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Subject: Running out of tiles rss

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Jeff Goldsmith
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What happens when a player does not have enough tiles in stock to complete his draw? As far as I can tell, the only way to get pieces back is to lose attacks and solar flares/supernovae. So if you bump to nine pieces quickly, you will run out.
 
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Oliver Harrison
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Hi Jeff,

Theoretically, you're correct. You could place a total of 66 tiles in the long game via maxing out your engines alone. There are 54 tiles included with the game in each player's color. However, I have not only not seen this done in over 50 games played, but I've not even seen it come close to happening. The fact is, you get such an enormous target on you as soon as you start leveling up one tech that fast, your opponents keep you from being able to continue; either by taking away all your income, or by blockading you into a small area, thereby rendering your expansion moot.

If you ever do have this problem, I'd be curious to read the session report behind it.

Oliver
 
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Jeff Goldsmith
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Thanks for the quick reply, but it didn't really answer the question. In any game in which it is possible to run out of a resource, it will happen. All you need is some groupthink to value that resource and it will happen a lot. In this case, since that resource is actions and victory points, it could happen every game.

You can do much more than 66. With the 4 RU special card, you can bump to 7 before the second turn and 8 the third. If you win any battle, you are at 9 the fourth turn. That's 73. Plus, if on the second turn you pick up the colony card allowing a free fort, that's 7-8 more, so you can get 80 or 81. (It doesn't say that you can only fortify at the beginning of the turn with this ex quota build---even without that, it's a pretty weak colony.) A couple of free tile placements from encounters gets you into the mid-80s. In theory, without going through the encounter deck twice, there are seven free placements. Call it 87-88, though I suspect it's possible to get more.

Even with no special cards, all you need to do is win a few battles early to get to 70. Even if you are picked on by solar flares, you will run out of tiles in Phase 3.

I'm confused about your strategy claims. Since the main way to score points is to get tokens on the board, getting more per turn is the most important thing to do, so everyone should be attempting to max out engine tech. Let's say you hold one planet and one moon each scoring turn, which is about average. You score three times, so that's 24 points. If you get 3/4 of your tiles on the board at the end, that's 40 points. So tiles is the #1 way to score points in the game. Planets are really secondary. Moons are valuable because of the income---2 income/turn is 16 RUs = 16 VPs even if you don't attempt to leverage it. Still, the bulk of your VPs will come from tile placement.

In an sense, engine tech is also extra actions, which are gold in most games. Since they lead directly to victory points in this game, that strategy is totally obvious. If everyone is doing the same thing (you have played 50 games and no one has done that? That's impossible to believe---are you playing with gamers? Have you playtested outside of one or two groups?), everyone will run out of tokens roughly at the end of Phase 2 or the beginning of Phase 3.

Sure, you can gang up on a player who is doing this, but isn't it smarter to let the other players gang up on him and just do it yourself? Which leads to everyone's doing it.

How can you never have seen it come close to happening? No one you've ever played with has bumped to 6 on the first turn? That's 52 (8x6+4). That player never got the free fortification colony to get to 60? And never bumped engines to 7? Even if that didn't seem like a good start, wouldn't someone try it within 50 games?

Yeah, it'll make your expansion moot, because there's no rule to deal with the situation, but even if you don't have space to grow, you still can attack if you have tiles with which to do it. And you can't really be hemmed in; you can always attack out of the supernova and expand from the newly taken space. If all the two rows around the supernova are filled, you need to attack twice. If every space on the board is filled (seems likely to happen in most games), then you still can attack to try to gain points. Even if you are battle-card limited---eventually the defender will run out of cards (he has to play one and the attacker doesn't), so you can get to the point where he has to play a newly-drawn card, which you are likely to be able to beat.

So what's the solution? Good players not only can, but will run out of tiles. Does the game just end when that happens? Can (must?) players take tiles off the board? Just use pennies? Or never play anything but the short game?
 
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Oliver Harrison
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JeffG wrote:
You can do much more than 66. With the 4 RU special card, you can bump to 7 before the second turn and 8 the third. If you win any battle, you are at 9 the fourth turn. That's 73. Plus, if on the second turn you pick up the colony card allowing a free fort, that's 7-8 more, so you can get 80 or 81. (It doesn't say that you can only fortify at the beginning of the turn with this ex quota build---even without that, it's a pretty weak colony.) A couple of free tile placements from encounters gets you into the mid-80s. In theory, without going through the encounter deck twice, there are seven free placements. Call it 87-88, though I suspect it's possible to get more.


The way you're talking, I'm gathering that you haven't played the game yet, right? Because theoretically, some of the things you say are true. But you do have a few rules wrong, which I'll clarify below.

For instance, one of the big rules you're missing is this, under 5.2.1: Technology Markers: "A player may only purchase one level of each technology per turn." So first off, you cannot get to level 2 Engines by your second turn. In addition, you're making a bunch of assumptions throughout your response - like that your opponents will let you expand, take planets and moons the way you say; in my experience and in all the games I've taught others, and in games with gamers (yes, THEM too), they won't. Maybe you guys will play differently, I don't know.

A couple other things I don't understand:
Quote:
If you win any battle, you are at 9 the fourth turn.
What does winning battle have anything to do with using tiles? Winning battle gets you extra RU, yes, but not more engines. Unless you use those RU to purchase one level of engine tech.

Quote:
(It doesn't say that you can only fortify at the beginning of the turn with this ex quota build---even without that, it's a pretty weak colony.)

Yes, you must use any fortifications, including free ones, at the beginning of your turn - in accordance with the turn order on your player mat. In addition, you may only fortify any given tile, once per turn. Since the fortifying is at the beginning of tile placement, it implies that you only may fortify hexes that you owned at the beginning of that turn.

Quote:
How can you never have seen it come close to happening? No one you've ever played with has bumped to 6 on the first turn? That's 52 (8x6+4). That player never got the free fortification colony to get to 60? And never bumped engines to 7? Even if that didn't seem like a good start, wouldn't someone try it within 50 games?


Like I said above, no one bumped to 6 on the first turn or 7 on the third; it takes a minimum of the end of your third turn to be able to get to engines 3 and thus you won't get 7 tiles until your 4th turn, minimum. Unless you get the planet that gives engines, in which case you could have it at the end of your second turn. (if you didn't spend your RU on anything else) This is also assuming you're playing with the board configuration as shown in the rules.

Maybe your group will be different, but here's what's happened in the past. If one player gets as high as 3 engines or even 4, though this is rare - other players come in like vultures to take away that player's planet and moons. This happens pretty easily because one player without any weapons or shields is frankly, a sitting duck. If I have even just weapons 2 (which gives me +3 to my attacks) - and if I own the planet that gives me a weapons boost, I will likely have +4 or even +5) and you have no shields (which you wouldn't, or very little, had you put all your RU into engines), you're easily removed from both your planet and the moons you hold. This IS my best strategy (as opposed to expanding and doing the engines->max thing) as I will still get points from the tiles I take away from you AND I'll deprive you of your end-of-phase scoring for both your planet and moon, if I can hold it that long. Engines is a good strategy, yes. If you play a game where your opponent's ignore you completely while watching you do it... well, as I said before, I've just not ever seen this happen.

If you were to completely run out of tiles, my suggestion would be to call the game at that point, count your scores, see who wins. I doubt you'd find that exact situation would manifest itself again.

Besides, all this discussion on what might/might not happen is kinda silly - if you have the game, just go play it. If you run out of tiles consistently, get back to me and we'll figure out a solution for you.

Oliver
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Jeff Goldsmith
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Wrevilo wrote:
The way you're talking, I'm gathering that you haven't played the game yet, right? Because theoretically, some of the things you say are true. But you do have a few rules wrong, which I'll clarify below.

For instance, one of the big rules you're missing is this, under 5.2.1: Technology Markers: "A player may only purchase one level of each technology per turn."


Missed that. I see the 66, then, except that there are a bunch of cards which can make that substantially higher. 7 for the fortification colony, 7 for encounters, and 3 for the +1 engines planet.

Quote:
In addition, you're making a bunch of assumptions throughout your response - like that your opponents will let you expand, take planets and moons the way you say; in my experience and in all the games I've taught others, and in games with gamers (yes, THEM too), they won't. Maybe you guys will play differently, I don't know.


In a 4-player game, there's one planet and one moon for each player. Why would you fight for someone else's if you can just take an empty one first?



Quote:
A couple other things I don't understand:
Quote:
If you win any battle, you are at 9 the fourth turn.
What does winning battle have anything to do with using tiles? Winning battle gets you extra RU, yes, but not more engines. Unless you use those RU to purchase one level of engine tech.


Right. You need 15 RU to buy five levels of engines.
But yeah, you only need that in order to go faster than 1/turn, though of course you'll want at least one level of attack and defense (worth 2) early on, so to get to max engines quickly, you'll need to battle.


Quote:
Quote:
How can you never have seen it come close to happening? No one you've ever played with has bumped to 6 on the first turn? That's 52 (8x6+4). That player never got the free fortification colony to get to 60? And never bumped engines to 7? Even if that didn't seem like a good start, wouldn't someone try it within 50 games?


Like I said above, no one bumped to 6 on the first turn or 7 on the third; it takes a minimum of the end of your third turn to be able to get to engines 3 and thus you won't get 7 tiles until your 4th turn, minimum. Unless you get the planet that gives engines, in which case you could have it at the end of your second turn. (if you didn't spend your RU on anything else) This is also assuming you're playing with the board configuration as shown in the rules.

Maybe your group will be different, but here's what's happened in the past. If one player gets as high as 3 engines or even 4, though this is rare - other players come in like vultures to take away that player's planet and moons. This happens pretty easily because one player without any weapons or shields is frankly, a sitting duck. If I have even just weapons 2 (which gives me +3 to my attacks) - and if I own the planet that gives me a weapons boost, I will likely have +4 or even +5) and you have no shields (which you wouldn't, or very little, had you put all your RU into engines), you're easily removed from both your planet and the moons you hold. This IS my best strategy (as opposed to expanding and doing the engines->max thing) as I will still get points from the tiles I take away from you AND I'll deprive you of your end-of-phase scoring for both your planet and moon, if I can hold it that long. Engines is a good strategy, yes. If you play a game where your opponent's ignore you completely while watching you do it... well, as I said before, I've just not ever seen this happen.

If you were to completely run out of tiles, my suggestion would be to call the game at that point, count your scores, see who wins. I doubt you'd find that exact situation would manifest itself again.

Besides, all this discussion on what might/might not happen is kinda silly - if you have the game, just go play it. If you run out of tiles consistently, get back to me and we'll figure out a solution for you.

Oliver


If I run out of tiles once (which happened the first game we played) without a rule to cover it, the game is stuck. It's harder to run out with 5.2.1 correct, but it can still happen. If the rule is "the game ends when someone gets tiles and doesn't have enough of them," that's sort of unfair for the players who don't get a turn the last turn, but if we know about it in advance, there'll be higher bidding on a flare if we see that coming. That ending is pretty unsatisfying, but we'll see if it happens next time.

Edit: Upon reflection, we can end the game at the beginning of a turn when someone expects to run out of tiles. If it happens that he would not have by having a colony card taken from him before his turn, or if he runs out because of an exploration, so be it; those are not hard to deal with.
--Jeff
 
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Ash Brown
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So...I'm not sure if this question was ever officially answered here or elsewhere. But--

During the three-player game I participated in last night I ran out of tiles to place, as did one other player. (I had focused my technologies almost entirely on engines with a few defense bonuses thrown in; the other player was more balanced but initiated more battles.) The third player had tiles left over at the end of the game.

There were at least two turns that I couldn't place tiles unless I was allowed to raid the discard pile. (It was almost definitely more than two turns, but I don't remember exactly when I ran out. Now I wish I had paid more attention.) I'm fairly certain that we were following all the rules effecting number of tiles and tile placement.

So, what happens when you run out of tiles to place? Are you just out of luck? Do you get to at least reclaim tiles from the discard pile? (Even doing that, I still would have run out of tiles.)

I love the game, by the way. Some of the rules seem to be a little nit-picky and not visually represented well by the board or pieces, though. I probably need to read through the rulebook a couple more times to get most of the kinks out. I look forward to seeing the revised version of the rules that's being worked on. I'm hoping that I get to play another game of Supernova soon, because I really enjoyed it! (And not just because I won 74 to 61 and 61 )
 
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Ash Brown
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Hmmmm...soooo...was this ever answered anywhere?
 
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Ash Brown
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I played another three player game of Supernova last night, and guess what? I physically ran out of tiles that I could place before the end of the game. Two whole turns went by that I didn't have enough tiles available. (Which actually lost me the game.) However, I would have been (mostly) alright if I had been allowed to draw tiles from my discard pile.


PLEASE can ANYONE tell me what the official (or unofficial) ruling is on running out of tiles?
 
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Anthony Harlan

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discard pile?

Is there somewhere that implies that tiles destroyed don't go back to the supply?
 
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Ron Lacer
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I wondered about that too. I see that if you fortify a planet you 'discard' the 2nd tile and when a flare happens, tiles are 'removed' from the board. I believe some Research Cards remove tiles from the board as well, but I don't have the cards handy. In any case, I was assuming that removed tiles just went into your reserve supply
 
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Chris Hansen
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Unlike the original rules, the new rules set (2.2) now clearly state that tiles removed for fortifying planets, or tiles removed by being burned up in a solar flare, are returned to that players reserves.
 
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