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Subject: Forming federation rss

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David Huang
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Quoted from the game rulebook:
Quote:
You choose the planets to form a federation.
If the federation would be valid with at least one fewer planet and one fewer satellite, you must change the federation.
Connect structures with as few satellites as possible.

I want to ask if forming the following federation is legal. (In this game the end game scoring includes "the most satellites".)

First, I choose the four structures in the red circle for forming a federation, the total power value is 7.

(a) Is the route A a legal way of forming the federation? (7 satellites)

Or (b) because the route B uses fewer satellites than route A for connecting these structures, I have to use route B. In this way the bottom right structure is also included in the federation, and thus the topmost one is removed. (5 satellites)

Or (c) because the route C uses the fewest satellites among all possible formations, I have to use the route C. (3 satellites)
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You'd have to choose (B) over (A), because when connecting the trading post and the academy, (A) would be a longer detour which is not allowed.

(C) is a valid alternative to (B), but since it has fewer satellites, you'd want to choose (B).

Note that the rule is not to choose the planet combination from the whole board that yields the least satellites. Instead, you choose the planets you want to connect and then among them choose the shortest route.
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Space Trucker
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Dienes wrote:
Note that the rule is not to choose the planet combination from the whole board that yields the least satellites. Instead, you choose the planets you want to connect and then among them choose the shortest route.
This is correct - and therefore this is wrong:
Dienes wrote:
You'd have to choose (B) over (A), because when connecting the trading post and the academy, (A) would be a longer detour which is not allowed.
You are perfectly free to chose the route A, which is the shortest route to not include the planet at the lower right but the planet at the top instead. Your are not forced to include a planet, even if this can lead to a shorter satellite route.

All A, B and C are valid federations.

Ask yourself the following questions when forming a federation:
- Can I remove remove satellites (and not change anything else - therefore remove clusters)?
- Does any satellite or structure touch a federation that already
of mine that is already formed?
- Can I somehow connect exactly the same clusters with less satellites?
- Do I have 7+ value (Xenos with PI: 6+)?

If the answers are No, No, No, Yes, then your federation is okay.



Edit: See correction by Bastian bellow.

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SpaceTrucker wrote:
Your are not forced to include a planet, even if this can lead to a shorter satellite route.

This is new to me. Any source for that ruling?
 
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Space Trucker
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Dienes wrote:
This is new to me. Any source for that ruling?

First of all there is nothing in the rules that tells you that you would have to incude a specific planet. From the rules:
Quote:
You choose the planets to form a federation, as long as your
structures have a total power value of at least seven. In other
words, you can choose planets that are farther away, as long
as those planets are needed to have a total power value of at
least seven.

In fact it's the other way round: You are only allowed to "accidently" include superluous clusters if this does not increase the number of satellites (see the example on page 15). Spending lots of satellites to most efficently form ineffient federations is allowed.

(I did read various versions of beta rulebooks and also played some games against publisher and authors during playtest.)
 
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Dienes wrote:
SpaceTrucker wrote:
Your are not forced to include a planet, even if this can lead to a shorter satellite route.

This is new to me. Any source for that ruling?


Rulebook, page 15:

You choose the planets to form a federation, as long as your
structures have a total power value of at least seven. In other
words, you can choose planets that are farther away, as long
as those planets are needed to have a total power value of at
least seven


Emphasis on choose is in the original text. Since you choose the planets that are in, it follows that you choose the planets that are excluded.
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Ido Abelman
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SpaceTrucker wrote:

Ask yourself the following questions when forming a federation:
- Can I remove remove satellites (and not change anything else - therefore remove clusters)?
- Does any satellite or structure touch a federation that already
of mine that is already formed?
- Can I somehow connect exactly the same clusters with less satellites?
- Do I have 7+ value (Xenos with PI: 6+)?

If the answers are No, No, No, Yes, then your federation is okay.


The first question should be: "Can I remove satellites while still keeping the 7+ power value condition?". It is possible you'll need to exclude clusters if your are passing the power condition, and you can exclude them by simply removing satellites (while not adding others - you will not be required to remove a cluster of 3 structures to add a cluster of 1 instead if you are at 9 power, no matter how many satellites does it take to reach either).
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Space Trucker
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CBpegasus wrote:
SpaceTrucker wrote:

Ask yourself the following questions when forming a federation:
- Can I remove remove satellites (and not change anything else - therefore remove clusters)?
- Does any satellite or structure touch a federation that already
of mine that is already formed?
- Can I somehow connect exactly the same clusters with less satellites?
- Do I have 7+ value (Xenos with PI: 6+)?

If the answers are No, No, No, Yes, then your federation is okay.


The first question should be: "Can I remove satellites while still keeping the 7+ power value condition?". It is possible you'll need to exclude clusters if your are passing the power condition, and you can exclude them by simply removing satellites (while not adding others - you will not be required to remove a cluster of 3 structures to add a cluster of 1 instead if you are at 9 power, no matter how many satellites does it take to reach either).

You're right, first and fourth question combined is more clear:
- Can I remove satellites (and not change anything else - therefore effectivly remove clusters) and still hit 7+ value (Xenos with PI: 6+)?
- Does any satellite or structure touch any of my federations that I have already formed?
- Can I somehow connect exactly the same clusters with less satellites?

Edit: See the corrected algorithm on the next page: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/27794196#27794196

And three times "NO" as required answer is much nicer.
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Ido Abelman
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
CBpegasus wrote:
SpaceTrucker wrote:

Ask yourself the following questions when forming a federation:
- Can I remove remove satellites (and not change anything else - therefore remove clusters)?
- Does any satellite or structure touch a federation that already
of mine that is already formed?
- Can I somehow connect exactly the same clusters with less satellites?
- Do I have 7+ value (Xenos with PI: 6+)?

If the answers are No, No, No, Yes, then your federation is okay.


The first question should be: "Can I remove satellites while still keeping the 7+ power value condition?". It is possible you'll need to exclude clusters if your are passing the power condition, and you can exclude them by simply removing satellites (while not adding others - you will not be required to remove a cluster of 3 structures to add a cluster of 1 instead if you are at 9 power, no matter how many satellites does it take to reach either).

You're right, this is more clear:
- Can I remove satellites (and not change anything else - therefore effectivly remove clusters) and still hit 7+ value (Xenos with PI: 6+)?
- Does any satellite or structure touch any of my federations
that I have already formed?
- Can I somehow connect exactly the same clusters with less satellites?


And three times "NO" as required answer is much nicer.


I wish they had this checklist in the rulebook. I think federation forming is the most confusing part of the rules and needs as much clarification as possible. I asked a while ago if I got it correctly and I got a similar checklist. I think it is the clearest way of explaining it.
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Mitch Harding
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
Your are not forced to include a planet, even if this can lead to a shorter satellite route.


Are you certain about this? I had understood the algorithm to be:
1) Select your planets (without adding any clusters once your total power is >= 7)
2) Connect these clusters with the fewest satellites possible
3) If you can remove satellite(s) and remove a planet cluster, and still have it be a federation, then you have to adjust

Specifically, I had assumed that if the fewest number of satellites would pull in extra planets into your federation, then you'd be forced to do so.

So in the original example, I would have said A was not legal because you could connect the bottom left planet to the rest of the federation using 4 satellites (rather than the 5 used by A), even though this would then pull in the lower right planet.

The rules do say that you get to choose the planets, but they also say "You can build as many satellites as you need to connect the necessary planets" and "Connect structures with as few satellites as possible."

This could either be read as
"You can build as many satellites as you need to connect ONLY the necessary planets AND NO OTHER PLANETS"
or
"You can build as many satellites as you need to connect the necessary planets, EVEN IF THIS ends up including additional planets"

I can't tell from reading the rules which of these would be the correct interpretation. It seems people in this thread are indicating that the first interpretation is the correct one. What is the basis for that?
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Right, that's why I asked.

I would also not allow A because there's a shorter connection possible.
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Joel Oakley
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The confusion seems to be a result of this rule (under Summary for forming a federation):

"Connect structures with as few satellites as possible."

Does this mean that we must use as few satellites as possible even if that means including additional structures that we did not choose to be part of the federation? One could definitely argue that this is the case, but I am prone to view this rule as a somewhat inprecise summary statement.

The Additional Rules for forming a federation make it clear that the player choice of the federation planets is part of the process. If you choose which planets are part of the federation, then that implies to me that you are also choosing which planets are not part of the federation (subject to certain adjacency, power, and other rules of course). I think the intent of the quoted rule is to use as few satellites as possible to connect exactly your chosen structures (and you are not forced to use other structures that you did not choose even if that results in fewer satellites).
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Space Trucker
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mitcharf wrote:
SpaceTrucker wrote:
Your are not forced to include a planet, even if this can lead to a shorter satellite route.


Are you certain about this?

I am was certain. Also one of the thumbs on the second post is from Helge(horologiom).
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James Wolfpacker
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I'm certain of SpaceTrucker's comments as well.
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Bastian Winkelhaus
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Dienes wrote:
You'd have to choose (B) over (A), because when connecting the trading post and the academy, (A) would be a longer detour which is not allowed.

(C) is a valid alternative to (B), but since it has fewer satellites, you'd want to choose (B).

Note that the rule is not to choose the planet combination from the whole board that yields the least satellites. Instead, you choose the planets you want to connect and then among them choose the shortest route.


This is correct. And this is also the post that Helge thumbed. More details later.
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Pete Goch
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zlorfik wrote:
Dienes wrote:
You'd have to choose (B) over (A), because when connecting the trading post and the academy, (A) would be a longer detour which is not allowed.

(C) is a valid alternative to (B), but since it has fewer satellites, you'd want to choose (B).

Note that the rule is not to choose the planet combination from the whole board that yields the least satellites. Instead, you choose the planets you want to connect and then among them choose the shortest route.


This is correct. And this is also the post that Helge thumbed. More details later.


Isn't it also the case that I can't choose to include an "extra" structure (e.g. a mine that brings to power total to 8) if it's possible for me to form a federation excluding that structure and one less satellite?

I could, however, add the "extra" structure so long as it doesn't take an extra satellite to include it.
 
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Joel Oakley
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Follow up questions for those who think A is not legal...



Suppose the mine in the lower right (the one northeast of the B written on the image) were part of a federation already. Would A then be a legal federation? Surely B would no longer work since no planet may be part of more than one federation, correct?
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Helge Ostertag
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zlorfik wrote:
Dienes wrote:
You'd have to choose (B) over (A), because when connecting the trading post and the academy, (A) would be a longer detour which is not allowed.

(C) is a valid alternative to (B), but since it has fewer satellites, you'd want to choose (B).

Note that the rule is not to choose the planet combination from the whole board that yields the least satellites. Instead, you choose the planets you want to connect and then among them choose the shortest route.


This is correct. And this is also the post that Helge thumbed. More details later.

As main play testers, Space Trucker, James Wolfpacker and Bastian Winkelhaus (who wrote the rules) all know the rules, so their answers can be trusted as correct.
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Bastian Winkelhaus
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Only that Spacetrucker and James are on one side of the argument and i am on the other side. So time to clear up the confusion.
I was gonna write a lengthy post but the correct answer has already been given in detail so i will just quote.

mitcharf wrote:

Are you certain about this? I had understood the algorithm to be:
1) Select your planets (without adding any clusters once your total power is >= 7)
2) Connect these clusters with the fewest satellites possible
3) If you can remove satellite(s) and remove a planet cluster, and still have it be a federation, then you have to adjust

Specifically, I had assumed that if the fewest number of satellites would pull in extra planets into your federation, then you'd be forced to do so.

So in the original example, I would have said A was not legal because you could connect the bottom left planet to the rest of the federation using 4 satellites (rather than the 5 used by A), even though this would then pull in the lower right planet.

The rules do say that you get to choose the planets, but they also say "You can build as many satellites as you need to connect the necessary planets" and "Connect structures with as few satellites as possible."


This algorithm is the correct one in the correct order.

And because of that, in the original example you would first select the 4 planets, then build the shortest route of satellites and then find out that you could remove the topmost mine and the planet leading to it, which causes you to either remove that mine and satellite from your federation or start the whole process again with another selection of planets.


Regarding the second question, what happens if the mine to the top right of the letter B is already in another federation:
In that case, forming federation A is perfectly legal, since the shortest route to build satellites must be a route that does not touch on other federations.
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Bastian Winkelhaus
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
Dienes wrote:
This is new to me. Any source for that ruling?

First of all there is nothing in the rules that tells you that you would have to incude a specific planet. From the rules:
Quote:
You choose the planets to form a federation, as long as your
structures have a total power value of at least seven. In other
words, you can choose planets that are farther away, as long
as those planets are needed to have a total power value of at
least seven.

In fact it's the other way round: You are only allowed to "accidently" include superluous clusters if this does not increase the number of satellites (see the example on page 15). Spending lots of satellites to most efficently form ineffient federations is allowed.


You can emphasize the word "choose", but you can also emphasize the second half of the second sentence in combination with the phrase "You must use as few satellites as possible to connect the planets".
In the german original, we prefaced the phrase "You choose the planets" with an "In general".

And while i in no way want to claim that our rulebook is perfect, your interpretation of that example baffles me a bit.
The top example of the three in the rulebook ilustrates the rule "remove one planet AND one satellite". Because you could remove the planet without removing a satellite, just by taking another route with the satellites. But you do not have to do that.

Maybe we should change the second example to be just like the first, only with a laboratory instead of the mine. In that case you can choose to connect the Planetary Institute and the two trading posts and there are two routes to connect them with two satellites. If you choose the bottom one, the federation is legal. But if you choose to take the top route, which connects the laboratory, the federation would not be legal, since you could remove the rightmost trading post and the second satellite leading there.
I will suggest to Frank to change that example for future printings to make it clearer.
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Jack Spirio
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So what’s the correct rule know?
Do I have to include a planet, even if I don’t want, just because the route is a bit shorter?
 
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Space Trucker
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Thanks for your clarification, Bastian - and sorry for the confusion caused by our answers.
To be honest I'm equally baffled now.


Here's hcy1's example with numbers added to the clusters:

The official interpretation means that I'm effectivly not allowed to form a federation with clusters 1+3+4+5 but only with clusters 1+2+3+4.
For sure this saves a satellite now, but it could be smarter without regard to satellite endscoring to build 1+3+4+5 when I want to use 2 instead of 5 for another federation later on. This extra restraint can be quite drastic and I'm surprised to be restrained here.
I was always under the impression that I am really free to choose the clusters that I want to use to form the alliance and that the spirit of the extra rules was only to not allow players to cheat the final scorings "most satellites" and "most planets in alliances" by building pointless satellite zigzag/detours or adding unnecessary clusters to increase counts.

Now I'm also unsure about another case: Does the official interpretation allow me to form a federation with 1+3+6 (6 satellites needed via route A) or am I forced to also include cluster 2 with only 5 satellites via route B? (wasting a cluster to save a satellite would result into a possibly less efficient alliance without any regard of final scoring).

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Bastian Winkelhaus
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SpaceTrucker wrote:

The official interpretation means that I'm effectivly not allowed to form a federation with clusters 1+3+4+5 but only with clusters 1+2+3+4.
For sure this saves a satellite now, but it could be smarter without regard to satellite endscoring to build 1+3+4+5 when I want to use 2 instead of 5 for another federation later on. This extra restraint can be quite drastic and I'm surprised to be restrained here.
I was always under the impression that I am really free to choose the clusters that I want to use to form the alliance and that the spirit of the extra rules was only to not allow players to cheat the final scorings "most satellites" and "most planets in alliances" by building pointless satellite zigzag/detours or adding unnecessary clusters to increase counts.

Now I'm also unsure about another case: Does the official interpretation allow me to form a federation with 1+3+6 (6 satellites needed via route A) or am I forced to also include cluster 2 with only 5 satellites via route B? (wasting a cluster to save a satellite would result into a possibly less efficient alliance without any regard of final scoring).


You are forced to include planet 2 in the last example.


When you know the correct rules, it is in my experience not that much of a restriction. You can plan accordingly and instead of feeling restrained because you planed something different for a later alliance, you can forge the other alliance first and then be able to forge the alliance the way you want to.

Of course if you build and upgrade your stuff with different rules in mind and then get confronted with the real rules, it might look unfair. But normally it should not be that difficult.
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Robert
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So, to answer the extra question: If planet 2 was already part of a previous federation, then path A would be ok.

Notice also that neither path B would likely be the better option anyway, as it leaves the cluster at C and planet 5 open to form another federation later. Path A isolates the cluster at C and in order to use the cluster at C for a federation, you'll need to form a federation from just these two planets, i.e. PI + AC + [one of "big buildings are worth 4 tiles" or "yellow faction is Ambas"].

#FAQ
 
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Jack Spirio
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SpaceTrucker wrote:

For sure this saves a satellite now, but it could be smarter without regard to satellite endscoring to build 1+3+4+5 when I want to use 2 instead of 5 for another federation later on. This extra restraint can be quite drastic and I'm surprised to be restrained here.
I was always under the impression that I am really free to choose the clusters that I want to use to form the alliance and that the spirit of the extra rules was only to not allow players to cheat the final scorings "most satellites" and "most planets in alliances" by building pointless satellite zigzag/detours or adding unnecessary clusters to increase counts.


I feel the same way
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