Try setting keep packaging info on copy, not sure if it affects the beha viour of the same source in different boards but worth a try. You probably won't be able to maintain packaging throughout the different board lifecycle a.
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Thank you for your reply.
The multiple PCBs per one project paradigm will work (meaning the reference designators are not reset or changed and the PCBs may be packaged separately) if the PCBs are different.
I have not been able to get this to work with identical PCB designs.
It may be that this would function as a poor-man's reuse option and so not allowed when boards are the same. Perhaps someone with a reuse option can test this hypothesis.
One clarification regarding the "Keep packaging info on copy" option. This option is not available in EE7.9.1 (the version I am using). This feature first appears, if I am not mistaken, in EE7.9.4.
I tried this in EE7.9.4 but to no avail.