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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » Rules

Subject: Secrecy of decision not to settle/develop this phase rss

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Pussy Katz
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I'd imagine that you can't ask someone if they're going to settle/develop BEFORE that phase occurs, but can you ask at the beginning of that phase before the simultaneous reveal, or is that really a secret?

If it's a secret, what are the ways in which people achieve this in tabletop play?

The manual suggests knocking on the table, or not putting a card down before the reveal, but I don't see how either maintains secrecy unless you do it in a really awkward way.

The manual also suggests hiding a card/none under an action phase. Is this how most people do it?
 
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Noel Yap
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The way we do it is for everyone to place a face down card into their tableau. Then simultaneously everyone either reveals their card or puts it back into their hand.
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Pussy Katz
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That should work pretty well, actually.

Diving more into this issue, though, I think it matters mostly because people want to know whether a player is potentially ending the game at the end of the round by hitting the tableau size limit. Interestingly, the manual seems to suggest that some form of querying is allowed when New Military Tactics/Colony Ships is involved.

So what's the deal with that? Can you blatantly asks if someone is going to use NMT/CS? Only if it may/may not trigger game end? Only if you have NMT/CS yourself?

And when do you ask this question? If it's before the reveal, then wouldn't a YES mean that his decision to settle is no longer a secret? If it's after a reveal, then wouldn't it be more elegant to just process in player order instead?

Personally I'm rather surprised that the decision to use/not use NMT/CS isn't also a secret.
 
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Timo
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I dont really understand the problem.

The way I see it you do the following:
Every player plays a card face down on his tableau. After each player has done so, all cards are revealed simultanously, thus they are revealed even before Phase 1: Explore.
So every player knows exactly which phases will occur in that turn, but can't influence his choice of which phase he triggers.

This might be interessting at the end, as I could want to play a cheap development if settle is called and a expensivier one if its not called, for example.


So there is no need to ask a player if he is calling a phase, you can just look at the action card right before him. Of course you could ask him directly - but the rules don't state that he has to answer truthfully, so better check for yourself, too devil
 
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Pussy Katz
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Tyrfing wrote:
I dont really understand the problem.


The problem is how to maintain secrecy of opting out of a development/settle phase. What you were talking about sounds like the secrecy of phase selection at the beginning of each round.

The other related problem is the query regarding NMT/CS (and by extension, all other discard-from-tableau cards in the expansions). Apparently some form of questioning is allowed according to the manual, but I'm not sure what the exact protocol for that is.
 
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Normally, we're all loose with simultaneous development or settlement.

For our last round is where some groups are more keen on this. They will adapt the rule of putting a face down card and taking it back if you opt out of dev or settling. This way, opther players have no prior knowledge of if the game will end or not.
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Serge Levert
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pussykatz wrote:
Apparently some form of questioning is allowed according to the manual


That doesn't sound right. I can't find what you're referring to - can you post the page # from the manual, or quote the text here if it's short?
 
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Pussy Katz
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From the PDF on RGG website (http://riograndegames.com/uploads/Game/Game_240_gameRules.pd...), page 8.

Manual wrote:
TIMING

[...]

Near the end of the game, if several players have New Military Tactics or Colony Ship, a player may wish to know whether another player is using (and discarding) one of these cards or placing a twelfth card in his tableau (thus ending the game that round), before deciding whether to use one of these cards himself.

In this and similar cases, perform the phase in clockwise order, starting with the player who has the lowest numbered (original) starting world.


So yeah, I had missed the part in bold. I initially thought that because a player "may wish to know" this information, he can just outright ask for the answer. Rather, the manual suggests exactly the solution I had expected: simply process in player order.

So I guess all my questions are answered.
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TerminusEst's suggestion is also just one of the conventions that the rulebook notes. It is probably the standard as it reveals no information until the dev/settle actually occurs.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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So the sequence of play is:

1) For players in table-order: Declare Connolley Ship/NMT/Mercanaries Use
2) All players put target face down
3) Reveal!

So those pumping / discarding cards tip the hand as to whether there's a settle going on, right? Or wrong?
 
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Pussy Katz
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No, I think the sequence of play is:

1. Decide secretly what to settle (if at all)
2. After the reveal, if any player raised timing issues, then everybody complete their settle in player order.
 
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Pussy Katz
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My only gripe with withdrawing the card from the table to opt out is that it opens up possibilities of other people accusing you to do it just a tad late as a reaction.

I like the idea of everybody carrying an extra develop and settle action cards, and putting it down just next to the face down card. Then, everybody reveals this action card first, and if it's the wrong action for this phase, they're opting out and can withdraw the face down the card.

In the basic game, the extra action cards can be the ones marked for advanced version. In the advanced game, just take extra action cards from a different color.

A variant of this is for everybody to carry a coin with them, and putting it on the table covered by their hands. The coin is then revealed first: head is in, tail is out.

And if we're fine with using the hand to cover something, here's another variant: simply cover up the face down card sufficiently when you put it down so others can't tell if the card is right side up (opt in) or not (opt out). You have to be subtle in orienting the card correctly before you put it down on the table, though.
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Vladimir Filipović
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I'm sure I've seen it suggested somewhere - whether in the manual or on the internet - that you can "bluff" by putting down a world in the Develop phase or a development in the Settle phase. It is not perfect, as it reveals to everybody one card out of your hand, but I've found that it works well enough and it's really fast and simple.

I understand in a competitive sort of atmosphere this is a poor solution, but the way I've played it and seen it played, everybody is content to just say "not developing/settling" most of the time and only use this option when "it matters".

I've also occasionally twisted the rule by putting down as a bluff a card of the right type (dev for Develop, world for Settle) but one that I obviously and proveably could not legally put down in that phase in any possible way. Nobody has ever complained.


The need for secrecy in general has risen (and slowed down the game) with the introduction of goals. My games before that played very fast and loose with the synchronization, you could have players doing different phases at the same time (somebody has settled and is already consuming while someone else is still exploring). Unless people wanted to wait for something, the only fixed checkpoint was the end of the round. With goals it matters more, so people more often say "I'm developing THIS (face down)" and wait for everyone else to commit. (Or: "Is everyone done developing now?")


A possible rigorous solution, if one is wanted, is to give each player one dummy card to keep throughout the game - the blank cards from TGS would work well. It doesn't count against your hand limit or anything, you can't use it as money, but you can put it down as a bluff for Develop or Settle.


It's not entirely clear to me how the secrecy and timing rules should work for declaring takeovers, but to be honest I haven't really sat down and read the fine print. (I've just heard an explanation from a friend and haven't really run into a questionable situation in practice yet.)
 
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Pussy Katz
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I thought of the dummy card idea too, but feels like it's way too risky since it opens up possibilities of making mistakes (hand size counting, "accidentally" discarding it for payment, etc). I'd rather use the 2 extra action cards idea since it's less error prone. Probably the covered-up coin is most convenient, though.
 
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The bluff card doesn't require you to reveal anything. Simply put it back in your hand when everyone else reveals what they will Dev/Settle. My wife and I have been using it since day one and there have zero instances when it was a less than perfect solution. Of course, if the action card thing works for you, feel free. It just seems to add an unnecessary step to the game.
 
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Pussy Katz
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I was just worried that someone might accuse that the withdrawal was "not simultaneous enough", that it was rather a change of mind than an apriori decision to opt out. Obviously this is not a big deal with casual friends playing for fun, but I can see it being a potential problem in a more formal setting.
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Andrew Dunn
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I'm not sure i could have fun with a player who accused someone of changing their mind because they were a 1/4 second later than everyone else.
 
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Guy Srinivasan
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doobes wrote:
I'm not sure i could have fun with a player who accused someone of changing their mind because they were a 1/4 second later than everyone else.

Obviously this is not a big deal with casual friends playing for fun, but I can see it being a potential problem in a more formal setting.
 
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Pussy Katz
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GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
doobes wrote:
I'm not sure i could have fun with a player who accused someone of changing their mind because they were a 1/4 second later than everyone else.

Obviously this is not a big deal with casual friends playing for fun, but I can see it being a potential problem in a more formal setting.

I'm not sure i could have fun with a player who accused someone of changing their mind because they were a 1/4 second later than everyone else.
 
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pussykatz wrote:
GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
doobes wrote:
I'm not sure i could have fun with a player who accused someone of changing their mind because they were a 1/4 second later than everyone else.

Obviously this is not a big deal with casual friends playing for fun, but I can see it being a potential problem in a more formal setting.

I'm not sure i could have fun with a player who accused someone of changing their mind because they were a 1/4 second later than everyone else.
Some casual gamers can be very cutthroat. Either in a friendly way or very competitive. Choose the group appropriate to you.
 
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