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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition): Shards of the Throne» Forums » Rules

Subject: Captain Lassir's Ability, expanded. rss

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Matthew Bestland
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Hey, so we came across Captain Lassir in our game, and discussed a bit before making some quick rulings on it. Here's the ability:
"BODYGUARD +2 If you do not like the result of this vote, place 1 free DN in a friendly or empty system but you must abstain from all future votes."
A powerful ability, but some questionable wording. We had two main questions when we came across this card.

1) What does it mean "If you do not like the result of this vote"?
2) When you "abstain from the vote" is that the same as like how the Nekro "can not vote on Political or Agenda cards"? If so, that means you can still send councillors to votes, send promissory notes, etc etc during political intrigue. You simply can't vote at all, like how the Nekro can't. Does this mean you can use this send this bodyguard and use his ability every single time political/assembly is used, claiming you "did not like the outcome" of the vote no matter how it falls?

Our interpretation:
#2 is obviously the more important (and gamebreakingly scary) option. We decided unanimously that "abstaining from the vote", for all intents and purposes, is like they had the Nekro caveat of being unable to vote on political cards. Then, we almost unanimously (the Barony really wanted that free dreadnought every turn) said that there is no way they meant for the Barony to be able to use that guy's ability repeatedly. We also decided unanimously that the wording on #1 was completely nonsensical. What we think they meant to say was that if the political card is resolved in a way opposite of the way you vote (if you say nay and it passes anyway), then you can use his ability. Using that assumption, we concluded that since the Barony does not vote in any agenda after getting that dreadnought, he can no longer use the Captain's ability because the card did not pass in a way against his vote.

Implementation:
When we handed down this decision to the Barony, we gave him the option of switching out his representative for someone else since we hugely nerfed his representative. He said that while it was dissapointing, the free dreadnought practically anywhere on the board was too important at the time, and opted out of all future votes. The placement of that dreadnought was incredibly powerful, and we think just from a game-balance perspective we made the right ruling. What do you guys think?
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Greycloak
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If you look in the rules, abstaining from a vote is an option just as valid as any other. It has the same effect as the Nekro in that no votes are cast towards the agenda card one way or the other, however it is not the same. I can't think of anything off hand, but there may be some rules or cards that take affect when someone abstains from a which would not apply to the Nekro Virus who cannot vote.

We understood it to mean that the Barony player could claim that the vote did not go the way he liked. He can claim this no matter what the outcome or the way the player voted. By doing so, he is giving up all future votes for the ability to place that one free DN. This is a choice that the player makes. By basing it off of an in game outcome (such as the way the vote turns out being different than he voted for instance), you are taking some control out of the players hands. What happens if he votes FOR and AGAINST gets passed? You get the DN and you abstain from all future votes, whether you like it or not. What about if he's forced into it with a Promissory note? Too many things to worry about in our minds. It was just easier for the player to decide if he liked the outcome or not. It's not like he's going to ge around paying the cost, which is to abstain from all future voting.

In future rounds, there's nothing preventing the same Rep from being played again. You can dislike the way a vote turns out even if you're Nekro Virus and can't vote, or are abstaining from a vote. Hence allowing them, if they play the same Rep, to get a free DN each further round.

Look at the things that balance the Nekro Virus' in their inability to vote. Getting a single extra DN in one round is not enough to justify never being able to vote for the rest of the game. Remember too, that because they can't vote, they're losing the ability to receive Promissory notes. It's a lot to give up.
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Brandon Tank
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Quote:
We understood it to mean that the Barony player could claim that the vote did not go the way he liked. He can claim this no matter what the outcome or the way the player voted. By doing so, he is giving up all future votes for the ability to place that one free DN


I think this is the correct interpretation.

It would also be silly if he could get a free dred every time he "disliked the vote" after he used the captain's special ability. I'm of the opinion that its a one use thing.
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Matthew Bestland
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Aaron Kurtz wrote:

We understood it to mean that the Barony player could claim that the vote did not go the way he liked. He can claim this no matter what the outcome or the way the player voted. By doing so, he is giving up all future votes for the ability to place that one free DN. This is a choice that the player makes. By basing it off of an in game outcome (such as the way the vote turns out being different than he voted for instance), you are taking some control out of the players hands. What happens if he votes FOR and AGAINST gets passed? You get the DN and you abstain from all future votes, whether you like it or not. What about if he's forced into it with a Promissory note? Too many things to worry about in our minds. It was just easier for the player to decide if he liked the outcome or not. It's not like he's going to ge around paying the cost, which is to abstain from all future voting.

True, we ruled that the Barony player does not have to use Lassir's ability if he does not want to. However, he has certain conditions to be able to use the ability. Otherwise, the text is so superfluous. Why doesn't it just say "After a vote is resolved, Barony may choose to place a dreadnought..." etc. Anyways, I'm willing to concede that he could use his ability whenever he wants. Its the last part I have trouble with.

Aaron Kurtz wrote:

In future rounds, there's nothing preventing the same Rep from being played again. You can dislike the way a vote turns out even if you're Nekro Virus and can't vote, or are abstaining from a vote. Hence allowing them, if they play the same Rep, to get a free DN each further round.


True, and this stands if we take "you dislike the vote..." to basically mean "after a vote is resolved..." since the game mechanics would be exactly the same how you interpret it.

Aaron Kurtz wrote:

Look at the things that balance the Nekro Virus' in their inability to vote. Getting a single extra DN in one round is not enough to justify never being able to vote for the rest of the game. Remember too, that because they can't vote, they're losing the ability to receive Promissory notes. It's a lot to give up.


While the Nekro do get some powerful bonuses, they have other negatives. Still, the main point is that the Nekro can't choose to abstain from future votes, they have to. The Barony gets to choose when and where. Being able to place a dreadnought anywhere you want can give you the win. I could almost accept this ruling if it wasn't incredibly difficult to kill bodyguards, or if the Barony could only place a dreadnought every turn in their home system, but in any empty system? Think about that. On turn one, the Barony could use political, say he dislikes the vote,and place a dreadnought next to the Sol homesystem all before Sol's first turn. 1 destroyer + 2 carriers vs. dreadnought? the Barony has a large chance to eliminate Sol from the game right there surprise! If I was Sol, I would feel a definite need to activate my homesystem right then to build some defences (unless of course Sol was lucky enough to pick up Production) which means I don't expand at all on the first round. Plus, every turn after that Barony puts another dreadnought next to my homesystem, and his carrier + fighter fleet is moving towards me. Barony can wipe out his neighbor from round 1, put a dreadnought down every turn (even over Mex Rex), and all he has to do is abstain?

I think Captain Lassir's power is very strong, even with our interpretation. It simply means that he doesn't use it in the beginning of the game, but rather he uses the power strategically at the end to minimize his losses (and a well-placed dreadnought can win the game). I mean, he could do what I just described to Sol on round 1, but he suffers just as greatly for doing so (since he has to abstain from things like promissory notes and doesn't get a dreadnought to ease the pain). The guy is already a bodyguard with 2 votes, which isn't a half bad representative to have in the first place. If we give him a dreadnought every turn, than with just the Barony's homesystem and Representative, he has the equivalent of 11 production (plus however much you value instant dreadnought teleportation).
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Greycloak
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To each game their own

We're trying to play out the game's rules as written until such a time that a FAQ/Errata is released or they prove to be game-breaking, or are flat out unplayable. That means there's going to be at least one Mirror Computing/Transfabrication breaking game before we're going to make changes to it.

Our July 4th game is going to be interesting...
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Greycloak
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MatThePhat wrote:
True, we ruled that the Barony player does not have to use Lassir's ability if he does not want to. However, he has certain conditions to be able to use the ability. Otherwise, the text is so superfluous. Why doesn't it just say "After a vote is resolved, Barony may choose to place a dreadnought..." etc. Anyways, I'm willing to concede that he could use his ability whenever he wants. Its the last part I have trouble with.


It just occurred to me, perhaps the "if you don't like" wording is meant to indicate that the ability can/should be used multiple rounds. The player abstains, not officially casting his vote towards one outcome or the other, but still can "dislike" the way that the vote turns out hence being able to get a free DN.
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Matthew Bestland
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Aaron Kurtz wrote:
MatThePhat wrote:
True, we ruled that the Barony player does not have to use Lassir's ability if he does not want to. However, he has certain conditions to be able to use the ability. Otherwise, the text is so superfluous. Why doesn't it just say "After a vote is resolved, Barony may choose to place a dreadnought..." etc. Anyways, I'm willing to concede that he could use his ability whenever he wants. Its the last part I have trouble with.


It just occurred to me, perhaps the "if you don't like" wording is meant to indicate that the ability can/should be used multiple rounds. The player abstains, not officially casting his vote towards one outcome or the other, but still can "dislike" the way that the vote turns out hence being able to get a free DN.


Dangit... that's a good point. The ambiguous words do seem to imply that more than they imply the voting thing. Idk, we already made the ruling, and I'm pretty sure the Barony player was convinced (and doesn't read these forums), lol. Still don't like the idea of how the Barony player can really hinder any race's expansion (while there are few races he can flat-out destroy, like Sol, he can still really hurt a race's opening game).

Of course, we wanted to play the game as close to written, but then this came up and people started arguing on what exactly did they mean by the words they wrote (talk about speaking another language).

On a side note, are you going to allow the L1z1x racial tech to research techs during the Trade phase? (I really pushed for this in my group, but got shot down cry)
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Greycloak
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Nope, there are a few situations where the rules don't work as written. That's one of them. Same with the new Hacan Racial Tech, doesn't work as written.

There are a lot of other situations where the rules work as written, but are weird, and we're going to stick with the weirdness, unless it's game breaking or a FAQ is released.

It's best to work these things out before hand. Especially when it directly affects a certain player. I had to clarify with our Jol-Nar player that putting two scientist on a tech planet will not give you a 3 discount, neither will putting a single scientist on a double tech credit planet. He's fine with it, but if I had sprung that on him as he was dropping the scientists on the planet there probably would have been trouble
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JJ Belyeu
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Aaron Kurtz wrote:


Our July 4th game is going to be interesting...


I am so jealous, I wish I was playing another game in 6 days. I seriously cant get enough TI3.

My group is taking the 4th off for "family time," who needs that?

EDIT: as a side note, I agree with Aaron on this one. I had never thought about it, but there isnt any in game rules (as of now) that prevents the Letnev from just stacking on Dreads with this rep.
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JJ Belyeu
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Aaron Kurtz wrote:
I had to clarify with our Jol-Nar player that putting two scientist on a tech planet will not give you a 3 discount, neither will putting a single scientist on a double tech credit planet. He's fine with it, but if I had sprung that on him as he was dropping the scientists on the planet there probably would have been trouble


Why did you nerf the double tech planet combo? I see no reason why this shouldnt work. I can understand the 2 scientists on one planet thing, but not the other one.
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Greycloak
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Unless I'm missing something in Shards, the base rule book states on page 34:

A planet that contains a technology specialty and at least one Scientist provides a technology discount of 2 credits rather than 1.

The rules as written max out the Technology Specialty Credit at 2 regardless of the number of Scientist's on a planet (or the number of technology specialties). So basically each double tech credit planet just has a built in Scientist.

Of course I may be wrong on that, it's just how we are reading the rules. One could just as easily interpret the 1 discount to 2 as being either a +1 or a x2. Meaning that a double technology planet with a scientist on it could be a discount of either 3 or 4 respectively. We chose to stick with the literal numbers since the wording did not specifically indicate additive or multiplicative properties.
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JJ Belyeu
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Aaron Kurtz wrote:
Unless I'm missing something in Shards, the base rule book states on page 34:

A planet that contains a technology specialty and at least one Scientist provides a technology discount of 2 credits rather than 1.

The rules as written max out the Technology Specialty Credit at 2 regardless of the number of Scientist's on a planet (or the number of technology specialties). So basically each double tech credit planet just has a built in Scientist.

Of course I may be wrong on that, it's just how we are reading the rules. One could just as easily interpret the 1 discount to 2 as being either a +1 or a x2. Meaning that a double technology planet with a scientist on it could be a discount of either 3 or 4 respectively. We chose to stick with the literal numbers since the wording did not specifically indicate additive or multiplicative properties.


Gotcha. I never thought to interpret the rule that way, but I can see how you got there.

My group ruled scientists give a +1 since the x2 would be broken. Even the -3 is huge, but not game changing.

Although, I have seen a player have so much tech discounts and other tech combos that he was building green tech for FREE whenever he used the Tech 2 secondary. That was crazy.
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Brian Petersen
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Well now the Jol-Nar can get 3 techs for the cost of 1 CC every round if they have the right planets, especially if the law passes that lets all colors count for all colors. They can get Neural Computing on Round 2, and if they have a double specialty and 2 other planets of the same color, playing with leaders, that color tech is free for the secondary and primary.

Back on topic, the Letnev pay the cost (abstaining from all future votes) and can place 1 free DN in an empty or friendly system every round. They can use the rep for the +2 votes and say they liked the outcome of the vote and not abstain forever.

I think you're overestimating the power of 1 DN without any GFs or other units protecting it. You'd use the secondary of Production to buy 2 PDSs on your HS when the time comes. Otherwise, you'd just protect your carriers by moving them out like you would anyways. Best case scenario: you claim the planet that refreshes fighters and attack him back next turn. Worst case scenario: you wait 2 turns to build units from a new SD that can do some damage after missing several PDS rolls.

The 2 people most hurt by it are actually Saar and Ghosts. If Saar loses the fight, they lose their only SD. You can place that 1 free DN in the Gate in front of Creuss and just keep stacking them there with Duranium Armor and your racial. It IS an empty system, after all. People who already have PDSs aren't hurt at all.

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Markus Kaut
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1. I agree that the wording "do not like" seems to imply that this Representative's ability may be used in later rounds even if he has to abstain from all votes.
2. I do not agree with the idea that he can still use his +2 even when abstaining. When you abstain, you cast 0 votes, no matter what modifiers may be applicable.
3. I would be fine with his ability if it was friendly systems only, not empty. Empty is broken, for the reason stated above by MatThePhat (Round 1 HS attack)
4. Nail in the Coffin for me is that there is no word about the system being activated or not. Place Dreadnought and move. Ugly. In a 4 or 8 player game, where every Stategy Card gets chosen each Round, just pick a SC with higher Initiative than Assembly, send the Captain, get a free Dreadnought beside someones HS and when it's your turn, move in and cripple or even destroy the poor guys Starting Fleet.

The houserule I'll be proposing to our group would be:
1. Captain's ability may be used each Round.
2. Dreadnaughts may only be placed in friendly systems.
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Neil Parker
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Aaron Kurtz wrote:
To each game their own

We're trying to play out the game's rules as written until such a time that a FAQ/Errata is released or they prove to be game-breaking, or are flat out unplayable. That means there's going to be at least one Mirror Computing/Transfabrication breaking game before we're going to make changes to it.

Our July 4th game is going to be interesting...


This is sensible. Play it and test it. I'd much rather read ideas about strategy, tactics and diplomacy to combat these abilities. Yes like many abilities it can be powerful but thats not the same thing as game breaking.

When i first read the card i presumed it forced the player to abstain from voting in that political phase. In every game i've played to date of TI3 the political phase has at some point or other been crucial and potential a game decider.

Is a free DN worth missing out on crucial votes? What are the other players doing? If a player took the free DN to miss the political phase - in most cases the other players would be free to engineer the voting as they see fit and this would often be to the detriment of the absent player. In most cases i will want to be able to vote.
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Brian Petersen
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In a 3 player game with Nekro, Letnev abstaining from all future votes is pretty terrible, since the 3rd player will have sole voting power for the rest of the game, and some 4 player games end up with 1 player assassinated forever so that one player has sole voting privileges.

In an 8 player game, the Letnev will probably never have significant voting power, and it will balance out to have 1 player not voting. The vote won't go directly in the Letnev's favor, but when would it anyways? Most votes are a choice of benefit everybody some, but one guy gets more of a benefit, or screw everybody, but one guy was depending on doing X more than others.

I was saying before the Letnev move to abstain from all future votes, they may choose the bodyguard, use him to vote, and say they "like the outcome of the vote" and continue to vote in future rounds. Sometimes immunity to assassination is a good thing.

The danger of empty systems isn't taking an enemies SD. It's killing someone's unaccompanied carrier. Also, if you deem MR to be empty, that'd be a little bit frustrating as well, since others will have to fight DNs, 3 fighters, and 2 GFs. I think people will use it more for reinforcing their front lines and blocking people's paths than attacking people directly. A CC, losing the free DN and making an enemy who can vote against you is kind of expensive. Having one in their way, causing one casualty before you die, and making them waste a CC is another.

Play test it first. Most gaming groups would help someone back on their feet if a wild DREADNAUGHT appears and causes their STARTING FLEET to FAINT.

Abstaining forever is supposed to give you an advantage. That's why Nekro gets CCs for techs and obtains techs through combat. Diplomacy I, pre-combat shots, sustain damge units, and lack of fighters for destroyers all keep Nekro in check.

In the early game, the Letnev will be hated and their first target will be sympathized with. In the mid-game, his DNs will be cake to beat and you'll have spread yourself into enough systems to keep his DN from being able to attack your core. In the late game, his DNs will be tough to beat, but not invincible, and they still won't have GFs to invade with. Like all games, fighter swarm >>>>> DNs.
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Since the name of the game is VPs, and not player elimination. Sending a lone DN into a home system on round 1 is not a winning strategy. Even if you manage to eliminate the starting units and blockade their space dock, what exactly have you accomplished?

I'm not saying that you couldn't make one players life miserable, but it's not going to win you the game by any stretch.
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JJ Belyeu
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what if you just house-ruled it to "Friendly or empty system adjacent to friendly"? Yeah that would help them fortify frontlines, but it would prevent the "turn 1, I invade HS"
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I wish there's answer in FAQ

last time I play barony I neveruse his ability cuz I think it's 1 time
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Matthew Bestland
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You guys had me convinced ultimately, and I posited what you said to the rest of my group. Then, one of our players suddenly asked why we are trying to figure out what "If you do not like the result of this vote..." implies instead of taking it at face value. What it implies is wrong, simply what makes it work should be considered. Then he went on to say is that the only thing missing from the card is the postulate "When Lassir is revealed, state which outcome you would like for this vote and if you do not..." etc. Not only does the wording now make sense, it allows the ability to be used repeatedly, but it allows people to have some way to stop it, while still allowing Barony to have an effect on politics (a race that has traditionally been weaker politically). His ability fills up most of the card, so maybe they simply weren't able to fit on the extra or something. Even if it wasn't meant this way, when we played with it, it added a nice element.
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MatThePhat wrote:
Then he went on to say is that the only thing missing from the card is the postulate "When Lassir is revealed, state which outcome you would like for this vote and if you do not..." etc. Not only does the wording now make sense, it allows the ability to be used repeatedly, but it allows people to have some way to stop it.


That sounds like a good compromise. I agree that being able to use his ability every turn at the expense of not actually voting seems a bit powerful if he can just claim he dislikes the outcome no matter what it was.

Having him declare the outcome he wants is probably house rule territory (at least for now) but it does put an interesting spin on things. He can declare he would dislike the outcome most people probably want and then people have to choose between having the outcome they want or denying him the DN.

Aaron Kurtz wrote:
Unless I'm missing something in Shards, the base rule book states on page 34:

A planet that contains a technology specialty and at least one Scientist provides a technology discount of 2 credits rather than 1.


In the base game, there were no planets with two tech specs on them. The intended effect (IMHO) is that a scientist adds +1 credit, but when the rule was written the math always worked out to 2, so they wrote it that way instead of how they should have written it ("a planet with a tech spec and a scientist provides one additional credit than usual.")

No offense to FFG, but they do have a habit of writing the rules for their games as they exist at the time of publication, without thinking about what they might do to expand those rules later. Which, really, strikes me as a bit narrow-minded considering how frequently they do, in fact, make expansions for their games.

That said, two scientists definitely do not stack, since IIRC, the rules for leaders state that none of them stack, except the General.
 
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miloboy gogogo
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From faqs
his abilities is one time use
 
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Further than that, NO representatives can be sent. Which means no assassinations from the Barony player either after this ability is used.
 
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