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Subject: Player Aid and System pairings rss

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Sterling Babcock
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I uploaded a new (hopefully improved) player aid.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/48032

This is a more complete color player aid for Ad Astra. I tried to combine the best of the original from Faidutti and Laget, but also including work from Danielson and C. Smith.

- I used symbols for the requirements for ease of reference
- I used symbols for the building cost
- I put the Item to construct in the middle after the requirements and cost
- Production and scoring is on the right
- Blocks for movement and scoring symbols
- Added 2nd page with card distribution so you can see what pairings of resources and systems each player has and which systems each player does not have direct access to.

I would appreciate it if someone could let me know if you find any errors!


I figured the 2nd page with all the card distributions by player was interesting. Which brings to mind a question:

Unless I got it wrong, Yellow System 2 card and Green System 2 card (by my player aid, they are not really numbered) are the same. (Large Red to Dual Red). That seemed kind of odd to me. I was trying to figure out how the combos worked out, but I kind of got lost. Here is the pairings I found (again, assuming I did not make an error.)

The image is kind of a quick and dirty one. Systems are Large Red/Yellow, Small Red/Yellow, Dual Red/Yellow, and Nebula Red/Yellow as indicated by initials.



I am asking about the two dashed lines. I am wondering why the duplication.
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Gláucio Reis
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Re: Player Aid and System connections
Solamar wrote:
Yellow System 2 card and Green System 2 card (by my player aid, they are not really numbered) are the same.

You may have caught a printing error, unless the designers wanted one star to be on everyone's cards. But I see no reason for that. The red large star is the only star that appears for all players. I think it should be a yellow twin star on either of the two cards you mention (it's one of three stars that just three players have, but the other two already are on green and yellow cards).

As a side note, I think your use of the word "connection" is a little misleading in the context of the game. If I understand the rules correctly, flights don't need to be between the two stars depicted on the card, but just to those stars (or inside their own systems). You can fly from any star (or from deep space) to either of them.
 
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Re: Player Aid and System connections
It looks very good. Thanks for making it! Much more useful then the ones that came with the game. I'm not sure why with such a big ref card they didn't include a lot more useful data.

I do have one suggestion. Swap the Item and Requirements. It seems weird that the item you make isn't the first listed.
 
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Re: Player Aid and System connections
GSReis wrote:
Solamar wrote:
Yellow System 2 card and Green System 2 card (by my player aid, they are not really numbered) are the same.
You may have caught a printing error, unless the designers wanted one star to be on everyone's cards. But I see no reason for that. The red large star is the only star that appears for all players. I think it should be a yellow twin star on either of the two cards you mention (it's one of three stars that just three players have, but the other two already are on green and yellow cards).
Ah, yes. That makes sense. So perhaps the green dashed line should be Dual Red to Dual Yellow. That takes the 5 pairs off Large Red to 4 and moves Dual Yellow from 3 to 4.

GSReis wrote:
As a side note, I think your use of the word "connection" is a little misleading in the context of the game. If I understand the rules correctly, flights don't need to be between the two stars depicted on the card, but just to those stars (or inside their own systems). You can fly from any star (or from deep space) to either of them.
Your completely correct here. It was an artifact of my thinking. I did not mean connection at all in this context. My late night posting was completely rubbish.

What I meant was the 'pairs' of systems that are accessible on a given card. I did NOT mean they were connected. For the exercise of looking at the distribution, I was thinking in a connected manner to try to think out what pairs they were. They are more 'pairs of choices' not 'connections' at all. Thanks for the correction!
 
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Re: Player Aid and System connections
ScottE wrote:
It looks very good. Thanks for making it! Much more useful then the ones that came with the game. I'm not sure why with such a big ref card they didn't include a lot more useful data.

I do have one suggestion. Swap the Item and Requirements. It seems weird that the item you make isn't the first listed.
I really appreciate the suggestions!

Side note: Ugh: The transparency looks like garbage on Linux xpdf. I sure hope that it looks OK on Windows. ... Well it does. Does anyone else see a line difference just to the left of the XY score detail? It looks like a different thickness on my PC. I did not see that on the mac. Hmm. Also to the left of "From a planet to another in the same system". Well linux may look like garbage, but I do see several line errors in the first table.

Getting back to Scott: Do you really like the Item on the left? I rather thought that having the item in the center meant that you could line things up easier to the left and right. I also thought was that it flows from requirements to cost to the item built to the production to the scoring. I could make the item column be highlighted somehow to call attention to it being the central focus.

Or, if you really think it would be better to have the Item as the first column, I could do that as well. What does everyone think of that change?

Should the player backgrounds be just white and rely on the Player color column only?
 
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Re: Player Aid and System connections
Solamar wrote:
Or, if you really think it would be better to have the Item as the first column, I could do that as well. What does everyone think of that change?

Definitely have the item as the first column. It may be just a matter of convention, but I find it clearer and more intuitive. Well, there must be a reason why every player aid included in a game does it that way.
 
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Re: Player Aid and System connections
A couple other things:

- I tried to get the Alien cards less wide on the bottom of the second page, but it kept pushing to a third page no matter how I moved it. (The current size is designed to match the original player aid width and height.) Ironically, originally the player cards table was wider, which matched the alien cards, but it compressed when I cleaned it up some.

- I also bolded more words on the Alien cards as a brief indication of what the card does or when it is active.

- I plan to lighten the background on the optional alien cards and remove the dark grey border. They came out too dark. (On some machines there is an optical illusion that there is grey behind the bottom left 6 alien cards. Its white background there as printing proves.)

- I am not sure there is a fix for the transparency on Linux. It may be my version of xpdf.

- Are the vertical lines on the player entries visible enough? They are needed since they are pairs of icons.
 
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GSReis wrote:
Solamar wrote:
Or, if you really think it would be better to have the Item as the first column, I could do that as well. What does everyone think of that change?

Definitely have the item as the first column. It may be just a matter of convention, but I find it clearer and more intuitive. Well, there must be a reason why every player aid included in a game does it that way.
OK, I guess so. I will mark that as a change for tonight.

What about the player card pairs on page 2? Is the player in the middle separating resource from systems OK?
 
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Solamar wrote:
What about the player card pairs on page 2? Is the player in the middle separating resource from systems OK?

I would simply remove it. Since you are using the background colors to indicate player colors, that information is redundant. That would have the bonus benefit of allowing for all columns to have the same width. You might also want to align the table to the left, and the card beside it to the card below. But if you prefer to keep that column, I think it's better on the left.
 
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Sterling Babcock
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I posted an update. Let me know if you see any errors.

I will have to see how it looks on a PC tomorrow. MS Word to PDF is kind of flaky on the borders.

Is PDF ok, or does anyone want the original .docx or .doc?
 
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Robert Danielson
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I noticed an error on the 1st page under terraformer requirements. You have a terraformer pictured and it should be a factory. Overall nice card, clearly you put a lot of work into this.
 
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Bronzeman06 wrote:
I noticed an error on the 1st page under terraformer requirements. You have a terraformer pictured and it should be a factory. Overall nice card, clearly you put a lot of work into this.
Arrgh! Thank you! I wish that had gotten noticed before last nights update. I was all ready to print it!

OK, so I have to do another update. Any other errors?
 
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Sterling Babcock
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OK, I updated the player aid.

Also, I updated the image for the question about system pairings based on the player colors. In this context, I mean the pair of planets that is on each players cards. Currently, all 5 players can go to the large red planet, but the rest are unbalanced.

Why is the dashed line in green the same as the yellow? Should it have been the dotted line?

I am just wondering.

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Hey there. First off, thanks for the player aid.

It's late and I've been trying to wrap my head around the whole movement cards thing. The printed pairings definitely look wrong based on your diagram, and it would seem as though Green should have a different pair than Yellow. I also agree that it should be the pair you marked off with a dotted line, since the only other option would be a pair that involves one star Green already has access to (the Yellow Giant).

This more balanced solution still leaves us with a bit of an inequality, though, since six of the eight stars are accessible to 4 races, while two of the stars (Giant Yellow and Nebular Red) are only accessible to 3 races each. This seems to be arbitrary, and is probably a result of the numbers not quite meshing (5 races, 8 stars, 3 pairings per race). My brain's not really at full capacity right now, so does anybody else have any insight into whether (assuming you fix the Green movement cards) the fact that two stars are accessible to fewer races has any consequences for the balance of the races? After fixing Green, each of the races has access to 6 stars, so by my reckoning somebody could get screwed by the layout, but it's not the same somebody every game, assuming random layout.

I saw somewhere on these boards the idea to paint over the backs of the stars so that the layout can be truly random, but might it be a better idea to leave the Giant Yellow and Nebular Red conspicuous so that an appropriate number of planets might be placed around them (I can't figure out right now whether intentionally placing more or fewer around them would help the balance snore )? Or would a completely blind (and thus random) setup indeed be the way to go? In any case, I think having every star visible at setup is a bad idea, since people can attempt to place more planets around the stars they know their color has access to, so I think completely blind or blind-except-for-GY-and-NR are the only two viable options. I just need you guys to help me figure out which one of those two is the best, and whether more or fewer planets would balance out GY and NR if it's the conspicuous option.

So hopefully that all made sense, and I look forward to hearing from your guys.

(Also, I'm sure you don't want to hear it at this point, but I found a minor mistake in the player aid--a typo. In the alien card section, "cereal" is misspelled as "cerial." Sorry! whistle )
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Sterling Babcock
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Well, better late than never. I made a small print jpg that can be used to change the system pairings for one of the green cards.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/48032/color-player-aid-pl...
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If you really want "blind" placement, you can just draw them from a bag. Point to the table where you're placing a star, then draw from the bag and place it there (thus dictating position before you see what you're going to place there.)
 
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strider72 wrote:
If you really want "blind" placement, you can just draw them from a bag. Point to the table where you're placing a star, then draw from the bag and place it there (thus dictating position before you see what you're going to place there.)
I am not quite following you. This is not about placement of planets. It is about the systems that each player can fly to on their cards.
 
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