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Subject: "At any time" FAQ ruling rss

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Bryan Stout
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In the Summoner Wars FAQ it says:

Quote:
Q: Some Special Abilities or Events say that you can choose to trigger them "at any time". Can I trigger these powers in the
middle of a roll, or trigger them before the effects of an Event Card are resolved?
A: No. You can trigger "at any time" powers anytime during your turn, or in between any phase of your opponentʼs turn.

To give some context, there are 2 "at any time" actions (so far) that can be done out of turn:
- Spending 2 Magic Points to discard the Tundra Orc Freeze card.
- Placing cards from your Magic Pile under the Cave Goblin Champion Blarf.
This issue arose during the discussion on this thread where someone asked, "Can players avoid the consequences of a Magic Drain by spending their Magic Pile on Blarf or Freeze first?"

I completely agree that answer should be No. "At any time" powers should not be invoked in the middle of an action like an attack or Event card play.

However, I think the solution is too broad and draconian. In the effort to forbid doing something in the middle of an action, it also forbids doing something between actions. This violates the idea of "at any time", for no good reason that I can see. I can think of no harm being done by spending Magic Points on Freeze or Blarf in the middle of an opponent's phase, as long as it is not trying to avoid an action that has already begun.

Therefore I respectfully propose that it should instead say something like this:
Quote:
A: No. You can trigger "at any time" powers anytime during your turn, but during other players' turns you may not interrupt an action (such as an Event card or attack) until it is resolved.


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Patrik Eden
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Good point.

I guess one reason for the draconian solution is that "phase" is a well-defined word in Summoner Wars, while "action" is not. I think it could be defined, but just listing some examples "such as ... etc." will probably stumble upon a rare situation which is not represented by the examples.

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Joseph Arthur Ellis
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Yeah, if I'm playing with a new player, there's no way I would go into detail enough to stop them from, say, unfreezing someone in between my attacks. If they asked about unfreezing after I reveal a Magic Drain card, I would just say, "Of COURSE you can't do that." But disallowing unfreezing between attacks isn't nearly as intuitive.

There's all these technical rules, which I have no problem understanding and would be happy to follow in a tournament. But in casual play, especially when teaching the game to non-gamers, there's just no way all those rules will be enforced.
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Fede Miguez
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"No! I was not interrupting! I started saying it before you did but you didn't hear me! You were interrupting me!"
"Mooooooom! PePe is cheating again!"

Barliman: could you give examples of were this is better than the other case? The one I can think of right now is seeing how the opponent goes with his attacks and decide if you unfreeze units like Thorkur or Baldar and even then I find it more interesting to make the gamble before the attacks starts and after the movements are done (which shouldn't be much of a gamble anyway).

PD: I have never ever cheated and will never do it again.
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Colby Dauch
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Yeah, there is no such thing as an action in Summoner Wars. To define such a term would mean intricately listing out every single thing that you are proposing to be an action, and then each time a special ability that allows you to do something outside of the established rules was created that would create an errata to that list.
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Bryan Stout
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PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
Barliman: could you give examples of were this is better than the other case? The one I can think of right now is seeing how the opponent goes with his attacks and decide if you unfreeze units like Thorkur or Baldar and even then I find it more interesting to make the gamble before the attacks starts and after the movements are done (which shouldn't be much of a gamble anyway).

I had trouble understanding that second sentence, PePe. At any rate, I wasn't thinking about what is more interesting, but what is a better interpretation of "at any time".
 
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Bryan Stout
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screamingtruth wrote:
Yeah, there is no such thing as an action in Summoner Wars. To define such a term would mean intricately listing out every single thing that you are proposing to be an action, and then each time a special ability that allows you to do something outside of the established rules was created that would create an errata to that list.

OK, how about this?:
Quote:
Q: Some Special Abilities or Events say that you can choose to trigger them "at any time". Can I trigger these powers in the
middle of a roll, or trigger them before the effects of an Event Card are resolved?
A: No. Once an attack is announced Once attack dice are rolled, or an Event Card is played, they are continued until completion, and may not be interrupted, even by "any time" effects.

The specific issue is answered, unnecessary limitations of the meaning of "any time" are avoided, and no new terminology is introduced.

Win-win, right?

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Patrik Eden
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Barliman wrote:

OK, how about this?:
Quote:
Q: Some Special Abilities or Events say that you can choose to trigger them "at any time". Can I trigger these powers in the
middle of a roll, or trigger them before the effects of an Event Card are resolved?
A: No. Once an attack is announced Once attack dice are rolled, or an Event Card is played, they are continued until completion, and may not be interrupted, even by "any time" effects.

The specific issue is answered, unnecessary limitations of the meaning of "any time" are avoided, and no new terminology is introduced.

Win-win, right?




Good try. But soon I would probably post to you FAQ e.g. about Unit abilities that trigger after movement. Is the movement one action and ability resolution one action, or are they lumped together into a single action? The "intuitive" or "theme-motivated" ruling could well differ from ability to ability, and your FAQ explodes...

I actually pondered this when Thorkur was revised, because I thought it would be nice if he could trigger his ability once per "action" or "wounding occation". He would be more similar to original Thorkur, but since he suffers at least one wound whenever an attack or event card inflicts two or more wounds, you cannot play the extreme-life strategy.

But then, if an event card generates several attacks, is that one or several actions/occations? After trying some general formulations, I was left with creating a huge, multi-dimensional matrix (lasting event card combined with immediate event card combined with Unit ability) which even I who wrote it would forget immediately.

"Phase" and "turn" is nice.


 
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Fede Miguez
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Barliman wrote:
I had trouble understanding that second sentence, PePe. At any rate, I wasn't thinking about what is more interesting, but what is a better interpretation of "at any time".
That was not the intention although it might have looked like that.
But still my curiosity isn't satisfy, why you think a change would be better? What cases are more clear o simple? Not trying to be funny here, really want to know what you are getting at.
 
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Bryan Stout
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Hmm. Patrik, you are raising issues I wasn't even addressing. In my second proposal I dropped any general term like "action", so the complications you thought about don't apply to it.
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James Sitz
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It'd be cumbersome in a tournament to have to repeatedly ask an opponent if they'd like to remove a Freeze after every single thing you do, or to modify your play to go slowly enough to avoid having to ask.

When I've played with the current rule (in tournaments or casually against a Guild Dwarf or Vanguard player), I usually ask after my movement phase if they'd like to remove a freeze on a Guardian Knight or Defender or Oldin or whatever before I proceed with my attack phase.

Summoner Wars works best with minimal interruptions on other player's turns.
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Bryan Stout
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PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
why you think a change would be better? What cases are more clear o simple? Not trying to be funny here, really want to know what you are getting at.

I am mildly bothered that the meaning of "at any time" is being needlessly watered down to actually mean "between phases".

I agree that "at any time" should not include meaning "in the middle of a dice roll", or "just before an Event's effect is resolved". Once the trigger is pulled it is too late to do something before the bullet comes to rest, so to speak. I think that that principle can be easily stated without limiting the freedom that the rule "at any time" originally intended.
 
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James Sitz
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If we were to do a rewrite of Blarf and Freeze, I think it'd actually be more likely that it'd become more restrictive, not less. I could see it being like Silts or Kynder- any time on your turn, without the "once per turn" clause.
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Bryan Stout
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Jexik wrote:
It'd be cumbersome in a tournament to have to repeatedly ask an opponent if they'd like to remove a Freeze after every single thing you do, or to modify your play to go slowly enough to avoid having to ask.

When I've played with the current rule (in tournaments or casually against a Guild Dwarf or Vanguard player), I usually ask after my movement phase if they'd like to remove a freeze on a Guardian Knight or Defender or Oldin or whatever before I proceed with my attack phase.

Summoner Wars works best with minimal interruptions on other player's turns.

I agree about the minimal interruptions. Why would we need to ask an opponent if he'd like to remove the Freeze? It's up to him to announce when he wants to do it.


I'm a bit surprised at all the resistance being shown here. In the thread I linked to above, the resistance went the other way. Most people said that the OP was being too much the rules lawyer, making an issue about something that had never been a problem among those experienced with the game. But now, when I'm trying to suggest a way to restore that original interpretation, it feels like no one likes it.


Here's a third stab at a revised FAQ response. In that thread, Colby's first response was:
screamingtruth wrote:
Event cards resolve immediately. So if a Magic Drain card is played it resolves immediately. You can't say 'No wait I put those cards under Blarf before you can get them.'

So, in that light:
Quote:
Q: Some Special Abilities or Events say that you can choose to trigger them "at any time". Can I trigger these powers in the
middle of a roll, or trigger them before the effects of an Event Card are resolved?
A: No. Event cards resolve immediately. Dice rolls resolve immediately.
 
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Fede Miguez
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Barliman wrote:
I am mildly bothered that the meaning of "at any time" is being needlessly watered down to actually mean "between phases".

Fair. I took it as a rule that was written before more sneaky people had a look at it so I don't mind the paint coat it was given. What I was aiming to was that in practice there isn't much of a gameplay difference with either way to do it. The cases are during the Event Phase, were you could rule that once an Event is revealed from a hand (before saying what it does) it's resolved and during the Attack Phase when you see that it might help your frozen unit to get it off.

edit: included quote
 
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James Sitz
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Barliman wrote:
Why would we need to ask an opponent if he'd like to remove the Freeze? It's up to him to announce when he wants to do it.


I like to avoid these timing issues and the sorts of arguments that can potentially arise in a tournament situation. In casual settings, I've usually played a few hundred more times than my opponents, so I'd like to remind them that such a thing is even possible.

Similarly, I will ask my opponents if they've got Shadows in hand when I destroy a Shadow Elf. There's really no reason not to play it. I'm not fishing for information- merely moving the game along.
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KevOne
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I didn't read this whole thread but what we have currently works beautifully and I do not see the need to change the rule.

"" At any time during your own turn is literately ANY time. During your opponent's turn is in between phases. ""

I like the simplicity of ruling and this is perfect.
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Bryan Stout
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Jexik wrote:
I like to avoid these timing issues and the sorts of arguments that can potentially arise in a tournament situation. In casual settings, I've usually played a few hundred more times than my opponents, so I'd like to remind them that such a thing is even possible.

Similarly, I will ask my opponents if they've got Shadows in hand when I destroy a Shadow Elf. There's really no reason not to play it. I'm not fishing for information- merely moving the game along.

That's the same spirit I like to have, too. In casual games, I like to to point out possible moves, and I'll often do it in serious games as well. But in either casual or tournament games, a few reminders is enough; if repeated warnings don't work, the best way to help them learn is to let them get burned.

I see no need to "repeatedly ask an opponent if they'd like to remove a Freeze after every single thing you do". I can only assume you were exaggerating for rhetorical effect, James, because asking the same thing over and over would not only be tedious but downright annoying to the player it's supposed to "help".
 
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Bryan Stout
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screamingtruth wrote:
Yeah, there is no such thing as an action in Summoner Wars. To define such a term would mean intricately listing out every single thing that you are proposing to be an action, and then each time a special ability that allows you to do something outside of the established rules was created that would create an errata to that list.

Hi Colby (or James),

Do you have a suggestion for a term to use for "things a Unit can do"? The reason I'm asking is that I'm writing up a SWs Glossary explaining the meaning of terms used on the cards. I would much rather have a single entry for "After", than separate entries for "After attacking with", "After being destroyed", "After moving", "After wounding", for example. But apparently something like

Quote:
- After acting. Immediately after the action mentioned, before any other actions start.

Would bother you.

I guess I could do something like

Quote:
- After attacking with / being destroyed / moving / wounding. Immediately after the activity referred to is completed, before starting anything else.


But it would be nice to know if there is some sort of acceptable blanket term for "things Units do", including movement, attacking and Ability-based alternate behaviors like healing.

Any suggestions?
 
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Patrik Eden
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Barliman wrote:
Hmm. Patrik, you are raising issues I wasn't even addressing. In my second proposal I dropped any general term like "action", so the complications you thought about don't apply to it.


Ah, true. Sorry.

 
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