I have a couple questions, mostly about uncommon encounters.
First, Dud Encounters-- That is, encounters when the offense has no encounter cards left. According to the rules, these encounters end immediately during the planning phase and any allies go back to their existing colonies without further effect. This means that the defense gets one of their cards out of the orders deck for free (until reshuffle), all players get an opportunity to research their tech, the offense benefits from regroup, and all committed allies (and the offense) get a chance to move any ships that participated to different colonies.
- (1) Is this all correct (above)?
- (2) Is it also the case that the defense MUST draw a new hand (immediately playing any cards that they can and want to play), or does the turn end before the defense must do this?
- (3) The rules are clear that in the unlikely event that the DEFENSE doesn't draw any encounter cards when they get a fresh hand of eight, they simply discard (immediately playing any cards that they can and want to play) and draw another hand as many times as is necessary to get an encounter card before continuing with the planning phase. However, there is no similar stipulation in the rules for the offense if they draw a fresh hand with no encounter cards during their Start Turn phase. Does this mean it is possible for the offense's first encounter of a round to be a dud?
Next, about Ignored Orders cards-- That is, if a player draws their own color and decides not to have an encounter in their own system.
- (4) Do these orders go to discard or are they reshuffled into the orders draw deck after the player gets orders that they must follow? The rules do not make this clear. We've always played that any ignored orders get shuffled back in, otherwise it is possible to go through the entire orders deck without certain player(s) being encountered.
Then there are Redeployment "Encounters"-- Encounters to move ships to one of your existing colonies. If you get your own orders, you theoretically could decide to use them to send up to four ships to a home planet that you already have a colony on. Usually a dumb move, but this could be advantageous if you are having a difficult time getting ships to a certain home colony quickly enough otherwise and/or you really want to take your own orders card out of the draw deck (assuming ignored orders would be reshuffled).
- (5) I assume that Redeployment Encounters to your own system count as an unsuccessful encounter. Is this correct?
- (6) What about Redeployment Encounters to a foreign system? Also usually a dumb move, but there could be a situation where every planet remaining in a system already has one of your colonies on it; or perhaps the only planet without one of your colonies has a certain Terrorist bomb and you don't want to lose any ships. According to the rules, you still need to go through all the motions, including playing encounter cards against the owner of that system (even if they are defending with zero ships). Is this an unsuccessful encounter even if you win and get to add ships?
Last but not least, the theoretical Empty System Encounter-- Encountering a system that has no planets. Although I haven't seen it happen to anybody, it appears possible that the home planets of a player could be destroyed or gobbled up in various ways until eventually there are no planets left in their system.
- (7) What happens in this situation? It looks like we get stuck in the Launch Phase with no place to point the cone.