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I'm writing some game rules where players' in-game areas move around in cities. The different cities are divided by zones, which basically means that different tiles are put together to form a city.

Certain rules can affect only other players in your zone, and I wonder if the word "occupy" is correctly used in the following sentence:

Whenever you end your turn in a zone occupied by one of your henchmen, you may receive one focus die.

The reason I ask is that... well, to me, when something occupies something, there's not really much room for anything else in that area.

Is this correct?

If two things can't occupy the same zone, what would be some good alternatives to "occupy"?

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    Occupy isn't necessarily an all-or-nothing state. You can occupy a house with your spouse and children, for example. In game instructions, I think "occupy" is a fine description in this case. – VampDuc Aug 18 '15 at 15:54
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If I understand you correctly, I believe that you only need to add 'already' to your sentence.

Whenever you end your turn in a zone already occupied by one of your henchmen, you may receive one focus die.

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Occupied and already occupied both work fine, but I think in your context, this might work better (if I understood your description of the game correctly):

Whenever you end your turn in a zone already claimed by one of your henchmen, you receive one Focus Die.

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  • Except that "claimed" is not very idiomatic for such situations, plus it's a hair more ambiguous: There are some Pacific islands that are "claimed" by both China and Malaysia, but they were recently occupied by China. – Hot Licks Jan 19 '16 at 4:39
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You mention

when something occupies something, there's not really much room for anything else in that area

but when the Nazis occupied France there was enough space for the Frenchmen.

There is no problem with your original wording.

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In the example sentence, "occupied" can be replaced by "inhabited" or a synonym "populated":

Inhabit: to be present in (something)

Alternatively, "occupied by" can be replaced by "having".

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