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mkevans80

No transfer actions? Really?!

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Just finished the "Learn to Play" rules.  Have only skimmed the reference book, as it's getting late, but I did not find any reference to transfer actions.  As far as I can tell, they just don't exist in this edition.  And that is utter B.S.

I'm very disappointed.  One of the hallmarks of a good player is how often (and well) they use transfer actions.  Back in the day, people developed very well-thought-out house rules that allowed further use of transfer actions.  I believe they were called Simultaneous Actions.  Transfer actions, even the vanilla, non-homebrewed variety, were one of the more complex aspects of the game, but absolutely worth mastering.

I'm liking some of the new things that I'm seeing in this edition, but if I'm right and they axed transfer actions, that's a BIG strike against this new edition.  Guess what my first house rule's going to be?  Oh, and the second one is going to be allowing ships in an activated system to leave that system (to pick up other units) as long as they end their movement in the activated system.  The way I read that clause in the rulebook, that's still not allowed.  Come on, FFG, almost *everybody* in the hardcore community made that a house rule, and it still doesn't make it into the next edition??

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From pg 16 49.4 STEP 1—MOVE SHIPS:..... The ship can move out of the active system and back into it if its move value is high enough

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Robofish said:

From pg 16 49.4 STEP 1—MOVE SHIPS:..... The ship can move out of the active system and back into it if its move value is high enough

Thank you! I had missed that upon first reading. So you can do things like activate a system and send a (movement-upgraded) carrier that's already in that system out to pick up ground forces and fighters from a neighboring planet, then return with them for the fight.

But does that let you replicate the effects of a transfer action? In other words, what if I want to swap ships between two adjacent systems? That doesn't seem to be possible.

Edited by pklevine
Misunderstanding.
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Let's take the following situation, and then look carefully at the rules to see how they handle it.

SYSTEM A and SYSTEM B are adjacent. SYSTEM A has my dreadnought and carrier. SYSTEM B has my cruiser and destroyer.

I want to move my carrier into SYSTEM B and my destroyer into SYSTEM A. Obviously, in TI3, this would be a transfer action.

As I understand it, in TI4 I'd have to use a tactical action. So I activate SYSTEM A and move my destroyer into it. But now I have no way to get my carrier out of SYSTEM A and into SYSTEM B, right? I'll have to wait until next round before I'll have that opportunity. Or am I missing something in TI4 that lets me do this (seemingly straightforward and minor) swap over the course of a single round?

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Nope, that was what a transfer action was there for, and now you can't do it.

More commonly used to move your slow ships built last turn forward, and build some more. 

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I think the only saving grace is some flexibility in how one interprets 49.4, fifth bullet:

The ship can move out of the active system and back into it if its move value is high enough.

I have a feeling the intent there is, "(The ship can move out of the active system and back into it) if its move value is high enough." In other words, the entire action is contingent upon having Move 2+ and is only legal if the ship ends up back in the active system.

However, it is also grammatically correct to read that as, "The ship can move out of the active system (and back into it if its move value is high enough)." In other words, while activating a system, you can also move ships out of that system, and then if they have the move available you can move them back in. Even if this isn't the way that rule was intended, it may be the best way to interpret it, because it allows for a lot more flexibility and doesn't require us to house-rule transfer actions back into the game. (And this won't ever produce "accidental space battles" since there's no way for the active system to start off with both your ship and an enemy ship, and the normal rules of movement wouldn't let you move your ship out of the active system and into a system with an enemy ship.)

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Good riddance. Transfer actions were always a rule that required way to much explanation for a mechanic rarely used by anyone. In 9/10 cases doing your activations in the right order made it unnecessary and in the 10th case, the game would come to a screeching hold, because that guy had to look up how those things worked again. Yes you loss some tactical ability, but if I never have to explain Transfer actions again it is a price a am willing to pay. 

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3 hours ago, Duskwalker said:

Transfer actions were always a rule that required way to much explanation for a mechanic rarely used by anyone.

I cannot disagree more.  Rarely used by you, maybe.  I almost always execute several every game.  Transfer actions are a crucial part of advanced play (esp. maximizing efficiency of your CCs) in TI3.  They are a pain to teach to newbies, yes... if that is so odious to you, leave them out the first few games and only bring them up if the newbie asks, "but how do I switch the placement of these ships?"   Good players how how to use transfer actions effectively, and when they are superior to tactical actions.  Fact.

I'll have to go find those Simultaneous Action house rules (they're probably in PsiComa's Shattered Ascension project).  And here I thought I'd play a single game, maybe, before I started with the house rules...

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12 minutes ago, MikeEvans said:

leave them out the first few games and only bring them up if the newbie asks, "but how do I switch the placement of these ships?"   

Oh, we usually did that. It always results in a half-hour argument because the other new guy didn't know, (even though we told him, but he didn't remember, because information overload) would have totally wanted to do it last turn, but now his game-plan is ruined. No thank you, learn to optimize you activations.

Also:  "first few games"     

 like most people I get to play this game once, maybe twice a year, so a learning-plan is not really an option. And anybody who gets to play it regularly will mod the crap out of it anyway.  

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You have cantankerous newbie friends.  Either that, or transfer actions are exactly as crucial as I say they are, if the newbies want to do them so much. ;)

Now that I'm not a college student, I don't get to play anywhere near as much I'd like (back in the heyday it was almost once/week... now I've played 3 times in the last 5 years), but my argument still stands... Transfer Actions should be available in the rules, and it is a big mistake that they left them out, even if it was for the sake of simplicity.

Now, if we want to talk about an option they left out I'm perfectly ok with, it's Distant Suns.... F*** that random garbage, and may that implementation of "exploration" (aka random screw factor with no real meaningful decisions to make once you figure out the system) never darken my precious game's door again.

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Posted (edited)

28 minutes ago, MikeEvans said:

Now, if we want to talk about an option they left out I'm perfectly ok with, it's Distant Suns.... F*** that random garbage, and may that implementation of "exploration" (aka random screw factor with no real meaningful decisions to make once you figure out the system) never darken my precious game's door again.

I don't think we can ever be friends ;)

But seriously, I guess it depends on what you want from the game. I want distend suns because they add to the theme, you want transfer actions because they  add to strategic element. But what they have in common is that the game is perfectly playable without them (after all, as you pointed out yourself, new players don't even need to know about the existence of transfer actions for several games to play). FFG goal with this new version was make it more accessible, while preserving the core of the game and that means cutting the fat of extraneous and clunky rules, and thous two where on the chopping block.    

Edited by Duskwalker

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Doesn't seem like there would be any problem adding transfer actions back on as a house rule. Most of the substantive changes seem to be to the strategic subsections, not the core rules. 

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The transfer action can still be replicated by RaW with the Warfare SC, and still at a cost of 1 CC. If you were playing TI3 with the variant white-background SC from Shattered Empire, you needed transfer to swap systems. Now that TI4 goes back to the original (black-background) Warfare SC, you are more versatile with that effective +1 move.

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I am not sure if its good to have the transfer action. From what I have seen with the rules I would assume that you have slightly more CC in TI4 than in TI3 (e.g. because you never have to save pure influence planets for voting, and I would assume that the Leadership card is always one of the picked cards). So I think, it would make sense to have some kind of CC-sink, and making positioning more expensive (by having no transfer action) would be the right amount to compensate for that more of CC. Disclaimer: I havent got the game, so I havent played it yet => just assumptions and theory.

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Interesting points, Flolo.

First, I do feel a transfer action is important because if you want Ship A and Ship B to switch places, there's no way to do it in a single turn.  In a game that can last 7 turns or less, that's huge.  Yes, it is a relatively rare occurrence, but it still happens enough that I'd like the option.

I haven't played the game yet either, but I'm not convinced CCs will be more plentiful.  Somebody else on the forums was actually speculating that they will be more scarce.  They cost more, for one thing... 3 influence apiece, rather than 2.  On the other hand, you can buy as many as you like, so it may be a matter of empire size.  Also, in my many (many many) games of TI3, it was pretty rare to save influence just for a vote if they absolutely needed CC's, so not having to save influence for a vote will not have as much of an impact as you think. 

Regardless, I can guarantee you they didn't make the decision to remove transfer actions for the sake of token scarcity.  This game is not that finely tuned.  They removed it for simplicity, pure and simple.

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3 minutes ago, MikeEvans said:

I haven't played the game yet either, but I'm not convinced CCs will be more plentiful.  Somebody else on the forums was actually speculating that they will be more scarce.  They cost more, for one thing... 3 influence apiece, rather than 2.

Regardless, I can guarantee you they didn't make the decision to remove transfer actions for the sake of token scarcity.  This game is not that finely tuned.  They removed it for simplicity, pure and simple.

The 3 instead of 2 just depended on your TI3 play style. We often played with the standard 4 - Logistics. There the exchange rate was 1 CC = 3 influence.

 

But you are also right, that simplicity/streamlining was a reason for it. I just think it could be both.

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6 minutes ago, Flolo said:

We often played with the standard 4 - Logistics.

There's a lot that goes into that.  Logistics gives you 4 for free, but if you pay they cost 3 influence.  But that card is also designed to be played with Initiative, which effectively gives its user free CC's when performing strategic secondary actions.  Bureaucracy gives a CC.  Warfare 1 gives you one.  Even numbers of players in a game has an effect because that determines how many bonus tokens go on Strategy Cards, and even how many strategy cards get chosen every round.  It's a complex, situational system, so I'm very curious to see how it turns out with this new edition.

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As an armchair armchair Emperor my feeling is that CC's will be more scarce. No more from Bonus counters, more expensive to buy and  a lack of them from other sources means a tighter and poorer game.

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7 hours ago, Robofish said:

As an armchair armchair Emperor my feeling is that CC's will be more scarce. No more from Bonus counters, more expensive to buy and  a lack of them from other sources means a tighter and poorer game.

True. But if you do have a fair bit of influence, you can buy as many as you want. We might have planets with a higher influence value now that could help take the edge off.

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48 minutes ago, Archangelion said:

True. But if you do have a fair bit of influence, you can buy as many as you want. We might have planets with a higher influence value now that could help take the edge off.

With this, the new custodians, and how the agenda phase works, it seems like they are trying to make influence significantly more important than it was in TI3. 

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3 hours ago, Duskwalker said:

With this, the new custodians, and how the agenda phase works, it seems like they are trying to make influence significantly more important than it was in TI3. 

I'm good with that.  It often felt like it was fairly secondary.

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To me command tokens are the most important thing in the game. All of your potential actions stem from them. Transfer actions let you use them more strategically, tactically, and effeciently. I will be sad to see them go  alas it is an easy to put them back.

Left over strategy cards giving a TG instead, and leadership secondary giving the logisitcs rate is a bit more harsh. I do like the emphasis on influence, and some of the changes.

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Posted (edited)

We would actually (LITERALLY) Golf Clap anytime someone executed one since they were used so rarely in our games.

Edited by BrashFink

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Totally agree with Mike that Transfer Actions were a pivotal and absolutely necessary action in Ti3, in fact, not only did I use it in every game, I would venture to guess I would use at least one in every action phase of every game I ever played.  While the rule does have a level of complexity, like anything once you learned it and learned how to use it, it becomes apparent that anyone who doesn't know how to use it is at a serious disadvantage.   That may be the justification for its removal, as I could understand that new players would already feel overwhelmed with the games basic rules, more advanced rules like this that are so pivotal to efficiency and really when you come right down to it to winning.

That said, I think its a bit premature to talk about how that impacts TI4.  After all we are talking about Transfer Actions as we know them in TI3 and TI4, while having a lot of very subtle changes, has quite a few of them.  Its really hard to say just from reading of the rules how this impacts the flow of play.  I would imagine through testing FFG determined that the rule was not necessary so there must be some sort of justification for its removal in TI4.

Suffice to say, I think most TI3 fans will probably play TI4 with the same vigor and disposition to house ruling as they did playing TI3.  Its a game designed for a cult following, TI3 was always the biggest,  small game on the market, in fact even in the interviews talking about TI4, Christian P. mentioned that its not a game they made for profit, but rather for legacy and the cult fan base that has embraced it.  I'm certain our community leaders will be writing mass house rule books for TI4 as they did for TI3 that addressed the many points of views about the existing game.  Shattered Ascension in many ways reflected the fans base's natural tendency to achieve balance, unique themes and introduce new tactical and strategic components to our beloved game, I'm certain we'll see a Shattered Ascension for TI4 as well.

There is a lot to be excited about when it comes to TI4, but like TI3, its not just the game that has me jumping up and down with anticipation, but the community behind it that will develop it far beyond its core, that's always been the best part of TI3.

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