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Subject: Big question about how to resolve a deal in a specific case rss

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Darian Tucker
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I had played an attack card against my opponent's attack card, then played Emotion Control to change both of them into Negotiates. My opponent and I then conversed, whereupon she agreed to give me a colony if I could giver her an artifact card from my hand. At that point, the only card left in my hand was an artifact. It just so happened to be Card Zap.

So we completed the deal and one of the other players played Quash to kill the deal. I immediately played the Card Zap on it. The other players at the table questioned the move, saying that it wouldn't matter anyway because playing the card would mean that I would no longer have the card to give her and thus the deal would fail. I disagreed, however. The rules say nothing about what happens if the terms of the deal happen to change after the fact. They only say that a colony or card has to change hands for a deal to be successful. I argued that even though I no longer had an agreed upon artifact card to give to my opponent, she could still give me a colony, so the deal would be successful.

Of course, I don't really believe I was right, but no FAQ has ever covered what happens if a deal cannot be carried out after certain cards get played, like the Quash in this instance. Therefore, I decided to follow the rule explicitly, even if it meant my opponent just basically got screwed, because it says the deal is successful as long as something trades places. Is there a correct way to do this?
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Jack Reda
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I would have ruled that the deal proceeds. I would not have allowed you to agree to a deal where you couldn't fulfill it in the first place. That is, if you both agreed to "a colony in exchange for an artifact" when FROM THE BEGINNING you did not have an artifact.

Now in your case, you DID have one when you agreed to the terms of the deal. So, I would say the deal is still valid, and unfortunately your opponent gets nothing. Still better than losing three ships most likely.
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Darian Tucker
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That's the way I see it. Hell, that's part of why I made the deal in the first place. Card Zap is extremely powerful, so I think exchanging it for a colony is fair. Then, if someone plays Quash, you can always use it instead, and presto: you've got a brand new colony and your opponent gets squat. A bit mean, but nothing I could find in the rules makes it seem unfair or illegal.

I would never do the first thing you suggested since that's underhanded when you're not allowed to show your hand to your opponents. It's not like I never intended to give the card away, but I figured playing it and getting a colony was far better than losing three ships but keeping it in my hand for another day.
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Luke O'Hearn
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I don't like that ruling - wouldn't it allow you to Quash your own deal, zap the Quash, and hose you opponent. I think the negotiations should be reopened at that point.

Similarly, if you agree (in good faith) to give an artifact and then discover/remember you don't actually have one, I think that deal should be void but the negotiations should still be open.



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Darian Tucker
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I agree with the second part of your post. The first one is deliciously evil. I had never thought of performing a deal that way, but I might just do it. I mean, sure, from any other side but the person who's getting the colony, it seems wrong, but for that person it makes sense because it explicitly follows all rules as written. The colony is still changing hands. Maybe the card no longer is, but all that is required for a successful deal is that something trades hands.
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I agree with Luke. If a player is not able to fulfill his end of the deal, then it's not a valid deal. Negotiations then continue. The terms of the deal were not "A colony for nothing," they were "a colony for an Artifact".

A deal is valid only if it's agreed to by both parties. If a deal is Quashed and then un-Quashed, negotiations may continue.
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galathonredd wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If a deal is Quashed and then un-Quashed, negotiations may continue.


Not so. Quash is played after a successful deal is made. thus, negotiatioons have closed. So, in the OP's example, a deal gets Quashed and un-Quashed; negotiations do not resume (as they were concluded) and no exchange is made (the terms of the agreement cannot be met). Still, both parties can at least rejoice that they did not lose 3 ships.

Why wouldn't the exchange be made? They agreed to it, the Quash was played to stop it, but then the Quash was cancelled. Why would that completely erase the deal situation? And the deal that was made? The only reason it's an issue in this particular case, is because the exchange can no longer be made, because one of the players no longer has the promised resource. If you can't carry out any deal, each player loses three ships, regardless of whether it was due to a Quash being played or if they just couldn't agree to a deal (perhaps in this case because one of them didn't have the resource that the other wanted).
 
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Jack Reda
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If the terms of the deal were valid when the deal was made, then it still counts. You carry out as much of the deal as you can in that example: one player gets a colony.

Quashing your own deal, and then zapping it (so your opponent gets nothing)? Oi, that's evil. But I believe still valid.
 
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Darian Tucker
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galathonredd wrote:
The Warp wrote:
If the terms of the deal were valid when the deal was made, then it still counts. You carry out as much of the deal as you can in that example: one player gets a colony.


Show me where the rules say that and I'll believe you. Otherwise, you'll have to resort to logic and semantics. I.E.: we made a deal - I give you an Artifact, and you give me a Colony. If I do not give you an Artifact, the deal is not fulfilled, thus you do not give me a Colony. Literally, a deal is either a deal or it is not: it must be resolved completely or not at all, at least acording to common sense.

If this were not the case, then nothing in the rules says I must offer something in a deal which I possess. Therefore, your interpretation means that I can offer you three Flares for a Colony, and if you agree, and then I reveal that I don't have any flares at all, poor you, I still get a colony for nothing. Way to break a good game with selective interpretation of an otherwise well-defined term.

Seriously, games are going to have to start being packed with dictionaries to define every rule used in the rulebook for rules-lawyering of this magnitude.


True enough. That's why I hate this rulebook. It isn't clear on what a deal is. It isn't clear on when a successful deal occurs. Hell, you're exactly right: it DOESN'T actually specify that either player has to actually have the item in question to offer. That's why I'm so annoyed by it. If I were to be the rules lawyer I typically am with games, I would feasibly have to let a deal slide where people lied about what they were giving away as long as at least one card or colony changed hands, i.e. if the two players agreed to exchange 3 attack cards each, but only one of them had an attack card and gave it to the other player, it would still be a "proper" deal.

Now, I won't let that kind of deal occur because the rules don't allow you to cheat by offering a card you don't have. That's my only recourse. In my situation, though, I see no proper way to handle it according to the game's rules. It's little things like this that make you want to throw your hands up and just play something else.
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I understand Jack's argument, but I have to side with Luke. An agreement in principle on a deal isn't quite the same as a successful deal.

Not that this situation has EVER come up in any of my Cosmic games (nobody trades cards), but I would rule like this: original deal can't happen, negotiations restart with whatever part of the 60 seconds were left...
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Adam Rouse
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If someone tried that in a game with me (not that I'd ever make such a weird deal in the first place), my ruling would be that he's not allowed to play Cosmic anymore. That's just way too weasely and loopholey without clear support by the rules.
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When exactly a deal made (considered successful)? Is it when the terms are agreed upon, or when they are carried out?

Thinking about how we've played this aspect...we've only required the terms of the agreement to be in place within the 1-minute limit. we wanted every last second for negotiating, and not want to worry about building in extra time needed to fulfill the moving of ships/cards etc. Sometimes deals can be complicated, and need extra time to make sure the terms are carried out as agreed.

If something happens to mess up the carrying out of the terms, after it was agreed upon, it can't be treated as a Quash, nullyifying the deal. And it can't 'unmake' the deal, allowing negotiations to reopen with a possilby much different deal in place. If the deal is done and final at agreement, then it's considered a successful deal regardless of what the cosmic fates decide to do later.

I believe clear support for this does exist in the rules,

pg. 11: IF A DEAL WAS MADE
The terms of the deal are carried out as agreed upon.
If this was the offenses first encounter he or she may have a second encounter.


So the carrying out of the terms is not a requirement for the deal to be made...it's a subsequent event that tries to happen after a deal IS made.

I think Jack is right on the mark. No one likes a real 'crooked deal' as someone does get hosed in this example, but it's a valid play. The FAQ says that a deal may be one-sided too.

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galathonredd wrote:

If this were not the case, then nothing in the rules says I must offer something in a deal which I possess. Therefore, your interpretation means that I can offer you three Flares for a Colony, and if you agree, and then I reveal that I don't have any flares at all, poor you, I still get a colony for nothing. Way to break a good game with selective interpretation of an otherwise well-defined term.
.


this is not the same interpretation. The difference is you are agreeing to offer something you don't have. Not valid. You need to possess what you are offering at the time of agreement.

 
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galathonredd wrote:
The rule does not say, "Caried out to the best of your abilities." It says "as agreed upon" and nothing less.


It also does not say "if it can't be carried out, the the deal is Quashed or reopened."

galathonredd wrote:
Carried out as agreed upon...as in, if the deal cannot be carried out as agreed upon, then it is not carried out


We both agree that the deal cannot be carried out. But 'Making a deal' and 'Carrying out a deal' are obviously happening at two different times per the rules, so they are NOT the same thing.

Let's look at the very next section in the rulebook:
IF A DEAL FAILED
The main players each lose three of their ships of their choice to the warp.
If this was the offense's first encounter, there is no second encounter, and play passes to the left"


Using your logic, if the main players were unable to lose 3 ships to the warp (maybe all of their ships are already there), then the deal never failed to begin with?

 
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"If a deal is MADE" A deal must be MADE, not just agreed upon. There is no provision in the rules for only carrying out part of a deal. Part of a deal is *not* a deal.
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Just a Bill
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"If a deal is made but then for some reason cannot be carried out as agreed to, it is a failed deal."

Simple, clear, solves all the rulings issues, and prevents people from abusing the game engine.
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btblack wrote:
Using your logic, if the main players were unable to lose 3 ships to the warp (maybe all of their ships are already there), then the deal never failed to begin with?

Not the same. You aren't "agreeing" to lose ships.

Furthermore, there are many effects that cause the loss of a set number of ships, and we have known since 1977 how this is handled. You are taking his logic and applying it to a universal issue, whereas this case is unprecedented as far as I know, and specific to making a deal.
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I agreed to a deal where my opponent asked for three cards including my highest attack card. I had no attack cards. Surely this was not a failed deal.
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galathonredd wrote:
I am prone now to agreeing with Bill Martinson on this one - common sense suggests that a deal that was made but not fulfilled is still not a "successful deal," thus, logically, it is a "failed deal."

Please don't let Phil hear you implying that I have any common sense ... this will undermine half of my arguments with him!

Bustoffson wrote:
I agreed to a deal where my opponent asked for three cards including my highest attack card. I had no attack cards. Surely this was not a failed deal.

To me it sounds like an invalid deal, or a cheat. How is that any different than agreeing to trade an artifact card when you don't have any? Agreeing to trade your "highest attack card" is in fact an agreement to trade at least one attack card — unless you specifically stated your terms as "my highest attack card if I have any".

Come on now, guys ... deals were never designed to be opportunities to use semantics and sophistry to get away with cheating!
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Bill Martinson wrote:

Come on now, guys ... deals were never designed to be opportunities to use semantics and sophistry to get away with cheating!


Oh, trust me, I'm not attempting to use this to cheat. I'm just pointing out how poorly written rules can lead to a lot of headaches. This could all have been handled very easily if the designers had had the foresight to indicate what might happen if a deal can't be carried out as agreed upon. They just needed single sentence stating what happens. Without it, though, you're left to houserule it, which bugs the hell out of me.
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adamxpaul wrote:
btblack wrote:
Using your logic, if the main players were unable to lose 3 ships to the warp (maybe all of their ships are already there), then the deal never failed to begin with?

Not the same. You aren't "agreeing" to lose ships.

Furthermore, there are many effects that cause the loss of a set number of ships, and we have known since 1977 how this is handled. You are taking his logic and applying it to a universal issue, whereas this case is unprecedented as far as I know, and specific to making a deal.


Actually, you are 'agreeing' to lose ships by not agreeing to terms with your opponent within one minute...it's the 'agreeing to disagree' view. both main players know the consequences of losing 3 ships.

And I'm not applying it to a universal issue. I chose very carefully. They are two sides of the same coin. Look for yourself on the top right corner of p.11. The timeline forks. The main players have 2 paths , and both are aware of the consequences or either path. They are forced to 'agree' upon one of the paths.

IF A DEAL WAS MADE
IF A DEAL FAILED

Under each category are the consequences. For the made deal, carrying out terms is a consequence. For the failed deal, losing 3 ships is a consequence.

I know I'm in the minority on this one, and that's okay, but there were requests to support Jack's ruling earlier with something in the rulebook and I think it's there in the top four square inches of page 11.

When exactly is the deal 'made'? Is it when the deal is made(i pick this one), or is it when carrying out the terms? Clearly from the rules, they are seperate things.

Now if you want to say that not being able to carry out the terms dumps you over into the IF A DEAL FAILED route automatically, That's Okay. But you'd be doing so out of what seems fair, and not what the rulebook seems to support. The rulebook clearly puts carrying out deal terms on the same level as losing ships in a failed deal. They are not conditions that must happen......they are consequences that try to.

Aren't you all glad I'm not in your group? (thats rhetorical btw)

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btblack wrote:
Now if you want to say that not being able to carry out the terms dumps you over into the IF A DEAL FAILED route automatically, That's Okay. But you'd be doing so out of what seems fair, and not what the rulebook seems to support.

I don't know about others, but I'm more motivated by what's simple and consistent. The rulebook doesn't really "support" either side here because there's a hole in the rules concerning this (rare) situation. Trying to prove one side or the other using the rules will invariably involve some bending and over-interpreting. So we have to analyze deeper and figure out what makes the most sense overall.

As I see it, your side is arguing that carrying out part of the terms still counts as carrying out the terms (even if the whole thing was a deliberate ruse on one player's part). But, what nobody has mentioned yet is that, even if this were the "better" interpretation, it cannot even be carried out consistently and is more complex than has been presented thus far:

What if both players' offerings become invalidated? Or what if it was a one-sided deal to begin with? Say the agreed-upon trade is an artifact card for nothing, and that artifact card then gets played or stolen. Now there is literally nothing to trade, and according to the rules this cannot possibly be a valid deal, because at least one card or colony has to change hands.

Some folks on your side may not have realized that they are really arguing for a more complex two-case scenario where interference with an agreed-upon deal still counts as a deal in some situations but not others. I see no reason for this complexity, and no support for it in the rules.

Here are the two choices we seem to face:

(1) If a deal is agreed to and then something happens to make it impossible for part of the trade to be fulfilled, but there is still at least one card or colony that can change hands, the deal continues with players handing over as much of what they agreed to as is still possible. This still counts as a successful deal for both players, even if a player got nothing he was promised and even if someone deliberately planned the swindle. However, if all of the cards and/or colonies to be traded are now impossible to trade, the deal fails and both players suffer the appropriate penalties.

(2) If a deal is agreed to and then something happens to make it impossible for any part of the trade to be fulfilled, whether intentional or unintentional, the deal fails and both players suffer the appropriate penalties.

Does anybody want to argue that this situation warrants the baggage of option 1? I see no reason for complexity in a ruling on something so rare that I have never had it come up in a game or even heard about it happening. (And, option 1 would make it a lot less rare as it would provide significant incentive for players to do this on purpose.)

I can appreciate the interest players would have in a knife-in-the-back option they could have fun taking advantage of, but I don't see how it is best for the game and for players overall. Responsible game design favors a simple ruling that encourages the affected game mechanic to be used as designed, rather than a more complex ruling that encourages abuse of the game mechanic so some folks can have fun with a "gotcha".
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btblack wrote:

Actually, you are 'agreeing' to lose ships by not agreeing to terms with your opponent within one minute...it's the 'agreeing to disagree' view. both main players know the consequences of losing 3 ships.

No, you aren't agreeing -- not by definition. One player could very well want to make a deal while the other refuses and ends it himself. Tell me how it's agreeing to lose ships when one player is saying please please please please deal with me and Masochist just says neverinamillionyears. Occasionally players "agree to disagree," but there is no reason to assume this is always the case, and it's certainly not the situation we should assume is the default. If you fail to deal, the game treats it as a disagreement.

Losing 3 ships is a universal issue. Plague creates it. Many aliens and flares cause the loss of X number of ships. We have known for a very long time that if you lose more ships than you have, you lose all of them except where an exception is explicitly noted. It is nothing specificly to do with a deal.

Carrying out a deal you have AGREED to is different and specific to this situation, unlike the consequence for failing to agree.

And no, the rulebook does not seem to support that. It specifically says the deal is carried out as agreed upon, which in this scenario is not happening. And if it doesn't happen, you revert to the three ships lost, which are carried out as best as possible as a consequence.

In actual play, I (and the rest of my group) actually don't bother with rules debates. If it goes on longer than a few seconds, we pick the seemingly fairest option and figure it out later, so no, I wouldn't mind being in your group. I'm pretty easy going until I hit the forums, haha.

Edited a bazillion times for not being able to spell or quote properly before noon.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
"If a deal is made but then for some reason cannot be carried out as agreed to, it is a failed deal."

Simple, clear, solves all the rulings issues, and prevents people from abusing the game engine.

Almost, but not quite. It's only a failed deal if the 60 seconds has run out. If there's time left, a deal could still be made.
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I came about my interpretation by looking at it this way. If you make a deal (agreed on both sides, valid and all that jank), and then another player plays Quash, and then the Quash is zapped.... zapped by ANYONE... but for now let's say it was zapped by a completely uninvolved player. The deal is then back on, valid as ever. No problems there. And that is the foundation of how I fall on this issue. The deal is still valid and should be carried out.

But, suddenly part of the terms of said deal is missing. This is the tricky part, to be sure. And for the sake of argument, it took the two players a whole minute to agree to the deal. There's no going back to the negotiating table. Is this a failed deal? I don't believe so. If it isn't failed, the only option is to carry out as much as can still be carried out.

You buy something on a payment plan and break it the next day, you still gotta pay for it, even though you now have nothing to show for it.

And following that train, if you are the culprit that intentionally zaps his own Quash in order to leave no artifacts in your hand... well, you're an underhanded bastard person, but I still feel the deal goes on. Next time, everyone will be leery of any terms you try to offer.

 
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