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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Rules

Subject: Graviton Negator-powered Fighters and PDS rss

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Private Blinky
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I'm looking for a ruling from more experienced players on what PDS can legally hit during the start of Invasion Combat.

From what I am inferring after reading the Graviton Negator tech card, Fighters participating in an Invasion Combat can be hit and taken as casualties once the Invasion Combat sequence is underway. Does this also mean that a Fighter heading to the Invasion can also be a casualty chosen by the defender due to a pre-invasion defending PDS hit?

Both instances in the rulebook only refer to having Ground Forces as the unit affected by a pre-invasion PDS hit, and the FAQ does state that Fighters cannot engage in an Invasion Combat without at least one Ground Force unit participating in the Invasion. I'm curious to know what others have done in this situation. Thanks.

 
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I don't know if this has been ruled on specifically, but I would say that the Fighters don't begin to participate until the combat actually starts, so PDS fire would have to be concentrated on the GFs landing. If none survive, the battle ends before it starts and Fighters can't come and help.
 
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Clayton Threadgill
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PDS fire happens before the combat begins, so the fighters haven't yet joined the fight. If the defensive PDS fire eliminates all invading ground forces, then there is no invasion combat and the fighters remain in space.

As a related note: The fighters are still fighters, and do not change to ground forces while participating in an invasion.
 
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The above matters as PDS fire during invasion combat is explicitly stated to hit invading Ground Forces only, and was never errata'd to hit other units, such as Mechanized Units, Mercenaries, or Graviton-Negator Fighters.

This is part of why PDS are very bad in TI3.
 
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IncrediSteve wrote:
The above matters as PDS fire during invasion combat is explicitly stated to hit invading Ground Forces only, and was never errata'd to hit other units, such as Mechanized Units, Mercenaries, or Graviton-Negator Fighters.

This is part of why PDS are very bad in TI3.

Lol, I would never consider PDS "bad" in TI3. A grid of 6 PDS with Deep Space Cannons were always quite a deterrent to almost every fleet. And while they were limited on the ground, they could tip the scales of an invasion (in addition to blocking Dreadnought bombardment).

This is the first I can remember anyone saying PDS are bad.
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Jonathan Challis
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Yeah, I think PDS are really good in TI3 too!
 
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Private Blinky
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Thanks for the insights.


The scenario in our last game was exactly as suggested; my opponent(s) were trying to hammer me down as I had 9 VP and the closest to winning at that point. One of my opponents had the tech of Graviton Negator and Cybernetics, so under the belief that the defender selects hits, he elected to only have one GF along with a fistful of fighters on a carrier that set to invade after a significant fleet battle.

And of course I rolled a hit from my PDS on the planet from the pre-invasion roll. He and a couple others at the table were of the belief that the Graviton Negator permitted fighters could soak damage from all parts of the Invasion Combat steps, including the PDS roll, while I unconvincingly lobbied that the hit should of gone strictly to the GF unit, due to it technically occurring pre-combat, with the paragraphs in the rules of Invasion PDS fire specifically mentioning Ground Forces, and nothing in the FAQ to support the attackers viewpoint.


Given this specific situation above, would it be fair to say that IF all the attacking Ground Forces unit are wiped out from pre-Invasion combat PDS, that it would not bring the Invasion Combat full-stop, and instead the attacker would at least still get a solitary round to fire with his fighters, since the Invasion Combat sequence had indeed been initiated by that point, and there are still attacking units ready to contribute firepower to the Invasion? You typically only get to declare invasion combat has ended at the end of the Invasion Combat sequence. I recognize that the fighters stay as fighters and won't ever be able to capture the planet if this situation does occur.


 
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PrivateBlinky wrote:
Given this specific situation above, would it be fair to say that IF all the attacking Ground Forces unit are wiped out from pre-Invasion combat PDS, that it would not bring the Invasion Combat full-stop, and instead the attacker would at least still get a solitary round to fire with his fighters, since the Invasion Combat sequence had indeed been initiated by that point, and there are still attacking units ready to contribute firepower to the Invasion? You typically only get to declare invasion combat has ended at the end of the Invasion Combat sequence. I recognize that the fighters stay as fighters and won't ever be able to capture the planet if this situation does occur.

I would say "no". If the GFs are destroyed by PDS fire, then the combat is over, and no rounds of combat are initiated. But that's just how I'd interpret it
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Clayton Threadgill
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PrivateBlinky wrote:
Given this specific situation above, would it be fair to say that IF all the attacking Ground Forces unit are wiped out from pre-Invasion combat PDS, that it would not bring the Invasion Combat full-stop, and instead the attacker would at least still get a solitary round to fire with his fighters, since the Invasion Combat sequence had indeed been initiated by that point, and there are still attacking units ready to contribute firepower to the Invasion? You typically only get to declare invasion combat has ended at the end of the Invasion Combat sequence. I recognize that the fighters stay as fighters and won't ever be able to capture the planet if this situation does occur.

Since defensive PDS fire happens before combat, the invasion combat has not actually started yet. Since no ground forces are on the planet when it's time to start the combat, the fight never begins, and the fighters never participate.
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Private Blinky
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IncrediSteve wrote:
The above matters as PDS fire during invasion combat is explicitly stated to hit invading Ground Forces only, and was never errata'd to hit other units, such as Mechanized Units, Mercenaries, or Graviton-Negator Fighters.

This is part of why PDS are very bad in TI3.


So Mech Units or Mercenaries are not technically considered as Ground Forces units as well? Granted, I have no familiarity with the expansions (as such, that's where I'm presuming they're from), but I would of thought that any other units operating on a ground-based level would fall under the 'ground forces' classification. Good thing to remember if we ever pick them up, thanks.
 
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PrivateBlinky wrote:
IncrediSteve wrote:
The above matters as PDS fire during invasion combat is explicitly stated to hit invading Ground Forces only, and was never errata'd to hit other units, such as Mechanized Units, Mercenaries, or Graviton-Negator Fighters.

This is part of why PDS are very bad in TI3.


So Mech Units or Mercenaries are not technically considered as Ground Forces units as well? Granted, I have no familiarity with the expansions (as such, that's where I'm presuming they're from), but I would of thought that any other units operating on a ground-based level would fall under the 'ground forces' classification. Good thing to remember if we ever pick them up, thanks.

They aren't considered Ground Forces. In SOME cases, they still behave like them (such as MU's being able to take control of a planet), but in other cases they specifically aren't (such as for many Distant Suns effects). In fact, unfortunately the distinction isn't always clear, and causes a lot of confusion. In TI4, I like how they differentiate "infantry" and "Ground Forces" (even if right now, the only Ground Force unit IS infantry, it will make adding other types much less confusing down the road).
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Private Blinky
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sigmazero13 wrote:
I would say "no". If the GFs are destroyed by PDS fire, then the combat is over, and no rounds of combat are initiated. But that's just how I'd interpret it


hooliganj wrote:
Since defensive PDS fire happens before combat, the invasion combat has not actually started yet. Since no ground forces are on the planet when it's time to start the combat, the fight never begins, and the fighters never participate.


I guess I would have to disagree with this specific positioning, as there is a confirmed planetary landing of Ground Forces that has just finalized in step 5 of the activation sequence, and it is that exact same presence that permits step 6, Invasion Combat sequence (of which bombardment and PDS fire is a pre-step), to initiate and resolve. Within step 6's sequence, there is no specific mention of checking to see if an Invasion Combat sequence ends before all units slotted to participate (minus PDS/Bombard casualties) have had a chance to roll, and the rules seem to only submit it is only at the end of a Invasion Combat sequence can the Invasion Combat officially end, so long as one side has no further GF units.

Thematically, yes its possible that the fighters could see the ground forces obliterated by the attack and beat a hasty retreat, I could also see that they would make one run since they are in the planetary skies already and committed to the fight. Just because the PDS has effectively stopped the invasion doesn't mean that the fighters have yet to reach the point of no return and can safely disengage from the battle. Thanks again.

Edit: Assigned the incorrect numbers to the mentioned steps in the activation sequence.
 
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Private Blinky
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sigmazero13 wrote:
In TI4, I like how they differentiate "infantry" and "Ground Forces" (even if right now, the only Ground Force unit IS infantry, it will make adding other types much less confusing down the road).

That's neat to hear, good foresight on FFG's part.
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PrivateBlinky wrote:
I could also see that they would make one run since they are in the planetary skies already and committed to the fight.

Mechanically, I don't think you could justify only fighting ONE combat round, and not the entire combat. Either the fighters are down there participating and fight the entire battle to the end, or they don't fight at all. I don't think there's any interpretation that would allow them to fight just one round and then end the battle.
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Jonathan Challis
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Don't bring anything thematic into this - just follow the rules, and the turn steps - it's then very clear.
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Private Blinky
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That's the crux; the one round of combat for fighters only turns out that it IS the whole battle. The attacker certainly never has the hope that their ground forces gets wiped out, but once they've lost their boots on the ground, the fighters have no choice to fall back AFTER they've engaged the enemy.

It's logical to expect for fairness of the game, that the attacker would, at the very start of the Invasion Combat Activation Step, have to be entirely clear on what number of fighters (none/some/all) in the planet's system would be sent in support of the upcoming ground battle, before any steps in the Invasion Combat could be resolved. This even precludes includes Bombardment or PDS, as they are a embedded component of the Invasion Combat Activation Step, and their results can influence what the attacker decides to commit to the battle, even though the fighters themselves could never be hit by either ability based on my first inquiry.

If we are to adhere to the exact words in the rules "After any bombardment and defensive PDS fire has been resolved, the players proceed to the Invasion Combat itself.", that infers that at least one round of actual Invasion Combat must commence. The second sentence states "Invasion Combat is fought over a series of consecutive combat rounds until only one player's Ground Forces (or none) remain." HOWEVER. The only singular wording that allows a Invasion Combat to end only occurs AFTER the elements of attacking and defending units fire, and that casualties have been assigned.

In normal Invasion Combat cases with only GFs present, the elimination of all attacking GF by PDS would of course pre-emptively end the Invasion Combat sequence, but that's only by the logical conclusion that the attackers hit by PDS will not fire back and there is nothing else remaining in the battle that the defending units can hit or fight. That would not be the case with fighters already participating in the combat, as there are now units that can fire (and be fired upon, per the inference in the Graviton Negator) which, once again, would of have been explicitly declared and assigned to the battle, well before any rolls were executed to determine if the attacker decided if their presence was needed or not.

Honestly, I can see the argument for both sides, but I still do believe at this point, the rules as written and ordered, in this VERY unique and rare scenario, would permit a contingent of fighters to fight until the end condition of Invasion Combat has been satisfied, which, as written and presented, is only ever met at the very end of the Invasion Combat round sequence. But that's only one fella's opinion.
 
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Jonathan Challis
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I understand your point, but I don't find any support for a round of combat at all.
 
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Scott Lewis
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PrivateBlinky wrote:
That's the crux; the one round of combat for fighters only turns out that it IS the whole battle. The attacker certainly never has the hope that their ground forces gets wiped out, but once they've lost their boots on the ground, the fighters have no choice to fall back AFTER they've engaged the enemy.

There is nothing in the rules to say that if the actual GFs are wiped out, the fighters stop participating, too. You either play out the battle until one side or the other is completely wiped out of participants (fighters and otherwise), or you don't have the battle at all.

While Fighters alone can't take control of the planet, they can continue to fight if the battle has begun. So you either need to play until all the attacking forces (including fighters) are destroyed, or until all the defending forces are destroyed. If the latter happens, the Defender still retains control of the planet, however.

There is no situation where you will only fight one round of ground combat and then "retreat" any remaining units, regardless of what those units are. Once started, the only way to end it is if one side's forces are destroyed.


Ultimately, you've been given the opinion of many veteran TI3 players. While you are welcome to disagree, if you want an official answer, the only way to get it will be to submit the question to FFG. Otherwise, it's just going to boil down to a difference of interpretation. And interpretation must be based on the rules themeselves, not on a thematic "this is how I think it should work" basis, as ANY such game rule can be spun to fit pretty much whatever thematic viewpoint a player wants to attach to it.
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Private Blinky
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sigmazero13 wrote:
There is nothing in the rules to say that if the actual GFs are wiped out, the fighters stop participating, too.

Official wording of the rulebook for invasion combat round, pg 18, first full paragraph (following the paragraph after taking casualties):

"If, at this point, both players still have Ground Force units remaining on the planet, another Invasion Combat round is initiated. This continues until only one (or no) player has Ground Force units left on the planet."

I think you would certainly agree that the last sentence clearly denotes when an Invasion Combat sequence ends, and a attacking player is free at any time to decide which of their units are taken as casualties. Whenever one side has no more Ground Force units at any END of a combat round, only then the entire Invasion Combat sequence immediately ends. And if the attacker had no remaining GF units, even by choice, any remaining fighters would also then return to space at that exact point. Nowhere in the rules or FAQ have clarified that fighters during Invasion have to be entirely wiped out if they are present, and that's a poor assumption with little basis given on the rules presented. I would think a calculating attacker would use this opportunity to their advantage; let the fighters take the hits for the remaining GF, or cut their losses and let the fighters return to space, giving up the chance to claim the ground.

The last post I put forth had zero thematics attached to it, showing it was all based on rules outlined as presented in order within the book, no thinking or assuming on my part, except on the logical assumption and fairness on when the attacker must declare how many Fighters are going to be present during the sequence:

-Attacker declares # of fighters before Invasion Combat Step (step 6 in Activation Sequence) begins
-Attacker Bombardment first, Defender PDS Fire second as pre-combat components of the Invasion Combat Step
-Invasion Combat Round begins because attacking GF had initiated the entire Invasion Combat Sequence, and no statement or wording to directly end the combat round before it is resolved
-Simultaneous combat rolls for both sides of all participating units
-Casualties Removed for both sides
-End case rule is evaluated at the end of a round of combat; no GF remaining on one side = Invasion Combat rounds ends and Invasion Combat for that planet is fully resolved


I have considered throwing this toward FFG for clarification, but they removed the category classification for TI3 on their support website. (TI4 comes out and I guess it's 'bye-bye dirty socks'!) That and I thought surely that least there must be some players here who MUST have exactly encountered this specific scenario before at some point over the decade or so that 3rd edition has been out, and I'm a little surprised that it hasn't been conversed with any validation or conviction that didn't seem to minorly conflict in sequence with what the rulebook and FAQ presents.


All said, I'm quite happy for the perspective that you and others have put forth thus far, thanks again for your input.

 
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Private Blinky
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Kelanen wrote:
I understand your point, but I don't find any support for a round of combat at all.


Certainly no form of support around here for the points I made...eh..EH?

*crickets*

Boy, tough crowd.
 
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That rule doesn't take into consideration that other units will participate. If fighters are involved, they must also be destroyed to end combat. Same with MUs.
 
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PrivateBlinky wrote:
I have considered throwing this toward FFG for clarification, but they removed the category classification for TI3 on their support website. (TI4 comes out and I guess it's 'bye-bye dirty socks'!) That and I thought surely that least there must be some players here who MUST have exactly encountered this specific scenario before at some point over the decade or so that 3rd edition has been out, and I'm a little surprised that it hasn't been conversed with any validation or conviction that didn't seem to minorly conflict in sequence with what the rulebook and FAQ presents.

It's been encountered dozens of times, and generally resolved in the manner which has already been described.
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Private Blinky
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Fair enough. Should I or my rivals enounter this rare occurance again in the game, I will heed and pay mind to the insights provided, coming from those who have likely existed within this galaxy many ages before I first stepped forth into this fictional realm. Thanks again.
 
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