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Subject: Skill check secrecy question. rss

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Dave O
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I know you cannot say things like, "I played 2 Leadership cards." and "The 3 cards I played total 8 points."

In a 7-player game this past weekend, one player kept asking the other players, "How many cards did you play?" Some of the other players had no problem with this and others felt that he shouldn't be asking.

We finally agreed that he could ask, "How many cards did you play?" but no one was obligated to give him an honest answer!

My preference for future games is going to be, "If you want to know how many cards someone played, then pay attention to how many they laid down!"

What is the official ruling?
 
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Gareth
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As per the FAQ (quoted below) the number of cards being added to the check is open information. Our handling of this is that, as they are adding cards, each player must honestly say how many they are putting in. After that point, any player may ask but players are not under any obligation to answer or to tell the truth (although they should be careful about being caught out)

Official FAQ wrote:
Players may also say such statements as “I am playing five low cards to this skill check”. They may do this because the number of cards being added to the skill check is open information.

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John McGeehan
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Drenon88 wrote:
I know you cannot say things like, "I played 2 Leadership cards." and "The 3 cards I played total 8 points."

In a 7-player game this past weekend, one player kept asking the other players, "How many cards did you play?" Some of the other players had no problem with this and others felt that he shouldn't be asking.

We finally agreed that he could ask, "How many cards did you play?" but no one was obligated to give him an honest answer!

My preference for future games is going to be, "If you want to know how many cards someone played, then pay attention to how many they laid down!"

What is the official ruling?


If he asks at the time they put them in, they must answer honestly, and prove it if necessary (fan them out, or whatever). When I play BSG, generally people announce how many they're putting in ("I'm adding three" etc.).

However, once the skill check is over, they are under no obligation to answer honestly or at all.
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We play it as you can say the total sum contributed is "low", "medium", or "high". If those ever translate into numbers or even ranges, then we need to use another system. # of skill cards put in is public info, although I could see a variant where if you weren't paying attention, then tough luck.



http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite_sec.asp?eidm...
Check out the FAQs/Errata section

The most official thing is from the FAQ/Errata, secrecy rules section, 8/20/2009 update. Google

Quote:
This section of the FAQ further clarifies the Secrecy rules
found in the rulebook. It covers general secrecy as well as
specific rules that apply to unique situations and components.

This section is only intended for play groups who have
trouble agreeing on what should and should not be allowed
under the current Secrecy rules.

Secrecy Golden Rule
When in doubt, players may make statements that are “polar
opposites”. This means that players may say if they have a
“high” or “low” strength card, but may not say that they have a
“pretty high”, “kinda low” or even a “medium” strength card.

Skill Checks
When adding cards to skill checks, players are forbidden from
listing what card types, colors or strength they played into (or
plan to play into) the skill check.

They may only share information that follows the “Secrecy
Golden Rule”. Common terminology that players use in this
situation is “a lot” or “a little.” The only instance in which a
player may say that he is adding “a medium amount” to a skill
check is if he plays multiple cards into the check.

Players may also say such statements as “I am playing five
low cards to this skill check”. They may do this because
the number of cards being added to the skill check is open
information.

Skill Card Abilities
If a player is hoping that another player has a specific Skill
Card ability, he may ask other players.

For example, if a player is thinking of using the “FTL Control”
location during his Action step, he may ask if any players have
a “Strategic Planning” Skill Card.

Players may admit to having a requested card, but are not
required to.

This information should not be abused (for example, a player
should not just list off all card abilities in his hand).

Hand and Deck Size
The number of cards in each player’s hand, each Skill deck,
Quorum deck and the destiny deck are open information.

The top card of each discard pile is open information, but
players are not allowed to count the number of cards in it.
 
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John Eno
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Capoeirista wrote:
Our handling of this is that, as they are adding cards, each player must honestly say how many they are putting in. After that point, any player may ask but players are not under any obligation to answer or to tell the truth (although they should be careful about being caught out)


Tarrant wrote:
However, once the skill check is over, they are under no obligation to answer honestly or at all.


This strikes me as goofy. Why do your groups change the status of this information from public to hidden once the skill check is done?
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John Eno
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DCAnderson wrote:
There are already examples of this.

The top card of a discard pile is public information, but ceases to be public information if another card is discarded on top of it.


Sure. That rule is in place because otherwise everyone could go back and physically card count six or seven decks. Converting the information of how many cards people put into skill checks doesn't allow for the same kind of game-breaking mechanism, which is why I'm asking people the reason for their houserule.
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Cameron McKenzie
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It's a good practice to announce how many cards you are putting into a check when you do it. Then people shouldn't need to ask.
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Roberta Yang
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kushiel wrote:
DCAnderson wrote:
There are already examples of this.

The top card of a discard pile is public information, but ceases to be public information if another card is discarded on top of it.


Sure. That rule is in place because otherwise everyone could go back and physically card count six or seven decks. Converting the information of how many cards people put into skill checks doesn't allow for the same kind of game-breaking mechanism, which is why I'm asking people the reason for their houserule.


I don't see that as a houserule; I see that as a standard rule. The number of cards being added is public knowledge when they are being added. There is no reason that said event needs to be perfectly recalled at any arbitrary point in the future, and when one considers that memory can fail as the game progresses, creating an end point to when the question can be asked is absolutely necessary - and the logical endpoint is after the action has been taken.

Also, think of it this way: If someone asks me what I did on my last turn, and I Consolidated Power, I can say I launched a scout. I'm allowed to lie. I might be caught lying, I might not - and if you don't catch me, it's your own fault for not paying attention. But will you say that it is against the rules for me to lie about my past actions that were public knowledge when they were taken? If not, then why should the rule be any different here?
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John McGeehan
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kushiel wrote:
Capoeirista wrote:
Our handling of this is that, as they are adding cards, each player must honestly say how many they are putting in. After that point, any player may ask but players are not under any obligation to answer or to tell the truth (although they should be careful about being caught out)


Tarrant wrote:
However, once the skill check is over, they are under no obligation to answer honestly or at all.


This strikes me as goofy. Why do your groups change the status of this information from public to hidden once the skill check is done?


Let us say an unrevealed Cylon puts three cards in - two low positive cards, and a negative 5. Players may assume that card came from the destiny deck.

Two turns later two negative cards from the same color show up in a skill check, and players start wondering what's up - maybe two players could have played it, and they say "Hey, didn't you add three cards to that check?" and the player might want to say "No, I played two low cards!"

Physically putting the cards into the check is, by rule, open, and we always say how many when it's happening because if someone doesn't say they're going to be asked immediately. Now, seconds after the check ends it would probably be stupid for someone to lie about how many cards they put in. But later? It may be in their best interests to do so. Thus, once the cards are all placed in a pile and counted, we no longer consider it mandatory that people answer the question honestly or at all (but note that refusing to answer is a very Cylon thing to do...)
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Not to mention that you can't expect players to necessarily even remember how many cards they put in a skill check during a previous turn. If you can't force them to remember it, how can you force them to be honest about it?
The number of cards should be announced when the cards are played. From that point forward, whether you care to remember that information or not is up to you. The player who played the cards is under no obligation to remind you.
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John Eno
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salty53 wrote:
I don't see that as a houserule; I see that as a standard rule.


Rulebook page citation?

salty53 wrote:
But will you say that it is against the rules for me to lie about my past actions that were public knowledge when they were taken?


No. There's nothing in the rulebook about that, one way or the other. But I can say that I wouldn't way to play with you if that's something you'd do during a game.
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John Eno
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MasterDinadan wrote:
Not to mention that you can't expect players to necessarily even remember how many cards they put in a skill check during a previous turn. If you can't force them to remember it, how can you force them to be honest about it?


Lapses of memory aren't the same as lying.

And, no, I can't force anyone not to play in a way that strikes me as unsportsmanlike. I just won't play with them again.

I do think it's interesting that there hasn't been any mechanical reason that people play with this houserule, and that the idea of lying about public information has never come up in any of the dozen different groups with whom I've played this game.
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Cameron McKenzie
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kushiel wrote:

Lapses of memory aren't the same as lying.

And, no, I can't force anyone not to play in a way that strikes me as unsportsmanlike. I just won't play with them again.

I do think it's interesting that there hasn't been any mechanical reason that people play with this houserule, and that the idea of lying about public information has never come up in any of the dozen different groups with whom I've played this game.


If you find lying to be unsportmanlike, you shouldn't be playing a game of deception. If I asked you "Are you a cylon?" and you are one, you would be okay with lying about it right? So why is it different if I ask you about something else you know that I don't?
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kushiel wrote:
salty53 wrote:
I don't see that as a houserule; I see that as a standard rule.


Rulebook page citation?


If I'm not forbidden to lie, I'm allowed to lie. The burden is on you to find the rulebook page that says I am not allowed to lie.

kushiel wrote:
salty53 wrote:
But will you say that it is against the rules for me to lie about my past actions that were public knowledge when they were taken?


No. There's nothing in the rulebook about that, one way or the other.


And therefore it's valid.

For in-game actions, the default is that something cannot be done unless the rules say it can be done - you can't just draw 10 Piloting cards unless the rules allow it. For talk, however, the rules are reversed - I can say anything I like unless the rules explicitly forbid it. Nothing in the rules says that I can't mislead you about past public actions, so I am free to do so.

kushiel wrote:
But I can say that I wouldn't way to play with you if that's something you'd do during a game.


Then I can say that I wouldn't want to play this game - or, indeed, any other game with a traitor mechanic, such as Shadows or Werewolf/Mafia - with you if you're the sort of person who wouldn't want to play with someone who would lie in a game in which victory relies on lying and the game is structured around deceit. I guess that works out nicely for both of us, now, doesn't it?
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John Eno
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MasterDinadan wrote:
If you find lying to be unsportmanlike, you shouldn't be playing a game of deception. If I asked you "Are you a cylon?" and you are one, you would be okay with lying about it right? So why is it different if I ask you about something else you know that I don't?


You honestly don't understand the difference between lying about public information and lying about hidden information?
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Cameron McKenzie
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Just because it was public information in the past doesn't make it public information now. Cards in the discard are a perfect example of this.

Furthermore, holding people accountable for remembering information that you are just as capable of remembering is kind of hypocritical.
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John Eno
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salty53 wrote:
If I'm not forbidden to lie, I'm allowed to lie. The burden is on you to find the rulebook page that says I am not allowed to lie.


The bit in the FAQ about it being public information about how many skill cards are put into a check is an equivalent statement to "you are not allowed to lie about how many cards you put into a skill check."

salty53 wrote:
And therefore it's valid.

For in-game actions, the default is that something cannot be done unless the rules say it can be done - you can't just draw 10 Piloting cards unless the rules allow it. For talk, however, the rules are reversed - I can say anything I like unless the rules explicitly forbid it. Nothing in the rules says that I can't mislead you about past public actions, so I am free to do so.


The illegality of lying about game state information and public information isn't in any rulebook, because it's not necessary for it to be spelled out. Similarly, I've yet to see a rulebook for any game which spells out that it's illegal to punch another player in the nose for taking an in-game action you don't like, or the illegality of cheating in general, becuase it's not necessary for it to be splled out.

salty53 wrote:
Then I can say that I wouldn't want to play this game - or, indeed, any other game with a traitor mechanic, such as Shadows or Werewolf/Mafia - with you if you're the sort of person who wouldn't want to play with someone who would lie in a game in which victory relies on lying and the game is structured around deceit.


See my response above to MasterDinadan regarding the difference between public and hidden information.

salty53 wrote:
I guess that works out nicely for both of us, now, doesn't it?


At least we can agree on one thing in this thread.
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kushiel wrote:
salty53 wrote:
If I'm not forbidden to lie, I'm allowed to lie. The burden is on you to find the rulebook page that says I am not allowed to lie.


The bit in the FAQ about it being public information about how many skill cards are put into a check is an equivalent statement to "you are not allowed to lie about how many cards you put into a skill check."


Information ceases to be public when it - this isn't getting anywhere, is it? You're not going to accept that public information stops being face-up on the table once it is no longer face-up on the table, are you?

kushiel wrote:
Similarly, I've yet to see a rulebook for any game which spells out that it's illegal to punch another player in the nose for taking an in-game action you don't like, or the illegality of cheating in general, becuase it's not necessary for it to be splled out.


You've obviously never played Nomic.
 
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John Eno
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MasterDinadan wrote:
Just because it was public information in the past doesn't make it public information now. Cards in the discard are a perfect example of this.


They're not a perfect example of that, because there is a specific mechanical reason that there's a rule against looking through the discard piles. There's still yet to be anyone in this thread who's told me a specific mechanical reason that lying about public information should be allowable in other circumstances.

MasterDinadan wrote:
Furthermore, holding people accountable for remembering information that you are just as capable of remembering is kind of hypocritical.


That's not what I'm doing. As I already wrote, I'm holding people accountable for not lying about public information, the same as I would do in any other game. Genuine lapses of memory are another case entirely.
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John Eno
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salty53 wrote:
You're not going to accept that public information stops being face-up on the table once it is no longer face-up on the table, are you?


Nope. Information doesn't cease to be public unless there's a rule making that so, like some kind of specific public-becomes-hidden mechanic. Excepting the discard piles, BSG doesn't have that kind of mechanic.

salty53 wrote:
You've obviously never played Nomic.


True enough.
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John Eno
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DCAnderson wrote:

If the information is not readily available and verifiable, it is not public information.


Yet again: My contention isn't with anyone who's got a bad memory. I can't imagine that even being an issue, because I've yet to play with a group that couldn't collectively remember that kind of detail. My contention is with people deliberately lying about public information.
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Cameron McKenzie
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If your group has good memory, then lying about public information is the equivalent of saying "I'm a cylon." so it shouldn't be a problem.

Enforcing a code of ethics, even in this case, actually can have an effect on the game.

If I'm required to be honest and you ask me how many cards I played on a check earlier, then I can say "I don't remember." and you will know that I don't remember.

If I'm not required to be honest, and I say "I don't remember," it's possible that I really don't, or it could be that I just don't want to tell you. That's a pretty big difference.
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John Eno
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MasterDinadan wrote:
If your group has good memory, then lying about public information is the equivalent of saying "I'm a cylon." so it shouldn't be a problem.


It hasn't been. Like I said, I've yet to encounter (in person, anyway) a group in which this kind of thing would be considered acceptable. And even if it was, it seems really weak in terms of actually maintaining your cover as a cylon. If this is the kind of tactic you need to resort to, you're probably going to be in the brig or a milkbath soon anyway...

MasterDinadan wrote:
Enforcing a code of ethics, even in this case, actually can have an effect on the game.

If I'm required to be honest and you ask me how many cards I played on a check earlier, then I can say "I don't remember." and you will know that I don't remember.

If I'm not required to be honest, and I say "I don't remember," it's possible that I really don't, or it could be that I just don't want to tell you. That's a pretty big difference.


I agree completely. That's why it's really bizarre to me that other people are supporting what I perceive as cheating via out-of-game deception. Obviously it's not breaking the game if everyone playing is okay with it, but it's very strange to me, given its combination of unsportsmanlike behavior and general ineffectiveness (both in terms of tactical advantage and the lack of need for this houserule).
 
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I really doesn't matter if it is public info after the card has been thrown in. If you are asked and constantly lie, you could be called out on it and pegged for a cylon.

Anyway...as there is no way to prove how many you threw in after you have done it...I don't see how it can be public information later on as you are relying on a person's memory instead of a tangible thing...such as hidden money or things behind a screen. And memories are sometimes wrong.
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kushiel wrote:
DCAnderson wrote:

If the information is not readily available and verifiable, it is not public information.


Yet again: My contention isn't with anyone who's got a bad memory. I can't imagine that even being an issue, because I've yet to play with a group that couldn't collectively remember that kind of detail. My contention is with people deliberately lying about public information.
This is quite a gray area.

If it were my games, in general, since BGG does have its roots on some level of deception, I would allow for this. If someone lied and said they didn't put any skill cards into a skill check for some crisis card 2 turns ago, I would allow that. If we're currently still doing that skill check, I would be less lenient about such a lie, but it wouldn't exactly be on grounds for cheating. I don't know if I could ban such a plyaer from playing, even if it were my call



Cheating would be moreso something like lying about the total of a skill check (I acknowledge that some people make honest mistakes and do the math incorrectly by mistake), or grabbing extra skill cards you they weren't supposed to.
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