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Subject: Ironworks and Trader rss

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Matt E
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I feel a bit awkward asking this question, which I am 99% confident I already know the answer to. Still, I can forsee people arguing it, so I thought I'd get absolute clarity now so that I can point to this page if and when the question does arise.

If I play an Ironworks and choose to gain, say, a Great Hall, then I reveal a Trader from my hand and gain a Silver instead, which one of the following happens?

A. I get +1 Card/+1 Action from Ironworks.
B. I get +$1 from Ironworks.
C. I get no bonus from Ironworks.

I'm quite certain the answer is 'C', but I'd appreciate an official ruling.

Thanks!
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matt feldman
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LastFootnote wrote:
I feel a bit awkward asking this question, which I am 99% confident I already know the answer to. Still, I can forsee people arguing it, so I thought I'd get absolute clarity now so that I can point to this page if and when the question does arise.

If I play an Ironworks and choose to gain, say, a Great Hall, then I reveal a Trader from my hand and gain a Silver instead, which one of the following happens?

A. I get +1 Card/+1 Action from Ironworks.
B. I get +$1 from Ironworks.
C. I get no bonus from Ironworks.

I'm quite certain the answer is 'C', but I'd appreciate an official ruling.

Thanks!


ooh good question. tested on isotropic.

You play an Ironworks.
... You gain a Great Hall.
... ... You reveal a Trader to gain a Silver instead of a Great Hall.
... ... You gain a Silver.
... You draw an Estate and get +1 action

i'm going to go with A.
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Mr. Dirt
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jojobinks wrote:
LastFootnote wrote:
I feel a bit awkward asking this question, which I am 99% confident I already know the answer to. Still, I can forsee people arguing it, so I thought I'd get absolute clarity now so that I can point to this page if and when the question does arise.

If I play an Ironworks and choose to gain, say, a Great Hall, then I reveal a Trader from my hand and gain a Silver instead, which one of the following happens?

A. I get +1 Card/+1 Action from Ironworks.
B. I get +$1 from Ironworks.
C. I get no bonus from Ironworks.

I'm quite certain the answer is 'C', but I'd appreciate an official ruling.

Thanks!


ooh good question. tested on isotropic.

You play an Ironworks.
... You gain a Great Hall.
... ... You reveal a Trader to gain a Silver instead of a Great Hall.
... ... You gain a Silver.
... You draw an Estate and get +1 action

i'm going to go with A.


I guess the thought is that you gain the Great Hall with Ironworks, and the silver is gained by the Trader. Your bonus comes from the Ironworks gain.
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Nate S
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edit: I now believe the answer is "C" based on the card FAQ for Trader.

That is a really good question actually, and one that will probably require Donald to give us an answer. I would say I'm quite confident the answer isn't "C", but I could not tell you with certainty whether it's "A" or "B".

The card text of Ironworks is oblivious to the possibility that the card you choose and the card you gain will be different. The bonus is effectively a triggered effect, but it is slightly unclear what timing event is used to trigger it: Is it the choice of card, or the actual gain of the card? Gun to my head with no official ruling, since it says "gain a card", I would time the bonus on the actual gain and give you +$1 in this case. This timing gels with an existing combo I'm pretty sure I've been playing right: Ironworks to gain an Island, then reveal Watchtower to put the Island on top of the deck, then trigger the Ironworks bonus to draw Island off the deck and get +1 Action. So: If you were to ask my opinion, I think Isotropic is getting it wrong (triggering the Ironworks bonus on the choice rather than the gain), and this particular combo has never occurred to Donald or the playtesters before.

This matters slightly since real cases could arise where you would like to gain a Silver but get the Ironworks bonus for some other card instead (like Great Hall). Now I really doubt Donald would care one way or the other in terms of the power-level of this obscure combo, but I bet he has an opinion on which ruling is clearer and will choose that ruling.
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Jeremy Volk
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I would have argued for B.
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Ben Colburn
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I'd have argued for B as well, but I can see that A is also acceptable for the following reason: the 'it' in the second half of the Ironworks ruling refers back to the 'card costing up to 4'.

Let's say that Trader gave you a Gold instead of a Silver. We couldn't then interpret the 'it' as meaning the Gold, because it doesn't (ordinarily) cost up to 4. So I can see the justification for A. But it could go either way.

I can just about see the argument for C: you didn't gain the card from Ironworks (you gained it from Trader) so there is no card to determine its bonus. However I think we have good reason to reject this interpretation even without an authoritative answer since 'it' clearly refers to the card you would've gained.
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Nate S
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I can easily see interpreting "It" in the published card text to be either the card you chose or the card you gained, or perhaps even the card you chose but only if you actually gained it (though this seems unnecessarily complex). I prefer "B" (bonus based on the card you actually gained) because it preserves the bonus as a strict triggered effect with well-defined timing that can be justified by the literal card text. In any case, this is a thorny question. Time to reword Ironworks!

"Choose a card costing up to 4 Coins and gain it. If the card you chose was..."


edit: One more thought. Since action cards resolve from top to bottom, the bonus does not occur until you finish gaining the card. Which means my Watchtower/Island example is definitely correct... but it still leaves open the question of whether the bonus is based on the chosen card or the actually-gained card.
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Nate S
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Oh god, now imagine what happens when you add Possession to the mix cry

Alice makes Bob play Ironworks, choosing for Bob to gain a Great Hall. Possession tells Alice to gain the Great Hall instead of Bob. Now Alice reveals a Trader from her hand and gains a Silver instead. What Ironworks bonus (if any) do we assign to Bob? Certainly I think this question should have the same answer as the original question, but it makes me even less sure about whether "A" or "B" is the right answer. If it's "B", then Ironworks has to "know" that the final gained card was different from the one Bob was about to gain before Possession whisked it away.

If only Ironworks had my alternate wording from the post above...
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Stephen Roney
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I suppose the same question (with the possibility of answer C) arises if you gain the card with Ironworks and then TRASH it with Watchtower......
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Nate S
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Ah-ha! I see why you decided the answer was "C", and I think you're actually right. From the card FAQ:

"if something would have happened due to gaining the other card, it does not happen, because you did not gain it."

Sorry about all the :words:. I should have gone straight to the card FAQ rather than trying to reason this out from the card texts alone.
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Kevin Costello
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The actual text on Ironworks is:

"Gain a card costing up to $4.

If it is an...
Action Card, +1 Action
Treasure Card, +1$
Victory Card, +1 Card"

So I don't see any kind of timing trigger at play. It doesn't say "if you gained..." or even "if you do". The second part isn't really conditional on anything happening. It just does something different based on the type of thing that happened.

The key issue as I see it is that its kind of ambiguous as to what "it" is. Is "it" the card that was actually gained? Or is "it" the card that you tried to gain?

My argument as to why "it" can't refer to the actual card gained is that we can't assume that Trader is the only card that does something like this. Sure, Trader swaps out the Great Hall for a Silver, but Trader could just as easily have swapped out the Great Hall for both a Gold and an Estate. What would we do then? There's no reason to think that "it" would refer to either one of them, and it would be super weird for "it" to refer to two things. In fact, Trader could have said to gain a silver "in addition to whatever you were going to gain" instead of "instead". In that case, Ironworks certainly wouldn't have referred to the silver.

Point is, once the trader is played, all kinds of weird stuff could happen, so there's no way that the "it" on Ironworks could consistently refer to anything not directly referenced by Ironworks itself.

So I feel like that rules out "B".

As for "A" vs "C", I fall back on the fact that we've learned from other Trader rulings, that when a card has the instructions "Gain an estate.", that doesn't necessarily mean you will gain a card. It just is an instruction, that basically means "Try to gain an estate." And then whether or not an actual gain occurs depends on other factors. Also, when it says "Gain a card", that means you have to choose, and its already established that when this choice comes up, you have to choose a card that is possible to gain (you can't gain an island when there are no islands just to get +1 card/+1 action).

So given this, my interpretation of the "Gain a card" on Ironworks is "Choose a valid available card and try to gain it." Now I see the "it" printed on Ironworks as referring to the card you tried to gain, and since Ironworks doesn't have any text that is conditonal on the gain actually happening, I agree with isotropic in choosing "A".

P.S. Full disclosure, I'm quite certain I'm biased by isotropic's implementation. If isotropic did "B" or "C", I might very well be arguing as to why they're correct. That said, I think the above is a pretty good argument as to why isotropic is right.

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Matt E
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Kevin, I agree entirely on your reasoning for why B is not a valid option. I was coming back from lunch ready to post almost the exact same reasoning, but you beat me to it.

However, I'm not entirely sold on whether the correct option is A or C. I could see it going either way. As Nate said, the FAQ does seem to lean in the direction of C, although depending on what is really meant by 'it', it could be A.
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Nate S
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With the benefit of reading the Trader FAQ, I'm pretty confident in saying "It" must be interpreted to refer to the chosen card, but only if you actually gained it. Trader canceling the would-gain of the original chosen card is just like what would happen in the (preposterously unlikely) event that Ironworks had no legal targets to gain: It failed to gain the card it wanted to gain, so it gets no bonus.
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Kevin Costello
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ghorsche wrote:
With the benefit of reading the Trader FAQ, I'm pretty confident in saying "It" must be interpreted to refer to the chosen card, but only if you actually gained it. Trader canceling the would-gain of the original chosen card is just like what would happen in the (preposterously unlikely) event that Ironworks had no legal targets to gain: It failed to gain the card it wanted to gain, so it gets no bonus.


I wouldn't be shocked if you're right, but reading the trader FAQ and the ironworks text, I still think it would be A.

"if something would have happened due to gaining the other card, it does not happen, because you did not gain it."

My argument is that as worded, the Ironworks effects don't happen due to gaining the card. They just happen. There's no "if you do" clause. It doesn't say "if the card you gained is...". It just says, "if it is...". So if we agree that "it" refers to the chosen card, I don't see where Ironworks cares if the gain was successful, and so I don't think that bit from the Trader FAQ applies.

The super super obscure case of when Ironworks has no valid target is definitely a weird case, but its not because it "failed to gain the card it wanted to gain", it failed to even choose the card that it wants gain. So "it" is totally meaningless in that case. But in the Trader case, "it" still refers to the chosen card.
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Stephen Roney
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kevincos wrote:

The super super obscure case of when Ironworks has no valid target is definitely a weird case, but its not because it "failed to gain the card it wanted to gain", it failed to even choose the card that it wants gain. So "it" is totally meaningless in that case. But in the Trader case, "it" still refers to the chosen card.


In fact, it is so obscure that it requires Copper, Silver and Estates to all be empty, thus the game would already be over.....
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Jon Simantov
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sroney wrote:
In fact, it is so obscure that it requires Copper, Silver and Estates to all be empty, thus the game would already be over.....


Unless you are playing a 5 or 6 player game. Or if you emptied the 3rd pile earlier in your turn.
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Kevin Costello
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sroney wrote:
kevincos wrote:

The super super obscure case of when Ironworks has no valid target is definitely a weird case, but its not because it "failed to gain the card it wanted to gain", it failed to even choose the card that it wants gain. So "it" is totally meaningless in that case. But in the Trader case, "it" still refers to the chosen card.


In fact, it is so obscure that it requires Copper, Silver and Estates to all be empty, thus the game would already be over.....


Its actually worse than that, but its still possible. You need Ironworks itself (and any other cheap action cards) to be empty too.

But its definitely doable if you have a ton of actions and ironworks. Grab up a bunch of grand markets, cities, markets, and a watchtower. Then you can drain the estates and curses completely. Then you have to drain the coppers, silvers and any other valid actions down to 1 each (probably with a watchtower to not actually gain them).

Then on one big turn, ironworks->silver, ironworks->copper, ironworks->ironworks, ironworks->watchtower, and finally ironworks->???.
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Michael Giron
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kevincos wrote:
sroney wrote:
kevincos wrote:

The super super obscure case of when Ironworks has no valid target is definitely a weird case, but its not because it "failed to gain the card it wanted to gain", it failed to even choose the card that it wants gain. So "it" is totally meaningless in that case. But in the Trader case, "it" still refers to the chosen card.


In fact, it is so obscure that it requires Copper, Silver and Estates to all be empty, thus the game would already be over.....


Its actually worse than that, but its still possible. You need Ironworks itself (and any other cheap action cards) to be empty too.


Don't forget that the curse pile would need to be empty as well! whistle
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Destry Miller
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What I want to know is what happens when you gain a Silver with your Ironworks, but use your Traders to gain a Silver instead? It's literally the same card!
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Whitney Barnes

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Is it fair to assume that the Isotropic implementation was checked with Donald? So Ironworks bonus is given out just after the pile (with the right cost) is chosen, but before the card is actaully gained?
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Jeff Chamberlain
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swbarnes2 wrote:
Is it fair to assume that the Isotropic implementation was checked with Donald? So Ironworks bonus is given out just after the pile (with the right cost) is chosen, but before the card is actaully gained?


It is a reasonable assumption. But it could still be wrong. whistle No way to know for sure until he or someone who can confirm they consulted him about the isotropic implementation chimes in.
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Nate S
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The isotropic implementation is almost certainly happenstance based on the assumption (also implied by the Ironworks card text) that the card gained will always be the card chosen. I find it exceptionally unlikely that isotropic implements a deliberate design intent with respect to this specific combo.

I'm quite confident in "C" at this point, but it's not out of the question that "A" or "B" could be the eventual answer, and I think there's little point discussing it further absent an official ruling. In any case, if you do this on isotropic right now you will get "A"
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Jeff Wolfe
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swbarnes2 wrote:
Is it fair to assume that the Isotropic implementation was checked with Donald? So Ironworks bonus is given out just after the pile (with the right cost) is chosen, but before the card is actaully gained?

I would say that it's not fair to assume that Doug has implemented the card correctly. Doug does a great job, but he's not infallible.

Personally, I don't remember this coming up during playtesting. Which is not to say that it didn't come up. Lots of things happen that I don't see, and I don't always remember the things I do see.

Also, as Donald said in Trader's Preview thread, the reaction on Trader changed during playtesting. The way it worked when it was different, this wasn't an issue.

I'm inclined to believe that isotropic has it right, but I'm as interested as the rest of you in what Donald has to say about it.

Edit: to be clear, Doug=isotropic.
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Jon Simantov
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swbarnes2 wrote:
Is it fair to assume that the Isotropic implementation was checked with Donald? So Ironworks bonus is given out just after the pile (with the right cost) is chosen, but before the card is actaully gained?


Well that isn't it, because if you gain a VP card but have no cards in your deck, the card you gain is shuffled in and might be drawn immediately.
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Steve Duff
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I'd have said B. Trader "changes" the card to a silver before Ironworks sees it.

Isn't that the whole point of the "would gain" wording? You never actually gained the Great Hall, you were just going to, but instead gained a silver.
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