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Subject: Quash Deal / Card Zap Rule conflict? rss

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Jack Whitham
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Hello, had a minor disagreement playing yesterday.

I was negotiating with a friend, we agreed a swap of colonies, and I was giving him a Card Zap.
Another friend quashed the deal.
Can I use the Card Zap that I was going to give my friend? Or can my friend play it (the deal was 'complete' essentially after all)? Or can no-one play it?

We played that my friend could play the Card Zap so the deal was a success, but not everyone was happy.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Quash Deal has to be made in a response to an agreed deal before it takes place. So either

a) you still have the Card Zap in hand to Card Zap the Quash Deal, but then depending on the terms of the deal you may not be able to fulfill the terms of the deal, which is a no-no quite as agreed. (So never agree to a deal quite in that detail.)

b) Quash Deal was played too late when the Deal was already processed and thus succeeded.

Some reaction time must be allowed, or a player can say 'hold on' to get more time to think, so it is not straightforward to determine whether it's a or b.
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Jack Whitham
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I don't think Quash is played before the deal takes place. The wording on the Quash card:

"Play after a deal is made successfully. Cancel the deal, and the dealing players suffer the penalties for a failed deal."

I used this to justify my friend using the Card Zap. It says "AFTER a deal is made successfully", so he would have had the card in his hand.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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And what does cancel mean? It means the deal has been undone and it never happened (except maybe some privy information was revealed).

(I do think there are two steps: agreeing to a deal, and performing it. Some more experienced players will chime in to correct me if needed.)
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Just a Bill
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Fiat Lux wrote:
1. The negotiators declare the deal a success, but do not exchange yet.
2. Players may now play effects in response to a successful deal. If the negotiators play cards, they cannot play anything that would cause the deal to be unsuccessful.
3. The final status of the deal is determined (success or failure) and exchange occurs only at this point if successful.

This allows all players to play effects before negotiators see the results of their exchange.

This much is mostly correct, but I disagree with the second sentence in your step 2 and we need some adjustments to account for the change of phase that takes place.

1. Negotiators agree on a successful deal.
2. Reveal-phase actions that respond to a deal decision happen. (Not sure if there are any.)
3. Other Reveal-phase actions happen.
4. The phase changes from Reveal to Resolution.
5. Start-of-Resolution-phase actions happen.
6. Resolution-phase actions that affect deals happen. (Quash goes here.)
7. Other Resolution-phase actions can happen, subject to the Timing Conflicts rule.
8. The deal is carried out, if it has not been canceled and at least one of the card-or-colony provisions of the deal is still performable.
9. More Resolution-phase actions can happen.

Of course when you make a deal, it must be valid. You can't offer a Mobius Tubes if you don't have one, promise to give your "highest attack card" when there are none in your hand, or offer a colony if all of your ships are in the warp. The deal must be valid when it is agreed to.

However, I do not believe that the deal "locks down" any cards that might be used to fulfill it. In between when the deal is made (in the Reveal phase) and when it is carried out (in the Resolution phase), any number of things could happen. Circumstances change unexpectedly all the time in this game. Somebody might use Finder to take one of the promised cards. A player who has offered "take two of my cards at random" might then play a use-once-and-discard Flare to get it out of his hand. Greenhorn might hit one of the main players with a Hand Zap to try to lopside the deal, or possibly even invalidate it. Or the Card Zap offerer himself might legitimately play that Card Zap to fend off a Quash. Or the Finder. Or another Card Zap.

Situations like these are all part of the charm and glory of Cosmic Encounter. Players need the freedom to pull off a clever, surprising, outrageous, or vengeful move. As long as the deal was valid at the time it was made, whatever happens after that gets filed under "boo hoo, sucks to be you!"

In these situations, if there is still something to change hands then the players fulfill the deal to the extent possible. However, if the Card Zap was the only thing being exchanged, then the deal will now fail, because the rules say that at least one card or colony must change hands for the deal to succeed. And if that happens, well then that too "is Cosmic."

This is what I infer from the game's general mechanics and the stated design goals of the original creators. It's not in the rules, but it is consistent with the ruling that compensation is not a lien. Just because you will owe me compensation doesn't mean you can't play Reinforcement cards from your hand, and I think just because I promised you my Card Zap doesn't mean Jack can't steal it with Finder or I can't burn it on Jefferson's Quash.

The moral of the story? When somebody promises to trade you something that they can legitimately play before the deal is carried out, be suspicious!
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