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Subject: What counts as "playing" an Action Card? rss

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Daniel Grant
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Here is the scenario:

It's the Yssaril player's turn, and he slaps down "Signal Jamming" that he says he is using on a neighboring Hacan system. Hacan's all like, "Whoa. Wait up bro. We can work out a transaction. I'll give you 5 Trade Goods to not play that card on me."

The Sol player perks up. If Yssaril doesn't play the card on Hacan, he knows the card will be played on him because he is the only other available target and Yssaril is trying to avoid passing. Plus Sol would also benefit by Hacan being jammed.

Can the deal be executed and the "Signal Jamming" taken back to be played on Sol? Or has Yssaril naming the Hacan system as the intended target count as the card being "played" with no take-backs? How would you rule if you were refereeing the game?

Poll
How do you rule on the above scenario?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
Let the Yssaril and Hacan do the deal. This is how Action Cards are played.
80.4% 37
No take-backs. Hacan gets jammed because Yssaril played the card.
13.0% 6
Let the Yssaril and Hacan do the deal only if Sol doesn't complain.
2.2% 1
House rule that Yssaril and Hacan can do the deal if they can cut in Sol.
0.0% 0
Other. Explain.
4.3% 2
Voters 46
This poll is now closed.   46 answers
Poll created by Jatta Pake
Closes: Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:00 am
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Jeff Wagner
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I think the intent of TI is that these things are negotiable. If Hacan starts offering TG's, Sol may want to up the ante, or at least start persuading Yssaril on the merits of "jamming" Hacan.
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Dustin Shunta
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This is a tough issue. I think Rule 2.7 and 27 are pertinent:

Quote:
2.7 To play an action card, a player reads and resolves the card’s
ability text. Then, he discards the card, placing it in the action
discard pile.


Quote:
27.1 Players can make deals with each other at any time


On the one hand, arguably Yssaril played the card and the target can't be changed. On the other hand, the rules are silent about when a card is considered played and silent about this specific issue.

What is clear to me is that Yssaril could negotiate with the Hacan and/or Sol about the target of the Signal Jam before playing it. Therefore, in my view, any ruling that doesn't let all the parties negotiate feels terrible because it amounts to form over function. Not to mention if you enforce these sorts of rules strictly, it will slow down the pace of play significantly (or lead to a lot of upset players when they can't check their excitement/emotion).

I wish there was a way to prevent excessive extraction of value though. As an example, a player in TI3 threatened multiple players at the table with Scientist Assassination, each one paying a TG not to have it played on them that turn. Eventually the player took a different action and then in the next round did the exact same thing. IIRC, they were able to extract 6-8TG from that one card before someone refused to pay and the card was played.

I'm really interested to hear how other people handle these types of issues.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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I think by the rules the card should be played as if. However...

With any complex games, players HAVE to use shortcuts to keep the game flowing. The concept has been actually codified in, for instance, Magic the Gathering Organized Play because, well, while *players* need to be able to shortcut "proper" play so that games can be done in a reasonable time frame, judges need something solid to make rulings on.

One could say that the correct (optimal to maximize odds of winning) way to play Twilight Imperium would be to have all decisions that can be affected by a trade or negotiation to follow the sequence:

A) Announce intent
B) Foreach Player:
B.1) Request offers of trade/negotiation on intended action
B.2) Receive response
B.3) Repeat until both parties arrive at understanding
C) Repeat until all players are agreed
D) Do action

This would take forever. So it could be said that saying "I'm playing this card on X" is basically a shortcut that does the whole block A to D assuming nobody has anything to offer to change that intent in steps B to C, and that someone piping in to make a counteroffer should be considered as overriding the shortcut and causing a rollback to the state at step A.
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Clayton Threadgill
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This really isn't *that* kind of game. There's a lot to recommend getting together with a group of friends to romp around the galaxy for the whole day. Someone who's going to argue about the exact step at which an action card is considered "played" is just making the experience less fun for all involved, including themselves.

"No take-backs" is only necessary in two situations - when there's something at stake for the winner, or when one or more players are known to be unscrupulous. Basically, if there's a reason to expect cheating.

Barring that, the action card is negotiable until all players agree that it's done. If the Sol player doesn't approve of the deal, then they need to get into that negotiation and make their own proposal.
 
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Jeff Wagner
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hooliganj wrote:
This really isn't *that* kind of game. There's a lot to recommend getting together with a group of friends to romp around the galaxy for the whole day.

Exactly - In Magic or Yugioh, the sequence is critical and when the effect occurs is paramount - this is totally different. You state your intention by announcing your action and then if anyone wants to make a deal to alter your action, the negotiations commence, ending when the active player takes his action.
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Scott Lewis
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Jimb0v wrote:
This is a tough issue. I think Rule 2.7 and 27 are pertinent:

Quote:
2.7 To play an action card, a player reads and resolves the card’s
ability text. Then, he discards the card, placing it in the action
discard pile.


Quote:
27.1 Players can make deals with each other at any time


On the one hand, arguably Yssaril played the card and the target can't be changed. On the other hand, the rules are silent about when a card is considered played and silent about this specific issue.

Here's my take on it - I think 2.7's wording or "reads and resolves" is important.

Slapping the card down may qualify as "reading" it, but until the card is actually resolved, I don't think it would count as really having been played. Even declaring intent isn't resolving it yet. Until the CC is put in the system, it's not really functionally different than the player flashing the card and saying "I have this, and I'm going to play it in this way".

Basically, as written, I would say until you've actually resolved the cards effects, you haven't "played" it, and thus you could change targets or even decide to withhold it altogether. Or, perhaps, until you've firmly committed to going through with it "That's my final answer" style.

Now, I'll admit that could make Sabotage's wording a bit awkward, but at the same time, it still could work - the card is resolved, and then canceled (unresolving the effects).

Regardless, I think the kind of interaction described by the OP is typical for games (and of TI3 in particular). Sure, maybe it would be "better" to first say "hey, I'm going to play this on you", before actually playing it, but just like the "official" action card play sequence was never actually followed in any game of TI3 I ever participated in, I think the gist is not to make the playing of action card rigid and annoying (except where timing between two effects may make a difference), but rather to let the game be fluid and adapt to the situation.
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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hooliganj wrote:
This really isn't *that* kind of game.


Does not compute.

Can you point to me a citation from the rulebook that suggests this isn't this sort of game?
 
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Daniel Grant
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sigmazero13 wrote:

Basically, as written, I would say until you've actually resolved the cards effects, you haven't "played" it, and thus you could change targets or even decide to withhold it altogether. Or, perhaps, until you've firmly committed to going through with it "That's my final answer" style.

Now, I'll admit that could make Sabotage's wording a bit awkward, but at the same time, it still could work - the card is resolved, and then canceled (unresolving the effects).


You mention Sabotage which is the scenario I was leading up to in my hypothetical situation. More on that in a bit. But I agree with the early consensus, at least that is how I've always played TI3. I'm actually surprised it has been unanimous so far. I guess many games are ultimately not played with the zealous rules lawyer types or eight hour games would take 20 hours to play.

On to my Sabotage hypothetical. Let's say all of the above happens:
1. Yssaril slams down Jamming Signals and taps the Hacan system
2. Hacan goes "Whoa bro! Let's make a deal!"
3. Sol perks up.

At this point, Hacan's buddy Jol-Nar throws down "Sabotage" and screams "NOT MY ALLY!"

At this point can Yssaril rescind the Hacan target since it was not resolved and target Sol instead so it isn't wasted? If so, does Jol-Nar "take back" their "Sabotage Card" provided they hate Sol and don't want to help? If so, it still seems like Jol-Nar would be disadvantaged because even though he didn't burn a "Sabotage" card, everyone at the table now knows he has it.
 
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Jatta Pake wrote:
I guess many games are ultimately not played with the zealous rules lawyer types or eight hour games would take 20 hours to play.

I know I avoid playing this type of game with the kind of person that would rules lawyer it to death for that very reason (plus the "sucking all the fun out of it" bit).

Quote:
On to my Sabotage hypothetical. Let's say all of the above happens:
1. Yssaril slams down Jamming Signals and taps the Hacan system
2. Hacan goes "Whoa bro! Let's make a deal!"
3. Sol perks up.

At this point, Hacan's buddy Jol-Nar throws down "Sabotage" and screams "NOT MY ALLY!"

At this point can Yssaril rescind the Hacan target since it was not resolved and target Sol instead so it isn't wasted? If so, does Jol-Nar "take back" their "Sabotage Card" provided they hate Sol and don't want to help? If so, it still seems like Jol-Nar would be disadvantaged because even though he didn't burn a "Sabotage" card, everyone at the table now knows he has it.

I would say, when Jol-Nar does that, Ysarril would say "Hold on, Hacan is offering to talk, there may not be anything to Sabotage yet."

Perhaps it depends on exact group dynamics, though most groups I've played with have been pretty much the same. When playing a card, there's usually a pause for the unspoken "are you going to bribe me not to play it", followed by a pause for "sabotage", if needed. If the first pause is met with "hold on, we can work something out", then things go in stasis until a deal is made (or not); if the card play still stands, then the sabotage would come into effect.
 
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PK Levine
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Disclaimer: This is how our group handles things. In practice, everything here comes down to how your particular group plays. In other words, this isn't really a question of rules -- it's one of group dynamics.

sigmazero13 wrote:
Here's my take on it - I think 2.7's wording or "reads and resolves" is important.


This is exactly what I was about to say. Until everyone agrees that the action card has been fully resolved, and have moved onto whatever happens next, it's still being played. I realize my phrasing is too "fuzzy" to qualify as a rule, yet I also think that it's something everyone can understand.

Jatta Pake wrote:
I guess many games are ultimately not played with the zealous rules lawyer types or eight hour games would take 20 hours to play.


Amen. I'm here to have fun with friends. This isn't a tournament or a "gotcha!" game. If someone has just made a mistake, we let them fix it (e.g., if someone moves ships > fleet supply into a hex, we point it out, they go "whoops, sorry!" and move one back; we don't make them destroy a ship). If someone plays an Action Card and announce that now (effect A) happens, and the table corrects them that no, they misread it, it does (effect B), they can take it back and rethink what they're going to do. Why rules lawyer and argue? The great thing about TI is that our races are trying to dominate each other while we players are just friends having fun.

sigmazero13 wrote:
I would say, when Jol-Nar does that, Ysarril would say "Hold on, Hacan is offering to talk, there may not be anything to Sabotage yet."


Agreed again.
 
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+1 for letting players rewind to negotiate. Negotiation and deal-making is what makes TI fun.

No game of TI goes without rules questions, most human gamers don't get to play TI very often, and it is an all day commitment to play. While the rules this edition are leaps and bounds tighter than TI3's, there are still holes, and still a potentially overwhelming amount of rules.

As for Jol-Nar's Sabotage being revealed, it is a double edged sword. It is weakened by knowledge of its existence, but it is also strengthened by the fear of its existence. Players that have a good action card know they won't resolve it if they try to target the Jol-Nar, so they may end up holding on to it, or using it somewhere else to not anger the Jol-Nar. In a worst case scenario, a player will have to bait out the Sabotage with a good card so that they can then resolve their other good card.

That double-edged power makes intentionally revealing a Sabotage a rather scummy move (and I wouldn't tolerate it happening repeatedly), but makes it not sting so much when it gets revealed accidentally.
 
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Dustin Shunta
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here is a situation that arose in a recent game, how would you all handle it?

Player A built 2 Pds at his home system early in the game, one on each planet(may have even been starting pds). At some point in the mid game that player accidentally jostled the pds units so they were clearly both on the same planet instead of different planets. Player B made his unit purchases for attacking player A to fulfill an objective based on player A's visible board(he bought dreadnaughts for bombarding not hf and carriers). When the attack happens there is a Toni fcontroversy as player a player finally notices the pds location issue and it becomes clear the fight where player b was heavily favored they now basically couldn't win.

The table voted and ruled the pds had to be kept on one planet. I think that's the right decision. How would you rule it?
 
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Jimb0v wrote:
The table voted and ruled the pds had to be kept on one planet. I think that's the right decision. How would you rule it?


Tough one. PDS cannot be moved in TI4, so if even one other player could back up Player A's story that they were originally positioned one on each planet, I'd rule that they should be returned to that state.

Since Player B made major decisions based on an incorrect board state, I would let them take back their previous action, possibly even take back more actions if it could be done without rolling back too many things or impacting even more players.

If rolling back is not possible, Player A should be forced to give Player B something in compensation, be it Trade Goods or a Promissory note.
 
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Daniel Grant
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IncrediSteve wrote:


That double-edged power makes intentionally revealing a Sabotage a rather scummy move (and I wouldn't tolerate it happening repeatedly), but makes it not sting so much when it gets revealed accidentally.


Really??? I'm genuinely curious about how that is scummy? Scummy implies it's either immoral, unethical, or against the rules. With so much left open to deal making between players, including using the threat of simulated military conquest and outright lying, I'm curious how revealing Sabotage is scummy.

Or do you mean it is "in game" scummy and you'd make the player face an in game consequence (similar to them whelching on a non binding deal)?
 
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RE: the PDS situation, I agree that's a tough one. It's one thing to do an immediate rewind, and quite another to do a rewind that goes back more. In TI3 it would have been tougher because of PDS mobility. But it's hard to find a solution for either side that works - Player A was working on the assumption his PDS were on each planet, Player B was working (and probably planning) on that not being the case. There's no real good solution, so I hope the individual group can find a good compromise that works for them.

RE: Intentional Sabotage, I agree a bit with Daniel that I don't think I see how it's "scummy" - in fact, overall, I do think it "hurts" the Sabotage holder more than it helps, even if slightly. I always play cards with the assumption that someone might have Sabotage, so never bank my whole plan on such a card. If I *KNOW* someone specific has it, it leaves me with a slight advantage because now I can attempt feints to draw it off, as mentioned. There are many good ACs out there, and sometimes it's OK to sacrifice one to set up another one.

That said, I know many of those I play with will often make the evil chuckling, fingering the cards when someone plays a card against them, so there's always the second guessing on when someone actually has it or they are just bluffing.
 
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Jatta Pake wrote:
IncrediSteve wrote:


That double-edged power makes intentionally revealing a Sabotage a rather scummy move (and I wouldn't tolerate it happening repeatedly), but makes it not sting so much when it gets revealed accidentally.


Really??? I'm genuinely curious about how that is scummy? Scummy implies it's either immoral, unethical, or against the rules. With so much left open to deal making between players, including using the threat of simulated military conquest and outright lying, I'm curious how revealing Sabotage is scummy.

Or do you mean it is "in game" scummy and you'd make the player face an in game consequence (similar to them whelching on a non binding deal)?


I'm not seeing it either. It's a game about posturing and negotiation. If a player reveals an ability to get an advantage that's a valid choice.
 
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We do not allow revealing action cards. Anyway it is forbidden by the rules - 2.5 "A player’s action cards remain hidden from other players until they are played."

Players intentionally revealing Sabotage deprive other players of the ability to bluff. No one will believe your bluff, if you do not show the card, when everyone else does. And on the other hand by showing it a player effectively uses it more than once.

In our games you are always free to tell what you have in your hand. But you may never show it to prove it.
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bogzal wrote:
We do not allow revealing action cards. Anyway it is forbidden by the rules - 2.5 "A player’s action cards remain hidden from other players until they are played."


This. They are meant to be hidden. Whilst the game doesn't punish you for preemptively revealing them the way TI3 did with Secret Objectives, I feel it is definitely against the spirit of the game to intentionally reveal one. It cheapens the real bluffing and negotiating.
 
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bogzal wrote:
We do not allow revealing action cards. Anyway it is forbidden by the rules - 2.5 "A player’s action cards remain hidden from other players until they are played."


To take this back to the original post...given 2.5 couldn't you say that Yssaril's revealing of Signal Jamming "played" the card? It was revealed thus it was "played". No take-backs.

TI4 groups that allow the "take-back" and Yssaril and Hacan deal are essentially house-ruling away 2.5. This is fine, but if you were refereeing a game of TI4 for a bunch of strangers at a Con, it seems like you shouldn't allow the "take-back" because Yssaril "played" the card.
 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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Jatta Pake wrote:


To take this back to the original post...given 2.5 couldn't you say that Yssaril's revealing of Signal Jamming "played" the card? It was revealed thus it was "played". No take-backs.


Agreed. Would change my vote from Other to No Takeback if I could given this information. Allowing takeback in this particular case is mathematically equivalent to allowing an action card reveal as far as information flow is concerned.
 
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Of course we allow take-backs on honest mistakes, premature play (usually) etc.

We do not allow players to intentionally reveal cards, when the sole purpose of this act is to gain some kind of advantage.

Regarding original post: blood must be shed. In similar cases our group allows negotiations, bribery and threats to switch the target. This is the funniest part of the game. But the card itself was revealed and the card must be played (no take-backs in this meaning).
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Daniel Grant
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bogzal wrote:
Of course we allow take-backs on honest mistakes, premature play (usually) etc.

We do not allow players to intentionally reveal cards, when the sole purpose of this act is to gain some kind of advantage.

Regarding original post: blood must be shed. In similar cases our group allows negotiations, bribery and threats to switch the target. This is the funniest part of the game. But the card itself was revealed and the card must be played (no take-backs in this meaning).


If I can restate this interpretation - your group considers an Action Card played if it is intentionally revealed, however the target of the card can still be negotiated before the action is resolved. So in the original scenario, Hacan could buy off Yssaril to change the target to Sol. But the Action Card must be played by Yssaril because they revealed it.

But what happens if Hacan is the only valid target of the Action Card? Let's say Sol and Yssaril are not neighbors, and only Hacan is neighbors with Yssaril. Would your group allow the "Signal Jamming" to be taken back and the Hacan/Yssaril deal go through? Or do you not allow the deal and Hacan gets jammed no matter what? Or is there a third option - you allow the deal but the Action Card is wasted without a target?
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2.5 isn't saying you are forbidden to reveal your action cards. It's just saying they are private information (as opposed to open hands). In TI3, there was similar language for ACs, but also a much more specific restriction on Secret Objectives with an explicit penalty.

In fact, if you were outright forbidden to show hidden Action Cards at all, it would make the Hacan "Arbiter" ability pretty useless - I can't imagine many players saying yes to a trade involving "unknown" action cards. IE, if Hacan had an Action Card they wanted to give me, but couldn't show me what it is, there's no way I'd accept that as part of an agreement, as what they may think is valuable could be just the opposite based on my plans.
 
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sigmazero13 wrote:
2.5 isn't saying you are forbidden to reveal your action cards. It's just saying they are private information (as opposed to open hands). In TI3, there was similar language for ACs, but also a much more specific restriction on Secret Objectives with an explicit penalty.

In fact, if you were outright forbidden to show hidden Action Cards at all, it would make the Hacan "Arbiter" ability pretty useless - I can't imagine many players saying yes to a trade involving "unknown" action cards. IE, if Hacan had an Action Card they wanted to give me, but couldn't show me what it is, there's no way I'd accept that as part of an agreement, as what they may think is valuable could be just the opposite based on my plans.

Agreed. Rules about keeping your action cards hidden is about the other players ability to see those cards, not your ability to expose them. Feel free to reveal your entire hand if you like, though that's generally going to work against you. However, other players are not allowed to look without your permission and cannot demand that you reveal a card without using a special ability of their own.

When you play a card you are required to reveal it. However, revealing it is not the same as playing it.
 
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