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The Mines of Zavandor» Forums » Rules

Subject: Improvement ruling needed [Espionage] rss

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Bryan Kline
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Just played this game for the first time a week ago. Definitely enjoyed it; but then, I'm a big fan of the Scepter of Zavandor so there's little surprise that I liked this too. However, we came across one question about the Ruby Mole Shrine improvement's 'Espionage' ability.

The player who played the card (not me) argued that the ability of Espionage allowed him to pick up one color of gems he used to bid with *any* time after the bids were revealed. That included after the winning bids were calculated, and after the bid gems were 'spent' and losing bids were placed off to the side. He even argued that the ability allowed him to recover the gems he spent in the event of a winning bid, as this qualified as 'picking up the gems after bids are revealed'; he's just picking them up from the discard piles that they went to.

This interpretation is (to me) obviously broken, as you could just continually re-spend the same gems every turn without ever having to lose them. (That player even admitted as such when I asked him about it.) However, he also argued that that was the intention of the card, and I was unable to point to any places in the rules to contradict his argument.

I was hoping someone could post some clarification on this, maybe point to a relevant rule or something. I would like to know the exact timing of the card's ability. Does it let you pick up cards after a bid is revealed but before the gems are spent/set aside (to reduce a high winning overbid or recover a losing bid), or does it let you pick the gems up after they're been set aside (to recover a losing bid), or does it let you pick up gems after they've been 'spent' on a bid (free money), or any combination of the three? How powerful is this card supposed to be?

Thanks
 
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Evil Roy
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You're right, your friend's interpretation is clearly broken and it is clearly not how the card was intended to play. I'm not aware of this card's function being spelt out in more explicit detail than is on the card but I don't think it needs to be.

Why would anyone support an interpretation of this card that is so broken?
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Brian M
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That's a tricky thing to prove that you can't do from the rules because the rules don't really cover that, probably because its so bizarrely strange an interpretation that they never considered it.

Read as literally as possible, you must retrieve the cards "after bids have been revealed". Since "after" does not normally mean "anytime in the game after that", it should probably be treated as "immediately after". That means you reveal your bids, then you can retrieve cards, then cards are purchased.

This would mean you could reduce a high winning overbid or recover a losing bid, but you could not retrieve gems used to win a card, which I think is the intent.

I have to agree with Roy though (even if he is evil) - if there are two possible interpretations and one breaks the game, that one is probably wrong
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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This seems more of a 'friend' problem than a rule problem. Does he do this type of thing a lot?
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Thomas Büttner-Zimmermann
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This is actually very clear.

In the auction step, all players secretly choose the bids they want to make.

Then, they simultaniously reveal their chosen bids.

NOW the effect of the mole kicks in, and the player may retrieve any number of [own] cards of one type; for example if he didn't win an auction with them, or if he bid too much in case another player tries to win the auction against him.

Only after the effect of the mole, the actual cards are given to the player(s) who NOW have the most cards.

So, no taking after the auction, only directly after the bids are revealed (as stated on the card; there is exactly ONE time in the round you can use this card, and that is AFTER THE BIDS ARE REVEALED - not after the auctions are won!).
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Alexander Pfister
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As the designer of the game I can confirm, that the above answers are correct. The effect takes places immediately after the bids are revealed.
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Chris Jones
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I read this and thought hard too. Again I ended up deciding that once the bid has been paid for the cards are no longer 'there' to be returned to your hand. It just allows you to have cards for upgrades later.

Great game BTW, we're playing again tonight!
 
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