Romulan Rule Question:
Romulan player attaches sabatour to Klingon ship.
If sabatour has espionage ability, Klingon player is unable to deal with sabatour except transport the sabatour within his own fleet. Klingon player adds the blue sabatour ability to his ship. Romulan player triggers the espionage when he wishes to do so. When Romulan player triggers espionage ability, what happens to the crew card? Is it discarded?
If sabatour does not have espionage ability, Klingon player can transport the sabatour amongst his own fleet and is able to rid himself of the sabatour by discarding the crewman, but is affected by the green portion of the card. Can the Romulan player discard the non espionage sabatour to trigger the green effect for the Klingon player?
When Romulan player triggers espionage ability, what happens to the crew card? Is it discarded?
Yes, it's discarded.
The short answer:
After a crew card is assigned to a ship, it can be discarded for its Ops effect.
The long answer:
Note that the Romulan (and Dominion) expansion rules don't break any of the standard card play rules found on pages 24-27 of the core rulebook! So keeping this in mind, remember that once a Command Card with a Crew Ability has been assigned to a ship, there are two things that can be done with that card:
1) Use it's crew ability
2) Discard it (from the ship its assigned to), to use it's Ops or Combat effect
Note that this usage doesn't change for the Saboteur cards! They're played the same way as all other crew cards. The only difference being their unique crew type ("Saboteur"). Also, some of the Saboteur cards have the new, "Espionage" label printed in parenthesis, immediately the right of the timing specification. (This new, "Espionage" label is at the heart of your question and is discussed below). The main point being, again, there's nothing special about the construct of the card, or rules of how to play a Saboteur card.
So what about that "Espionage" label found on some of the Saboteur cards? First, let's note that the Romulan rules make it very clear that the Romulan player is the one who assigns the crew card to an (opponent's) ship, and after doing so, continues to control that card.
OK, "So what?" The concept of "controlling" a crew card wasn't necessary for the core game, but is needed to help enable the core rules in this case. The Romulan rules go on to explain that, Espionage abilities are only usable by the player who controls the card. And this is where we finally get to your question:
Remember the two things that can be done with a crew Card (Use it's Crew Ability, or Discard for its Ops/Combat effect)? Well, for the Espionage effect to be used (typically a green, "OPs" Category), the card must be discarded. (Reference: Core rulebook, page 27). And since the Romulan rules add the stipulation that an "Espionage" ability can only be used by the card's controller, then that means the Ship's controller can't discard the Saboteur for its Ops Effect... only the controller can!
Can the Romulan player discard the non espionage sabatour to trigger the green effect for the Klingon player?
The Short Answer:
Because the rules say so! From the Romulan Rulesheet: "...a Saboteur with a non-Espionage Combat or Action ability may indeed be discarded by the player to whose ship the saboteur is assigned..."
So, this means only the controller of the ship that the Saboteur is assigned to, may discard the card for its Ops effect. This follows the standard core rules.
The long answer:
While the above paragraph follows the standard core rules, I hope I made it clear in my explanation further above that the expansion rules add the rule that "Espionage" abilities can only be used by the card's controller. This is not the case of a non-Espionage ability!
Bottom Line for both questions:
- The rules for playing and using a Saboteur card aren't any different than the core rules, primarily the rule which says a crewmember's Ops or Combat effect can be used, but the card must be discarded to do so.
- The expansions add a rule that assigns "control" of a Saboteur card (to the Romulan player in this case), and stipulates that only the controller can use the "Espionage" ability, thereby preventing the Ship's controller from being able to discard the card as he can't use the ability.
- Other than the above "Espionage" exception, the ship's controller can discard all other crew cards, normally.