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Subject: Retreat and overstacking rss

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Kai Mölleken
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Hey,

today I've started to play my second game of Shifting Sands with a friend and we encountered one situation in which we disagreed about the rules:

He lost a battle and two units had to retreat one space. There were only two connecting spaces, one already fully stacked and one with two units in it. Here's the point at which we disagreed.

My opinion: He could retreat one unit and after that the other unit would have no viable space to retreat to as it may not end its retreat overstacked as per 11.55. So according to 11.56 the unit would be eliminated because of its inability to retreat.

His opinion: The unit could retreat into one of the fully stacked spaces, causing it to be overstacked and then he could eliminate a unit of his choice from the space as per 8.2.

And while I think that 11.55 is pretty clear in stating that a fully stacked space is no viable option for a retreat, I had to agree with him that the second part of 8.2 wouldn't make much sense then:

Quote:
If any space is overstacked at the end of RD, movement, or retreat, units in excess of the stacking limit are eliminated (divisions are permanently eliminated). The owning player decides.


How could a space be overstacked at the end of a retreat when units are not allowed to end their retreat in violation of stacking limits?

So... which interpretation is correct? Is the retreating unit eliminated or is the space overstacked at the end of retreat and so the owning player decides which unit to eliminate?

Many thanks in advance!
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Michael Rinella
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Let me find my PDF of the rules and I'll get back to you within 24 hours.

If someone else has the rules handy feel free to answer and I'll confirm.

Michael Rinella
Designer, Shifting Sands
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Michael Rinella
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My opinion: He could retreat one unit and after that the other unit would have no viable space to retreat to as it may not end its retreat overstacked as per 11.55. So according to 11.56 the unit would be eliminated because of its inability to retreat.

This is correct. It is simple, clean, and intuitive.

His opinion: The unit could retreat into one of the fully stacked spaces, causing it to be overstacked and then he could eliminate a unit of his choice from the space as per 8.2.

It took me a while to parse this. He wants to eliminate a unit that was not part of the retreat based on 8.2? No, that's not legal (and is counter-intuitive; units that did not fight in a battle would not suffer the consequences of that battle).

You could try asking one of the PoG masters about unit retreats in PoG and see what they say about this situation but I suspect their answer will be the same.
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Kai Mölleken
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Thank you very much for your answer and for looking into this so quickly!
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Nicholas Eads
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Michael Rinella wrote:
His opinion: The unit could retreat into one of the fully stacked spaces, causing it to be overstacked and then he could eliminate a unit of his choice from the space as per 8.2.

It took me a while to parse this. He wants to eliminate a unit that was not part of the retreat based on 8.2? No, that's not legal (and is counter-intuitive; units that did not fight in a battle would not suffer the consequences of that battle).

You could try asking one of the PoG masters about unit retreats in PoG and see what they say about this situation but I suspect their answer will be the same.


This answer makes logical sense; however, there still remains the ambiguity of 8.2: "If any space is overstacked at the end of RD, movement, or retreat, units in excess of the stacking limit are eliminated (divisions are permanently eliminated). The owning player decides." The implication of this particular wording in 8.2 is that overstacking as a result of retreat is a possibility, which this ruling would now clearly contradict. Therefore, should "or retreat" be struck from 8.2?
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Nicholas Eads
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Thinking about this some more, there may be another specific case to consider. Given that the two units were being forced to retreat as a result of the same combat, could they be considered as retreating "simultaneously" into the same hex with one open chit slot? This would temporarily overstack the hex at which point 8.2 would apply and one unit would have to be eliminated from the overstacked hex. This would, unfortunately, still have the side-effect of allowing one of the non-combatant chits in that hex to be eliminated which I think goes against designer intent.

I still think the best bet, for the sake of clarity, is probably removing "or retreat" from 8.2 to completely remove any question of overstacking as a result of retreat being allowable and adjusting the wording accordingly.
 
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Michael Rinella
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Ask some PoG-grognards. It's pretty much the exact same system. And has a huge devoted following. I can't remember why I used the language more then ten years ago but if it was in PoG, and no one playing PoG has an issue with it, I'm inclined to think there is no issue.
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Nicholas Eads
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Posting this so others don't have to go looking it up...

Per Mr. Rinella, referencing PoG 2010 (5th version of the rules):

Rule 10.1.2 explicitly states that the 3 unit per hex stacking limit is in effect at all times with the exception of Strategic Redeployment and movement when voluntary overstacking is permitted as long as the stacking limits are in effect at the end of SR and movement.

In addition...

Rule 12.5.5 specifies restrictions for retreat. The key bullet is this one (it is completely underlined, so the wording has definitely been tweaked over time for clarification):

[A Unit which must retreat] ... May not end its retreat overstacked, but may retreat in violation of stacking limits through the first space of a two space retreat. In cases where the Defender has no other route, he would choose which retreating units would be able to stack within limits and then eliminate the rest.

I also noticed that PoG specifies that retreating units may retreat to different hexes (just in case anyone was wondering).
 
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