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Subject: Watchtower, Nomad Camp, Royal Seal and "when you gain" rss

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Nick Knutsen
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Apologies in advance for a(nother) extremely anal thread. I'm nevertheless hoping Donald will chime in.

This question comes from the thread titled "Develop + Inn" over at the Hinterlands forum. It has to do with exactly what happens when you gain a card that doesn't end up in your discard pile.

I'm trying to write a FAQ that includes all timing information defined in Dominion. Other timing events are pretty clear. For instance, buying a card: All that happens is that an amount of coins is used up, and a gaining event is triggered. No card is actually moved on a buying event.

But there seems to be a couple of contradictory rules going on for gaining.

A) It was established in the mentioned thread that cards like Mine and Develop gain a card directly to your deck; the card is never in the discard on its way to your deck.

B) It says in the printed Hinterlands FAQ (and is mentioned or implied elsewhere) that when-gain effects (effects that trigger on a card being gained) happen after the card is actually gained and is lying in the discard or wherever else it was gained to.

The problem is Watchtower, Royal Seal and Nomad Camp. These cards specify when-gain effects that let you put the gained card on your deck. The following two things were also established by Donald in that thread:

A2) If you use Watchtower to put a card on top of your deck, the gained card goes directly to your deck, not via discard. In other words it works just like with cards like Mine.

C) Watchtower's when-gain effect is like any other when-gain effect, in that if several such effects happen to the same player at the same time, he gets to choose the order.

To me this already doesn't make sense. If when-gain effects happens after the card is already gained and lying in its appropriate destination (B), then how can Watchtower's when-gain effect reroute the card before it hits that destination (A2)?

Maybe I've misunderstood something. Anyway, going with the above:

Let's take an example:
You gain an Inn, and reveal a Watchtower. Now both Inn's and Watchtower's when-gain effects happen, and you decide the order. If you resolve Watchtower's effect first, you place the Inn on your deck. Then you shuffle some action cards from your discard into your deck. On the other hand, if you do Inn's effect first, if you want you can shuffle some cards in but keep the Inn as the top card of your discard pile (where it is because of B, which is reiterated in the FAQ for Inn). Then you can resolve Watchtower and put the Inn on your deck. The problem is that in this case the card actually hit the discard before Watchtower could reroute it, which is not how Watchtower is supposed to work (A2).

Another example, showing why this is a problem:
You gain a Border Village, and reveal Watchtower. Border Village's and Watchtower's when-gain happen. You resolve Border Village first and gain a Duchy, not revealing Watchtower to that gain, so the Duchy goes to discard. Now where is the Border Village? Since you're doing when-gain effects, it should already be where it's supposed to go, and that's the discard pile since no effects have rerouted it anywhere else (B). That means it's below the Duchy!
If you resolve Watchtower's effect now, it seems it has lost track of the Border Village, so it can't move it to your deck. Of course you could avoid the problem by resolving the Watchtower first. Nevertheless doing it like described violates A2.

It seems to me that if one thing is wrong here, it's A2. When using the when-gain effect of Watchtower, Royal Seal and Nomad Camp, the card should go to the discard pile first (or somewhere else if the effect that gained you the card put it somewhere else, like with a Treasure from a Mine or a Curse from a Sea Hag). Then the Watchtower (et al) moves it to the deck. I'm not sure if this would have any real world unwanted consequences though.
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Kevin Costello
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I remember being somewhat surprised in the other thread about the nomad camp ruling (and by extension, the watchtower and royal seal ones). I also was expecting it to be gained normally to the discard pile, and then moved to the top of your deck, like a good little "when gain" ability.

My interpretation of it was that the nomad camp ability was always intended to work like sea hag or mine, where the gain just happens to go somewhere besides the discard pile, rather than a special effect that happens when you gain it (like border village) but that there was really no other way to articulate this without saying "when you gain...", which makes the timing sound like border village. For example, it would plausible (but super awkward) sea hag could have said something like "each other player gains the curse, when they do, put it on top of their deck". Would that have made it subject to the special "when gain" timing rules? I'm not sure.

Basically, I feel like Nomad camp and Royal Seal aren't true "when gain" abilities, they trigger before that in a sort of "during gain" phase that happens after the gain has been initiated but before it ends. Likewise, it would seem that watchtower's reaction timing also falls here, where it does happen when you gain a card, but isn't the same as the special "when gain" stuff introduced in hinterlands. But yeah, they all just say "when you gain", so this seems pretty murky, and likewise, I'm not sure if these interpretations would react badly to certain combos. Would love to hear Donald's take.
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Lee Wardle
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PunchBall wrote:


Another example, showing why this is a problem
You gain a Border Village, and reveal Watchtower. Border Village's and Watchtower's when-gain happen. You resolve Border Village first and gain a Duchy, not revealing Watchtower to that gain, so the Duchy goes to discard. Now where is the Border Village? Since you're doing when-gain effects, it should already be where it's supposed to go, and that's the discard pile since no effects have rerouted it anywhere else (B). That means it's below the Duchy!
If you resolve Watchtower's effect now, it seems it has lost track of the Border Village, so it can't move it to your deck. Of course you could avoid the problem by resolving the Watchtower first. Nevertheless doing it like described violates A2.


Is it this?
Gain a border village, reveal watchtower and place border village on your deck.
Quote:
B) It says in the printed Hinterlands FAQ...that when-gain effects...happen after the card is actually gained and is lying in the discard or wherever else it was gained to.

now gain a duchy and place it in your discard pile.
 
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Whitney Barnes

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Yeah, this seems like a lot of worry over nothing. If you shuffle Inn into your drawdeck before you Watchtower it, then sure, it's beyond the read of Watchtower, but otherwise, what's the problem? Gaining the Duchy and Watchtowering the BV are both reactions to gaining the BV, so you Watchtower first, then gain the Duchy. Not a problem. And if you did them backwards, I'd say its was a stretch to say that you "lost track" of the BV because you just put a Duchy on it an instant ago, as part of a gain that you are still resolving.

I don't think the clarification is means to be read the way you are reading it.
 
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Kevin Costello
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The more I think about it, the more it seems there are two distinct timing triggers. I think Donald and the rulebook clearly have stated the following two things:

A. When using watchtower, royal seal, and buying nomad camp, the card never enters your discard (or any other intermediate locations). If you use watchtower on a card, that card never lands anywhere until after you've already revealed the watchtower.

B. The "when gain" effects introduced in hinterlands (lets not count nomad camp here) don't trigger until the card reaches its destination (discard, hand, deck, etc)

So even though they both seem to have a "when gain" condition, it seems impossible to argue that the A and B conditions can ever be simultaneous. Something that alters the destination of the card being gained necessarily has to come before anything that only triggers once the card being gained reaches said destination (whatever it may be).
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Nick Knutsen
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kevincos wrote:
The more I think about it, the more it seems there are two distinct timing triggers. I think Donald and the rulebook clearly have stated the following two things:

A. When using watchtower, royal seal, and buying nomad camp, the card never enters your discard (or any other intermediate locations). If you use watchtower on a card, that card never lands anywhere until after you've already revealed the watchtower.

B. The "when gain" effects introduced in hinterlands (lets not count nomad camp here) don't trigger until the card reaches its destination (discard, hand, deck, etc)

So even though they both seem to have a "when gain" condition, it seems impossible to argue that the A and B conditions can ever be simultaneous. Something that alters the destination of the card being gained necessarily has to come before anything that only triggers once the card being gained reaches said destination (whatever it may be).

(You're citing the rules I called A2 and B by the way.)

Yes, but now you're disregarding my rule C: Watchtower's when-gain effect is like any other when-gain effect, in that if several such effects happen to the same player at the same time, he gets to choose the order.

Donald has even demonstrated that it works like this. You can use Inn's effect first to shuffle itself into the deck, and then use Watchtower's afterwards, in which case it will have lost track of the Inn.

So what you're saying is to drop rule C. I agree, that would also solve it, like dropping rule A2. But again, I don't know about unwanted consequences of doing either.
 
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Kevin Costello
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PunchBall wrote:

Yes, but now you're disregarding my rule C: Watchtower's when-gain effect is like any other when-gain effect, in that if several such effects happen to the same player at the same time, he gets to choose the order.

Donald has even demonstrated that it works like this. You can use Inn's effect first to shuffle itself into the deck, and then use Watchtower's afterwards, in which case it will have lost track of the Inn.

So what you're saying is to drop rule C. I agree, that would also solve it, like dropping rule A2. But again, I don't know about unwanted consequences of doing either.


Good points. It seems like we agree that rules A2, B, and C (or whatever you call them) appear to be inconsistent as we understand them. But yeah, I guess the gist of my second post was that rule C seems like the problematic one to me. But sure enough, Donald made it quite clear that you could still reveal a watchtower after you've resolved Inn's bonus, at which point the Inn has already been in the discard pile and then shuffled into your deck, which seems to me to be at odds with how watchtower is supposed to work [edit: how I incorrectly thought watchtower was supposed to work], so yeah, maybe A2 is the wrong one (or we're both just missing something entirely) I'm stumped!
 
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Donald X.
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PunchBall wrote:
A) It was established in the mentioned thread that cards like Mine and Develop gain a card directly to your deck; the card is never in the discard on its way to your deck.

B) It says in the printed Hinterlands FAQ (and is mentioned or implied elsewhere) that when-gain effects (effects that trigger on a card being gained) happen after the card is actually gained and is lying in the discard or wherever else it was gained to.

The problem is Watchtower, Royal Seal and Nomad Camp. These cards specify when-gain effects that let you put the gained card on your deck. The following two things were also established by Donald in that thread:

A2) If you use Watchtower to put a card on top of your deck, the gained card goes directly to your deck, not via discard. In other words it works just like with cards like Mine.

C) Watchtower's when-gain effect is like any other when-gain effect, in that if several such effects happen to the same player at the same time, he gets to choose the order.

To me this already doesn't make sense. If when-gain effects happens after the card is already gained and lying in its appropriate destination (B), then how can Watchtower's when-gain effect reroute the card before it hits that destination (A2)?

I bet I did not say that Watchtower worked like those other cards, and the solution here is that it doesn't - there is no A2. Which is what you were hoping so hooray. There are three kinds of related cards here:

- cards that tell you where to put them when you gain them - just Nomad Camp
- cards that tell you to gain a card, and where to put it, like Mine and Bureaucrat
- cards that trigger on gaining other cards, like Watchtower

The first two cases cause the card to go directly to wherever; the third does not. This is not in a rulebook (although the Nomad Camp FAQ is clear about this); I ruled this way because I felt that people playing Mine were not going to ever think that the Silver went to their discard pile first. For Nomad Camp I considered a more complicated phrasing that clarified this on the card but decided against it. Mine didn't want to be that complicated and then Nomad Camp might have raised questions about Mine, for people who otherwise don't realize there's anything to be confused about.

Watchtower triggers after you already gained the card. Mine and Nomad Camp modify where the card goes; Watchtower moves it.

People who haven't thought about this probably don't put a card in their discard pile when they are revealing Watchtower, either. Watchtower has to happen afterwards though. I endlessly discussed the exact functionality of Watchtower with playtesters back when, and the way it works was the best scenario.

PunchBall wrote:
Another example, showing why this is a problem:
You gain a Border Village, and reveal Watchtower. Border Village's and Watchtower's when-gain happen. You resolve Border Village first and gain a Duchy, not revealing Watchtower to that gain, so the Duchy goes to discard. Now where is the Border Village? Since you're doing when-gain effects, it should already be where it's supposed to go, and that's the discard pile since no effects have rerouted it anywhere else (B). That means it's below the Duchy!
If you resolve Watchtower's effect now, it seems it has lost track of the Border Village, so it can't move it to your deck. Of course you could avoid the problem by resolving the Watchtower first. Nevertheless doing it like described violates A2.

I will try to get the lose-track rule into a rulebook before we're done. As I said in the linked thread, for the moment, but I don't know if it will stay like this, I am saying that once a card covers up a card in your discard pile, the covered-up cards are "lost" and cannot be moved by stuff like Watchtower, even though you personally remember what's going on. So: If after buying Border Village and putting it into your discard pile you choose to resolve gaining a Duchy before Watchtower, the Duchy is on top of Border Village and Border Village can no longer be moved by Watchtower. You can reveal the Watchtower for Border Village, but it fails to move Border Village because it has "lost track" of it.
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Nick Knutsen
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donaldx wrote:
I bet I did not say that Watchtower worked like those other cards, and the solution here is that it doesn't - there is no A2. Which is what you were hoping so hooray. There are three kinds of related cards here:

- cards that tell you where to put them when you gain them - just Nomad Camp
- cards that tell you to gain a card, and where to put it, like Mine and Bureaucrat
- cards that trigger on gaining other cards, like Watchtower

I think you'd win that bet! You only said that about Nomad Camp. I thought you'd implied Watchtower worked like Nomad Camp, but it turns out it was just an assumption on my part, since they both said "when you gain".

Anyway, thanks for your reply.

Just to sum up, for anyone wanting the bottom line:

- Nomad Camp works just like Mine, Sea Hag and Bureaucrat, the gained card goes directly to where the card says it goes.
- Watchtower's and Royal Seal's effects happen after you've gained the card. So you move (or trash) it from wherever it was gained to. So you can decide the order of this effect and any other effect that happens when you gain that card.

So it was Nomad Camp who was the source of the confusion. Even though it says "when you gain" it isn't a when-gain effect. I can't really imagine that it matters if somebody thought it was though. Is there a scenario where something wouldn't work correctly if Nomad Camp went to the discard before moving itself to the deck? Maybe there is, since a more complicated phrasing to clarify the correct behavior was considered.
 
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Nathan Higginbotham
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Given that Inn will cause you to shuffle your deck anyway, does it matter whether you Watchtower it to the top of your deck?
 
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enfynet enfynet
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Exindiv wrote:
Given that Inn will cause you to shuffle your deck anyway, does it matter whether you Watchtower it to the top of your deck?

Only if you wanted to reveal Watchtower to move Inn AFTER the Inn's when-gain effect happens.

i.e. Gain Inn, select cards OTHER than Inn from discard, shuffle into deck, reveal Watchtower, move Inn to top of shuffled deck.
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