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Here's the scenario: I have a ship currently in an opponent's sector, he has no ships. Do the rules allow for me to remove his influence disc and place one of my own? The rules (2nd ed) around influence action are as follows:

You may move an influence disk to one of the following (forgive the paraphrasing):

  • Sector where there is not currently an influence disk there and you have an adjacent sector under your influence
  • Sector where only you have a ship
  • Back to your track

I am wondering if anyone has any actual evidence one way or the other on this, because it seems that under the second condition, you may use the influence action to remove an influence tile and place one of your own.

I've seen a couple forum posts on this, most answers I have seen have been something to the effect of "you can never remove an opponent's influence disc except during combat phase" with next to no justification in the actual rules for that statement, though it seems this is still the general consensus.

Planets also complicate the question, as it is explicitly stated that you may not send population cubes to occupied planets (rather, it says you may only colonize unoccupied planets), and there is no mechanism for destroying population cubes other than at the end of combat phase, neutron bombs or not.

My group and I are looking to make an official ruling going forward, and to us evidence is paramount. What we are leaning towards is the following:

Under the second condition of influence action, it is possible to place an influence disc on an opponent's sector, returning that influence disc to their track. However, you may not colonize occupied planets. Therefore, using the influence action in this way is possible yet not necessarily wise (you are giving your opponent an extra disc to take action, without them losing their population cubes until the end of the next combat phase -- and only if you still have a ship there at the end of that combat phase).

  • I disagree with your resolution based on the rules, but this is an intriguing variant – Lighthart Apr 19 '15 at 4:54
  • Yeah. I think the top answer nailed down pretty well why you can't/shouldn't allow it. You may move 2 discs with your influence action, neither of which can be an enemy's disc. I suppose you were already aware of that, though. I guess I agree it would be an interesting variant, assuming your enemy is allowed to keep their population cubes on the sector, it becomes a rush to the next combat phase, only you're allowed to build on that sector beforehand. Eh, making up rules is too much work -.- – Corey Trevor Apr 21 '15 at 17:00
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By the best evidence I can find, no, you cannot remove an enemy influence disc with the Influence action.

You are correct that by a literal reading of the second edition rules, this would be allowed. It appears that this is an oversight that was made when they updated the wording for the second edition. The best evidence would be that the first edition rules do NOT allow this. I believe that ruling the other way would require a statement about this rule being errata'd between editions. But nothing like this is listed in any of the 1st edition errata. It seems that the intent is that the influence space must always be empty.

It's also a good argument that the rules make no mention of removing an opponent's influence disc as an allowed part of the influence action. So if you were to follow the rules completely literally, you would have to move your influence disc to the spot where the opponent's influence disc already is, without moving his. So you would have both influence discs there together.

See discussion on this question here.

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