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Gonduron

Empire retreats to Rebel system

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Situation: Imperial player decides to retreat all ships + ground units from combat. According to the Rules Reference, he can choose between two valid systems:

a) One adjacent system with Imperial loyalty

b) One adjacent system with Imperial ships, which in our game also had Rebel loyalty but no ground units of either side

By retreating to b), the Imperial player actually profits from his defeat at combat in two ways: 1) By retreating his ground units to a Rebel system, as a result he subjugates it. 2) By seeking combat with the sole intention to retreat, the Imperial player was able to "move" to and subjugate a system two spaces away from his original position in a single game round. 

My question: Was that really intended by the game designers? While I do see good pro-arguments, it somehow feels like breaking basic game mechanics.

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On 8/25/2019 at 1:42 AM, Gonduron said:

My question: Was that really intended by the game designers? While I do see good pro-arguments, it somehow feels like breaking basic game mechanics.

Yes. When I read the entirety of the retreat rules I see several caveats made that prevent retreating, so the designers went through the possible scenarios. The only real thing preventing an army from retreating is the presence of enemy units in a system. That's to prevent one team from attacking, retreating, attacking retreating, rinse, repeat all across the map.

From a lore perspective I'm ok with this as well. It is easy for the rebels to gain loyalty anywhere across the galaxy, but it's harder for them to keep combat units in that system. Due to production limitations and the fact that any known units become a target for the empire. For the empire, it makes sense for them to keep a garrison on every system it visits. That makes it very difficult for the rebels to retreat to useful systems (esp. later in the game).

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The Rebel player isn't losing too much in this event.  Because of the Imperial ships already in the Rebel system, he could neither build units from that system's icons, nor could be deploy units there.  

The Imperial player may have suffered slightly, in that those ships now have a (retreated) Imperial leader blocking their movement out of the system this turn.

Advancing by retreat is definitely a tactic in this game, but it takes a bit of setting up to pull it off.  You need to make sure that you are actually allowed to go to the system you are intending to retreat to.  That usually requires having no units or loyalty/subjugation on any adjacent systems; or, in this case, having units already present where you want to go.

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