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Federation FAQ

This Federation FAQ For Gaia Project was created by Bokken and approved by Bastian Winkelhaus zlorfik and Game designer Helge Ostertag Horologiom. For original context and content, please see: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30781109#30781109


When forming a federation, first follow these steps. I like to call them the "three rules".

Rule 1: Choose. First pick out the planets you wish to join into a federation, they must total in power value of at least 7.

Rule 2: Link. Next, place satellites (usually by discarding power tokens) to link the chosen planets together using the least amount of satellites possible. No planet NOR satellite of the newly formed federation can be directly adjacent to planets OR satellites from any of your existing federations.

Rule 3: Validate. Finally, re-evaluate your federation, If the federation would be valid with at least one fewer planet AND one fewer satellite, you must reform your federation.


First Rule Questions:

Q: Must I choose the closest planets to form my federation?
A: No, you may chose any planets you like.
Note: The planets chosen will require that you have the satellites to link them and that they do not violate the third rule.

Q: My chosen planets total up to more than 7, is this ok?
A: Yes, Your chosen planets can total up to any number as long as the total power is 7 or greater (or 6 with the PI of Xenos).
Note: With the exception of Ivits and single planet clusters; It is impossible to create a single federation that totals up to more than 12 without breaking the third rule.

Q: Can I choose a single cluster that does not require satellites if it totals to 7 or more?
A: yes, a Federation "record token" will be placed on the cluster to indicate that it has formed it's own federation.

Q: Does the lost planet count towards a federation?
A: Yes. the lost planet is considered to be equal to a mine, and Is both a planet (or part of a planet cluster) and has a value of one point for the purposes of forming a federation.


Second rule Questions:

Q: The path with the fewest satellites to link my chosen planets will touch a planet that I did not wish to include in my federation, can I choose the shortest path that skips this planet?
A: No, If the "extra" planet cluster is not already a part of a federation, then you must choose the path with the fewest satellites to link your planets, even if it includes extra planets, this is typically where the third rule can come into play making that federation invalid.

Q: While choosing the path with the fewest satellites to link my chosen planets, I notice that I can use fewer satellites by using a planet cluster I did not choose to be a part of my federation as a "hop" to cut out 1 or more satellites, Must I use this path?
A: Yes. The path with the fewest satellites MUST be used even if it is achieved by using a planet cluster as a hop to avoid using more satellites.

Q: The path with the fewest satellites to link my chosen planets will touch a planet/satellite that is already a part of one of my existing federations, can I choose the path with the fewest satellites that skips this planet/satellite?
A: Yes. You MUST choose the path with the fewest satellites that does not force a satellite to come into direct adjacency with any of your existing federations.

Q: The path with the fewest satellites to link my planets has multiple options/paths, each have exactly the same number of satellites, is this ok?
A: Yes. During the second rule, You may choose any of the paths available, so long as they are all tied for the fewest satellites.
Note: The third rule may invalidate some or all of these paths.

Q: The path with the fewest satellites to link my planets has more than one option, but one of them includes another planet or planet cluster, Do I have to choose the shortest path that does not include other planets?
A: No, either path is valid for the second rule.

Q: Can multiple players place satellites on the same space?
A: Yes, Every open space hex may contain one satellite from each race.

Q: May satellites be placed on spaces with a Space station?
A: yes, and space stations may be placed on spaces with other satellites.


Third Rule Questions:

Q: Why does rule three specify the "one Fewer Planet cluster." wouldn't the rule be the simpler to say "if you can remove one satellite?"
A: Not exactly. If you are checking if removing just a satellite would still work, that would mean you did rule 2 incorrectly. The rules are not meant to validate each other, they are each independent rules.

Q: I have 3 planet clusters, 2 clusters of value 5, and a single mine in-between them. The shortest path to link the 2 clusters of 5 included the mine, Do I need to reform?
A: No. if the second rule was followed correctly, removing any satellite would remove one of the 5 pt planet clusters, resulting in a federation of value 6, which is not a valid federation. Therefore the third rule has validated your federation.

Q: If I can remove a satellite and a planet cluster and still have a valid federation, can I simply use that new configuration, or adjust my satellites a bit?
A: No. You must reform your federation with a new selection of planets (or the same planets with a new choice of "shortest path" in rule 2) starting over at rule 1. This is due to the possibility of bypassing a rule by trying to adjust at rule 3.

Q: If I were to move a satellite to a different location, it would remove a planet cluster, must I reform?
A: No. Satellites are NEVER moved or adjusted in rule three. The shortest path is determined (and sometimes chosen when multiple paths are available) in rule 2. Rule three will only check validation by seeing if a satellite can be removed and still have a valid federation.


Non "three rules" federation questions:

Q: Why are the rules so complex? Why can't we simplify them to [insert suggestion here]
A: The short answer is that they are this way to avoid undesirable game-play with 2 of the final scoring tiles. The longer answer is that the intent was to allow for a lot of agency when forming a federation, while encouraging players to form federations with fewer satellites and fewer planets, all while still competing for the most satellites and most structures in federations final scoring. There are many niche situations that come up that will break the game and make final scoring significantly easier for some races if these rules were not in place in the format that they are. There are also other concerns such as rules that apply to the placement of the lost planet. Although, the original printed rules could have done a better job at clarity.

Q: Can I select the same federation token that I chose in a previous federation?
A: yes, you may select from among any of the remaining available federation tokens, regardless of which tokens you've selected previously.

Q: What happens if I link my federations by building on a planet that is adjacent to both?
A: As long as all federations were already formed before the linking planet was colonized, nothing happens. Any new colonized planets that are adjacent to existing federations, become part of the existing federation and are not eligible to be used in forming a new federation.

Q: Can I use power tokens in the gaia bowl in order to form federations?
A: No, tokens MUST be taken from one of the three main power bowls when forming a federation

Q: Do all of the power tokens I discard in order to create the satellites for my federation have to come from the same power bowl?
A: No, Power tokens may be discarded from any combination of the three main power bowls.

Q: I have some power tokens in power bowl 3, may I spend that power on "free actions" into power bowl 1 before forming a federation?
A: Yes.

Q: I have Nevlas with the PI. When I discard my tokens from bowl three, do they create 2 satellites?
A: No. A power token will only create one satellite, regardless of it's value.

Q: I have Taklons, Can I discard the Brain Cube in order to obtain a satellite?
A: Yes. The brain cube can be discarded in order to create a single satellite, it cannot be recovered.

Q: I have Ivits, If I create a federation at 7 points, and then upgrade buildings until the same planet cluster reaches 14, may I create a new federation with the same cluster?
A: Yes. The Ivits racial ability allows a new federation to be formed every time their initial federation reaches a new threshold of 7 (such as 14, 21, 28, 35). A federation Record Token will be placed down to indicate each federation formed, including the first.

Q: for the purposes of the round scoring tile (5 points per federation) or either of the advanced tech tiles that score points per federation tokens. Does the Gleens PI federation token or the federation token at the top of the terraforming track count towards the bonus points?
A: Yes.

Q: I'm playing Ambas. After forming a federation with my PI, I used my PI ability to move my PI to a new location. My previously formed federation is now only 4 points. Do I lose my federation token?
A: No. Any federation, once formed, cannot be lost. This also includes when the standard tech tile making large buildings worth 4 points is covered by an advanced tech tile.

Q: I'm Playing Ivits. My federation cluster is worth 14 points and I've formed 2 federations. I've just built an advanced tech tile which has covered my standard tech tile that makes large buildings worth 4 points. My new federation cluster value is 13. Will I be able to form a new Federation once my federation cluster hits 14 again?
A: No (but nice try!) Once you form one of your federations as Ivits, you will not be able to form a new federation until you reach the next threshold, regardless of the current value of your federation cluster dropping below a threshold. Since you have 2 on board federations, the next threshold (third on-board federation) will be 21 points.

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