improvements at the developer. Here, playing an improvement is part of the action. So yes, the Altruist Ambassador would give a discount. The Altruist does not give a discount on the fee, as was confirmed here.
You can also play an improvement whenever you gain an improvement card, when you have level 2 relations with the Scholar Colony. I think this is also an action, but I am not sure since it's not explicitly mentioned in the rulebook.
When you have an active Institute, you can play 2 improvements instead of 1. These are 2 actions, as mentioned in the rulebook. Since the Altruist gives you a discount on all of your actions, it should count for both improvements you play, but again I'm not sure on this one.
 
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Mr Avers
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First I would like to say that in our experience getting stuck with 3 more not playable cards generally won't happen. Still, the Library is quite easy to build and will solve that issue.

As for your questions regarding playing Improvements: it is required to play a card when visiting the Developer. But the rules do create a bit of a confusion which does not help:
Page 17 - "Playing Improvements"
Quote:
You can play your hand cards at the Developer. First, you get 2 Tools; then you must play a card from your hand. (It is not allowed to just take the 2 Tools and not play a card.) If the card shows a cost at the top, you must pay it, before you may carry out its effect.
The emphasis on "may" is mine, so this could indicate that no further action is required. But a few lines further:
Quote:
Depending on which type of card you play, you must either place the card face up in front of you (if it is permanent or limited) or carry out its effects and place it on the discard pile (if it is immediate).
So this indicates that in the case of an Improvement that refines, for example Clay Oven, you must perform the action. And since you are not allowed perform such an action 0 times (see developer responce), you need to have at least 1 wood and 1 clay in Storage before you play Clay Oven.

So essentially the answer is that the effect of an Improvement is not optional (unless stated otherwise I guess).

However! Your question regarding the Kiln #215 (and also Panel Saw #214) is very interesting, as I hadn't thought about such an edge case (generally it is always good to be able to get an improved resource without costing you action). This Improvement is activated during the production phase, but as stated by the developer refining goods is an action. So that would indicate that Kiln / Panel Saw is not optional. However, what if you do not have the required resources or do not have the room in Storage? This is something the designer/developer hopefully will answer.
Edit: As a side question, I assume that the requirement that goods come from Storage also still applies to these Improvements?
 
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Larry Schneider
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Wow! I was worried I was asking a stupid question with an obvious answer. I'm glad I'm really trying to fully understand these rules in advance of the game's arrival.

I do hope Tim (or someone else on his team) chimes in and addresses these questions. Has Tim made his presence felt in the forum much? I didn't see any posts by him while doing my research prior to asking my questions.

Thank you all. :)
 
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Annemarie Post
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schnel wrote:
Wow! I was worried I was asking a stupid question with an obvious answer. I'm glad I'm really trying to fully understand these rules in advance of the game's arrival.

I do hope Tim (or someone else on his team) chimes in and addresses these questions. Has Tim made his presence felt in the forum much? I didn't see any posts by him while doing my research prior to asking my questions.

Thank you all.


Tim has been around to answer questions, as has someone else from lookout.
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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Off the top of my head:

Immediate cards: you must use the effect (at least 1x). Anvil: the wood+clay->tool exchange is optional (we missed making that clear on the card)

Permanent cards: you may use them (you do not have to). Ex. 214/215 are optional.
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Mr Avers
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Ponton wrote:
Off the top of my head:

Immediate cards: you must use the effect (at least 1x). Anvil: the wood+clay->tool exchange is optional (we missed making that clear on the card)

Permanent cards: you may use them (you do not have to). Ex. 214/215 are optional.
Thank you for the clarification, helps prevent weird edge cases

schnel wrote:
Wow! I was worried I was asking a stupid question with an obvious answer. I'm glad I'm really trying to fully understand these rules in advance of the game's arrival.
The Colonists is one of those games where I would advice to play at least once or twice (Era 1 and 2) before trying to have the rules perfect. Almost everything makes sense when playing the game, with just a few exceptions as noted on these forums. Hope you get to enjoy this great game soon!
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Larry Schneider
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GhundiPI wrote:
Ponton wrote:
Off the top of my head:

Immediate cards: you must use the effect (at least 1x). Anvil: the wood+clay->tool exchange is optional (we missed making that clear on the card)

Permanent cards: you may use them (you do not have to). Ex. 214/215 are optional.
Thank you for the clarification, helps prevent weird edge cases :)

schnel wrote:
Wow! I was worried I was asking a stupid question with an obvious answer. I'm glad I'm really trying to fully understand these rules in advance of the game's arrival.
The Colonists is one of those games where I would advice to play at least once or twice (Era 1 and 2) before trying to have the rules perfect. Almost everything makes sense when playing the game, with just a few exceptions as noted on these forums. Hope you get to enjoy this great game soon!


Me, too! Thanks for the counsel everyone.
 
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