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I'm trying to figure out Terra Mystica by myself. One thing I'm having trouble with is the spades used for terraforming. The rules seem very clear that these need to be used immediately — they can't be saved for future actions. (And that's backed up by the simple fact that there's no tokens or other representation.) But, there are number of ways you can earn spades during actions other than Transform and Build — and even outside of actions, as in the Cult of Earth spade bonus.

Is terraforming / terrain transformation just a thing you can do whenever you get spades?

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Yes, if you ever get a spade you must use it immediately, or forfeit it. The only way to get a spade outside of taking an action on your turn though is the end-of-round cult bonuses that give them.

From the rulebook:

You may not save Spades for future Actions. Spades need to be used immediately.

Note that the spades that you get for the cult bonuses must be used by themselves; you cannot also spend workers to terraform more, nor can you build a Dwelling at that time. Those are things you can do in addition to getting spades when you choose the terraform and build action or a power action that gives you spades.

  • So, just to be clear, by "Yes, if you ever get a spade you must use it immediately", you mean "Yes, if you ever get a spade you must and may use it immediately"? – mattdm Nov 11 '15 at 4:25
  • @mattdm I am pretty sure that's correct, but not completely sure. Trying to see if I can find a rule about that now. – GendoIkari Nov 11 '15 at 14:49
  • @mattdm I've updated my answer with a rules quote and added clarification. I can't find a specific rule saying that using spades is optional, but that seems to be what people think. Also, it would be extremely rare that you wouldn't be able to get any benefit out of using a spade you get. So rare that I would be surprised if you ever encounter it. – GendoIkari Nov 11 '15 at 17:01

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