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Subject: Can you use a Joker card if it is your only travel card? rss

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M Hellyer
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That's a roundabout way of asking if you can only play a Joker card if you have some other unplayed travel card in your hand during a movement turn.

Page 4 of the rules says "You can use your joker card instead of a travel card -- it replaces one travel card of your choice."

My interpretation of that is that if you play a Joker card you have to have some other travel card in your hand that you are not playing that turn. So, you can not move if you only have a Joker travel card in your hand. Also, if you have 3 travel cards and a Joker you can only move 3 steps not 4 that turn.

Am I interpreting the Joker rule correctly?
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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I believe you are not interpreting the rule correctly.

You can play a joker and move, as if it were a travel card. That is regardless of whatever other travel cards you have, or play, that turn.
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Holger Doessing
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PlayMe1 wrote:
Page 4 of the rules says "You can use your joker card instead of a travel card -- it replaces one travel card of your choice."

My interpretation of that is that if you play a Joker card you have to have some other travel card in your hand that you are not playing that turn. So, you can not move if you only have a Joker travel card in your hand. Also, if you have 3 travel cards and a Joker you can only move 3 steps not 4 that turn.

Am I interpreting the Joker rule correctly?

Unfortunately, I think you misinterpreted the rule. It's pretty simple: Joker cards replace regular cards - as the rule says.
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M Hellyer
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So, my interpretation is correct, right? That if you play the Joker then you must have another unplayed card in your hand, since "it replaces one travel card of your choice." So, the Joker is not an extra card, it is only a substitute card for an unused card it "replaces."
 
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Holger Doessing
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PlayMe1 wrote:
So, my interpretation is correct, right? That if you play the Joker then you must have another unplayed card in your hand, since "it replaces one travel card of your choice." So, the Joker is not an extra card, it is only a substitute card for an unused card it "replaces."

The rule does not say anything about a (rather non-intuitive) requirement for holding a regular card. A joker card is generally acknowledged as a wildcard in most games and this extends to Africana too, where you can chose to play a guide in lieu of a regular card.
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M Hellyer
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The rules say about the joker: "It replaces one travel card of your choice." That doesn't sound like an extra card -- it sounds like you have to choose one other card not to play, so that you can replace it with the joker.
 
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Holger Doessing
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PlayMe1 wrote:
The rules say about the joker: "It replaces one travel card of your choice." That doesn't sound like an extra card -- it sounds like you have to choose one other card not to play, so that you can replace it with the joker.

Well, then you have the illustrated movement example on page 4 of the English rules. It doesn't indicate that the player must also hold regular cards matching the guide cards.

Look, you're overcomplicating a very simple rule here. Consider this: Playing by your interpretation why would anyone ever want to bother with getting any of the colored guides? Their utility would be very low and the penalty for getting two of them would be way off.
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M Hellyer
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It sounds to me like that sentence in the rules is poorly written. I guess I don't understand why it says that the Joker "replaces one travel card of your choice." Doesn't that sound like you play the joker INSTEAD of one of your travel cards?

I disagree that it's a very simple rule. If you can play the joker as an extra card why don't they just say so -- now that would be the simplest rule statement. Until I hear otherwise I will play that if you play a joker it replaces another card in your hand that you cannot play, as that is what it says: "you replace one travel card of your choice." If you can just play the joker as an extra card, why should you have to choose a card to replace it with?
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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I think the rules make perfect sense if you accept that the rule is what the rest of us are claiming it is. Normal joker behavior is that you declare it to be whatever symbol/color/value you want it to be, with no other strings attached.

From that perspective, you can see how the wording is awkward, but in no way does it appear incorrect or contradictory. The English text appears to be a very literal translation of the German, so I can't fault the translator.

Quote:
"You can use your joker card instead of a travel card -- it replaces one travel card of your choice."

I interpret the first part (before --) as: "You can use your joker card instead of [playing] a travel card." I would argue that "instead of" is pretty strong, and if it were somehow tied to having, or discarding, some other card, the verb would be "in conjunction with" or something similar.

The second part is perhaps less clear, but to me still means that when you play a joker: "it [can be counted as] one travel card[,] of your choice [of color]." Again here, if you accept that the game is simply following the normal behavior of jokers, it makes sense that you play a joker in place of a regular card ("replaces"), and that you declare ("choose") what color you are using it as.

As someone pointed out, the example of play seems pretty conclusive. The picture shows the player taking 4 steps on the map, thanks to having played 4 cards. No additional cards or discards are even hinted at.
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Kevin B. Smith
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PlayMe1 wrote:
If you can play the joker as an extra card why don't they just say so -- now that would be the simplest rule statement.

If you tell me the joker is an "extra" card, that makes me think that I could only play it after I had played other travel cards. Not before, and not instead of.

Writing rules that can't be misinterpreted is very, very difficult.
 
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Scott Kovatch
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PlayMe1 wrote:
It sounds to me like that sentence in the rules is poorly written. I guess I don't understand why it says that the Joker "replaces one travel card of your choice." Doesn't that sound like you play the joker INSTEAD of one of your travel cards?


Well... yes. A joker card can take the place of any travel card. If you don't have the right travel card the joker takes its place. Look at the entire paragraph:

"You can use your joker card instead of a travel card – it replaces one travel card of your choice. If you gain assistant cards over the course of the game, then you can use them instead of the corresponding colored travel cards."

Look at it this way: a joker or assistant card is NOT a travel card. If you want to travel to another city and don't have a travel card of the right color, you can use a joker or an assistant of the same color instead.

PlayMe1 wrote:
I disagree that it's a very simple rule. If you can play the joker as an extra card why don't they just say so -- now that would be the simplest rule statement. Until I hear otherwise I will play that if you play a joker it replaces another card in your hand that you cannot play, as that is what it says: "you replace one travel card of your choice." If you can just play the joker as an extra card, why should you have to choose a card to replace it with?


If you don't believe us, you can see the rules correctly interpreted by playing a game online at www.boardgames-online.net, which is Michael Schacht's own web site. He wrote the web version of the game.
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M Hellyer
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Since everyone plays it that way including the game designer's own online version, it seems that you can play the joker IN ADDITION to all other travel cards, not as a REPLACEMENT FOR THE CARD OF YOUR CHOICE which is what the rule says. Sounds like maybe the rules lost something in translation. Thanks for the opinions.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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PlayMe1 wrote:
Since everyone plays it that way including the game designer's own online version, it seems that you can play the joker IN ADDITION to all other travel cards, not as a REPLACEMENT FOR THE CARD OF YOUR CHOICE which is what the rule says. Sounds like maybe the rules lost something in translation. Thanks for the opinions.

I agree that it is a bit awkwardly worded, but if you read it as a replacement for a COLOR of your choice, it makes perfect sense.
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