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The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game» Forums » Rules

Subject: Encounter card effects and "If able" rss

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Andrew Highley
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There are several encounter card effects which use the term "if able" together with a condition that references multiple cards. For example.

Orc Raider (RTR)
Forced: After Orc Raiders engages a player, that player discards 2 attachments he controls, if able.

Cave Spider (TLD)
When Revealed: The first player draws 1 card. Then, that player must choose and discard 4 cards from his hand, if able.

Abandoned Mine (TLD)
Lost: Return the top 2 Goblin enemies in the encounter discard pile to the staging area, if able.


I've always played that if fewer cards which meet these conditions are available, then the effect is still played. For example, Cave Spider is revealed, and I only have two cards in my hand. In this event I'd discard both cards.

However, I'm starting to wonder if I've been playing this wrong. If I take the wording of the Cave Spider effect literally, then in the example above I only have two cards in my hand so *can't* discard 4 cards. It could be interpreted that this effect is unable to be completed, and therefore is negated.

Similarly if I only have one attachment on a character, can the Orc Raider effect actually take place? - Or if there's only one Goblin (not two) in the encounter discard pile, can the Abandoned Mine's lost effect take place?


I'd be keen to understand how everyone else interprets this.

 
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Dr Who
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"if able" tells me to do what I can

so if it says Discard 4 cards and I only have 3...I will Discard all 3, or in other words, up to 4, to meet the requirment

If that's not how it's played, then that would explain why I lose A LOT!
 
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Andy Mills
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DrWhoWho wrote:
"if able" tells me to do what I can

so if it says Discard 4 cards and I only have 3...I will Discard all 3, or in other words, up to 4, to meet the requirment

If that's not how it's played, then that would explain why I lose A LOT!


The way "if able" is interpreted in other LCGs is the exact opposite of this - "Discard 4 cards" means discard as many cards as you can, up to 4, where "Discard 4 cards, if able" means you discard 4 cards or 0 cards, depending on whether you have 4 cards in hand or not.
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Rob Rob
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Given the wording and the way rules work, I understand why you'd ask the question but I agree with the others here. The spirit of the rule would seem to be, discard as many as you can up to the number given.
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Andrew Highley
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manydills wrote:
DrWhoWho wrote:
"if able" tells me to do what I can

so if it says Discard 4 cards and I only have 3...I will Discard all 3, or in other words, up to 4, to meet the requirment

If that's not how it's played, then that would explain why I lose A LOT!


The way "if able" is interpreted in other LCGs is the exact opposite of this - "Discard 4 cards" means discard as many cards as you can, up to 4, where "Discard 4 cards, if able" means you discard 4 cards or 0 cards, depending on whether you have 4 cards in hand or not.


Well that'd make The Long Dark considerably easier - I ran a deck pair that were fresh from victory from Nightmare Anduin through TLD yesterday and lost twice in a row. Cave Spiders were constantly stripping both teams down to zero cards (they seem very much attracted to the cave torch).

With the 4 or 0 interpretation Cave Spider actually becomes somewhat thematic. I can imagine finding something useful in the web (i.e. the first player draws a card effect), and then if unencumbered being able to spring away with this loot. If on the otherhand the first player is already carrying lots of baggage (four or more cards) then these end up getting caught up in the web.


 
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Andrew Highley
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Thanks Andy Mills for the heads up on other FFG LCG rulings on 'if able'.

After doing some research, I'm quite convinced the all or nothing interpretation is correct (unless FFG are being wildly inconsistent between games).


The Call of Cthulhu LCG FAQ states:

If a player cannot fulfil the entire effect of an “if able” clause, that effect is ignored.

For example, if a player plays Byakhee Attack (Core Set F95) which reads, “...Action: Each opponent chooses and discards 2 cards from his hand, if able.” an opponent with only one card in hand cannot choose and discard two cards, so they keep the card in their hand. (a player can still play Byakhee Attack because of the “if able” clause, but since the clause cannot be fulfilled its effect is ignored by that opponent.)

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ys jo
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I know I've read somewhere on BGG that "if able" means follow the instruction as much as possible, not all or nothing.

That ruling is probably buried deep inside BGG forums or FFG forum.

.... I think we seriously need official or unofficial collections of all the official responses from Nate/Caleb because clarifications on most confusion rules are difficult to dig up.
 
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Andy Mills
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ellareth wrote:
I know I've read somewhere on BGG that "if able" means follow the instruction as much as possible, not all or nothing.


Source?

Quote:
That ruling is probably buried deep inside BGG forums or FFG forum.


Well, in the Call of Cthulhu case, it's directly in the FAQ. In the Netrunner case, it's in the FAQ. (See the ruling on False Lead.) In Game of Thrones, it's played that way, although I can't find support for it at the moment.

It's also logically consistent: "Discard 4 cards, if able" is logically equivalent to "If able, discard 4 cards." If you are NOT able to discard 4 cards, that instruction does not apply to you.

If it's really bothering you, use the "Rules Questions" link on the FFG page to send in the question directly.
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ys jo
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manydills wrote:
ellareth wrote:
I know I've read somewhere on BGG that "if able" means follow the instruction as much as possible, not all or nothing.


Source?


Challenge Accepted.

From Official LotrLCG Errata 1.5
(http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/lotr-lcg/suppo...)

Page10 wrote:
Q: If I can’t discard 3 resources from all of my heroes
due to Bitter Wind (KD 56), do I have to partially fulfill
the effect?
A: Yes, players should resolve as much of any
“discard” effect as they are able to.


I remember there being a discussion that discard all or none made grammatical sense, but partial fulfillment also makes sense interms of game mechanics and difficulty.

I guess I was wrong about there the verdict was, it wasn't buried in forums but was right there in FAQ.

Edit: I know the example in the FAQ uses the wording "must discard" instead of "discard X, if able", but answer says resolve as much of any "discard" effect, and in my opinion "discard X, if able" is part of "any discard effect".
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Andy Mills
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ellareth wrote:

Edit: I know the example in the FAQ uses the wording "must discard" instead of "discard X, if able", but answer says resolve as much of any "discard" effect, and in my opinion "discard X, if able" is part of "any discard effect".


I'd argue that "discard" and "discard, if able" are sufficiently different enough that the FAQ for Bitter Wind doesn't apply to "if able" situations.

You can't do what makes thematic sense, or what makes sense in terms of game difficulty - you have to do what the text says.

I agree that a more explicit ruling would be nice, but I don't agree that the current FAQ answers the question your way.
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Zeb Ulon

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Ask Caleb directly: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_faq.asp
 
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Joe Skull
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manydills wrote:
You can't do what makes thematic sense, or what makes sense in terms of game difficulty - you have to do what the text says.


That's obvious, it's just you use the other two concepts when the text is not clear to suss out the meaning. This is a co-op game and for a single card effect nobody is going to give a rat's behind if you decide one way and FFG calls it another the next day. Gives you just one more reason to come back to the quest later.
 
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Andrew Highley
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Parked this for a while until I had other questions, then asked FFG last week. Just received the answer:
---------------

In The Lord of the Ring LCG, when an encounter card effect uses the language "if able" it means that if you are not able to completely fulfill its effect then you should ignore it. For example, if an encounter card effect says "When Revealed: Return the topmost enemy in the encounter deck discard pile to the staging area, if able." and there are no enemies in the discard pile, then the effect does nothing.
In the examples you mentioned:

-If you only have 1 attachment in play, then you are not able to discard 2 and you should ignore the Orc Raider's effect.
-If you only have 3 or fewer cards in your hand, then you are not able to discard 4 cards and you should ignore the Cave Spider's effect.
-If there is only 1 or fewer Goblin enemies in the encounter discard pile, then you cannot return 2 to the staging area and you should ignore the Lost effect of Abandoned Mine.
Cheers,
Caleb
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alogos teeheehee
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Wow, another "not so obvious" answer that will change many things...

manydills wrote:

Well, in the Call of Cthulhu case, it's directly in the FAQ. In the Netrunner case, it's in the FAQ. (See the ruling on False Lead.) In Game of Thrones, it's played that way, although I can't find support for it at the moment.

It's also logically consistent: "Discard 4 cards, if able" is logically equivalent to "If able, discard 4 cards." If you are NOT able to discard 4 cards, that instruction does not apply to you.

If it's really bothering you, use the "Rules Questions" link on the FFG page to send in the question directly.


I made this : http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1056508/unofficial-faq-c...
a compilation of all official answers not in the official faq, it could help a lot of people, but I don't know how to make it easy to find for the players. (I should also make an update with the sources)
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Matt Deuber
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I agree...wow...I didn't quite know the ramifications of "if able" either. I always tried to do as much of the effect as I could.

Thanks for bringing this up.
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ys jo
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Oh wow this ruling is surprising.
Guess I shouldn't complain as this just made a game bit easier.
 
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Andy Mills
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It's only confusing if you think that "if able" doesn't actually mean anything. It does. Words mean things.
 
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Richard Morris
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manydills wrote:
It's only confusing if you think that "if able" doesn't actually mean anything. It does. Words mean things.
But, as we have seen multiple times, predicting what they mean is not easy. Especially when they seem to just make something up on the fly when you ask. Stuff like this is, well, fundamental. They should define things like 'if able' in the rule books. Compared to, say, Donald X, they haven't got a clue.

/rant.
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Andy Mills
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
manydills wrote:
It's only confusing if you think that "if able" doesn't actually mean anything. It does. Words mean things.
But, as we have seen multiple times, predicting what they mean is not easy. Especially when they seem to just make something up on the fly when you ask. Stuff like this is, well, fundamental. They should define things like 'if able' in the rule books. Compared to, say, Donald X, they haven't got a clue.

/rant.


Agreed. I'm just saying that I don't think this particular ruling defies logic or anything.

That f-ing Stand and Fight "clarification", on the other hand...
 
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Michael
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What an interesting ruling! One never stops learning new things in this game. Thanks for sharing the official response!
 
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