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Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game» Forums » Rules

Subject: The German ability rss

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Joseph N
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The Germans' second ability reads,

The German Civ Sheet wrote:
After setup, each time the Germans research a tech that upgrades or unlocks a unit, they build one of that unit for free and gain one resource of their choice from the market.


My question is, if you were at level 3 in a unit and you researched a tech that gave you level 2 in that same unit, would the bonus kick in? It's been a source of contention during a game I played and each time I read the ability my position flip flops.

My internal semantics argument goes as follows:

Does the level two tech upgrade or unlock a unit? Technically it does.
Does it do so at that time? No, it doesn't.

I'm leaning toward "No," but I'd like to see what other people think.
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Bruce X
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I would say No since it does not actually upgrade (or unlock) any unit at the time you researched it.
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David Murray
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Definately debatable. Yet another question I'd like official clarification on.
 
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I don't see what is debatable about it. You are actually talking about downgrading, not upgrading. Techs do not unlock outdated units or buildings, and you can not build outdated units or buildings. Hence, since the condition is not met: no free outdated unit and no resource.
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Troy Adlington
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You guys are applying spurious logic.

EVERY time that a tech is researched that unlocks a unit type they get to use their ability.

Their ability is NO great shakes compared to the others, trying to limit it further is making me shake
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I agree with Troy. The text says "tech that upgrades". The conditional is applied to the tech itself as the triggering event, not whether it upgrades your particular units. Otherwise it could say, "when your units are upgraded or unlocked"...
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Stoodster
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Troymk1 wrote:
You guys are applying spurious logic.

EVERY time that a tech is researched that unlocks a unit type they get to use their ability.

Their ability is NO great shakes compared to the others, trying to limit it further is making me shake

Whether the Germans are underpowered compared to the other nations is a different question. The rules are very clear that a lower level unit type (or building) is not unlocked if you are already able to produce the higher level unit (or building). From the glossary:

"Unlocked: Able to be produced. Units, governments, and buildings are typically unlocked by learning certain tech cards" (p. 28).

There is nothing spurious about this logic. Neither is it debatable. It's written clearly in the rules.
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Stoodster
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Holmes! wrote:
I agree with Troy. The text says "tech that upgrades". The conditional is applied to the tech itself as the triggering event, not whether it upgrades your particular units. Otherwise it could say, "when your units are upgraded or unlocked"...

This is a good point. I guess it's more debatable than it looked at first.
 
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Sid Ward

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The triggers are either upgrading a unit, or unlocking a unit.

Well, it clearly does not upgrade a unit.

Does it unlock a unit? You can't produce a lower unit once you have unlocked the higher level unit, so theoretically you can't 'build the unit for free'. Can you even play the lower level tech unit in combat? Based on a re-reading of pg 23 I think also, no. It says you only play the highest unit you have unlocked, so you couldn't even play a level 3 horseman as a level 2 (say u wanted to cull a weak unit from your standing forces).

So on balance, while not explicitly stated in the rules, my reading is that you don't get the free stuff.

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Graham Smallwood
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Holmes! wrote:
I agree with Troy. The text says "tech that upgrades". The conditional is applied to the tech itself as the triggering event, not whether it upgrades your particular units. Otherwise it could say, "when your units are upgraded or unlocked"...


qft
 
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David Murray
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david707 wrote:
Definately debatable. Yet another question I'd like official clarification on.


It's not very often I quote myself, but we could argue about this for a while. I don't hold an opinion either way. It'd be great if we could get some kind of official ruling on this (and the many other rules questions on these forums).

Edit: Typo
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Boris Dvorkin
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The German Civ Sheet wrote:
After setup, each time the Germans research a tech that upgrades or unlocks a unit, they build one of that unit for free and gain one resource of their choice from the market.

My emphasis. Definitely debatable, but I'd rule Yes based on the meaning of "that." If you've ever studied the infamous "that vs. which" distinction, you know that "that" is used when the proceeding clause is "restrictive," meaning that it's essential to the meaning of the sentence. In sentences such as the ability text, "that" is often used to distinguish which particular subject is being talked about.

For example, if I say, "I kicked the dog that bit me," you know which dog I kicked: the one that bit me, and not some other one. In this case, we need to distinguish techs that upgrade units from ones that don't.

Does Democracy upgrade or unlock a unit? Yes, it does. Notice how you can answer that question with a Yes completely regardless of context. I can research Democracy when I already have level 3 or level 4 infantry, but doing so doesn't rob Democracy of its essential characteristic, namely, of being "a tech that upgrades or unlocks a unit." If someone gives me a pen that I never use because I already have a better one, that doesn't rob the pen of its essential quality of being "an object that writes."

In other words, the ability text defines a PROPERTY of the tech. To rule No, you have to assume that the ability text defines an EFFECT of the tech. There is grammatical support for the former interpretation but not the latter.

With that said, Civ's rules are incredibly sloppy and it wouldn't surprise me if the designer intended the opposite and just wrote carelessly.
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What exactly do the techs say? Does Democracy say "you may now build level 2 Infantry" or whatever?

To me that does indicate the TECH unlocks a new unit or new level of unit...whether Germany at this point in the game will (or can) utilize said unlock depends on other choices they've made up until that point.

Thematically to me it makes more sense that when the germans discover some interesting new way to kill people they go all gung-ho and get one into production right away - or maybe it's an indication of the ability of the german scientists that their initial prototype for this new ability is so functional they can put it in the field without refinements. But the idea that the slow scientist comes up later on and says "yeah, I know we have tanks now but take a look at this awesome stirrup we can use for our horses" to unlock lv 2 cavalry and effectively grant them a tank for game purposes...just seems silly.

By the wordings I'm reading up above it seems that the German ability is asking "does this tech unlock units or upgrade units" in a void - it is not asking does it do it now under current circumstances, it's just checking if the tech can do that or not and if it can it'd trigger.

Aside from thematic debates about whether it makes sense(and I still don't know the exact wording of the cards which could render that debate moot anyway), would the application of the ability cause any imbalances in the game? Is it a huge advantage to the germans to be able to get this free unit whenever a tech is researched has the ability to grant a new unit regardless of current german gamestate?

I'm still waiting on my game but man does it seem that there is a lot of foggyness in the way the rules were written....I look forward to many headaches as we play the game because my playgroup is definitely vocal when there is a difference in interpretation of ambiguously worded abilities and rules. But this game looks exactly like the kinda game we will love so it's still going to be played
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Daniel Hammond
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Well my 2 cents are if you have level 1 INF and you get a tech that gives you level 2 INF you have unlocked a better INF (you flip the marker). If you have a level 3 INF and you learn the tech that gives you level 2 INF then you have not upgraded your INF they are still level 3.

To reinforce that it also says "they build one of that unit for free". So if I have level 4 Inf and I get level 2 Inf Tech if you thought that was an "unlock" you would be directed to build a Pikeman (level 2 INF), but that is strictly forbidden by the rules as you can ONLY build the level of unit you have unlocked. Besides it doesn't make sense. After having tanks if you figure out how to use Knights would you really train up knights and then throw them into Tanks?
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Boris Dvorkin
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dlhammond wrote:
Well my 2 cents are if ... you have a level 3 INF and you learn the tech that gives you level 2 INF then you have not upgraded your INF they are still level 3.

This is exactly the assumption I was talking about: you're taking for granted that the tech needs to produce an effect in order to qualify. By the grammatical reading, it doesn't: it needs only to have a property.

dlhammond wrote:
To reinforce that it also says "they build one of that unit for free". So if I have level 4 Inf and I get level 2 Inf Tech if you thought that was an "unlock" you would be directed to build a Pikeman (level 2 INF), but that is strictly forbidden by the rules as you can ONLY build the level of unit you have unlocked.

This argument relies on a misunderstanding of the game's terminology. There are exactly four units in the game: infantry, cavalry, artillery, and airplanes. You're supposing there to be 13 (spearmen, pikemen, ..., archers, catapults, ..., horsemen, etc). That is simply incorrect. Spearmen, et al are not units. Infantry are units, while "spearmen" and "pikemen" and so on signify the levels of the units that your civilization may use.

If you have level 4 Infantry and get a level 2 Infantry tech, there is nothing forbidden or illogical about getting "one of that unit for free," since "that unit" in this case denotes "Infantry" and nothing is stopping you from taking a card from the "Infantry" deck and adding it to your army.

In order to interpret the ability your way, there would need to be specific language within the restrictive clause following "that" demonstrating the occurrence of an effect rather than the presence of a property. For example, suppose the Germans had the following ability instead:

"After setup, each time the Germans research a tech that increases their movement speed, they build one unit for free and gain one resource of their choice from the market."

Color and bold for emphasis. Notice how in this example, the ability text clearly indicates that the tech needs to affect the Germans in a particular way in order for the bonus to trigger. Consider:

Does Democracy "upgrade or unlock a unit?" Yes, it does. No context needed.

Does Horseback Riding "increase their movement speed?" Whoa, what are you talking about? Who's "their?" The answer to that question depends on context. This is why, in the above example, a player who researches Horseback Riding after they've researched Sailing wouldn't get the bonus: the ability text demands a context-specific effect, and that effect has not occurred.

By contrast, the ability as written enumerates a property of the tech being researched. In other words, the condition is relative to the tech, not to the Germans.

By the way, several people in this thread misunderstand what "unlock" means. The word "unlock" refers only to airplanes, as they are the only unit in the game that isn't unlocked from the beginning. All other techs upgrade units. To be very clear, Democracy does not unlock a unit: it upgrades a unit, and the unit it upgrades is called "Infantry."
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Daniel Hammond
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Play it how you want, but I would be willing to bet despite any grammatical argument you make if you have a lvl 3 Inf and you get a tech that gives you a lvl 2 Inf that by the designer's intent the German's ability does not trigger. If his intent was otherwise it would say "every time you acquire a tech with a unit on it you (trigger ability)" no reason to say upgrade at all.
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Boris Dvorkin
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dlhammond wrote:
Play it how you want, but I would be willing to bet ... that by the designer's intent the German's ability does not trigger.


You'll get no disagreement from me on that one. Like I said in my first post, Civ's manual is hardly an exemplar of rules writing, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if your interpretation is exactly what the designer intended.
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François Mahieu
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Quote:
The triggers are either upgrading a unit, or unlocking a unit.

Well, it clearly does not upgrade a unit.

Does it unlock a unit? You can't produce a lower unit once you have unlocked the higher level unit, so theoretically you can't 'build the unit for free'. Can you even play the lower level tech unit in combat? Based on a re-reading of pg 23 I think also, no. It says you only play the highest unit you have unlocked, so you couldn't even play a level 3 horseman as a level 2 (say u wanted to cull a weak unit from your standing forces).

So on balance, while not explicitly stated in the rules, my reading is that you don't get the free stuff.


I'd join the "no free unit" side. The "unlock" wording only refers to the aircarft units. And as the rules are written so far, there's absolutely no way you could get a free unit downgrading them. This makes absolutely no sense.

Though, let's wait for the official answer, as usual.
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Boarass wrote:
dlhammond wrote:
Play it how you want, but I would be willing to bet ... that by the designer's intent the German's ability does not trigger.


You'll get no disagreement from me on that one. Like I said in my first post, Civ's manual is hardly an exemplar of rules writing, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if your interpretation is exactly what the designer intended.



Wow, seems like everyone is STILL PILING on the Germans for starting 2 World Wars.

Maybe, JUST maybe, the Upgrade/Improve terms are based on the STARTING/BASE move/attack level that is the same for everyone to begin with. If he "(down)grades" to a level II infantry, and you still have a level I infantry...That would still be an upgrade from your perspective...so keep it that way.

I say GIVE THEM the Stupid unit and Resource. NO OTHER Power in the game can be screwed over by some event Trumping another.

Having played the Germans, I see no real advantage to them other than their ability to build military units for free ONLY AFTER creating a tech with the UPGRADE icon in the corner. Other Cultures get to move up the Culture track easily with IMMEDIATE benefits, have a goods conversion DOUBLED!!!, etc.etc.


Look, if the Germans improved the Tech tree "CORRECTLY" then he would get the units/resources. So, what is the BIG advantage of him creating a Tech with a LOWER UNIT on it other than just the resource.

DON'T limit the Germans ONLY real ABILITY!

He ONLY gets 1/2 the "upgrade" anyway, now you want to take THAT away.

IF you read the card, it states that "Each time the Germans research a tech that upgrades or unlocks a unit, they build that unit for free and gain a resource of their choice from the market."

Therefore, if the TECH has the upgrade icon on it, this requirement is satisfied. Also, realize the Germans can still be screwed if looking to get some IRON if everyone has harvested it all. Another screwage thrust upon the Germans.
 
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Daniel Hammond
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ASLChampion wrote:
Boarass wrote:
dlhammond wrote:
Play it how you want, but I would be willing to bet ... that by the designer's intent the German's ability does not trigger.


You'll get no disagreement from me on that one. Like I said in my first post, Civ's manual is hardly an exemplar of rules writing, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if your interpretation is exactly what the designer intended.



Wow, seems like everyone is STILL PILING on the Germans for starting 2 World Wars.

Maybe, JUST maybe, the Upgrade/Improve terms are based on the STARTING/BASE move/attack level that is the same for everyone to begin with. If he "(down)grades" to a level II infantry, and you still have a level I infantry...That would still be an upgrade from your perspective...so keep it that way.

I say GIVE THEM the Stupid unit and Resource. NO OTHER Power in the game can be screwed over by some event Trumping another.

Having played the Germans, I see no real advantage to them other than their ability to build military units for free ONLY AFTER creating a tech with the UPGRADE icon in the corner. Other Cultures get to move up the Culture track easily with IMMEDIATE benefits, have a goods conversion DOUBLED!!!, etc.etc.


Look, if the Germans improved the Tech tree "CORRECTLY" then he would get the units/resources. So, what is the BIG advantage of him creating a Tech with a LOWER UNIT on it other than just the resource.

DON'T limit the Germans ONLY real ABILITY!

He ONLY gets 1/2 the "upgrade" anyway, now you want to take THAT away.

IF you read the card, it states that "Each time the Germans research a tech that upgrades or unlocks a unit, they build that unit for free and gain a resource of their choice from the market."

Therefore, if the TECH has the upgrade icon on it, this requirement is satisfied. Also, realize the Germans can still be screwed if looking to get some IRON if everyone has harvested it all. Another screwage thrust upon the Germans.


We got an official ruling a couple of weeks ago, and I was wrong. Any tech that upgrades (Inf, Arty, and Cav) or unlocks (flight) triggers the ability no matter what.
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Ricardo Donoso
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It is the FAQ.
 
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Gustavo Sch
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Where can I find that FAQ. The only official one I can find doesn't say anything about the german skill.
Thanks!
 
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Daniel Hammond
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minogusti wrote:
Where can I find that FAQ. The only official one I can find doesn't say anything about the german skill.
Thanks!


UFAQ in the files section.
 
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dlhammond wrote:
minogusti wrote:
Where can I find that FAQ. The only official one I can find doesn't say anything about the german skill.
Thanks!


UFAQ in the files section.


You should be more specific, since there are two different UFAQs in the files section. It's in the more recent one titled "Unofficial FAQ", not the older one titled "Unofficial supplementary FAQ".
 
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