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Subject: Master Debunking: Three conflicts at once? rss

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Robert Stewart
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Suppose the following theories have been published:

Toad - +++
Scorpion - ---
Fern - ++-
Mandrake - --+

If I demonstrate that Scorpion and Fern make soup (neutral potion), then I believe that shows a conflict between Toad and Scorpion and a conflict between Fern and Mandrake as well as the one between Scorpion and Fern.

The Scorpion and Fern conflict is equivalent to the first example conflict in the rulebook - demonstrating that two ingredients that, as published, should makes some potion (in this case Insanity) actually make some other potion (soup) which either ingredient could make as published.

My question is whether the other two conflicts are valid - since, as published, Scorpion should make soup with Toad, and only with Toad, showing that it makes soup with something else proves that at least one of Toad and Scorpion must be something other than what they were published as, but doesn't tell you which - the rulebook definition of a conflict, except it doesn't line up with either of the examples.

Follow-up question: since the rulebook says that "Whenever you demonstrate a new conflict between two theories on the board, it counts as a success and you gain 2 points of reputation" does demonstrating three new conflicts at once earn 6 points?


My best guess at answers:

It's not something that was taken into account when the rules were being written, but, as written, sure, you demonstrate three conflicts that way.
The points are for the debunk action, not for the number of theories debunked nor the number of conflicts demonstrated - your one demonstration is only worth 2 points, even though it demonstrated multiple conflicts.


While the triple conflict is unlikely to come up often, it's fairly plausible that two opposing alchemicals would be published when you know how to make soup with one of the two ingredients, so the validity or otherwise of demonstrating a conflict between a pair of ingredients by mixing one of them with a third is important (it's only possible with soup and only because each alchemical can only mix with one other to give soup)
 
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David desJardins
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In Master Debunking, you state an experiment, and you state either a theory you are refuting, or two theories that will both be refuted, or a conflict that will be created.

Even if logically your experiment demonstrates more than one conflict, only the conflict that you stated is actually created. Someone else could do the same experiment (to which they now know the answer) and demonstrate a different conflict. That would also be a successful debunking.

This is my best understanding of what the rulebook says. Of course, it could be wrong.

Note that you only get 2 points of reputation even if you refute 2 theories at once. Any success is simply worth 2 points, that is clear.
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Maurizio Briosi
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Maybe I am rusty, but as written in your example, doesn't Scorpion and Fern already make soup?

Red and green have different charge, and blue has same dimension, so nothing mix -> soup. (basically you prove nothing wrong?)
 
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Robert Stewart
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Sorlin wrote:
Maybe I am rusty, but as written in your example, doesn't Scorpion and Fern already make soup?

Red and green have different charge, and blue has same dimension, so nothing mix -> soup. (basically you prove nothing wrong?)
The triple + and triple - are all large, so I didn't bother indicating size for them; the other alchemicals all have one large and two small signs, so I highlighted the large sign. Apologies for the slightly confusing notation.
 
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Robert Stewart
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DaviddesJ wrote:
In Master Debunking, you state an experiment, and you state either a theory you are refuting, or two theories that will both be refuted, or a conflict that will be created.

Even if logically your experiment demonstrates more than one conflict, only the conflict that you stated is actually created. Someone else could do the same experiment (to which they now know the answer) and demonstrate a different conflict. That would also be a successful debunking.

This is my best understanding of what the rulebook says. Of course, it could be wrong.

Note that you only get 2 points of reputation even if you refute 2 theories at once. Any success is simply worth 2 points, that is clear.
Rulebook (after choosing ingredients and potion):
Quote:
Explain which outcome will debunk a theory or demonstrate
a new conflict between two theories (as described below).
That does weakly imply that you can only demonstrate one conflict, but it also implies that you can only debunk one theory - which suggests that it's better read as saying you should explain which outcome gives you points and why, rather than being an exhaustive listing of the possible successful outcomes.

The rules are quite clear that it's expected that most successful debunking actions will simply debunk a single theory, while demonstrating a conflict or getting a double debunk will be rare outcomes. Getting a double or triple conflict, therefore, should be vanishingly rare, and probably wasn't taken into account at all when writing the rules, which makes attempting to deduce the effect from nuances of wording somewhat risky...
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David desJardins
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rmsgrey wrote:
Rulebook (after choosing ingredients and potion):
Quote:
Explain which outcome will debunk a theory or demonstrate
a new conflict between two theories (as described below).
That does weakly imply that you can only demonstrate one conflict, but it also implies that you can only debunk one theory
However, there's a whole section of the rulebook on debunking 2 theories at once. So that's covered. There's no discussion of generating multiple conflicts at once.

Like I said, I don't think it's absolutely clear, but this is my best reading.
 
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Robert Stewart
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DaviddesJ wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Rulebook (after choosing ingredients and potion):
Quote:
Explain which outcome will debunk a theory or demonstrate
a new conflict between two theories (as described below).
That does weakly imply that you can only demonstrate one conflict, but it also implies that you can only debunk one theory
However, there's a whole section of the rulebook on debunking 2 theories at once. So that's covered. There's no discussion of generating multiple conflicts at once.
Which is why I suspect the rules weren't intended to cover it. In a rulebook that's generally forthcoming about such things, not having an explicit rule either way seems a bit telling.

Since an outcome which debunks two theories at once trivially debunks a theory, it makes sense to interpret "debunk a theory or demonstrate
a new conflict between two theories (as described below)" as "earn you points" or "count as a successful debunk".

I guess I'm looking for either a compelling argument one way or the other, or an official ruling.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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The demonstration here only indicates that Scorpion and Fern are in conflict. Because you can't know which of those is wrong from this demonstration, you can't speculate on which OTHER ones are wrong. You didn't demonstrate what Scorpion and Toad create, for example, and if Scorpion is the right one then it's entirely possible that Scorpion and Toad do validly make a neutral potion, so you can't call those into conflict without a public observation on them. The same logic can be applied to the other pair.

So in this case, you have only proven the one conflict.
 
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David desJardins
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jsciv wrote:
The demonstration here only indicates that Scorpion and Fern are in conflict. Because you can't know which of those is wrong from this demonstration, you can't speculate on which OTHER ones are wrong. You didn't demonstrate what Scorpion and Toad create, for example, and if Scorpion is the right one then it's entirely possible that Scorpion and Toad do validly make a neutral potion, so you can't call those into conflict without a public observation on them. The same logic can be applied to the other pair.

So in this case, you have only proven the one conflict.
The experiment does prove that either Toad is wrong or Scorpion is wrong. They can't both be right. That's what a conflict is.

If the *only* published theories were Toad +++ and Scorpion ---, then the experiment "combine Scorpion and Fern, making a neutral potion" would be a valid debunking, demonstrating a conflict between Toad and Scorpion.
 
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Robert Stewart
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jsciv wrote:
The demonstration here only indicates that Scorpion and Fern are in conflict. Because you can't know which of those is wrong from this demonstration, you can't speculate on which OTHER ones are wrong. You didn't demonstrate what Scorpion and Toad create, for example, and if Scorpion is the right one then it's entirely possible that Scorpion and Toad do validly make a neutral potion, so you can't call those into conflict without a public observation on them. The same logic can be applied to the other pair.

So in this case, you have only proven the one conflict.
If it were anything other than neutral soup, you'd be right that showing Scorpion and Fern make that potion doesn't prove that Scorpion and Toad don't make the same potion.

Because each alchemical only has one other alchemical that makes soup when mixed with it, showing that Scorpion and Fern make soup proves that Fern is the only ingredient that actually makes soup when mixed with Scorpion - in particular, that Scorpion and Toad cannot make soup. Since the published theories say that Scorpion and Toad should make soup, showing that Scorpion and Fern does instead shows a conflict between Scorpion and Toad just as surely as asking the app directly whether Scorpion and Toad make soup.
 
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The Truth
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To run this through:

By proving that Scorpion and Fern make Soup we show:
1. Scorpion and Fern are in conflict, because their current signs don't make soup.
This is the obvious one.

But since the only way to make soup with Scorpion is to match it's opposite we also show that:
2. Scorpion and Toad are in conflict, because their signs currently do make soup, and we've just shown that Scorpion makes it with Fern instead.

3. Ditto again for Fern and Mandrake.


I would say you get to put all the conflict tokens down, since you have just successfully shown all those conflicts.
Congratulations you've just taken out half the board.

_But_ I would also argue you only gain 2 reputation for successful debunking.
Debunking one theory gets you 2 reputation.
Demonstrating a conflict between two theories gets you still only 2 reputation.
Following this, affecting 3 (or more theories) still only gets you 2.



 
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David desJardins
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TruthNZ wrote:
I would say you get to put all the conflict tokens down, since you have just successfully shown all those conflicts.
"Get to" or "Must"? What if you don't want to?
 
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Robert Stewart
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DaviddesJ wrote:
TruthNZ wrote:
I would say you get to put all the conflict tokens down, since you have just successfully shown all those conflicts.
"Get to" or "Must"? What if you don't want to?
I'm pretty sure it's permissible to overlook implications of your demonstration - if no-one picks up on something at the time, then there's no obligation to fix it later. On the other hand, if someone does point it out at the time, then I'd say you probably do need to mark it.

In flavour terms, you're providing a demonstration of an alchemical fact (that ingredients X and Y either do or do not combine to make potion Z) and explaining why certain of the accepted theories are nonsense. If no-one notices at the time that your result also proves other theories are in trouble, then they stay overlooked until the next time someone demonstrates a problem (and by then the details of your demonstration have been entirely forgotten). If some annoying apprentice in the back row pipes up and says "Doesn't that also show a problem with these theories?" then you smile and nod and it gets counted.

In game mechanical terms, getting the logic right is a significant skill element for the game, so people should be allowed to get the logic wrong rather than the rules requiring every implication to be explored.

I'm not convinced about allowing someone to deliberately "miss" an implication, but there isn't really any way to prevent it - and they only get away with it if everyone else either misses it or chooses to ignore it...
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Pedrfo Picapiedra
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Quote:
By proving that Scorpion and Fern make Soup we show:
1. Scorpion and Fern are in conflict, because their current signs don't make soup.
This is the obvious one.

But since the only way to make soup with Scorpion is to match it's opposite we also show that:
2. Scorpion and Toad are in conflict, because their signs currently do make soup, and we've just shown that Scorpion makes it with Fern instead.

3. Ditto again for Fern and Mandrake.
I don't agree. Lets supouse we have the scene as dercibed in the first post:


4 publications:
Toad +++
Scorpion ---
Fern ++-
Mandrake --+


But the real formulation for this game is:

Toad +++
Scorpion +--
Fern -++
Mandrake --+

In this case (and probably a in a few more) if you ask the reader if Scorpion and Fern make Soup, it will confirm. The only conflict you are demostrating with this is that Scorpion and Fern cannot be right as shown on the Theory Board, but Toad an Mandrake can still be right.

So, I think this debunk action will prove just one conflict between Scorpion and Fern.

Am I wrong?
 
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Robert Stewart
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RedCrowxx wrote:
Quote:
By proving that Scorpion and Fern make Soup we show:
1. Scorpion and Fern are in conflict, because their current signs don't make soup.
This is the obvious one.

But since the only way to make soup with Scorpion is to match it's opposite we also show that:
2. Scorpion and Toad are in conflict, because their signs currently do make soup, and we've just shown that Scorpion makes it with Fern instead.

3. Ditto again for Fern and Mandrake.
I don't agree. Lets supouse we have the scene as dercibed in the first post:


4 publications:
Toad +++
Scorpion ---
Fern ++-
Mandrake --+


But the real formulation for this game is:

Toad +++
Scorpion +--
Fern -++
Mandrake --+


In this case (and probably a in a few more) if you ask the reader if Scorpion and Fern make Soup, it will confirm. The only conflict you are demostrating with this is that Scorpion and Fern cannot be right as shown on the Theory Board, but Toad an Mandrake can still be right.

So, I think this debunk action will prove just one conflict between Scorpion and Fern.

Am I wrong?
You're wrong. Conflicts don't say that both of the theories are wrong, just that they can't both be right. Regardless of what the actual formulation is, it's not possible for Scorpion and Toad to be as published, but Scorpion and Fern to make soup. That's a clear conflict.

It's not hard to come up with arrangements where one of Scorpion and Fern is as published (for example, swap Scorpion and Mandrake and Fern is right, but still in conflict with Scorpion).

The only question is whether it's legitimate to deduce from "Scorpion and Fern does make soup" that "Scorpion and Toad does not make soup" (and similarly for Fern and Mandrake).
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David desJardins
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rmsgrey wrote:
The only question is whether it's legitimate to deduce from "Scorpion and Fern does make soup" that "Scorpion and Toad does not make soup" (and similarly for Fern and Mandrake).
That's not the only question, that's not even a question. It's absolutely clear that you can use this experiment to demonstrate a conflict between Scorpion and Toad. You could do that even if there were no published theory for Fern.

The only question is whether you can debunk in a way that creates more than one conflict on the board, at once. That's not clearly stated in the rules.
 
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Pedrfo Picapiedra
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Ok, now I agree with your statement.

I was re-reading my post and editing it, but prefered to leave it untouched.

But I still think that this debunk action, will prove just one conflict. When you start the action, you must explain how your experiment will show a conflict between TWO theories (as can be read in the rulebook), so, even if your experiment can be used to prove other possible conflict, your action must be aimed at those two selected theories.

In order for your debunk action to be considered successful, you must prove a new conflict between two theories.

I know this is an interpretation of the rules, and everyone can have its own.
 
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Robert Stewart
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DaviddesJ wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
The only question is whether it's legitimate to deduce from "Scorpion and Fern does make soup" that "Scorpion and Toad does not make soup" (and similarly for Fern and Mandrake).
That's not the only question, that's not even a question. It's absolutely clear that you can use this experiment to demonstrate a conflict between Scorpion and Toad. You could do that even if there were no published theory for Fern.

The only question is whether you can debunk in a way that creates more than one conflict on the board, at once. That's not clearly stated in the rules.
I'm not convinced it's entirely clear from the rules that you can use the result of mixing two ingredients to show a conflict between a different (overlapping) pair - it depends on whether you take the main text as authoritative and the examples as illustrative, or take the examples as listing every valid class of conflict - mixing two published ingredients to confirm they make a potion that either published alchemical could make, but not both together; or mixing two published ingredients to confirm they don't make the potion the published alchemicals would.

The rules as written make sense if you assume that any given demonstration only has one possible conflict that it could demonstrate, but that isn't the case for the example in this thread, generating a mild conflict within the rules. There are several ways of resolving the conflict:

A) Make the assumption a rule: only the tested pair can be put into conflict.
B) Make a rule that you have to choose which conflict you intend to demonstrate (other conflicts shown by the same demonstration don't count)
C) Allow multiple conflicts to be established from the same demonstration.

In practice, the first two are usually going to produce the same result - if you know Scorpion and Fern make soup, you know that Toad and Scorpion don't, and showing the latter directly reveals less information to your opponents (similarly for Fern and Mandrake) - likewise for Scorpion and Fern, confirming that they don't make negative blue is more efficient than showing they do make soup. So A) forces people to make the better choice from B).

It's only C) that allows a new option that isn't tactically inferior - blocking 3 or 4 of an opponent's seals in one action rather than two.

Okay, I suppose it's conceivable that there's some edge case where you would want to feed specific information to your opponents in order to lead them into a particular course of action, but I'm not coming up with an example scenario for that...
 
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David desJardins
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rmsgrey wrote:
I'm not convinced it's entirely clear from the rules that you can use the result of mixing two ingredients to show a conflict between a different (overlapping) pair - it depends on whether you take the main text as authoritative and the examples as illustrative, or take the examples as listing every valid class of conflict
The word "example" means "a thing characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule." An example is not an exhaustive list of possibilities. If I say a cow is an example of a mammal, that doesn't mean a pig isn't also a mammal because I didn't mention it.

The rule says, "Sometimes your demonstration shows that one of two theories must be wrong, but it doesn't show which one is wrong." Any way you can do that, is sufficient. That much is clear. Your choice (A) is not one of the possible interpretations of the rules as written.

Quote:
C) Allow multiple conflicts to be established from the same demonstration.
Allow, or require? There is a difference between allowing the experimenter to choose which conflicts to establish, or requiring that all conflicts that are logically implied must be established.
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Robert Stewart
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DaviddesJ wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
I'm not convinced it's entirely clear from the rules that you can use the result of mixing two ingredients to show a conflict between a different (overlapping) pair - it depends on whether you take the main text as authoritative and the examples as illustrative, or take the examples as listing every valid class of conflict
The word "example" means "a thing characteristic of its kind or illustrating a general rule." An example is not an exhaustive list of possibilities. If I say a cow is an example of a mammal, that doesn't mean a pig isn't also a mammal because I didn't mention it.

The rule says, "Sometimes your demonstration shows that one of two theories must be wrong, but it doesn't show which one is wrong." Any way you can do that, is sufficient. That much is clear. Your choice (A) is not one of the possible interpretations of the rules as written.
Taking the examples as characteristic of their kind does justify my A) - they're not an exhaustive list of every possible demonstration that could establish a conflict, but they could be representatives of the families of valid conflict demonstrations, with those things that don't fit the pattern of one of them not being valid.

I'm happy to agree that it's not the best reading of the rules, but it is a possible one.

DaviddesJ wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
C) Allow multiple conflicts to be established from the same demonstration.
Allow, or require? There is a difference between allowing the experimenter to choose which conflicts to establish, or requiring that all conflicts that are logically implied must be established.
Actually, I'd probably go for the third option here - require that any conflicts anyone points out must be established, but ones no-one points out are ignored - there are a couple of reasons for that:

Firstly, it's impractical to require people to get the logic perfect every time - the problems are sufficiently deep that people will miss things from time to time, and it's better to allow it to happen and move on than to require some sort of correction to be made.

Secondly, it makes it the responsibility of the player(s) benefiting from the conflict being established to claim that advantage rather than it being the responsibility of a disadvantaged player to point out that they're in trouble.
 
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David desJardins
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rmsgrey wrote:
Taking the examples as characteristic of their kind does justify my A) - they're not an exhaustive list of every possible demonstration that could establish a conflict, but they could be representatives of the families of valid conflict demonstrations, with those things that don't fit the pattern of one of them not being valid.
They just couldn't. That's not how language works. Anyway, an actual clarification from among the possible options is needed, and will rule out the impossible options too.
 
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Matúš Kotry
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Hi everyone. I see that the rulebook is not very clear about a case like this.

But the exact outcome would be that there will only be conflict between the theories included in the experiment, so in your example it is Scorpion and Fern.

The other two conflicts would fall into a category described as "Invalid Demonstrations" on the 15th page of the rulebook, because those are not a direct consequence of the experiment. Those conflicts are derived from other information on the theory board, just like in the example from the rulebook under the "Invalid Demonstrations" heading (I know that in that example the demonstrated conflict is much much more vague than in this case, but that's because no-one really considered a situation like this one until now).

So the general rule is, that in the debunking the conflict must be a direct logical consequence of the experiment shown and the theories written about the two ingredients, which participated in the experiment. No other information should be considered to demonstrate the conflict or to debunk a theory. (So practicaly, the option A from Robert Stewart's post is correct).

Of course the other information may be considered by other players in choosing the experiments for future debuks.
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Robert Stewart
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Thanks for clearing that up.
 
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ko3matus wrote:
But the exact outcome would be that there will only be conflict between the theories included in the experiment, so in your example it is Scorpion and Fern.
theories, yes, but why ingredients?

the OP included the theories of scorpion and toad in the experiment and proofed their wrongness using scorpion and fern as ingredients. i don't see why this should not be possible, and i don't see where the rules say that it's not possible. they just say you have to do one experiment that proofs something and you can use (any!) 2 ingredients. you just have to explain why the experiment proofs what you want to proof.

the example in the OP did show all conflicts as a direct consequence of the experiment:
if A+B = soup, A+C cannot be exact opposites;
that is as direct as if i showed that A+C = blue minus and therefore A+C cannot be exact opposites

no other information on the theory board is used in these cases. it doesn't even matter if B has a theory published or not!

since you can debunk 2 theories at once, i don't see why you can't show 2 (or 3) conflicts at once, too. the only reason why it's not in the rulebook is that no one thought about it. it's an unwanted gap in the rules that can be remedied by analogy. we're talking about the master variant anyways. that's a true master who can show 3 conflicts with just one experiment!

what bothers me so much about Matúš Kotry's ruling is not so much if you can show multiple conflicts at once or not. it's that it reduces the options how to show conflicts. often you know something is wrong, but you cannot proof it. why should i not be allowed to proof it, using a 3rd ingredient? (just the ingredient, not any information published about it!)
 
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Robert Stewart
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letsdance wrote:
ko3matus wrote:
But the exact outcome would be that there will only be conflict between the theories included in the experiment, so in your example it is Scorpion and Fern.
theories, yes, but why ingredients?

the OP included the theories of scorpion and toad in the experiment and proofed their wrongness using scorpion and fern as ingredients. i don't see why this should not be possible, and i don't see where the rules say that it's not possible. they just say you have to do one experiment that proofs something and you can use (any!) 2 ingredients. you just have to explain why the experiment proofs what you want to proof.

the example in the OP did show all conflicts as a direct consequence of the experiment:
if A+B = soup, A+C cannot be exact opposites;
that is as direct as if i showed that A+C = blue minus and therefore A+C cannot be exact opposites

no other information on the theory board is used in these cases. it doesn't even matter if B has a theory published or not!

since you can debunk 2 theories at once, i don't see why you can't show 2 (or 3) conflicts at once, too. the only reason why it's not in the rulebook is that no one thought about it. it's an unwanted gap in the rules that can be remedied by analogy. we're talking about the master variant anyways. that's a true master who can show 3 conflicts with just one experiment!

what bothers me so much about Matúš Kotry's ruling is not so much if you can show multiple conflicts at once or not. it's that it reduces the options how to show conflicts. often you know something is wrong, but you cannot proof it. why should i not be allowed to proof it, using a 3rd ingredient? (just the ingredient, not any information published about it!)
Showing that A+B make soup is the only case where you can prove something about C with a single experiment - and if you know that, you can just show that A+C does not make soup. The ruling only comes into play when you want to debunk multiple pairs with a single experiment.

The good news is that it doesn't matter if you decide to house-rule your own games to allow multiple debunks - no-one's going to come check up on you - but the official rule is given above.

It wasn't covered in the rulebook (because no-one considered that possibility) but, now that it's been pointed out, the hole in the rules has been filled, in line with the original intent.
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