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Subject: Vulch - Card Zap Question rss

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Michael Saggers
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Can the Vulch salvage the Card Zap artifact and then use it to zap the Card Zap just played?

E.g. Player 1 attempts to play the Plague artifact, Player 2 plays the Card Zap artifact, Player 3 (the Vulch) then salvages the Card Zap and using the same card tries to zap the Card Zap.

I ruled against this occurrence in a recent gaming session, but I have a nagging doubt about whether I ruled correctly or not.

My reason for disallowing? The Card Zap states that it must be played just as the player attempts to use a flare or artifact. At the point that the Card Zap is initially played, the Vulch does not possess it to use it as a counter. The Vulch only acquires the Card Zap artifact after it has already been played.

Opinions please.
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Jon Gon
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You ruled correctly. When Vulch salvages the Card Zap he also salvages the Plague. Unless another artifact/flare is played there is nothing to Card zap.

However if Vulch wanted player 2 plagued, he could salvage both artifacts and then plague player 2. At this point if he changed his mind (or was mad) he could actually Card Zap the Plague artifact again.
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Roger
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Absolutely right, a card cannot be played to counter another effect after something else has taken place. In this event:

* Plague is played
* Card Zap is played
* Card Zap and Plague are salvaged
* Card Zap is played

The salvage power for Vulch is the last event, not the Card Zap being played.

Another way of looking at it is that if the Card Zap has been salvaged, there is no Card Zap on the table left to Zap, otherwise it would cause that divide by zero effect and cause the universe to collapse in on itself.

(I just had a horrible thought about having duplicate powers in the game and everyone is Vulch. A plagues B, who plagues C, who plagues D, who plagues E, who plagues A, etc... That's a heck of a way to start a game. "Everyone in the Warp!")
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Where are you seeing this rule? There's nothing in the rulebook that prevents this from happening, and I would rule that you /can/ do this.

'Course, I play rather "loosey-goosey", as we allow Zaps to happen at any time in the challenge, and that prevents the power from there on out (rather than when the power is initially declared). We also play no-holds-bar on Flares. Yes, our games are rather chaotic

-shnar
 
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Big Head Zach
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Think about it this way, Shnar. The only way Vulch gets an artifact is when it is discarded, AFTER it's been played and its effect carried out. Once the Card Zap does what it does, you can't retroactively go back and undo it - you allowed it to happen.

If I interpret Vulch the way you seem to be, then Vulch could theoretically prevent any artifact from having an effect by taking it into his hand first. That also sounds wonky, in my opinion.

It's all in the name of putting a limit on the chaos so people don't get frustrated and brain-hurty. A method to the madness, if you will.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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But Vulch's power doesn't negate it, he just gets to take it into his hand. Why can't he use it immediately when he takes it into his hand? And there's no rule that says one effect "ends" the sequence of another's (i.e. using the Vulch power doesn't "end" the Card Zap). You can totally card zap a card zap, and since we're still in the same phase, the Vulch is free to zap that zap with his newly earned zap!

But, to each his own. Greatest thing about CE, it's easy to customize to your style of play

-shnar
 
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Michael Saggers
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Thanks for your replies guys. I'm feeling a bit more comfortable with my interpretation. I realise that some people play it differently, but it does make more sense to me the way that I ruled.

I liked the whole divide by zero argument. I will use that on the group next time we play. I'm sure that they don't want the universe to collapse in on itself. :D
 
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John Clark
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My $.02 -- I agree with the OP's ruling.
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Michael Sheets
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I'd say the key to answering this is determining when a card goes into the discard pile. If you play that the card is played 'into' the discard pile I'd say the Vulch could grab and use it. But I'd say and the FAQ hints that this is not the case.

There is a question in the FAQ that asks "After you play a flare, at what point does it re-enter your hand?", it states the flare re-enters your hand after resolving it's effect. (The Machine part of the FAQ also covers a similar question.)

I'd rule that the card zap is played in front of you (as is the Plague artifact) and both cards are fully resolved before going to the discard pile. Fully resolved would include any countermeasure cards or alien effects. Thus the Vulch would not get the chance to grab the card before the effects have been resolved.
 
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Chris Withem

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how about this scenario

Player A plays Plague on Player B
Player C card zaps Plague
Player B card zaps Player C's card zap
Vulch salvages player B's card zap
Player C card zaps Plague with salvaged Card Zap

Possible or must entire "stack" resolve before cards are salvaged?
 
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Roger
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NoobSauce wrote:
how about this scenario

Player A plays Plague on Player B
Player C card zaps Plague
Player B card zaps Player C's card zap
Vulch salvages player B's card zap
Player C card zaps Plague with salvaged Card Zap

Possible or must entire "stack" resolve before cards are salvaged?


Interesting scenario. I admit, I'm not 100% certain how this should play out, but in a pinch, I'd rule that this scenario isn't valid based on my group's discard order rule.

The second Card Zap resolves it's effect, nullifying the first. Both would then be discarded, but the question in timing here is in what order are cards discarded? We've been ruling it to be in the order that they are played, so Player A's Plague gets discarded first, then Player C's Zap, then Player B's on top of that, even though C's Zap nullifies B's Zap before Plague is resolved. This is simply my ruling, though, but it conveniently clears things up for the Fido Wild Flare, which forces the top card of the discard pile into your opponent's hand. Without a discard order rule, the "top" card is ambiguous after a big encounter with lots of encounter cards, reinforcements, flares, and artifacts being tossed about. This is the simplest way we could think of to avoid this situation.

Of course, the big story here is why is Player B so adamant at wanting to get Plagued by Player A that he Zaps C's attempt to save him? Is he really low on encounter cards? Perhaps he has some insight as to what is on top of the draw deck? Is he Vacuum or Masochist?
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Chris O
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OP is right. Anything to the contrary is ludicrous.

How can the Vulch Card Zap his own Card Zap as if the player he stole it from still had it, thereby being back in the time where it wasn't in his possession to ever use it to begin with?

It's the SAME CARD. You can't use a card AGAINST ITSELF. You can Card Zap the OTHER Card Zap (since there is 2 of them in the deck, but not the EXACT same one.) This should be fairly obvious.
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Chris Withem

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Rogue42 wrote:
NoobSauce wrote:
how about this scenario

Player A plays Plague on Player B
Player C card zaps Plague
Player B card zaps Player C's card zap
Vulch salvages player B's card zap
Player C card zaps Plague with salvaged Card Zap

Possible or must entire "stack" resolve before cards are salvaged?


Interesting scenario. I admit, I'm not 100% certain how this should play out, but in a pinch, I'd rule that this scenario isn't valid based on my group's discard order rule.

The second Card Zap resolves it's effect, nullifying the first. Both would then be discarded, but the question in timing here is in what order are cards discarded? We've been ruling it to be in the order that they are played, so Player A's Plague gets discarded first, then Player C's Zap, then Player B's on top of that, even though C's Zap nullifies B's Zap before Plague is resolved. This is simply my ruling, though, but it conveniently clears things up for the Fido Wild Flare, which forces the top card of the discard pile into your opponent's hand. Without a discard order rule, the "top" card is ambiguous after a big encounter with lots of encounter cards, reinforcements, flares, and artifacts being tossed about. This is the simplest way we could think of to avoid this situation.

Of course, the big story here is why is Player B so adamant at wanting to get Plagued by Player A that he Zaps C's attempt to save him? Is he really low on encounter cards? Perhaps he has some insight as to what is on top of the draw deck? Is he Vacuum or Masochist?


Well, I suppose the honest question is, does the game function with a stack similar to Magic: The Gathering as in you resolve the last played card fist, all the way tot he first card played? or do all cards resolve simultaneously such as in your example. I could redo mys scenario in a way that the vulch player is trying to stop the plague from being played on an ally he wants to protect or on himself I suppose, or he could be trying to ensure the plague goes through so he may double-plague.

Trader Plagues Vulch
Vulch Card Zaps Plague
Trader Card Zaps Card Zap
Vulch salvages Trader's Card Zap
Vulch Card Zaps Plague
Vulch Salvages Plague
Vulch Plagues Trader

I guess this scenario would make more logical sense.

 
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Just a Bill
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I think this is essentially correct, but we should define our context. I believe that Cosmic Encounter has no stack for unrelated actions, but has a LIFO (Last-In-First-Out) Stack for related actions.

By "related action" I mean an action that specifically responds to the current action (typically to cancel it, but occasionally to modify it), or is specifically precipitated by the current action.

If we are in the middle of something and a player wants to initiate an action not directly related to what's going on, they either have to wait their turn or show that the timing rule gives them precedence (in which case the current action would have to be rolled back as appropriate). Thus "most" actions are essentially in a queue that is controlled mainly by timing icons and the timing rule.

But, every game that has concepts like zap and unzap has at least a minimal LIFO stack to handle actions that cancel, modify, or are precipitated by other actions. If you're trying to use your power and I zap you and you Card Zap my Cosmic Zap, we've just created a three-layer LIFO stack with the use of the power on the bottom and the Card Zap on the top, waiting to see if another Card Zap is going to undo it before it resolves. Due to the inherently nested nature of each action trying to undo the one before it, this stack is pretty much defined for us.

So I'm not really disagreeing with you; I'm just clarifying that I agree there is probably no stack in the context of "most" (i.e. unrelated) actions.
 
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Carl Olson
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CaptainCosmic wrote:
NoobSauce wrote:
Well, I suppose the honest question is, does the game function with a stack similar to Magic: The Gathering as in you resolve the last played card fist, all the way tot he first card played?

No.

No CE rulebook has ever even implied that there was such a creature as "the stack." In CE, timing questions are usually solved by:

1. Looking carefully at what phases are legal for the cards in question;

2. Using the universal tie-breaker rules (in the FFG edition, they are listed on the back of the rulebook);

3. Prayer;

4. Emailing Peter Olotka directly. He's at peter@thisisafakeaddress.com



Semantics. It isn't called a "stack", or even referenced directly, but the rules function as if there were a stack, or two. So yes, you can consider that there is a stack when you play, but no, it isn't called that and doesn't formally appear.
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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The wording of the FFG Card Zap is so clear that I'm perplexed that the thread is veering off into Magic terminology. "Negate a flare or artifact card just as a player attempts to use it."

Even without thinking in Magic "stack" terms, it should be obvious that "after the card has been put in the discard pile" is not the same as "just as a player attempts to use it."
 
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Chris Withem

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The main thing i'm trying to figure out is, Do the card zaps hit the discard pile before the plague is resolved, thus allowing Vulch to salvage them and reuse them before the plague resolves? Or once all possible cards are played is the entire "stack" resolved near simultaneously or as mentioned before LiFo that Bill implies? To this extent does Vulch also salvage cards in an order, or all simultaneously?
 
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Just a Bill
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EDIT: I was rushed and posted something that didn't make sense. See better post below.

Well, let's break it down:

Plague is played
: Card Zap is played
: : (no response to Card Zap)
: Card Zap resolves (discarded)
: Vulch salvages Card Zap
: : (no response to Vulch)
: Vulch resolves (adds Card Zap to hand)
: -- note: Vulch can't use Card Zap against itself; it already resolved
: Card Zap (same one) is now played against Plague
: : (no response to Card Zap)
: Card Zap resolves (discarded)
Plague resolves (canceled and discarded)

So in the case cited by the OP, Vulch's salvaged Card Zap cannot zap itself, but it can be used against Plague because Plague is still in its "waiting to see if it got zapped" phase. At this moment the salvaged zap in Vulch's hand is no different than the other zap in, say, Sniveler's hand. Any number of different players can try to zap Plague, each in turn, and it doesn't matter where they got the zap as long as they legitimately had it in their hand before Plague resolved.

Structurally it's pretty simple, but in practice sometimes it takes a few extra gray cells to process through it.
 
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Roger
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Well, let's break it down:

Plague is played
: Card Zap is played
: : (no response to Card Zap)
: Card Zap resolves (discarded)
: Vulch salvages Card Zap
: : (no response to Vulch)
: Vulch resolves (adds Card Zap to hand)
: -- note: Vulch can't use Card Zap against itself; it already resolved
: Card Zap (same one) is now played against Plague
: : (no response to Card Zap)
: Card Zap resolves (discarded)
Plague resolves (canceled and discarded)

So in the case cited by the OP, Vulch's salvaged Card Zap cannot zap itself, but it can be used against Plague because Plague is still in its "waiting to see if it got zapped" phase. At this moment the salvaged zap in Vulch's hand is no different than the other zap in, say, Sniveler's hand. Any number of different players can try to zap Plague, each in turn, and it doesn't matter where they got the zap as long as they legitimately had it in their hand before Plague resolved.

Structurally it's pretty simple, but in practice sometimes it takes a few extra gray cells to process through it.


I think you missed a step in there, because it looks like you're double-Zapping the same Plague. That said, I concur that this stack-based look at it works, and would allow the Vulch to recover the second Zap zapping the first Zap if the Zaps are indeed discarded before the Plague can resolve. This is one of those timing issues that I'm still not quite clear on the intent by the game designers. Do the zapped Zap and zapping Zap get discarded before the Plague (ready for salvage) or are they in some form of "limbo", waiting for the cards played before them to be discarded before they, in turn, can be discarded. I'm fairly confident that your interpretation is the former, but I'm just curious what supports one vs. the other.
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Just a Bill
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Rogue42 wrote:
I think you missed a step in there, because it looks like you're double-Zapping the same Plague. That said, I concur that this stack-based look at it works, and would allow the Vulch to recover the second Zap zapping the first Zap if the Zaps are indeed discarded before the Plague can resolve.

Yeah, I'm an idiot. I had to dash off to an appointment and was rushing to finish this; should have known better. Here's what I should have said:

Plague is played by Macron
: Card Zap #1 is played by Sniveler
: : Card Zap #2 is played by Macron to cancel the first one
: : : (no response to Card Zap #2)
: : Card Zap #2 resolves (discarded)
: : Vulch salvages Card Zap #2
: : : (no response to Vulch)
: : Vulch resolves (adds Card Zap #2 to hand)
: Card Zap #1 resolves (canceled and discarded)
: Vulch salvages Card Zap #1
: : (no response to Vulch)
: Vulch resolves (adds Card Zap #1 to hand)
: Card Zap (just acquired) played by Vulch against Plague
: : (no response to Card Zap)
: Card Zap resolves (discarded)
Plague resolves (canceled and discarded)
Vulch salvages Plague
: (no response to Vulch)
Vulch resolves (adds Plague to hand)

Note that I have gone into excruciating detail here that is typically not necessary. As a practical matter, both Card Zaps would be picked up by Vulch together. But I wanted to lay out the precise individual timing of a LIFO stack, since this discussion is about exactly what happens when.

We don't all have to agree that Cosmic uses a LIFO stack, but in discussing it we should at least on what a LIFO stack is. (Since it may be a bit counter-intuitive to some that zap #2 would hit the discard pile before zap #1, I thought I should make it clear that this is what a LIFO model requires.)

LIFO is a very clean and straightforward way to understand these interactions and allows us to make interpretations consistently and without exceptions ... but the design team might have a different model in mind. Some designers find it more intuitive for certain things to happen in an apparent first-come-first-served sequence. I don't care for that myself, because it causes the individual "wrappers" for each action to overlap each other rather than nest cleanly within each other, requiring additional rules to cover exception conditions. Again, FFG may have a different model in mind than this -- but this is how we play in my house.
 
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Chris Withem

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I would agree with this form of a stack as M:TG's is very similar. Most stacks are really. I just really wanted to know if in a "card zap-card zap" situation could vulch salvage one (or both if neither was his) and replay a card zap on the original target. And this stack/scenario seems to describet hat yes he can
 
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No, Vulch cannot retrieve a Card Zap from the discard pile, go back in time, and use it to zap itself. Vulch picking up the Card Zap from the discard pile is not part of the same sequence of events as the Plague & Card Zap -- it's a different thing entirely.

The only way you can justify it is by applying "the stack" exactly the same way Magic does, where everything in the game is part of the same moment in time and time stops until everyone is done playing cards. That is not what is happening here.


Card Zap "interrupts" and stops the Plague. Vulch's power does NOT "interrupt" the Card Zap in any way. Bill's concept of a LIFO stack is valid, but in FFG CE it only gets to about 3 steps:

1) Flare or Artifact card is played
2) Card Zap is played to cancel step 1
3) The other Card Zap is played to cancel the first Card Zap.

That's it. (Note that Bill's example lays this out clearly -- when the responses stop, that's it.) As far as other timing issues, the game clearly lists in what priority any confusing simultaneous actions are resolved -- see the back of the rulebook.
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Just a Bill
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Chris and Jefferson, I think it's possible that you guys are talking about two different things, and that you are both right.

I think Chris wanted to know if one of the salvaged zaps could be played against the original target -- i.e., Plague -- which is what my example is showing is possible. But Jefferson is also correct that it would not be possible to salvage a zap in time to play it against itself (which is what I, too, thought was being asked at one point in this thread).

Hope I made that more clear and not less!
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Jefferson Krogh
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Oh, I see -- yes, I didn't realize that the "original target" was Plague.

I agree with you that Vulch could indeed re-zap Plague after the first zap had been zapped. That's about the only way I can imagine three Card Zaps getting played in a series like that, given the current construction of the FFG deck. (If FFG adds Mesmer to the game, then all bets are off and there will be heavy drinking.)
 
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Chris Withem

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Ah yes. Its a confusing situation and harder yet to put into words sometimes. I was indeed talking of playing on the original target (plague, flare, quash, etc etc)
 
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