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Subject: Winning Loop? rss

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Randy de Graaf
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Yesterday, we played our first game of Alien Artifacts (3 players). Did we play the rules right, because one of the players got into a winning loop (see attached image). We felt that the game was broken because of it.

During our play we also checked: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1882931/automatic-construct... So I AM aware that there are more questions on this topic, I hope this isn't a double post.

Anyway, some info provided:
- Planet Resources: 6 red reduced (so 2 ships are auto constructed)
- Tech: Whenever an operational ship is built, attack with another (which is also triggered by the auto construction)
- Ships: (one immortal ship) When destroyed, place in under construction area instead
- The costs are still met, hence the loop...

So the thing here is, when the ship is destroyed, it goes into the under construction area. But because of the reduced ship resources (planets), it's build instantly again? Attacks again, the second ship also attacks again, and so on and so forth. Granted, the loop does stop after a while but our player had like 10 artifacts and a sh*tload of resources, 20 points etc after one loop! Once out of the loop, it can easily be restarted with a start offensive action.

So are we playing it wrong? Are we missing someting? Please help cry

Edit: portal never reacted to any of my mails, which is somewhat disappointing... However, they did do a rule change concerning the attack loop: each ship is only allowed to attack once per turn...

Source: http://portalgames.pl/en/alien-artifacts-rulebook-update/

 
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Bruce Gazdecki
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Well, if you play according to the the referenced forum post and this one, https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1920351/trigger-automatic-c... , you played it correctly.

However, based on my interpretation of the rules as written (which may be too literal) below (bolding is mine):

AUTOMATIC CONSTRUCTION - by adding new cards to your Empire, their effects may fulfil the cost to Build, Develop, or Discover cards in your Under Construction area. If this occurs, immediately move these cards to your Empire and resolve their effects. If multiple cards are completed simultaneously due to Automatic Construction, resolve them one at a time in any order you choose.
Discard any Resources attached to them (see the example to the right.)

The part in bold is what in my opinion prevents the loop, as it requires you to use the action for your turn to utilize it.

Using your example, let's say you have both ships in the construction zone, and you build the 3rd planet that gives you the ship reduction. The auto construct kicks in, building both ships, which then allow you to attack. Now let's say the "Immortal" ship is destroyed in the attack. It goes back to your construction zone. But now, since you can't "add a card to your empire" as you already used your action for the turn, the auto construct doesn't kick in, and you have to wait for your next turn to build the ship again (for free).

It still might be powerful because of the ship power and your tech power, but it's slowed down considerably.

Again though, based on what I've heard, my interpretation is not the correct way to play, but is how I will likely play, assuming I play it at all.
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Brett Petersen
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I agree with this interpretation, you have to add cards to your Empire. This was also the reason I give to why there are build actions verse storing resources but it seems a lot of people are confused about it.
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mfl134
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thatach wrote:
I agree with this interpretation, you have to add cards to your Empire. This was also the reason I give to why there are build actions verse storing resources but it seems a lot of people are confused about it.


This interpretation is incorrect per Portal.
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NightSpook wrote:

So the thing here is, when the ship is destroyed, it goes into the under construction area.



When a ship is destroyed it goes under the deck of ships. When a ship is damaged it goes into the under construction area.


That being said, the 2 ships you have won't be destroyed. One specifically is damaged instead of destroyed. the other adds +1 so it can't get a result of 1, which is required to be destroyed.
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Bruce Gazdecki
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mfl134 wrote:
NightSpook wrote:

So the thing here is, when the ship is destroyed, it goes into the under construction area.



When a ship is destroyed it goes under the deck of ships. When a ship is damaged it goes into the under construction area.


That being said, the 2 ships you have won't be destroyed. One specifically is damaged instead of destroyed. the other adds +1 so it can't get a result of 1, which is required to be destroyed.


To your second point, that is not completely true. There are a couple Defense Plans that also destroy a ship on a "2" result, so it's possible, though unlikely.
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Bruiser419 wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
NightSpook wrote:

So the thing here is, when the ship is destroyed, it goes into the under construction area.



When a ship is destroyed it goes under the deck of ships. When a ship is damaged it goes into the under construction area.


That being said, the 2 ships you have won't be destroyed. One specifically is damaged instead of destroyed. the other adds +1 so it can't get a result of 1, which is required to be destroyed.


To your second point, that is not completely true. There are a couple Defense Plans that also destroy a ship on a "2" result, so it's possible, though unlikely.


I'm meant to note that I'm only referring only to the alien defense plans. There might be personal ones that destroy on higher numbers (or i'm forgetting one of the alien defense plans).
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Tom Chick
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mfl134 wrote:
thatach wrote:
I agree with this interpretation, you have to add cards to your Empire. This was also the reason I give to why there are build actions verse storing resources but it seems a lot of people are confused about it.


This interpretation is incorrect per Portal.


We're playing the rules as written. Portal has yet to issue any sort of errata to those rules, probably because none are needed. But if that changes, I'm sure they'll let their players know somehow.

-Tom
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Bruce Gazdecki
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mfl134 wrote:
Bruiser419 wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
NightSpook wrote:

So the thing here is, when the ship is destroyed, it goes into the under construction area.



When a ship is destroyed it goes under the deck of ships. When a ship is damaged it goes into the under construction area.


That being said, the 2 ships you have won't be destroyed. One specifically is damaged instead of destroyed. the other adds +1 so it can't get a result of 1, which is required to be destroyed.


To your second point, that is not completely true. There are a couple Defense Plans that also destroy a ship on a "2" result, so it's possible, though unlikely.


I'm meant to note that I'm only referring only to the alien defense plans. There might be personal ones that destroy on higher numbers (or i'm forgetting one of the alien defense plans).


They were both Personal ones. I'm pretty sure all the alien ones were damaged on 2's.
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TomChick wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
thatach wrote:
I agree with this interpretation, you have to add cards to your Empire. This was also the reason I give to why there are build actions verse storing resources but it seems a lot of people are confused about it.


This interpretation is incorrect per Portal.


We're playing the rules as written. Portal has yet to issue any sort of errata to those rules, probably because none are needed. But if that changes, I'm sure they'll let their players know somehow.

-Tom


When portal has answered rules questions and somebody is asking about the rules, why do you feel a need to confuse the issue with comments like this?
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Bruiser419 wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
Bruiser419 wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
NightSpook wrote:

So the thing here is, when the ship is destroyed, it goes into the under construction area.



When a ship is destroyed it goes under the deck of ships. When a ship is damaged it goes into the under construction area.


That being said, the 2 ships you have won't be destroyed. One specifically is damaged instead of destroyed. the other adds +1 so it can't get a result of 1, which is required to be destroyed.


To your second point, that is not completely true. There are a couple Defense Plans that also destroy a ship on a "2" result, so it's possible, though unlikely.


I'm meant to note that I'm only referring only to the alien defense plans. There might be personal ones that destroy on higher numbers (or i'm forgetting one of the alien defense plans).


They were both Personal ones. I'm pretty sure all the alien ones were damaged on 2's.


The best one for this looping engine is the one that damages on 1-4. You can destroy all your ships and then rebuild them all. (It works particularly well when you have more than 2 ships ready to autobuild with.)
 
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Tom Chick
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mfl134 wrote:

When portal has answered rules questions and somebody is asking about the rules, why do you feel a need to confuse the issue with comments like this?


Oh, sorry, I thought this was the forum where we discuss rules. You know, those things written in the book that comes with the game. The ones that aren't ambiguous about the question being asked in this thread. The ones in which nearly half of the listed player actions aren't superfluous.

-Tom
 
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Randy de Graaf
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TomChick wrote:
mfl134 wrote:

When portal has answered rules questions and somebody is asking about the rules, why do you feel a need to confuse the issue with comments like this?


Oh, sorry, I thought this was the forum where we discuss rules. You know, those things written in the book that comes with the game. The ones that aren't ambiguous about the question being asked in this thread. The ones in which nearly half of the listed player actions aren't superfluous.

-Tom


Thanks for the discussion and responses! Keeps me from litting the box on fire (j/k)

But lets play nice with each other I sincerely hope Portal will come out with an official statement on this soon.

 
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Paul Newsham
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NightSpook wrote:
I sincerely hope Portal will come out with an official statement on this soon.


I hope so too, but increasingly they seem to be just ignoring problems that emerge after a game is released
 
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Randy de Graaf
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Tarnop wrote:
NightSpook wrote:
I sincerely hope Portal will come out with an official statement on this soon.


I hope so too, but increasingly they seem to be just ignoring problems that emerge after a game is released


That's too bad, I really like Portal Games because they seem to be so close with their audience/players, constantly evolving with new expansions and stuff. Speaking of which, e-mailsubscribers just got an email with rules of the new AA Discoveries expansion, but as long the issue above isn't resolved, it would really hinder a new purchase, at least from my end.
 
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NightSpook wrote:
TomChick wrote:
mfl134 wrote:

When portal has answered rules questions and somebody is asking about the rules, why do you feel a need to confuse the issue with comments like this?


Oh, sorry, I thought this was the forum where we discuss rules. You know, those things written in the book that comes with the game. The ones that aren't ambiguous about the question being asked in this thread. The ones in which nearly half of the listed player actions aren't superfluous.

-Tom


Thanks for the discussion and responses! Keeps me from litting the box on fire (j/k)

But lets play nice with each other I sincerely hope Portal will come out with an official statement on this soon.



Since they answered me and gave me permission to relay the answer to BGG, I wouldn't expect anything else as they likely consider the question answered.
 
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TomChick wrote:
mfl134 wrote:

When portal has answered rules questions and somebody is asking about the rules, why do you feel a need to confuse the issue with comments like this?


Oh, sorry, I thought this was the forum where we discuss rules. You know, those things written in the book that comes with the game. The ones that aren't ambiguous about the question being asked in this thread. The ones in which nearly half of the listed player actions aren't superfluous.

-Tom


As far as I know the Rules forum is suppose to be a form to provide clarity regarding the rules. Normally if you want to discuss the rules in general, or want to voice complaints about the rules, I see people using the General forum. If an alternative is being discussed, generally the Variants format is used.


Portal isn't reading these forums, so if you are trying to make a point to them, I doubt it is helping. And if you are trying to make a point to me, since your goal perhaps is to undermine any clarifications I'm able to get Portal to give, why? Am I wronging you?

So perhaps trying being considerate to others who might use these forums as a place for clarity. Please?
 
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Tarnop wrote:
NightSpook wrote:
I sincerely hope Portal will come out with an official statement on this soon.


I hope so too, but increasingly they seem to be just ignoring problems that emerge after a game is released


It might be less about ignoring problems and more not know how to fix them (if they even believe there is a problem.)

Scenario 1:

- They trust their playtesting and feel we are missing something.
- No need to respond

Scenario 2:

- They realize there is an fixable issue
- They want to make a good fix, not a quick fix
- Thy spend time playtesting before making an announcement

Scenario 3:

- They realize there is an unfixable issue
- They still test to see if they can find an answer
- They end up in some type of AP loop hoping they can eventually find an answer
- They refuse to admit defeat and never fix or publicly acknowledge the problem

All of these scenarios are a version of not ignoring it (though also not fixing it)


If they are going to make a change, I'd rather a tested change rather than a quick change.

At minimum, if this is a true issue (which I haven't played the game enough to determine), portal can considering playtesting methods given how fast the "issue" was found after release by multiple players.
 
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Well, first I want to apologize if I caused this discussion to go off the rails with my initial comment. Not my intention.

And I believe I discussed this in the other discussions on the topics, but my big issue with Portal's decisions is that they are basically 180 degrees from what the rule book says in both instances (auto construct and blockades) so either their rules were poorly written, poorly checked, the game was poorly play tested, or their revised decisions on the topics are poorly thought thru.
 
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mfl134 wrote:
It might be less about ignoring problems and more not know how to fix them (if they even believe there is a problem.)

Scenario 1:

- They trust their playtesting and feel we are missing something.
- No need to respond

Scenario 2:

- They realize there is an fixable issue
- They want to make a good fix, not a quick fix
- Thy spend time playtesting before making an announcement

Scenario 3:

- They realize there is an unfixable issue
- They still test to see if they can find an answer
- They end up in some type of AP loop hoping they can eventually find an answer
- They refuse to admit defeat and never fix or publicly acknowledge the problem

All of these scenarios are a version of not ignoring it (though also not fixing it)


If they are going to make a change, I'd rather a tested change rather than a quick change.

At minimum, if this is a true issue (which I haven't played the game enough to determine), portal can considering playtesting methods given how fast the "issue" was found after release by multiple players.


I agree that there are more charitable ways of looking at this. However, options 1 & 2 can both be communicated to people who bought the game so they don't feel left in limbo. And as Tom has pointed out, the clarification they offered makes the 3 core actions of the game irrelevant, so it's easy to see why people might consider that an ill-thought out answer.
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Tarnop wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
It might be less about ignoring problems and more not know how to fix them (if they even believe there is a problem.)

Scenario 1:

- They trust their playtesting and feel we are missing something.
- No need to respond

Scenario 2:

- They realize there is an fixable issue
- They want to make a good fix, not a quick fix
- Thy spend time playtesting before making an announcement

Scenario 3:

- They realize there is an unfixable issue
- They still test to see if they can find an answer
- They end up in some type of AP loop hoping they can eventually find an answer
- They refuse to admit defeat and never fix or publicly acknowledge the problem

All of these scenarios are a version of not ignoring it (though also not fixing it)


If they are going to make a change, I'd rather a tested change rather than a quick change.

At minimum, if this is a true issue (which I haven't played the game enough to determine), portal can considering playtesting methods given how fast the "issue" was found after release by multiple players.


I agree that there are more charitable ways of looking at this. However, options 1 & 2 can both be communicated to people who bought the game so they don't feel left in limbo. And as Tom has pointed out, the clarification they offered makes the 3 core actions of the game irrelevant, so it's easy to see why people might consider that an ill-thought out answer.


They have also clarified the why they include the 3 core actions and prepare. So, given that they acknowledge why the rules were written that way, I think we are passed the point where it was just an off the cuff answer (rather than a deliberate answer by an official source.)

Quote:
RAW we wanted to separate Build and Prepare action, so that the players knew they could spend their resources without the need for them to build anything.
 
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Bruiser419 wrote:
Well, first I want to apologize if I caused this discussion to go off the rails with my initial comment. Not my intention.

And I believe I discussed this in the other discussions on the topics, but my big issue with Portal's decisions is that they are basically 180 degrees from what the rule book says in both instances (auto construct and blockades) so either their rules were poorly written, poorly checked, the game was poorly play tested, or their revised decisions on the topics are poorly thought thru.



Sure it can be a lot of things, but when asked portal has provided answers. I disagree that they are 180s from the rulebook. I feel anyone saying the rulebook was crystal clear on these topics is being a little disingenuous.

I have read a lot of rulebooks (include lots of portal) and it is often possible to read the intent in addition to what was written. This isn't something that should need to be done, but when the rules aren't clear as written, playing a guessing game on the intent is where I go from there.

IMO, it is a 180 from how some have chosen to interpret the unclear rules. It isn't a 180 from the rules.
 
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mfl134 wrote:
Bruiser419 wrote:
Well, first I want to apologize if I caused this discussion to go off the rails with my initial comment. Not my intention.

And I believe I discussed this in the other discussions on the topics, but my big issue with Portal's decisions is that they are basically 180 degrees from what the rule book says in both instances (auto construct and blockades) so either their rules were poorly written, poorly checked, the game was poorly play tested, or their revised decisions on the topics are poorly thought thru.



Sure it can be a lot of things, but when asked portal has provided answers. I disagree that they are 180s from the rulebook. I feel anyone saying the rulebook was crystal clear on these topics is being a little disingenuous.

I have read a lot of rulebooks (include lots of portal) and it is often possible to read the intent in addition to what was written. This isn't something that should need to be done, but when the rules aren't clear as written, playing a guessing game on the intent is where I go from there.

IMO, it is a 180 from how some have chosen to interpret the unclear rules. It isn't a 180 from the rules.


Well, again, we'll have to agree to disagree as to me the rule book is quite clear in both instances, and Portal's rulings contradict them almost completely in both cases.
 
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Bruiser419 wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
Bruiser419 wrote:
Well, first I want to apologize if I caused this discussion to go off the rails with my initial comment. Not my intention.

And I believe I discussed this in the other discussions on the topics, but my big issue with Portal's decisions is that they are basically 180 degrees from what the rule book says in both instances (auto construct and blockades) so either their rules were poorly written, poorly checked, the game was poorly play tested, or their revised decisions on the topics are poorly thought thru.



Sure it can be a lot of things, but when asked portal has provided answers. I disagree that they are 180s from the rulebook. I feel anyone saying the rulebook was crystal clear on these topics is being a little disingenuous.

I have read a lot of rulebooks (include lots of portal) and it is often possible to read the intent in addition to what was written. This isn't something that should need to be done, but when the rules aren't clear as written, playing a guessing game on the intent is where I go from there.

IMO, it is a 180 from how some have chosen to interpret the unclear rules. It isn't a 180 from the rules.


Well, again, we'll have to agree to disagree as to me the rule book is quite clear in both instances, and Portal's rulings contradict them almost completely in both cases.


Can you remind me what parts of the rulebook are "quite clear" so I can understand where we are ending at agree to disagree?

Blockades

I assume for blockades we are saying are talking about "blank for all game purposes". This is where the ambiguity is what does "blank" mean. "blank" is not defined anywhere as far as I know. We perhaps definitions of the word "blank" or common usages. Is there only one way to use the word?

Quote:
Blank: unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain


Looking at this first definition that I found, how would you interpret blank.

if you think of it as "bare", one could take that to mean there is nothing on the card at all. It is merely a card and nothing else. If you take the definition "plain", you could interpret it as a generic form of the type of card with nothing special about it. (And in general, the text is what makes a card special.)

I'm not trying to argue that the rules are clear that "blank = no ability text", I'm just noting that it isn't clear that that isn't what the rules were trying to say.

It is ambiguous. Do you disagree?

Automatic construction

And here are the rules on auto construction

Quote:
AUTOMATIC CONSTRUCTION - by adding new cards to your Empire, their effects may fulfil the cost to Build, Develop, or Discover cards in your Under Construction area. If this occurs, immediately move these cards to your Empire and resolve their effects. If multiple cards are completed simultaneously due to Automatic Construction, resolve them one at a time in any order you choose.



The word "this" is ambiguous. What does it refer to here?

You are reading it as:

- If you add new cards to your empire and fulfill the cost

Why not read it as:

- fulfilling the cost to build

??

Why is this somehow so crystal clear to you? Why isn't it possible that "by adding new cards to your Empire" wasn't just meant as helpful text to explain to you a common way that such an event could occur.

(I'm not saying that it is good rules writing to lead with it, just stating the ambiguity.)
 
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mfl134 wrote:

Can you remind me what parts of the rulebook are "quite clear" so I can understand where we are ending at agree to disagree?


The part that would resolve the original post's question about an abusive gameplay loop. The designers of Alien Artifacts are smart enough to make a game that avoids that stuff. They're even smart enough to write rules that explain why it shouldn't happen!

-Tom
 
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