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Subject: What cards can be discarded, and when? rss

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James R. Gracen
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Doug (Arsonor) LaVigne and I have been having an ongoing discussion about the game in the comments of my This House Is Haunted Cheat Sheet filepage. Among other things, we discussed how and when to discard cards in the Home Room Discard Pile. Here is an excerpt:

CavemanLogic wrote:
Arsonor wrote:
Is there a mechanic for discarding cards?

I didn't come across any. Just for players to add cards from their hand into the Collection Plate. This is curious since the FAQ on the back of the official rules states:

Official Rule Booklet FAQ wrote:
CAN I DISCARD SEAL CARDS OR "GOOD" CARDS?
Yes. if you are possessed this is a great strategy!

Unfortunately he doesn't cover how or when to do that anywhere in the rules.

Arsonor wrote:
What do you do with broken Haunting Cards? Bring them back to the home room and discard them? I think keeping them in the player who drew them's hand and discarding them into the collection plate is a good solution, because they don't take effect there in any case, and it obfuscates which cards were drawn from the home room draw pile.

I chose discarding them into the Home Room Discard Pile once the Haunting Card is broken and the player returns to the Home Room (see the cheat sheet, page two, under the Haunting Cards entry), as it's the simplest action. Also, the rulebook on page 11 mentions that:

Official Rule Booklet, Pg. 11 wrote:
Curse Cards and Haunting Cards may make their way into the Charm Circle through the Home Room Draw Pile.

So Curse and Haunting cards can make it into the Charm Circle from the 13-card Home Room Draw Pile, but the rules do not mention players being able to discard Haunting Cards there.

I am in the process of updating my Cheat Sheet file, as I will be hosting a game of This House Is Haunted in four days, and would like more input on the matter.

Discarding cards is the one part of the rules that is hampering me the most from finishing up my file. After thinking it over, I have come to the conclusion that the FAQ entry on discarding Seal Cards points to a rule which must have been removed from the game, and so can be disregarded. My reasoning is this:

First let me start with Demon Mark Cards. It would make no sense to be able to discard them. If we could, we would end up with very few Demon Players, and very few Demon Mark Cards would make it into the Charm Circle to mess with the Humans. Why would they ever go into the Charm Circle in the first place? Demons would obviously place their excess Demon Mark Cards there. And Humans, if they could not discard them, might be forced to play a few there as well. Say a player is dangerously close to becoming a Demon. They add a Demon Mark Card to the Collection Plate to keep from becoming possessed, and hope that enough other players are able to add Seal Cards to overcome it. If Humans could place Demon Mark Cards in the discard pile instead, they would without any repercussions.

Now, on to Seal Cards. If we allow these to be discarded, it would make it much more difficult for the Humans to win. Many more of these would end up in the Discard Pile rather than in player's hands or in the Charm Circle. The Human's goal of having enough Seal Points in the Charm Circle would be much harder to come by. Demons would discard them to ensure they remain Demons, without fear of being forced to help the Humans.

Will the option of being able to discard both of those types of cards balance each other out? I don't know. But here is the main reason why I think they shouldn't be discarded. Round 13. The Collection Plate is passed and one side has a clear advantage. Say the Humans are winning. What's to stop all the Demons from ditching all their Demon Mark Cards so they turn back to Human at the last second, to be on the winning team? Or vice versa, if the Demons are winning.

So I think my best guess is that only broken Curses and broken Haunts get discarded. Seal/Demon Mark Cards cannot. Hexes and Blessing cards wouldn't need to be discarded since they neither harm nor help you when in hand. They actually benefit you if they remain in your hand when you fail a curse and the Leader gets to randomly look at half your cards (they work as interference).

-----

I think I will continue playing without Seal/Demon Mark discards. I will already be adding in the Soul Stones variant I came up with into our game this Friday. Best not to change too many things all at once.

How did your games go? How did you handle the discards? I'd love to hear your responses.

Thanks!
 
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