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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Rules

Subject: Card requirements that don't specify less than or greater rss

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Joshua Schutte
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This has been covered here and there but search isn't helping. Some cards require 3 oceans, does this actually mean exactly 3 oceans or 3 or more oceans? Also I think I saw one Oxygen card that didn't say greater or less than.

Thanks.

Edit the wording on Decomposers(131) is requires 3% as an example.

I realized reading through all the cards that Oxygen and Oceans cards never say more than, where as Temperature cards are all more than or less than. Assuming they all mean 3 or greater in the case of cards like 131 Decomposers. This typically is a bad assumption in most board games as things usually mean exactly what they say. Hence my question.
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Sebastian Stückl
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Crikrunner wrote:
This has been covered here and there but search isn't helping. Some cards require 3 oceans, does this actually mean exactly 3 oceans or 3 or more oceans? Also I think I saw one Oxygen card that didn't say greater or less than.

Thanks.


If not specified, all requirements mean x or more.
If you exceed the requirements, you can still play the card.
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Joshua Schutte
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that's how we've been playing just wanted to make sure, thanks!
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J M
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When a card has a maximum requirement it says "max". I wish they also said "min" for a minimum requirement. consistency goes a long way to clarity.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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AceAceBaby wrote:
When a card has a maximum requirement it says "max". I wish they also said "min" for a minimum requirement. consistency goes a long way to clarity.

I've been defending TM's iconography against criticism a lot lately, but this one I agree with.
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Joshua Schutte
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Snapshot wrote:
AceAceBaby wrote:
When a card has a maximum requirement it says "max". I wish they also said "min" for a minimum requirement. consistency goes a long way to clarity.

I've been defending TM's iconography against criticism a lot lately, but this one I agree with.


Totally agree , all the temperature cards say x or above or x and below. There is 2nd edition to fix all that.
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Ken Chaney

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Along similar lines, another rules lawyer nugget:

From the rules -
"B) Use a standard project
...
1) Sell patents: You may discard a number of cards from
hand to gain the same number of M€."

It's clear to me from context that "a number of cards" must be at least one. (And an integer since we don't want to annoy the game owner
A common clarification in games is that zero is a number, so I could imagine players abusing this project to stall without limit, and any other players who respond in kind generate a stale mate.

I could also imagine a misinterpretation allowing a "negative" discard, where a player picks up cards from either the deck or discard pile paying 1 M€/card.

"You may discard one or more cards from hand to gain 1 M€/card."
should work.

"You may discard one or more cards from hand to gain 1 M€/card discarded this way." if you are paranoid
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Florian Ruckeisen
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kenchaney wrote:
A common clarification in games is that zero is a number, so I could imagine players abusing this project to stall without limit [...] a misinterpretation allowing a "negative" discard, where a player picks up cards from either the deck or discard pile paying 1 M€/card.

Good God, I shudder reading all this... shake

It's pretty obvious that TM's language, both on the cards/board and in the rulebook, is NOT "rules-lawyer-proof". Does it need to be? Eh.

Judging from what I've read from Fryx here, they purposely went for simpler, albeit less precise wording. So I do not expect any later edition to include language like "you may discard any integer number of cards greater than zero to..." yuk (Tho granted the wording you proposed is much more elegant and still precise.)

Honest question: Do you guys really have players who try to weasel in abusive rule misinterpretation like this crap (pardon my French)? If so - why do you play games with them? Gaming time's precious, don't waste it on people who ruin the experience is all I can recommend...
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O.Shane Balloun
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kenchaney wrote:
I could also imagine a misinterpretation allowing a "negative" discard, where a player picks up cards from either the deck or discard pile paying 1 M€/card.


Discarding does not have a commutative property. Unless specific rules re-define it for the purposes of a particular game to be commutative, "discard" is a unidirectional operation, and any other interpretation is unreasonable.
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Ken Chaney

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Snapshot wrote:
Honest question: Do you guys really have players who try to weasel in abusive rule misinterpretation like this crap (pardon my French)? If so - why do you play games with them? Gaming time's precious, don't waste it on people who ruin the experience is all I can recommend...


Honest answer: Yes. Of course unreasonable people exist. Of course they are best avoided in games. Sometimes I play with people I don't know, so having clear rules can reduce the chance of unpleasantness.

Language like "you may discard any integer number of cards greater than zero to ..." is out of place in the context of the other rules, but "You may discard one or more cards from hand to gain 1 M€/card." does not seem to be a departure in style. If it prevented any integer number of rules arguments greater than zero, it would be helpful, wouldn't it?

The concept of negative discard was intended to be ad absurdum.

Reading through these forums, there are many examples of misinterpreted rules, or different interpretations which may or may not seem reasonable. Generally reasonable people may have different interpretations. Some people enjoy playing on the nuance of detail and when the rest of the group doesn't mind it can even enhance a game for them. This was an example where pushing the letter of the law would be bad, and the interpretation of allowing zero discards is common in other games so it seems like a plausible issue to address.
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Florian Ruckeisen
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kenchaney wrote:
Of course unreasonable people exist. Of course they are best avoided in games. Sometimes I play with people I don't know, so having clear rules can reduce the chance of unpleasantness.

+1, I concede the point. Your first post may just have triggered me a little.

Quote:
Language like "you may discard any integer number of cards greater than zero to ..." is out of place in the context of the other rules, but "You may discard one or more cards from hand to gain 1 M€/card." does not seem to be a departure in style.

Ah, you just ninja'd my post-sleep edit where I acknowledge that your wording is both elegant and precise.

Quote:
The concept of negative discard was intended to be ad absurdum.

Went over my head.

I too would prefer if the rules were generally a little more precise (and consistent in their wording), even if it took a few more words to express. But it was a conscious decision to value simplicity over unambiguousness, and IMHO there are many cases were this is just fine and people are coming up with all kinds of rather nonsensical misinterpretations which just reek of "if it's not expressly forbidden, it must be allowed" - and I can't stand that. devil
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Ken Chaney

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Thanks Snapshot - I appreciate your time and effort to respond so kindly. I wish there were an un-ninja button.

I enjoyed reading the rule book. They did a great job in keeping it readable while covering the rules. Your observation about the deliberate style choice is an important one, and should provide the context to interpret the few ambiguities that may have slipped through. If the style makes the game more accessible to players, that is a great value, but of course there has to be sufficient precision to avoid misinterpretation - either reasonable or obtuse. Determining what is sufficient is the tricky part.

Happy gaming,
Ken

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Jonathan Fryxelius
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All requirements are minimum unless explicitly written otherwise. After all, if there are 5 ocean tiles, there are also 3 ocean tiles. Same goes for tag requirements. For temperature, we made a clarification of warmer and colder because speaking of "max minus 4" can very easily be misunderstood. A lot of people would then think that you cannot play the card with -8 degrees, since the 8 is larger than the 4. We simply surrendered to the fact that a lot of people have a hard time understanding math, boolean operators, and general algebra.
This same misunderstanding would probably not occur for the oxygen scale, because it has no negative numbers.

As for discarding cards from your hand: it is impossible to discard 0 cards. If no card leaves your hand to the discard pile, you're not discarding.
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Joshua Schutte
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Lord_Aethan wrote:
All requirements are minimum unless explicitly written otherwise. After all, if there are 5 ocean tiles, there are also 3 ocean tiles. Same goes for tag requirements. For temperature, we made a clarification of warmer and colder because speaking of "max minus 4" can very easily be misunderstood. A lot of people would then think that you cannot play the card with -8 degrees, since the 8 is larger than the 4. We simply surrendered to the fact that a lot of people have a hard time understanding math, boolean operators, and general algebra.
This same misunderstanding would probably not occur for the oxygen scale, because it has no negative numbers.

As for discarding cards from your hand: it is impossible to discard 0 cards. If no card leaves your hand to the discard pile, you're not discarding.


Thanks for the response. By not keeping the wording consistent you are creating confusion. Perhaps in a future printing change all the cards to have "x or more" in the text box. Or remove all the "or more" from the temperature cards if saving ink/text is important and include in bold that all requirements on cards is or more in the rules.

For me it was just seeing all the cards that say or more, then seeing a card that didn't and thinking does this card have to be placed only when there is exactly 3 oceans. Other cards say more or less this didn't it might mean exactly.
 
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Ken Chaney

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Lord_Aethan wrote:
As for discarding cards from your hand: it is impossible to discard 0 cards. If no card leaves your hand to the discard pile, you're not discarding.


I appreciate the confirmation of the rule (and the wonderful game, thank you very much!)

My concern remains that some who play (and have not read this thread) will have a problem. The convention in some games (including the popular Dominion) is that you can discard zero cards.

I'm not begging a semantic argument, honest! The designer may of course choose what words mean. I'm suggesting that, without clarification in the rules, some players will come to the game with a different understanding. Most will have the sense to realize that the zero card discard leads to a problem and should therefore not be allowed, but a very minor rewording avoids the potential fight for those that would have it.
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O.Shane Balloun
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kenchaney wrote:
Lord_Aethan wrote:
As for discarding cards from your hand: it is impossible to discard 0 cards. If no card leaves your hand to the discard pile, you're not discarding.


I appreciate the confirmation of the rule (and the wonderful game, thank you very much!)

My concern remains that some who play (and have not read this thread) will have a problem. The convention in some games (including the popular Dominion) is that you can discard zero cards.

I'm not begging a semantic argument, honest! The designer may of course choose what words mean. I'm suggesting that, without clarification in the rules, some players will come to the game with a different understanding. Most will have the sense to realize that the zero card discard leads to a problem and should therefore not be allowed, but a very minor rewording avoids the potential fight for those that would have it.


In context to the rest of the rules, this interpretation leads to an absurd result.

By itself, discarding 0 cards to gain 0 M€ would not matter one way or the other. However, the game requires you to take at least 1 or 2 actions per turn in order to continue taking actions on a future turn in the same generation. That is, if you pass, you may no longer play during that generation.

If one were able to trivially (in the mathematical sense) discard 0 cards in exchange for 0 M€, one could take a constructive/phantom action anytime one wanted, thereby indefinitely delaying a pass and staying in the round. In context, this is clearly—indisputably—not want the designer wanted. Even if he or his brothers were not to show up here on the forum and confirm this, it is so obvious as to be inarguable.

Thus, an interpretation allowing a 0 discard fails.
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