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Subject: Advanced rules & determining shadows rss

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Paul D
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using the advanced rules:
Are shadows only evaluated in 1st phase of each round, or do you constantly re-evaluate shadows as the game state changes in the 2nd phase?

E.g. imagine a size 1 tree owned by the player who's last in turn order -- that gathered light in the first phase but is now, in the 2nd phase, in the shadow of a freshly grown tree (due to turn order)... can it be grown this round?

Just looking for clarity as the rules are a bit opaque. Partially because the rules for shadows are covered in the rules for the first phase.
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David Goldfarb
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I'd say the intent is that a tree can grow if it gathered light points this round.
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Paul D
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David Goldfarb wrote:
I'd say the intent is that a tree can grow if it gathered light points this round.


Yea, that was my initial take as well. But then it can become quite hard for everyone to remember which trees gathered light points earlier in the round -- especially later in the game, and even more so if playing with slow players.

The alternative 'always re-evaluate' is much easier insofar as you don't have to remember in phase 2 what earned you light points in phase 1, but it does also allow for much more brutal gameplay (for better or worse).

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Patrick Garrett
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If you're using this advanced rule:

pg. 4 (English rules): "Players cannot plant a seed of grow a tree when that seed or tree is shadowed by another tree."

I would argue that you can't plant a seed or grow a tree if it gets shadowed at any point that round. Obviously I could be wrong but the wording seems pretty straightforward. You will still have your light points from that round but it could end up that you don't get to spend any of them on growth or planting (if the players you're playing with shadow everything you have on the board). However, since the first player token rotates with the sun there is a good chance you'll get to do something in the next turn with all of your banked sunlight points.

Just a thought!
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Dizz
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This is basically an abstract game with a neat theme painted on it. If you let go of the theme just a little, it begins to be a little easier to intuit the rules.
With this in mind, we assumed the rule is the shadow check is only done at the time of the action.
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Paul D
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Brandizzle wrote:
If you let go of the theme just a little, it begins to be a little easier to intuit the rules.


I refuse to do that. Theme is, to me, important.
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Dizz
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I see a lot of people in the same boat on these forums.
Literally changing rules because they don't match their idea of how trees work. Well, they don't work anything like this and there has to be a line somewhere. That line should probably be somewhere around making the game good.

This have suffers from having to cute of a theme for an abstract game. Nobody is getting mad at Santorini or Onitama for non-thematic rules.
Maybe you'd argue that it's not an abstract game, but even then all things are abstracted in all games. Where does it end? What's planting those seeds? How can they travel through other trees? How do they grow to full size in one year? Why are shadows always the same length? Why doesn't it take time to grow instead of some spendable currency? Why would it make sense to kill a tree?
We can make this as complicated as we want, but at the risk of removing the charm from the game.
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Paul D
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Brandizzle wrote:
I see a lot of people in the same boat on these forums.
Literally changing rules because they don't match their idea of how trees work. Well, they don't work anything like this and there has to be a line somewhere. That line should probably be somewhere around making the game good.

This have suffers from having to cute of a theme for an abstract game. Nobody is getting mad at Santorini or Onitama for non-thematic rules.
Maybe you'd argue that it's not an abstract game, but even then all things are abstracted in all games. Where does it end? What's planting those seeds? How can they travel through other trees? How do they grow to full size in one year? Why are shadows always the same length? Why doesn't it take time to grow instead of some spendable currency? Why would it make sense to kill a tree?
We can make this as complicated as we want, but at the risk of removing the charm from the game.


All games are abstractions, to one degree or another. I would get mad at Santorini or Onitama for non-thematic rules. I have no interest in those games because I have no interest in themeless or weakly themed games. But that's just my preference -- and my preference isn't relevant in a Rules forum. Same goes for others who have different game preferences.

I see a lot of people in BGG Rules forums weighing in on rules questions with opinions based merely on how they think the game should be, rather than based on, e.g., an oversight in the rulebook, a clarification by the designer/publisher offered somewhere, or a well argued insight based on the rules as written. Such comments, in my view, should be saved for the Variants forum -- even if they're aimed at making the game better.

Where does it end? With a clarification from the designer, a clarification based on an insight found in the rulebook, or a discussions of a variants to cover a rules gap. But without the first two, one's love for streamlined abstracts doesn't trump the views of others -- as these shouldn't play a role in the Rules forum, only the Variants forum. And, in Variants, to each her own.
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Paul D
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garretp2 wrote:
If you're using this advanced rule:

pg. 4 (English rules): "Players cannot plant a seed of grow a tree when that seed or tree is shadowed by another tree."

I would argue that you can't plant a seed or grow a tree if it gets shadowed at any point that round. Obviously I could be wrong but the wording seems pretty straightforward.

Just a thought!


That's how we played it... but because it was easier to manage, rather than because we thought it was right.

Alas, the disagreement at our game table came out of how/where the rules for calculating shadows are covered under the rules for the first phase.

It's explicit that you calculate shadows in the first phase, but it's not so explicit about whether you recalculating in the second phase when using the advanced variant, or if the first phase is the only time to consider what's in shadow.

I think this confusion is a byproduct of how the variant only comes up at the end of the rulebook, and only in a few sentences, and this "calculate shadows outside the first phase" is a non-issue in the basic game... it might also be a byproduct of the habits that come out of only playing the basic rules: in the basic rules, you get in the habit of working out which trees are in shadows only during the 1st phase. Does that still old when using the advanced rules? It's funny, some people thought the implied answer was yes, while others thought the implied answer was no... but everyone agreed it wasn't explicit and wasn't especially clear!
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Dizz
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prd1982 wrote:

All games are abstractions, to one degree or another. I would get mad at Santorini or Onitama for non-thematic rules. I have no interest in those games because I have no interest in themeless or weakly themed games. But that's just my preference -- and my preference isn't relevant in a Rules forum. Same goes for others who have different game preferences.

I see a lot of people in BGG Rules forums weighing in on rules questions with opinions based merely on how they think the game should be, rather than based on, e.g., an oversight in the rulebook, a clarification by the designer/publisher offered somewhere, or a well argued insight based on the rules as written. Such comments, in my view, should be saved for the Variants forum -- even if they're aimed at making the game better.

Where does it end? With a clarification from the designer, a clarification based on an insight found in the rulebook, or a discussions of a variants to cover a rules gap. But without the first two, one's love for streamlined abstracts doesn't trump the views of others -- as these shouldn't play a role in the Rules forum, only the Variants forum. And, in Variants, to each her own.


To be fair, I was clarifying a rule when someone (you) needed to make it clear that they simply could not live without the game dropping with hot, sticky, yummy tree-based theme. But yes, I believe the designer has also clarified these rules at least once on the forums.
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Paul D
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Brandizzle wrote:

To be fair, I was clarifying a rule when someone (you) needed to make it clear that they simply could not live without the game dropping with hot, sticky, yummy tree-based theme. But yes, I believe the designer has also clarified these rules at least once on the forums.


To be fair, you didn't -- you just offered your assumption:

Brandizzle wrote:

With this in mind, we assumed the rule is the shadow check is only done at the time of the action.


But if the designer has already clarified this, please do point to the thread/comment where he did so.
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Larry Ward
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Just played Photosynthesis for the first time. We had a question about shadows. Example: If shadows taper off with distance, then a large tree would cast a shadow covering a large tree on an adjoining space, but not on a large tree 2 spaces or 3 spaces away. Two spaces away, a medium tree would be shadowed, but not 3 spaces away. Same principle with medium trees - would cast a shadow on another medium tree adjoining, but not if the medium tree is 2 spaces away.

So, the question is, whether the shadows taper or not.
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Paul D
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LarryWard wrote:
Just played Photosynthesis for the first time. We had a question about shadows. Example: If shadows taper off with distance, then a large tree would cast a shadow covering a large tree on an adjoining space, but not on a large tree 2 spaces or 3 spaces away. Two spaces away, a medium tree would be shadowed, but not 3 spaces away. Same principle with medium trees - would cast a shadow on another medium tree adjoining, but not if the medium tree is 2 spaces away.

So, the question is, whether the shadows taper or not.


From the discussion here, shadows don't taper. (But it is a variant I'd like to try!)
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Jeff M
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prd1982 wrote:
...

From the discussion here, shadows don't taper. (But it is a variant I'd like to try!)


Did the designer actually state that somewhere? I see where the subject is discussed back and forth by forum members...but no official word from the designer.
 
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Andy Flynn
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There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus above on the answer to the original question.

There seem to be two options:
1. Shadows are determined in the photosynthesis stage, meaning that only trees that generated light points for the player are allowed to take actions during the life cycle phase.
2. Shadows are determined at the point in time an action is taken, meaning that a tree's ability to take actions is based on the state of the board at the time an action is declared.

Is anyone aware of an official response to this question?
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Wilbert Kiemeneij
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I know the rules, but how do you win this game?
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The board state should reflect the game state. Therefore I don't see how it can be anything other than 2.

Also, the rules state: "Players cannot plant a seed or grow a tree when that
seed or tree is shadowed by another tree." (emphasis mine)

The word is here is present tense, which should mean that it refers to the board state at the time the action is taken. This points to the same conclusion.

What reason does anybody see to interpret this differently?
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Dizz
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This is common sense and the designer has addressed it in another thread. You'll have to look for it yourself, but it's there.
#2 is the way
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Steppan Stepperson
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Brandizzle wrote:
This is common sense and the designer has addressed it in another thread. You'll have to look for it yourself, but it's there.
#2 is the way


If that weren't the case, then the Game Designer would have included a mechanic to keep track of which trees had grown earlier in the round. This means that yes, going last is a disadvantage because the game board can change against you in earlier game play. It could also, however, change to your advantage.

No one wants to have to keep track of what grew at what point in a round.
 
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Dizz
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bad hair day wrote:
Brandizzle wrote:
This is common sense and the designer has addressed it in another thread. You'll have to look for it yourself, but it's there.
#2 is the way


If that weren't the case, then the Game Designer would have included a mechanic to keep track of which trees had grown earlier in the round. This means that yes, going last is a disadvantage because the game board can change against you in earlier game play. It could also, however, change to your advantage.

No one wants to have to keep track of what grew at what point in a round.

ohsostupid wrote:

2. Shadows are determined at the point in time an action is taken, meaning that a tree's ability to take actions is based on the state of the board at the time an action is declared.


Perhaps I am reading it incorrectly, but I mean to say that when you want to do an action, it is that point in time that you check the shadows. This would not require any tracking, because you're checking at the time of the action.
 
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