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Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients» Forums » Rules

Subject: USM - Clearing Up The West rss

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Morgan Vening
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So, had a question about the US Marshall starting skill, "Cleaning Up The West".

The text reads "Any time you kill an Enemy you may Heal 1 Wound and one 1 Sanity, and gain 10XP."

We've been playing it for months now, that it applies every time. But on re-reading it, I'm not so sure. As I mentioned in a prior post, wording in Shadows of Brimstone can definitely be misleading (Bandito's Swinging Fists, as written, and how it's supposed to be interpreted).

My question is pretty simple. Do you get 10XP for killing a monster, or do you get 10XP for Healing. Because the standard rule for healing is you only get a bonus, if the effect can be applied.

It's having the XP at the end that makes it vague. If it read "Any time you kill an Enemy, gain 10XP, and you may Heal 1 Wound and one 1 Sanity, there wouldn't be a question.

Note, I think that's how it's supposed to be interpreted. But like Swinging Fists, I thought I knew how that was supposed to be, as well.
 
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K G
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this wording thing is getting annoying , so what is the swinging fists verdict , and is this all official , and if so where is it posted ?

i am asking because if people buy the game , and it says one thing but means another , then it needs to be posted some where people can read it , especially since most too many people dont know about BBG , and going through over 100 pages of forums is daunting .

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Philip Jelley
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See page 10 of the City of Ancients Adventure Book "By Cleaning up the West you can always make sure that you are always healing a little bit of Health and Sanity as you fight, helping you stay alive while getting up close and personal with your Shotgun. It also gives you a boost to XP, giving you a leg up on Leveling Up, especially early on in your Hero's career."

It looks pretty clear that he gets the 10 XP in addition to healing Health and Sanity, which is how I play it. As you already gain XP for healing other Heroes there would be no reason to mention it.

Phil
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Morgan Vening
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GrandInquisitorKris wrote:
this wording thing is getting annoying , so what is the swinging fists verdict , and is this all official , and if so where is it posted ?

i am asking because if people buy the game , and it says one thing but means another , then it needs to be posted some where people can read it , especially since most too many people dont know about BBG , and going through over 100 pages of forums is daunting .
Agreed. And not just for corner cases like this. But for the more prelevant stuff, like the comprehensive listing of what Grit can and can't be used for. I know it's been hashed out here, but a PDF or similar type format hosted on an official site, would definitely be something they should consider.

As for the Swinging Fists thing, I don't believe there's an official answer, but the general agreement seems to be it's unequipped (ie, Hand Weapon excluded) attacks. But I believe there's some disagreement of what equipment and skills can affect it.
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Morgan Vening
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Philip Jelley wrote:
See page 10 of the City of Ancients Adventure Book "By Cleaning up the West you can always make sure that you are always healing a little bit of Health and Sanity as you fight, helping you stay alive while getting up close and personal with your Shotgun. It also gives you a boost to XP, giving you a leg up on Leveling Up, especially early on in your Hero's career."

It looks pretty clear that he gets the 10 XP in addition to healing Health and Sanity, which is how I play it. As you already gain XP for healing other Heroes there would be no reason to mention it.

Phil
Yup. That does clarify it completely. Glad we were playing it the right way from the start.
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Jee Fu
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Morgan Vening wrote:
So, had a question about the US Marshall starting skill, "Cleaning Up The West".

The text reads "Any time you kill an Enemy you may Heal 1 Wound and one 1 Sanity, and gain 10XP."

We've been playing it for months now, that it applies every time. But on re-reading it, I'm not so sure. As I mentioned in a prior post, wording in Shadows of Brimstone can definitely be misleading (Bandito's Swinging Fists, as written, and how it's supposed to be interpreted).

My question is pretty simple. Do you get 10XP for killing a monster, or do you get 10XP for Healing. Because the standard rule for healing is you only get a bonus, if the effect can be applied.

It's having the XP at the end that makes it vague. If it read "Any time you kill an Enemy, gain 10XP, and you may Heal 1 Wound and one 1 Sanity, there wouldn't be a question.

Note, I think that's how it's supposed to be interpreted. But like Swinging Fists, I thought I knew how that was supposed to be, as well.
I just realized that the wording used here is the same as the wording on many other items that be used to heal Heroes other than yourself. Does this means that U.S Marshals can apply the healing from Cleaning up the West to Heroes other than herself (all restrictions apply)? O.o In that case, you really WOULD get some extra XP.

Dang, have I had this option the whole time?

- Jee
 
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Philip Jelley
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I play that the US Marshall can heal other Heroes when cleaning up the West, but they would have to be adjacent when he makes the kill.

Phil
 
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Ken H.
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Inspector Jee wrote:
I just realized that the wording used here is the same as the wording on many other items that be used to heal Heroes other than yourself.
Are you sure about that? I think Faith Healing includes the words "yourself or another hero". The Rancher's Home Remedy ability says the same. And the rules for bandages say you can use them on other heroes (not sure what the card says, but the rule book specifically calls out "other" heroes).

I would assume if it doesn't tell you that you can heal other heroes, then you can't.


Edit: I checked a few more. The Lawman's "Strong Leadership" specifies other heroes. The Outlaw's Wisecrack says every hero. What are you seeing that can be used on other heroes that doesn't say it? I can't find the text for Comforting Presence at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it also says other or adjacent or something.
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Jee Fu
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Rubric wrote:
Inspector Jee wrote:
I just realized that the wording used here is the same as the wording on many other items that be used to heal Heroes other than yourself.
Are you sure about that? I think Faith Healing includes the words "yourself or another hero". The Rancher's Home Remedy ability says the same. And the rules for bandages say you can use them on other heroes (not sure what the card says, but the rule book specifically calls out "other" heroes).

I would assume if it doesn't tell you that you can heal other heroes, then you can't.


Edit: I checked a few more. The Lawman's "Strong Leadership" specifies other heroes. The Outlaw's Wisecrack says every hero. What are you seeing that can be used on other heroes that doesn't say it? I can't find the text for Comforting Presence at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it also says other or adjacent or something.
I am decidedly not sure. I will try to find some later. I was thinking of things like the Canteen or the Healing Stone. Bandages DO use the wording-in-question in one place, but use the other more specific wording in another.

- Jee
 
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Philip Jelley
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Inspector Jee wrote:
Rubric wrote:
Inspector Jee wrote:
I just realized that the wording used here is the same as the wording on many other items that be used to heal Heroes other than yourself.
Are you sure about that? I think Faith Healing includes the words "yourself or another hero". The Rancher's Home Remedy ability says the same. And the rules for bandages say you can use them on other heroes (not sure what the card says, but the rule book specifically calls out "other" heroes).

I would assume if it doesn't tell you that you can heal other heroes, then you can't.


Edit: I checked a few more. The Lawman's "Strong Leadership" specifies other heroes. The Outlaw's Wisecrack says every hero. What are you seeing that can be used on other heroes that doesn't say it? I can't find the text for Comforting Presence at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it also says other or adjacent or something.
I am decidedly not sure. I will try to find some later. I was thinking of things like the Canteen or the Healing Stone. Bandages DO use the wording-in-question in one place, but use the other more specific wording in another.

- Jee
The Saloon Girl "may heal one 1 Health or 1 Sanity from every other adjacent hero". I thought it was the adjacent part was important. The US Marshall's Hardened Resolve has "Use 1 Grit to Heal 3 Wounds or 3 Sanity from yourself or another Hero on your Map Tile". In which case the Canteen can only be used to the Hero's own wounds, though you could pass it to another Hero to use, you would not get the XP. I have been using the US Marshall's Cleaning up the West to heal others in this session, but I don't recall doing it earlier this year, this could be why.

Phil
 
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Philip Jelley
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I was also wondering if Hero's could heal each other while catching their breath, but thought not as I had not done it before, this would explain that as well. I was planning to read the rules before I play again as there must be some other things that have slipped the memory, or I did not realise the importance of before.

Phil
 
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Angelus Seniores
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the effect of "cleaning up the west" only applies to the us marshal, not to other heroes, and the xp bonus is extra XP on top of the normal xp of killing the monster, not for healing yourself.
if an ability doesnt specify it, it should only apply to the hero using it.
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Jee Fu
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After checking up on the wording of the various healing items and abilities, I have come to the following conclusion:

"Heal X [Wounds or Sanity]" is functionally the same as "Heal X [Wounds or Sanity] from an adjacent Hero, or any Hero on the same tile if not during a Fight."

I will argue this from two perspectives: 1) Semantics and 2) Intention (the former carrying more weight due to the nature of board gaming)

My semantic justification for this lies in precedent of how Bandages work and how the rules governing them are worded. If you look at the reference cards for Bandages (and Whiskey and Herbs), the wording is simply "Heal D6 Wounds." On the last page of the Rulebook, this is clarified as "Heal D6 Wounds from yourself or an adjacent Hero." Page 16 of the Rulebook clarifies further that they can be used on any Hero on your tile, if you're not currently in a Fight. Page 16 also uses the word "Tokens" as a qualifier, so I could see an argument that the expanded caveat of "any Hero on the tile" doesn't apply to non-tokens, but this is also the only place in the entirety of the rules that describe how healing works. It's not unreasonable to extrapolate interpretations from it regarding the mechanics of non-token healing.

Put another way, the rules don't explicitly qualify the wording "Heal X [Wounds | Sanity]" to mean only your Hero. On the contrary, there is at least one instance where this wording explicitly DOES include other Heroes. Why shouldn't we assume that all Healing functions this way unless otherwise stated?

The argument against the above is by induction; i.e. the existence of the clarified wording on certain abilities/items might imply that any ability/item without that wording refers only to the originating Hero. I don't believe this to be the case, however. Philip has offered up some good examples, so lets take a look:

Philip Jelley wrote:
The Saloon Girl "may heal one 1 Health or 1 Sanity from every other adjacent hero". I thought it was the adjacent part was important. The US Marshall's Hardened Resolve has "Use 1 Grit to Heal 3 Wounds or 3 Sanity from yourself or another Hero on your Map Tile".
At first glance, you might think that because these abilities specify the legal targets, the absence of such specifications might imply a "your Hero only" stipulation. This might be true if either of these abilities' wordings made them functionally equal to how Bandages work. But they don't. The Saloon Girl's ability makes it clear that her healing is for adjacent Heroes only - not for her, and not for non-adjacent Heroes on her tile. The extra wording here is a limitation on healing. The U.S. Marshal's ability makes it clear that you can use it on non-adjacent Heroes, even during a fight. The extra wording here is an expansion on (what I propose is) the standard rules for healing.

In either case (and many others), the extra wording creates a situation that is intentionally different from my interpretation of how standard healing works and is therefore still necessary to describe how the ability functions. Ergo, the existence of such clarifications can't be used as evidence against my interpretation.

This concludes my argument via semantics. There is more than enough ambiguity in the RAW regarding what wording refers to what mechanics (in the context of healing) to conclude that my interpretation is at least as likely to be correct as its more constrained opponent. Because healing is barely defined in contexts that DON'T involve side-bag tokens, I believe the that the wording and mechanics of how Bandages/Whiskey/Herbs work can be broadly applied to all healing that uses the same wording, and therefore give my interpretation an edge.

Lets talk about game-play intention now. This is little more murky and relies on guesswork and individual definitions of what good game-play is, but it's worth tackling.

If you use my interpretation, the U.S. Marshal would legally be able to use Cleaning up the West to heal his allies. I believe this is a very good thing. The Marshal suffers early game from the feast-or-famine nature of the Shotgun and can often feel like he's falling behind on XP/usefullness. Cleaning up the West seeks to mitigate this by providing extra XP for kills, but I believe that the intention here is to also allow him to generate extra XP from healing other players (assuming they are next to him, given that it will trigger during a Fight 99% of the time). The Marshal is pretty beefy (10 Health and a 3+ Defense) so the extra healing on this ability is often wasted if you interpret it to apply to the Marshal only. In addition, this offers one more option for party healing (akin to a Rancher's Home Remedies) in case you don't have a Preacher or a Saloon Girl.

This interpretation also makes items like the Canteen attractive to specs/builds/classes are having trouble keeping up in XP from kills - due to low initiative or a more support-centered build (Indian Scout) - because it allows them to get "paid" for their efforts. I feel that any reasonable interpretation that encourages more variety in game-play should be actively leaned toward.

So there you have it. I believe my interpretation on the issue of healing to be logically consistent with (what we know of) the rules and also makes for more interesting and balanced game-play.

All interpretations based on unclear wording are - of course - subject to possible wrongness. If FFP decides to wade into this and provide a clear ruling on the matter that is 100% at odds with what I have said, I will welcome it and immediately embrace it. Until then, I believe I have the right of it.

- Jee

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Angelus Seniores
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choosing to use the definition of the use of tokens as a general definition for all healing is quite a leap forward!

using a sidebag token clearly is something that you can pass on and use on others or yourself while thats not a choice for an ability that only you possess, you cant just pass on an ability to other players!

tokens are a physical object that you can manipulate, not so for abilities.
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Jee Fu
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Angelsenior wrote:
choosing to use the definition of the use of tokens as a general definition for all healing is quite a leap forward!

using a sidebag token clearly is something that you can pass on and use on others or yourself while thats not a choice for an ability that only you possess, you cant just pass on an ability to other players!

tokens are a physical object that you can manipulate, not so for abilities.
You're making the assumption the word "Heal" in this case is passive. I don't believe this assumption to be any more credible than its inverse. If the wording had a pronoun in it ("You Heal X Wounds") then the intention would be clearer. But it doesn't. The definition of the verb "Heal" without any accompanying objects could just as easily mean "Your Hero actively heals someone" as it could "Your Hero passively regenerates wounds". It's not clear, so we have to look elsewhere for similar terminology that is better defined. We find this in the fleshed-out descriptions of how Bandages work.

There is no reason to assume that the same wording works differently on items than it does on Hero Upgrades. Board games live and die on their jargon and semantics. The game would be unplayable if we couldn't assume the same words meant the same things in different contexts.

- Jee
 
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healing is healing, but you cannot just assume that the use of "heal" means the same as the use of "heal yourself or another hero".
there are just too many abilities or effects that use the one or the other in different ways and thus you cant consider them equal.
given the semantics its hard enough to play as written, no need to add imaginary effects that are not written.

i consider this ability a very personal effect of the marshall, ie it gives him inner strength to be fighting against evil, he cant stop as long as there is evil, thus ignoring his pain which translates in a healing effect, but since other heroes do not share that inner conviction they cant benefit from its healing effect.
 
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Jee Fu
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Angelsenior wrote:
healing is healing, but you cannot just assume that the use of "heal" means the same as the use of "heal yourself or another hero".
Why not? If someone else uses bandages on your Hero and rolls a 4, is it not correct to say that the first person "healed 4 wounds"? If I then say to him "remind me, how many wounds did you heal?", do you think he will be confused by the question because he didn't heal himself?

Angelsenior wrote:
there are just too many abilities or effects that use the one or the other in different ways and thus you cant consider them equal. given the semantics its hard enough to play as written, no need to add imaginary effects that are not written.
On the contrary. I believe my interpretation helps reconcile these inconsistencies, rather than adding to the confusion. Does it not make more sense if the same wording means the same thing every time its used?

Angelsenior wrote:
i consider this ability a very personal effect of the marshall, ie it gives him inner strength to be fighting against evil, he cant stop as long as there is evil, thus ignoring his pain which translates in a healing effect, but since other heroes do not share that inner conviction they cant benefit from its healing effect.
That's fine; I agree with the first part. But I don't see anything in the rules that prevents him from healing others with that terminology (the same terminology that's on the Bandages card), and so I can always come up with a thematic reason for it. Maybe it's inspiring to watch the Marshal dispense his fury.

- Jee
 
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Inspector Jee wrote:
Angelsenior wrote:
healing is healing, but you cannot just assume that the use of "heal" means the same as the use of "heal yourself or another hero".
Why not? If someone else uses bandages on your Hero and rolls a 4, is it not correct to say that the first person "healed 4 wounds"? If I then say to him "remind me, how many wounds did you heal?", do you think he will be confused by the question because he didn't heal himself?
your example is not relevant at all to this situation;
"healing" means that the effect of a suffered wound is undone, so of course your player will know what you talk about, but this is not at all relevant to whether or not he is allowed by the rules to heal either from himself or another hero in a specific situation, as THAT part of applying the "heal" is limited by HOW the heal effect/ability is further worded.

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Angelsenior wrote:
there are just too many abilities or effects that use the one or the other in different ways and thus you cant consider them equal. given the semantics its hard enough to play as written, no need to add imaginary effects that are not written.
On the contrary. I believe my interpretation helps reconcile these inconsistencies, rather than adding to the confusion. Does it not make more sense if the same wording means the same thing every time its used?

what you do is applying a general meaning to something that is clearly worded differently in many locations, be it in the rules or on the cards/abilities, while there are clearly reasons enough why in some situations it applies only to yourself, or only to others or to both.
you must differentiate between the EFFECT (ie healing in this instance or "what you do") and the TARGET of the effect (ie to whom can it be applied). you cant assume that the name of the effect automatically includes the targeting aspect (based solely on the wording in some instances and disregarding the wording of other instances).

the fact is simply that there ARE inconsistencies in the game as it stands, FFP has simply omitted to clearly define different aspects and uses different wordings for effects which are/look similar but not always, thus you need to second guess the intent of the designer. FFP has clearly some work ahead to clarify the rules if they want this game to make more success with the general public.

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Angelsenior wrote:
I consider this ability a very personal effect of the marshall, ie it gives him inner strength to be fighting against evil, he cant stop as long as there is evil, thus ignoring his pain which translates in a healing effect, but since other heroes do not share that inner conviction they cant benefit from its healing effect.
That's fine; I agree with the first part. But I don't see anything in the rules that prevents him from healing others with that terminology (the same terminology that's on the Bandages card), and so I can always come up with a thematic reason for it. Maybe it's inspiring to watch the Marshal dispense his fury.

- Jee
[/q] True, given that the designer already admitted they made the text in some places as short as possible when describing effects, it does leave room for free interpretation when they omit important words.

going over the rulebooks and abilities, what is consistent to me so far is that when they use the wording "you heal" it mostly applies only to yourself, while if they add more specifics then it applies as specified, but often an effect described in the rulebook/adventure book is not necessarily worded as such on the actual card, so in situations where its described in several places you really need to read both texts instead of just relying on the text on the card;

-for bandages, while the text on the description card only mentions "you heal" the description of sidebag tokens in the rules specify its both for yourself as others.
-for cleaning up the west, the card also uses "you heal" but in the description of the ability in the city of the ancients adventure book, it speaks clearly only of "you", never of other heroes/the party
-when looking at the description of the saloon girl, they mention she is good at moving with a party and reinvigorating the party, so her comforting presence clearly applies to other heroes as also specified on her hero card.
 
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Jee Fu
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Angelsenior wrote:

your example is not relevant at all to this situation;
"healing" means that the effect of a suffered wound is undone, so of course your player will know what you talk about, but this is not at all relevant to whether or not he is allowed by the rules to heal either from himself or another hero in a specific situation, as THAT part of applying the "heal" is limited by HOW the heal effect/ability is further worded.

Yes, but there isn't any further wording. That's what makes it ambiguous. It just says "Heal X Wounds." You can't tell whether its passive or active.

Angelsenior wrote:

what you do is applying a general meaning to something that is clearly worded differently in many locations, be it in the rules or on the cards/abilities, while there are clearly reasons enough why in some situations it applies only to yourself, or only to others or to both.
you must differentiate between the EFFECT (ie healing in this instance or "what you do") and the TARGET of the effect (ie to whom can it be applied). you cant assume that the name of the effect automatically includes the targeting aspect (based solely on the wording in some instances and disregarding the wording of other instances).

I don't see why I can't assume this. Space for text is at a premium and designers take every shortcut they can, provided its semantically sound. If an ability said "Deal D6 Wounds" I wouldn't assume that it only works on the monster next to me.

There are times when FFP is intentionally redundant with their wordings, so the presence of said redundancy doesn't really help us to infer anything.

Angelsenior wrote:
the fact is simply that there ARE inconsistencies in the game as it stands, FFP has simply omitted to clearly define different aspects and uses different wordings for effects which are/look similar but not always, thus you need to second guess the intent of the designer. FFP has clearly some work ahead to clarify the rules if they want this game to make more success with the general public.
Agree. A Touch of Evil had this problem as well, but they eventually cleared it all up with FAQs. Historically, in the case of rule clarifications regarding freedom vs. limitation, FFP tends to side with the former. This factored into my reasoning.

Angelsenior wrote:
going over the rulebooks and abilities, what is consistent to me so far is that when they use the wording "you heal" it mostly applies only to yourself, while if they add more specifics then it applies as specified, but often an effect described in the rulebook/adventure book is not necessarily worded as such on the actual card, so in situations where its described in several places you really need to read both texts instead of just relying on the text on the card;
Most of them are straight-up limitations or expansions on (what I consider to be) the default. There are very few places where the wording is spelled out to be exactly the same as what I am proposing "Heal" means. And as we agreed, FFP has a habit of being redundant sometimes so its hardly damning.

Angelsenior wrote:
-for cleaning up the west, the card also uses "you heal" but in the description of the ability in the city of the ancients adventure book, it speaks clearly only of "you", never of other heroes/the party
This is your strongest argument yet. And although the strict wording in the Adventure book doesn't necessarily disallow using it on other Heroes, I agree with you that the intention of this skill was likely self-only. But it's hard to look at the rest of the things that use the same wording and come to conclusion that none of them - except side bag tokens, mysteriously - are intended to be used on other party members.

- What say you regarding the Canteen? If you want to use it on someone else, do you really have to awkwardly pass it back and forth, and get 0 XP for that usage-sacrifice? It has an anvil, and can only be used once per Adventure.

- What about the White Hat? $6,400 for a grit-powered self-only heal? Better to just save the grit (and your money) for your defense roll instead, if you can't use it on others. "White Hats" are supposed to be the selfless guys in westerns.

- What about the Black Hat? $7,000 and 1 Corruption Hit for the ability to heal only yourself for even less than the White Hat? $7,000! That's functionally equivalent to nearly 4 Dark Stone Grips.

These items just aren't worth it if they don't also offer some party utility. By the time you have enough cash for them, the monsters will be doing so much damage that +Armor items will be much more effective at keeping you alive - and for 1/3rd of the price! To me, their cost is basically a tacit indicator of the cross-hero nature of their boons. And that makes sense to me, because they use the same terminology as the Bandages card does.

Without an official FAQ/Errata, it's frustrating to assume that the same wording means different things at different times, depending on if even more rules about might be mentioned somewhere else or if some official ruling that contradicts the Rule Book is made on a forum somewhere. Low-level Marshals have a tough time of it as is. They're fine in power-level, but they can be boring to play until you start getting upgrades due to the lack of dice/options they start with. I feel its better to assume that Cleaning Up The West follows the same pattern as the other items/abilities that use the same wording (and are clearly meant to be used on other players), and just reckon that the Adventure Book offers more of a newbie-friendly description than a hard-and-fast clarification.

I want to mention again that I could very well be wrong here. It's difficult for me to tell what the true intention is, and given that many of the things in this game are already heavily "every-man-for-himself" oriented (loot and XP), I'm erring on the side of "help the posse."

- Jee
 
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for the canteen, i would indeed treat it that you can heal others with it as its functionally the same as bandages/whiskey, logically you could pass around the canteen to let others have a drink from it.

for the hats though, they logically give their bonus only to the person who wears it, if you dont wear it, you cant profit from its effect.
while the price is high, it offers you an effect from an otherwise unused clothing slot, helping you to maximize your bonuses further when all other clothing slots are already in use.
given its price/effect ratio its something you would mostly buy very late in your hero's career path, at which point its not about pricing but about maximizing.

healing for grit isnt bad if you have plenty of grit available, which can happen to some characters when they can get extra grit from abilities.

neither is healing for corruption if you have the marshall's "no nonsense" ability that avoids the risk of dying from rolling a double mutation, or another ability that works well with corruption hits.

the lack of proper definitions means you sometimes just have to think about how would such an item or ability work in RL and transpose that to the game and/or compare with similarly functional items.

also, given that at higher character levels the game tends to become easier, having too many items that can heal others would make the overall party practically invincible as the chance of dying is almost inexistent.
 
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Jee Fu
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Angelsenior wrote:
the lack of proper definitions means you sometimes just have to think about how would such an item or ability work in RL and transpose that to the game and/or compare with similarly functional items.
This, I suppose, is where we fundamentally disagree. I don't believe that in the absence of complete clarity you should prioritize thematics to justify a ruling. Rather, I believe that good interpretations take into account game balance, existing precedents, and then yeah maybe some theme if you're still utterly lost. To do it any other way will never yield an answer which is consistent for all players.

For instance, you say that the Hats are meant to bestow those powers on the wearer only. How exactly does a physical hat do this, from a thematic point of view? Are they magic? Do they contain potions? There isn't any Dark Stone in them. An alternate interpretation is that these items represent not just physical hats, but also a change of character in the wearer - one that yields new abilities (this also explains why they're so expensive, thematically). In westerns the term "White Hats" mean good guys who inspire others, sacrifice for the common good, and are generally a positive presence. "Black Hats" are bad guys or anti-heroes who often sell their souls for power or have a dark past that affects those they comes into contact with, for better or worse. Under this interpretation, I can easily justify extending the effects of those items to the posse.

So, now what? My interpretation is just as cogent as yours, and that's a problem. If theme justifies the ruling, we now have two valid rulings that contradict each other. This is why I start with game balance and go the other way. The Hats are overpriced for what they offer if their abilities can't extend to the party. I don't disagree that they represent a avenue of choice for character min/maxing via the "Head" slot, but its the wrong choice in almost every case if neither Hat offers any posse-utility. The Cowboy Hat gives you +1 Max Grit for 1/3rd the price. The Rider's Hat + Harmonica gives you a similar ability for 1/6th of the price. Almost any Hat you find in the Gear/Artifact decks is going be preferable to one of these (in terms of self-preservation) if they don't offer the option to use them on other players to get some XP, or just to help out. I suppose you could just carry it around for times of extreme danger and use other hats in the meantime, but that's a lot of cash and dead weight just for an emergency. I'm not saying it doesn't have a use; I'm saying that there are much better and cheaper way to keep yourself from dying, money and carry-weight wise.

Let's use your example of the Mutation Marshal. I will give you that - in theory - a No Nonsense Marshal with a Black Hat could keep himself alive forever as long as he didn't take enough damage to kill him in a single attack (and also didn't go insane), but at what cost? The mutation build-up would render him utterly useless to the posse; he will be slow, unable to do any damage, constantly summoning monsters, have two arguing heads, etc. It is basically the same as dead, only more entertaining and expensive. If you have to devolve into a pile of writhing goo (wearing a hat) just to make your $7,000 worth it, it not really a valid gameplay choice for the purposes of min/maxing (even if it is hilarious). If you give him the option to use it on others, it makes that sacrifice more worth it. You would get a good chunk of XP (which you will need because you wont be able to fight) and you might be able to save the party from a TPK (albeit at a very high cost).

Cleaning Up The West makes the above scenario even more unlikely that it already is (given that the Marshal takes 25-40% less damage that most of the other classes). Hardened Resolve and Rolling Thunder benefit heavily from the Cowboy Hat (+Max Grit). No matter which upgrade I've got, the Black Hat is a poor choice if the healing is self-only.

Angelsenior wrote:
also, given that at higher character levels the game tends to become easier, having too many items that can heal others would make the overall party practically invincible as the chance of dying is almost inexistent.
I agree, this certainly used to be true. But this just made the Hats even more useless. The game wasn't easy because of too many heals - the game was easy because posse damage output outstripped the monsters' health. In this context, healing became only about XP because monsters didn't live long enough to threaten you. Self-healing was literally the least import ability to possess because a) it didn't net you XP and b) your life was never in danger. If you interpret healing as I do, that Hats - while still not worth the price - at least offered you a chance to get some healing XP.

This is all in the past tho. The new monsters and mechanics have balanced a lot of the uber-combos from the base-games. Healing is important again, even at high levels. And with that change, the Hats became much better in general. But, IMO, they still aren't worth it unless the healing can extend beyond the wearer. It's also a question of gameplay for me. When a Hero has multiple valid options in any given scenario, the game is just more engaging. One anvil + Head Slot Taken + 7-8 missions worth of cash, all for a new ability that is basically a grit-based/corruption-based insta-Bandage ... this seems like a reasonably trade-off to me.

To bring this full-circle, the current state of the game indicates to me that the Hats should allow party healing (Canteen as well, but we agree on that one). Since the definition of healing is ambiguous right now, I see this Hat-situation as circumstantial support for my interpretation. I believe that if the wording "Heal X Wounds/Sanity" was meant to be self-only in every case, those Hats would be cheaper and/or better.

- Jee
 
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well, i for one have an issue applying effects if they dont feel thematic. the balance of the game is off already both for item pricing and difficulty, i havent tried the game with the new enemies yet so cant say much how it changes the balance but a too generalized heal feels more unbalancing to me.
With your general healing, it would mean that when you "catch your breath" at the end of a fight you could use your lot of recovered wounds to heal other heroes if you dont need it yourelf?! not very thematic.

i dont think the mutations will necessarily turn you into writhing goo; you have a chance to remove unwanted mutations and dont underestimate the fact that once you have a few you are increasingly much more likely to roll the same ones again resulting in no effect, than to roll a new result.
you also have the chance to remove corruption at the church before you mutate, so how fast you mutate can be decreased and you can also choose yourself how many times you use the effect.

iconic clothing tends to increase the self-esteem of a person, making that person feel better.
Like a women wearing a sexy dress will generally feel more sexy about herself than if she didnt wear it, thereby improving her self-esteem.
Any effect from clothing is generally stronger for the person wearing it, than the other persons looking up to him. its not a physical effect but an emotional one.

be that as it may, as long as FFP doesnt clarify how they intend it to be used it will always be up to everyone's interpretation. i think they will do this after wave 2, when its all produced, but sooner would be nicer. and i fear they might end up changing some effects, which could require some reprints of cards/charts...
 
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Angelsenior wrote:
With your general healing, it would mean that when you "catch your breath" at the end of a fight you could use your lot of recovered wounds to heal other heroes if you dont need it yourelf?! not very thematic.
It's true. You could apply my interpretation strictly to Catch Your Breath and come up with something I'm almost positive wasn't intended, given how it is worded. And that's no good either.

That indicates to me that we basically can't trust the universal wording at all, and we need clarification on every item/ability out there that uses it. Unfortunate. Perhaps its just easier to rule that the Canteen and Hats cant help other players for the sake of consistency and consider side-bag tokens a special case. I dunno, that also seems really unsatisfying.

Angelsenior wrote:
i dont think the mutations will necessarily turn you into writhing goo; you have a chance to remove unwanted mutations and dont underestimate the fact that once you have a few you are increasingly much more likely to roll the same ones again resulting in no effect, than to roll a new result. you also have the chance to remove corruption at the church before you mutate, so how fast you mutate can be decreased and you can also choose yourself how many times you use the effect.
I was speaking as if you were going to use the Black Hat to be invincible during a single mission. Even if it was the Marshal vs. 40 monsters - all by himself - he could eventually outlast them. Just keep taking Corruption and Healing over and over, multiple times per turn, after each monster group goes. You could do this, if you were willing to accept every mutation in the game, all in the same mission.

Angelsenior wrote:
be that as it may, as long as FFP doesnt clarify how they intend it to be used it will always be up to everyone's interpretation. i think they will do this after wave 2, when its all produced, but sooner would be nicer. and i fear they might end up changing some effects, which could require some reprints of cards/charts...
I too was wondering about this. It's easy to patch a video game - like Diablo or WoW - but effectively balancing an shipped board game is very difficult. You either:

1) release a ton of errata and leave it up to your players to create cards and sheets with the new wording (burden to players)

or

2) release new official versions of everything and come up with a system of distribution (burden to developers)

Option 1 is probably the right call. I guess there could be like an opt-in for updated physical content or something, but I reckon its all going to be mostly on the players to make physical copies of the errata.

- Jee
 
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