F&E Q&A [Continued]
Question: Even while an empire is at full war, it might have unreleased fleets (the Federation 6th Fleet on the Romulan border, for example, until the Romulans attack). Any unreleased zone has restrictions on what can be done inside it. What happens to this territory when war comes? Provinces and the planets and bases included seem to become released only when the fleet which includes them is released. Are these locations considered released when the empire enters full war with any of its neighbors even though there is no attendant fleet release for them?
Answer: Rule (600.3) specifically prohibits doing anything in an unreleased fleet area (until it is released, at which point it is no longer un-released). This includes the planets, provinces, and bases. Those planets and provinces produce EPs (which go into the national treasury) but you cannot upgrade the bases or planetary defenses in those areas (unless scenario rules allow this).
Question: If they are not released in that case, how do they become released?
Answer: You are over-thinking this, or perhaps fishing for a loophole. The planets, bases, and provinces of an unreleased fleet area are released when the fleet is released.
Question: Rule (600.3) states that "the provinces occupied by an unreleased fleet are restricted by these rules as well as the fleet itself." This implies, for example, that since hex 2304 is within the Federation 4th Fleet Deployment Zone, that the entire province containing 2304 would be under the restrictions if the 4th Fleet were unreleased. Does the opposite apply? For example, since province 2304 would be restricted if the 4th Fleet were restricted is it released if the 4th Fleet is released? I know the units of the 4th can only deploy in one hex - 2304.
Answer: You're over-thinking the issue. If the deployment area of a fleet includes part of a province, then only those hexes inside the deployment zone are covered by the status of that deployment zone. You could, for example, build a base in a hex that happened to be in a hex that is in a "released" fleet deployment zone even if other hexes of that same province are in the deployment zone of a different "unreleased" fleet.