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Examples:

1. Can Imperium Invation Fleet be used to conquer a 0-cost world (e.g. AOCR), when total military (with IIF) is negative? This actually came up and the winner depended on the answer.

2. Can Imperium Cloaking Technology be used to conquer a 1-cost world when military is -1?

3. Player A has -1 military and player B has -2, with all applicable discounts. Player A attempts a takeover of a defense 1 world. Is the takeover successful?

A strict reading of the rules seems to imply that 0 or negative defense or military is treated identical to positive when comparing military to defense (in which case the answers to my questions above would be no, yes, yes). This also seems to be how Keldon treats things. However, there are a few points that make me wonder about this and that would change the answers to the above 3 examples:

(a) We know that the cost of a world can never drop below 0. By analogy, might it be that the defense of a world may also never drop below 0?
(b) The military slides (which came with RvI) only track positive military. Might this be an indication that for purposes of takeovers negative military (i.e. negative after all applicable modifiers are applied) is treated as 0?
(c) Capping military and/or defense at 0 for purposes of conquering or takeovers makes thematic sense to me (how can a world be less than defenseless or how can one have less than no military?). To me, negative military signifies merely a resistance to gaining military, rather than being a measure of military strength like positive military is.
 
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Andrew
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I believe that your strict reading of the rules (and Keldon's implementation) is correct - have a check of the FAQ.

Military is a threshold condition, and works with negative values much more easily than negative cost, which would require some kind of refunds.

The thematic argument is a bit fuzzy: I'd argue that negative military is not just resistance to gaining military (as your empire could still have a military development despite a negative overall military), it's reluctance or inability to apply it. The only takeover available when you have a negative military is Casus Belli (justification for war), which ties in fine thematically.
 
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Thanks. Just one nitpick:

fateswanderer wrote:
The only takeover available when you have a negative military is Casus Belli (justification for war), which ties in fine thematically.

This is incorrect. If you have a rebel military world and/or imperium card on tableau, you are vulnerable to many more takeovers than just Casus Belli, even with a non-positive military.
 
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ackmondual
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rbelikov wrote:
Examples:

1. Can Imperium Invation Fleet be used to conquer a 0-cost world (e.g. AOCR), when total military (with IIF) is negative? This actually came up and the winner depended on the answer.
Nope. Military strength still has to be greater than or equal to the cost of the world



rbelikov wrote:
2. Can Imperium Cloaking Technology be used to conquer a 1-cost world when military is -1?
Yes. Again, you're just comparing the numbers. There's no special condition (at least in this case) that makes having negative military special.

rbelikov wrote:
3. Player A has -1 military and player B has -2, with all applicable discounts. Player A attempts a takeover of a defense 1 world. Is the takeover successful?
Yes.

Player A needs to overcome player B's total defense....
1 defense world + military which is -2

1 + -2 = -1
Player A's military is -1. -1 is greater than or equal to 1 (ties go to attacker), so TO is successful


rbelikov wrote:
A strict reading of the rules seems to imply that 0 or negative defense or military is treated identical to positive when comparing military to defense (in which case the answers to my questions above would be no, yes, yes). This also seems to be how Keldon treats things. However, there are a few points that make me wonder about this and that would change the answers to the above 3 examples:


rbelikov wrote:
(a) We know that the cost of a world can never drop below 0. By analogy, might it be that the defense of a world may also never drop below 0?
AFAIK, irrelevant? Cards like Imp Cloaking Tech just have you comparing 2 numbers. The cost of the world dipping below 0 doesn't occur.

rbelikov wrote:
(b) The military slides (which came with RvI) only track positive military. Might this be an indication that for purposes of takeovers negative military (i.e. negative after all applicable modifiers are applied) is treated as 0?
I've seen how Keldon's AI handle TO situations when negative military is involved, and I"m inclined to think that was just an oversight on their part.

After all, they didn't include colored cubes for specialized military, but they DO count, as mentioned in the rulebook. Also, it wasn't until exp #3 that we got markers for temporary military, of which cards like NMT, Space MErc., Primitive Rebel World, and Rebel COnvict Mines do provide and this is something that can change the course of TOs.

rbelikov wrote:
(c) Capping military and/or defense at 0 for purposes of conquering or takeovers makes thematic sense to me (how can a world be less than defenseless or how can one have less than no military?). To me, negative military signifies merely a resistance to gaining military, rather than being a measure of military strength like positive military is.


1) maybe what we perceive as "0 military" would thematically be "low military", so there's still room to go down.
2) Let's say "0 military" does mean not having any military strength... thematically, going into negative military could mean some social statue or event that makes military affairs against that soveriegnty even easier.
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Tom Lehmann
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The answers, as others have suggested, are no; yes; and yes.

Thematically, 0 Military represents internal policing to keep order but no ability to engage in inter-empire warfare. -1 Military represents both political resistance to gaining military and greatly reduced internal policing (for example, requiring each member world to police itself without any interplanetary coordination, weakening the empire's overall defenses versus threats such as space pirates, etc.).

Further -Military can be viewed as taking this to extremes, such that the empire actually is hampering individual worlds from defending themselves by imposing taxes on basic defense, championing pacifism over self-defense, engaging in appeasement, etc.

So, a -1 Military empire "conquering" a 1 Defense world from a -2 Military empire, based on some vulnerability (support of the Rebel cause, say) or another Casus Belli consists of a political threat being made that causes a world to defect or be ceded from the -2 Military empire and join the -1 Military empire.

As Clausewitz put it, "War is the continuation of politics by other means." Against a weak enough foe for some minor part of an empire, even threats of war can succeed.

An historical example would be Britain's surrender of a large part of Upper Canada (today, all of Washington State and parts of Idaho and Montana) to the US after Polk's bellicose demands of "Fifty-four Forty or Fight", at a time when Britain both occupied and held a much stronger claim to these lands.

The US had no capability to wage war for Upper Canada; estimates of the US populace in the ceded lands in 1845 range from 1 to 22, plus roughly 1,000 settlers in Oregon proper -- who weren't about to march north, as they were struggling to establish viable settlements and improve the Oregon Trail so more settlers could join them.

The area was lightly defended by Britain (three trading posts/forts established by the Hudson Bay Company's western division) and Britain had no interest in sending any troops there. Neither Britain nor the US wanted another war (the third in 70 years) between these two very successful trading partners. Within this region (but not generally), it was akin to a -1 Military empire taking a 1 defense area from a -2 Military empire (one who absolutely didn't want to fight), after a Casus Belli had been proclaimed.

The Hudson Bay Company -- which invested a lot of money establishing these trading posts/forts, improving trails, and was starting to establish settlements in this area (400-800 Canadians are estimated to have been present in the ceded lands) -- was simply abandoned by Britain, resulting in huge losses and the resettlement of most of these people north.

The downside of belonging to an empire is that sometimes the empire will give away lands in appeasement when it is unable or unwilling to fight, even though if these lands were independent, they might have been willing to fight and possibly able to defend themselves.
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