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Subject: How do you play Truthtrance (TT) rss

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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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Having read the long post about how TT should be played, I am curious as to how most people play it regarding TT's ability (or inability) to form binding contracts.

No one has tried this yet in our group, but I am pretty sure I know how it would be answered in our group. The questioner asking, "Will you do such-and-such" might well be told that their question cannot be answered "yes" or "no" since the questioned hasn't made a decision - the decision will depend on the game-state. The question would be invalid according to the rules (which require a yes/no question), and the questioner would be told to withdraw the question. Another question could then be asked if desired.

For everyone else, please answer me this:

Poll
Can the TT card be used to bind a player to a future course of action?
Yes
No
      44 answers
Poll created by feldmafx
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René Schep
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You can bind them to a future course of action if that action is possible. But they don't have to make any moves to make the specific course of action possible. So you truthtrance if they attack you on a certain turn and they answer yes. Now the truthtranced player doesn't have to make any moves to make it possible to attack by that turn, but if they can attack on that turn they have too.
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Carl Krossi
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i agree with this interpretation
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Ty Hansen
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I'm conflicted on this one...
A) I believe the way the card/rules read, and how it may have been intended to be used, is purely for informational purposes = Boring.
"Do you have a Poison Weapon?", "Is Fey'd your traitor?" - something NOW.
Very clean, no need for rules interpretations, or discussions on legit questions...
But then this leads the card to essentially bamboozle the BG prediction most often (a big pet-peeve of mine), or really be used against Harkonnen...

B) The way WBC uses it - to bind a contract.
Though it creates new problems, it just opens such a wide range of possibilities and strategic maneuvers that I love it!
It means there aren't two more near Worthless cards in the deck (making Weapons/Defenses even more powerful), but rather two cards near (if not occasionally better than) Karama strength.
So overall, I vote for the way I feel it's more fun.
 
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O.Shane Balloun
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Quote:
But then this leads the card to essentially bamboozle the BG prediction most often (a big pet-peeve of mine), or really be used against Harkonnen...


Ha. I just did this to Valandor in our current PbF—it didn't work, but asking about the BG prediction does seem to be more factual than future-predictive or contract-binding anyway.

Quote:
B) The way WBC uses it - to bind a contract.


Some pedantry: there is no offer, acceptance, or consideration, so it's not really a contract. It's more like a civil (Napoleonic) law obligation.

Quote:
So overall, I vote for the way I feel it's more fun.


=)
 
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Josh
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Fun is fun and play it how you like

My 2 cents from the 'fluff' angle is that it's to make them tell the truth, as they know it. You can't tell the truth about the future, because they don't know it. Ask a man if he will see a lady in a red dress tomorrow and he can't possibly answer you 'truthfully.' Now you might ask 'Will you attack me next turn if I *gamestate* (control X territories, am at war with blah, allied with Blah etc) offer a complete picture and you could get a yes or no answer out of that as it requires simple reasoning and knowledge of the person's own motivations to answer. That then would be binding, unless another opponent did something to alter the gamestate to where the question had become invalid. That would have interesting applications as well. Offering other players information and motivating them to make or break the gamestate you outlined.
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Glenn McMaster
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There is one type of question that should be banned from future T/T use. The gist is,

Will I have one or more tokens in the Polar Sink the next time you use the (fill in with the voice, prescience, handswap, call traitor, etc).

Since tokens in the Polar Sink cannot be effected in any way, whatever answer is given the caster can arrange it that the reciever can never use that power again in the game.
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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I fall into the camp that says that any question about the future should be outlawed. I can't even guarantee that I will be alive the next time my turns come around - I could have a stroke trying to forecast the game-state.

Okay, that's a little melodramatic, but I was illustrating my opinion...
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O.Shane Balloun
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Yes, when the question departs from personal knowledge to one of future obligation where the player can't control the conditions that would lead to fulfilling the answer, it lacks thematic and mechanical sense.
 
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Glenn McMaster
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A good example of why T/T in the future is good for the game is going down in Dune Game 17 right now. T/T's can spark crisis control meetings as the pros and cons of each answer are hashed out.
 
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Brad Johnson
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It's telling how this question of "what is a valid Truthtrance" keeps coming up again and again. It's a very frustrating question for me in the tournament setting. On the one hand, I would like to have all of the rules be consistent, clearly understood, and easily enforceable. On the other hand, I don't really want to exclude actions from the game that players want to be able to do.

For better or for worse, "most" of the players at the WBC tournament have come with the understanding that *at least some* future-looking Truthtrance questions *are* allowed. Yes, there are some players who agree with some of you here saying that Truthtrance questions should be strictly limited to static facts only, but those opinions seem to generally be in the minority.

The most prevalent use for Truthtrances has always been to ask your battle opponent if he is or is not playing a certain battle card. Virtually everyone I've ever polled agrees this is a valid question, although it could be said that even this is a "future-looking" question, and could be claimed to be unanswerable since the player "hasn't decided yet".

I agree with some of the posters here that leaving the Truthtrance unlimited does make for a more interesting card and a more interesting game. If you eliminate all future-looking questions, you're pretty much left with "Do you hold card x?", "Is x your traitor?", and "Do you have at least x spice?" (Also "Did you predict x?" against the BG?)

Combine all this with the fact that in an email conversation I had years ago, the original designer said quite clearly that there was no limit to what could be asked with a Truthtrance. I've decided that the upside of not attempting to restrict Truthtrance outweighs the problems with that. True, it does kind of require a sort of "gentlemens' agreement" to not directly try to abuse it. (I would probably be forced to disallow questions like the degenerate examples Glenn has stated elsewhere, if they were attempted in a tournament game.)

But I have waffled on this decision a number of time. This discussion is *again* making me reconsider it, so I'm glad you've included a poll.

One thing I've considered is a new ruling that prevents a Truthtrance question from depending on anything outside of the current game turn (or maybe game phase). That would allow some limited future-looking questions, but should prevent (all? most?) weird abuses. What would you think about that?
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René Schep
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I'd say being able to ask about any thing in the next turn cycle is fine. So if you ask something about movement it would always be about the next movement phase.
 
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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tempus42 wrote:
One thing I've considered is a new ruling that prevents a Truthtrance question from depending on anything outside of the current game turn (or maybe game phase). That would allow some limited future-looking questions, but should prevent (all? most?) weird abuses. What would you think about that?


This is more accurately a description of how we play it, particularly in battle. With movement, it would be a little more squishy, since a player may not honestly know what they will do if they are late in the turn sequence. However, we would allow the TT to be rephrased or withdrawn. This could be a new question in the form of, "Are you considering...".

With an unlimited, or largely unlimited, TT, the card becomes more powerful than the Voice, which is confined to card play. That seems very odd to me.

In the end, the biggest difference is probably that I am playing a friendly game with people who will play honestly according to the rules. I can see that a tournament setting creates potential issues that I wouldn't face.
 
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O.Shane Balloun
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tempus42 wrote:
It's telling how this question of "what is a valid Truthtrance" keeps coming up again and again. It's a very frustrating question for me in the tournament setting. On the one hand, I would like to have all of the rules be consistent, clearly understood, and easily enforceable. On the other hand, I don't really want to exclude actions from the game that players want to be able to do.

For better or for worse, "most" of the players at the WBC tournament have come with the understanding that *at least some* future-looking Truthtrance questions *are* allowed. Yes, there are some players who agree with some of you here saying that Truthtrance questions should be strictly limited to static facts only, but those opinions seem to generally be in the minority.


Precisely. I think some future-looking questions are allowable—and should be allowable. I don't think a one-turn limit is meaningful because it's arbitrary. Not that you were responding to my language, per se but this is why I wrote: "…when the question departs from personal knowledge to one of future obligation where the player can't control the conditions that would lead to fulfilling the answer…"

Can the answerer control the conditions that would lead to fulfilling the yes or no? If so, the question is valid. If there are (too many?) implied conditions/assumptions in the question, then TT falls apart.

I ultimately answered the poll "yes"—not because I think that all future questions are valid, but because answering "no" was too restrictive.

 
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tempus42 wrote:
One thing I've considered is a new ruling that prevents a Truthtrance question from depending on anything outside of the current game turn (or maybe game phase). That would allow some limited future-looking questions, but should prevent (all? most?) weird abuses. What would you think about that?

The way I've ruled it in our games is that future-looking Truthtrance questions must be about a specific moment in time.

Will you use a lasgun weapon in this battle? - valid

Will you use a lasgun weapon in the first battle after you possess one? - invalid

Will you attack Fremen on turn 8? - valid

Will you attack Fremen for the rest of the game? - invalid


I use the same logic for binding deals as well, they must be about a specific moment in time so cannot be "the rest of the game".

It's a little more flexible than "just this turn", but I think prevents most forms of abuse. Any loopholes?
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Aaron Bredon
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PeteVasi wrote:
tempus42 wrote:
One thing I've considered is a new ruling that prevents a Truthtrance question from depending on anything outside of the current game turn (or maybe game phase). That would allow some limited future-looking questions, but should prevent (all? most?) weird abuses. What would you think about that?

The way I've ruled it in our games is that future-looking Truthtrance questions must be about a specific moment in time.

Will you use a lasgun weapon in this battle? - valid

Will you use a lasgun weapon in the first battle after you possess one? - invalid

Will you attack Fremen on turn 8? - valid

Will you attack Fremen for the rest of the game? - invalid


I use the same logic for binding deals as well, they must be about a specific moment in time so cannot be "the rest of the game".

It's a little more flexible than "just this turn", but I think prevents most forms of abuse. Any loopholes?


Here is one flaw in:
Will you attack Fremen on turn 8?

The question is asked on Turn 3. The answer is 'Yes'. There is a Nexus on Turn 4, and the recipient allies with the Fremen. There is no Nexus on Turns 5-8, so the recipient CANNOT attack the Fremen.

Flaw 2:
The Fremen lose all tokens on board that are not in the Polar Sink on Turn 7 and are later in turn order than the recipient. Again the recipient CANNOT attack the Fremen.


If I recall correctly, there was a qualification to Truthtrance from one of the designers which said that the answer only had to be abided by until and unless there was a change in game state (Tokens on the board, cards in hand, etc).
 
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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abredon wrote:
If I recall correctly, there was a qualification to Truthtrance from one of the designers which said that the answer only had to be abided by until and unless there was a change in game state (Tokens on the board, cards in hand, etc).


I could go with that, though that essentially means the TT is only binding in this phase of the current turn. The next phase will change the game state.
 
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Glenn McMaster
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tempus42 wrote:
One thing I've considered is a new ruling that prevents a Truthtrance question from depending on anything outside of the current game turn (or maybe game phase). That would allow some limited future-looking questions, but should prevent (all? most?) weird abuses. What would you think about that?


I think the T/T's future use should be singular, not plural. So, in the example of 'will I have a token in the Polar sink next time you use the voice against me?' , the answer is only binding for the next time the BG has an opportunity to use the voice against me. Maybe something like this,

played at any time against any player. Forces that player to truthfully answer one 'yes' or 'no' question question about their game resources, or one 'yes' or 'no' question about one future action, with the truthtrance having no force after the moment the terms are first fulfilled.

That would get rid of the long term effects of the Polar Sink question.
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Stephen Williams
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The thing I love most about Dune: the Board Game is how it puts theme above mechanics. It doesn't always make for the most balanced game play, but it does keep me immersed and coming back for more.

With that in mind, I prefer to approach TT from a thematic perspective. In the novels, Truthtrance was basically an advanced form of hypnosis. It allowed the truthsayer to force the subject to answer questions truthfully. However, it's not some magical future-predicting crystal ball. (Those do exist in Dune, but TT isn't one of them.)

The truthsayer could, of course, ask questions about the subject's future plans, or those of his faction, and the subject would be required to answer truthfully. However, the subject might later change his mind, or he may have been fed false/incomplete information about his faction's future plans, so nothing is really written in stone.

Back to the game. Mechanically, then, asking a question about the future with TT should somehow force the target to answer truthfully, but still allow for cases where his truthful answer does not come to pass. This is where the whole "binding contract" bit comes in.

If there's no binding contract, the target can answer however he likes "truthfully" when the card is played, and then immediately "change his mind" after it's resolved. That's makes the card worthless, at least for future-looking questions, so that's no good. You should be able to get SOME value out of such questions, although the answer should not by any means be ironclad.

"Muad'Dib, why do we not attack the Harkonnen scum? They're easy prey in that basin!"
"We cannot attack them because earlier they captured one of our men and TT'd him, and they asked a devilish yes/no question devised such that no matter which answer he gave, we would all be prohibited from attacking Harkonnen ever again."

Mechanically valid? Maybe. Thematic? I'm thinking no.


tempus42 wrote:

One thing I've considered is a new ruling that prevents a Truthtrance question from depending on anything outside of the current game turn (or maybe game phase). That would allow some limited future-looking questions, but should prevent (all? most?) weird abuses. What would you think about that?


This is more or less where we ended up in our group. We have a house rule that says you can ask whatever you want, but the answer is only binding for one game turn. (One full game turn from the moment the card was played.) If the specific situation in question hasn't come to pass by then, the target is free to act however he likes.

We find that it's enough to allow some future-prospecting questions, but it handily invalidates all of the "You'll never hurt me again" nonsense questions, because at worst they could only "work" for one turn.

Of course, players are still free to ask TT questions that might extend beyond one turn in scope, but the validity of the answer is up in the air. The target is still required to answer truthfully (on his honour,) of course, but there's enough time passing that things could legitimately change.

Canny players can still make use of this by asking questions that align with the target's obvious long-term goals (ie: asking him about something he's probably going to do anyway just to see what he's thinking.) And that, too, is thematic of the way Truthtrance would likely be used in the Dune setting.
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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Stewi wrote:
Basically a whole lot of stuff that I generally agree with - Frank {feldmafx}

IIRC, there were even people in the novel who knew when they were being TT'd. That might make one consider changing their course of actions. Nonetheless, I think there are a whole lot of questions that are useful in determining the intentions of players.

If, as the BG, I were to ask the Emperor: "Do you intend to break your alliance with the Fremen if they lose their sietch this turn", I force the Emperor to reveal that he is a conniving scumbag to the whole table. He would be free to change his mind, but there is value in knowing and revealing his intent. It is also about the present, since I ask what the Emperor's intent is.

This is, of course, depends on players honorably acting in accordance with the rules, but at our friendly table that is a given.
 
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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Just out of curiosity, not that it's relevant, but how is this handled in Rex: Final Days of an Empire?
 
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Brad Johnson
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feldmafx wrote:
Just out of curiosity, not that it's relevant, but how is this handled in Rex: Final Days of an Empire?


Very simple - they got rid of the Truthtrance card!
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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tempus42 wrote:

Very simple - they got rid of the Truthtrance card!


That works! (But there's no way I am taking that out of Dune!)
 
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Brad Johnson
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Stewi wrote:
I prefer to approach TT from a thematic perspective. In the novels, Truthtrance was basically an advanced form of hypnosis. It allowed the truthsayer to force the subject to answer questions truthfully. However, it's not some magical future-predicting crystal ball. (Those do exist in Dune, but TT isn't one of them.)


I think just about anything can be justified thematically, somehow, depending on your point of view. For example, I always imagine that Truthtrance cards could represent a complex program of careful, stealthy questioning over time. Say I capture several mid-level officers from House Atreides, learn various details about Paul's military plans, and then kill them (or whatever) without them being missed. I piece together the fact that House Atreides is planning a major attack on Carthag in 8 weeks' time, and Paul himself does not know that I know, so the attack is made as planned. But I knew it was coming.

Ok, it admittedly takes some imagination, but I really don't think it's too much of a stretch to just think of it as very advanced intelligence gathering instead of mystically forcing an individual to perform some action against their will.

And as I will always tell players, there's almost always *some* way to make sure that the conditions of a future-looking Truthtrance question are invalidated, thus freeing you from the answer you've given. Or it may not be too difficult to subvert the question, adhering to the letter of your answer but not in the way the asker expected. So trying to ask questions about the future that are too abstruse may very well be tantamount to throwing your Truthtrance away....
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Glenn McMaster
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Don't see 'abstruse' rolled out onto the red carpet every day. Thumbs up.
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