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Remora and rewards deck


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#1 joseph0000

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 05:26 AM

A question for the cosmic encounter gurus. Remora alien race takes a card when any player takes a card "from the deck". What happens if any player takes a card from the rewards deck? Should remora take a card from the rewards deck too, or its power is only valid for the standard deck? If a player takes as reward a card from the deck and a card from the rewards deck, should remora take a card from each deck?

Thanks!



#2 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:18 AM

I think we'd all like to know the answer to this one. Opinions will probably vary, and I haven't been able to find much in the CE rules, CI rules, or FAQ to definitively say one way or the other.  I'm erring on the side of "if it don't say 'reward deck', ya cain't do it".  Of course, that still leaves the question of whether Remora can dip into the cosmic deck when somebody else gets rewards.

Let's all include "FAQ 2.0" in our letters to Santa.



#3 Kobold Curry Chef

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:07 AM

joseph0000 said:

 

A question for the cosmic encounter gurus. Remora alien race takes a card when any player takes a card "from the deck". What happens if any player takes a card from the rewards deck? Should remora take a card from the rewards deck too, or its power is only valid for the standard deck? If a player takes as reward a card from the deck and a card from the rewards deck, should remora take a card from each deck?

Thanks!

 

 

We keep it simple.  Remora draws one card from the same deck as the other guy.  If the other guys splits his draws between the Cosmic and Rewards deck, Remora can choose which deck to draw his one card from.

I don't see why it has to be restricted to just the Cosmic deck, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the intention.

(Edit for typo and clarity).



#4 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:35 AM

This question also applies to Wild Mind: "Whenever another player draws a card from the deck, you may use this flare. For the rest of this encounter, each time that player must draw a card from the deck, you may draw it instead, look at it, and then give it to him or her."

For lack of anything better, I've been taking my cue from the reward deck discard pile. Based on the Cosmic Incursion rulebook and comments from playtesters, the general rule for handling that pile appears to be as follows: nothing that targets the regular discard pile or the cards in it gets to target the reward deck discard pile or its cards, with one exception: effects that target cards that should be discarded, are in the process of being discarded, or have just been discarded do work on cards going to the reward deck discard pile. Things that happen later cannot retrieve cards from that pile, but there is a small window of opportunity after the cards are freshly discarded where they may be immediately retrieved.  (I also make a second exception for Gambler burying his unchallenged card, since that's the only thing that makes sense.)

Based on this (apparent) discard rule, I've been assuming that the reward deck itself is similarly untouchable except when specifically allowed.  But even this is not nearly as cut and dried as it sounds ... and who knows what was actually intended?  We really need a new FAQ.



#5 Adam

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 07:54 AM

I can't say what was intended, but I think the simplest answer is to say that the "Cosmic deck" (never realized it had a name before) is "the deck," and the Rewards deck is the Rewards deck.  I'd say Remora and Wild Mind do not interact with the Rewards deck.



#6 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:10 AM

Adam said:

the simplest answer is to say that the "Cosmic deck" ... is "the deck," and the Rewards deck is the Rewards deck.  I'd say Remora and Wild Mind do not interact with the Rewards deck.

I think you're right. Today I researched every FFG power and flare that uses either the word "deck" or the word "draw" to see if that would cause any questions or other problems. I don't think it does. The overwhelming majority of uses of the word "deck" are in the phrase "draw card(s) from the deck", which in context almost always means pretty obviously only the cosmic deck. Here are a few noteworthy examples, and they all work just fine with your interpretation:

Wild Ethic — "When you draw any new card(s) from the deck ... you may feel guilty and give away some or all" — so Wild Ethic just can't feel guilty about reward cards; that's fine.

Wild Genius —"force any number of players ... to draw a card" — from the deck is implied here, and clearly nobody would argue that anyone gets to draw a reward card.

Wild Mind — "each time that player must draw a card from the deck, you may draw it instead, look at it, and then give it to him or her" — so we're saying this is only triggered by, and only affects, cosmic deck draws. Works fine.

Remora — "Whenever another player draws one or more cards from the deck, you may use this power to draw one card from the deck" — again, only triggered by, and only affects, cosmic deck draws. Again, works fine.

I like your interpretation: "The" deck is THE deck; there's only one.

Now, having said that, I think there are two other cases that do not fall under this interpretation:

Gambler — "If your opponent does not challenge your claim ... place your encounter card facedown on the bottom of the deck" — this needs errata anyway to say something like "the bottom of the appropriate deck". Clearly we can't be stuffing reward cards under the cosmic deck.

Super Mercenary — "When drawing cards for rewards, you may discard any or all of them" — I say this effect, unlike the other examples above, does work with the reward deck. It doesn't say "the deck" and it specifically targets the drawing of rewards (which of course can come from either deck).

 



#7 Adam

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 04:01 AM

That all makes sense.  I think your comment on Wild Genius is the best supporting evidence for this interpretation.

Gambler is an obvious exception for the reasons you gave.

And I don't think Super Mercenary actually needs interpretation at all.  I just looked up the alien power at The Warp, and it is worded no better: "use this power to gain defender reward as though you were a defensive ally (either retrieve one of your ships from the warp or draw one card from the deck for each ship you had in the encounter."  Notice it doesn't mention the Rewards deck despite being an alien from the very same expansion. 

My understanding is that the Rewards deck variant allows you to replace any drawing of rewards from the deck with drawing from the Rewards deck, including any abilities that allow you to draw from the deck.  So when the variant is in, you can use the Mercenary power to draw from the Rewards deck and therefore can use the Super power this way, too.

The fact that the Rewards deck isn't mentioned in text for an alien in the same set indicates to me that they don't think there is anything to correct in previous sets, that all text should be readable without special mention of the Rewards deck.  Of course, I'm only going by the examples you listed, as I don't have my set with me at the moment, but I think this assumption should work for most if not all cases.

I get the impression they don't like to mention variants in alien or card text unless absolutely necessary.



#8 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:04 AM

Adam said:

The fact that the Rewards deck isn't mentioned in text for an alien in the same set indicates to me that they don't think there is anything to correct in previous sets, that all text should be readable without special mention of the Rewards deck.

I agree with all of that, but there's still a problem with Mercenary (as well as Ghoul and Wild Ghoul, among others).  All three of these redundantly spell out some variant of "retrieve a ship from the warp or draw a card from the deck" right on the card, and this is not good for several reasons:

  • It's inconsistent with the other effects that mention rewards without re-defining what they are.
  • It lays the groundwork for rules conflicts with any future game effects that extend or otherwise modify the definition of "rewards" (see below).
  • It works directly against the nice, clean general principle you and I just agreed on that "the deck is THE deck".  Mercenary (at worst) re-defines rewards in a way that cuts out the reward deck or (at best) forces players to stop and ponder whether the text is an override or just an incomplete, confusing summary.  (And if it is just a misleading summary, then why did they bother including it?)  I did not mention this as a strike against our "THE-deck theory" in my earlier comments because in my OCD-ish world (i.e., the Cosmodex and the physically-corrected cards in my own play set), those redundant on-card definitions have already been struck out for the very reasons I'm bloviating about here.

"Reward" is a specific and clearly defined (and simple) game term that every player must understand before they can play their first game. Taking the (current) rules for that game term and jamming them onto some of the cards that use it is asking for trouble.

A related problem exists with cards that mislabel rewards as "defensive ally rewards". Suppose one of the new Hazard cards implements the old Eon "reverse cone" mechanic (ally benefits are inverted such that successful offensive allies earn rewards or successful defensive allies gain a colony).  This is going to cause interpretation disagreements with cards like Ionic Gas, which says "no defensive ally rewards may be collected".  Well hey, I'm immune because I'm collecting offensive ally rewards!  There's really no such thing as "defensive ally rewards"; there's just "rewards".

Perhaps worse, Ghoul, Wild Ghoul, Mercenary, and Wild Mercenary all leave out the word "ally" and call them “defender rewards”, which kinda sounds like rewards for the defensive main player.  Note that Ghoul and Mercenary actually earn some weird thing called "defender rewards" when they are the offense!  Some will gripe about my gripe and say "come on, we all know what they meant", and that's fine for us veterans.  But this and other instances of misleading terminology all add up to make the learning curve harder for new players, bloat the FAQ, and make it more difficult to write nice, clean general rules.

In every single case, the word "rewards" all by itself is 100% sufficient and makes all of these issues go away.  No card should ever call them anything except "rewards". (If you care about product quality, FFG, then please add this to the design checklist.)

So whereas you interpret the omission of reward-deck references in the expansion that introduced the reward deck to be a positive thing, I feel like Incursion ironically made the worst mistakes in reward terminology and seems to (sometimes) ignore the implications of the very deck it is introducing.



#9 Adam

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 02:21 AM

It would be better to just say "rewards" and define that in the rules, yes, but I don't know how any of what you said poses a problem.  The Rewards Deck variant allows you to draw from the Rewards deck instead of the deck for rewards in any situation where you could draw rewards, whether from allying on defense or from using a power that grants rewards, right?  So if Mercenary lets you draw from the deck as a reward (don't have the power handy), the Rewards variant lets you draw from the Rewards deck in place of that action.  I completely agree though that it'd be simpler to just say "rewards," but I think the rules cover it nonetheless.

As for Ionic Gas, I don't see the problem with that either considering the Reverse Cone effect has yet to be introduced.  They can word it to interact with Gas appropriately by saying offensive allies gain defender rewards, if that's the way they want it to work.



#10 The Warp

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 10:15 AM

The intent with the Rewards deck has always been that, when used, it automatically becomes available to any effect that gains rewards (so powers like Mercenary and Ghoul are able to draw from them, even though their description didn't include it).   While it's true that extremely strict wording and planning could have gone on throughout the planning and execution of this version of CE, I think there's such a acceptance of the idea that discussion and debate has always been part of CE's evolution that it wasn't dealt with beyond an initial attempt at laying out precedents. 



#11 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 10:32 AM

Sorry, I see now that I wasn't very careful with my wording.  I didn't mean to imply there was still a problem with the interpretation we were just discussing; I was really just venting about the general messiness of the inconsistent card references ... so ignore all that bit.  I just really dislike extra verbosity that tries to clarify but ends up raising more questions.  (Along those lines, I'm actually more concerned about Symbiote needing errata now that we have some hints about how Filth might be worded.)



#12 crimhead

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 11:40 PM

Bill, thank you for taking the time to painstakingly examine all seventy aliens and flares.  You are an asset to the CE community.  But I must say I'm surprised at you here:

Just_a_Bill said:

Gambler — "If your opponent does not challenge your claim ... place your encounter card facedown o the bottom of the deck" — this needs errata anyway to say something like "the bottom of the appropriate deck". Clearly we can't be stuffing reward cards under the cosmic deck.

The rules for CI do in fact allow for Reward cards to be mixed with the cosmic deck.  There is no reason why we can't have a subset of the reward decked mixed into the cosmic deck should it me mandated by a game effect.  Probably this wasn't the intention, but I thought you were the sort to prefer the strict literal interpretation whenever possible?

Me, I think Remora needs the errata.  Rewards are the primary manner in which players draw cards.  If Remora is nerfed badly if they can't use their ability when reward cards are drawn.



#13 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 12:18 AM

crimhead said:

The rules for CI do in fact allow for Reward cards to be mixed with the cosmic deck.  There is no reason why we can't have a subset of the reward decked mixed into the cosmic deck should it me mandated by a game effect.

Your first sentence is true, but that mixing is a special sub-variant that must be agreed to before the game starts, and it forces the game to be played without a reward deck. Either there are two separate decks or they are mixed, but not both in the same game. Whenever Gambler needs to bury a reward-back card, then the "appropriate" deck would be the reward deck if they're separated or the cosmic deck if they're mixed.

Allowing some reward cards in the reward deck and others in the cosmic deck would be yet another sub-variant; I don't think we want to say Gambler forces the other players to accept a sub-variant in the middle of the game that they didn't agree to and isn't even mentioned in the rules.  That feels like an even bigger FAQ explanation than just a simple clarification that the card goes to the appropriate deck like most of the non-overanalytical folks already assumed anyway.

crimhead said:

I thought you were the sort to prefer the strict literal interpretation whenever possible?

I do prefer strict interpretations when they don't complicate gameplay too much and don't stray too far from the design intent.  If you can theoretically interpret something to mean A or B and either one would be reasonably acceptable without damaging the game, then I argue for the one that best matches what was actually written.  But when what the designer wrote isn't what he actually meant, or later game developments require a new interpretation, then I want to revise the card to say exactly what it should mean.

crimhead said:

Me, I think Remora needs the errata. Rewards are the primary manner in which players draw cards. If Remora is nerfed badly if they can't use their ability when reward cards are drawn.

I'm not so sure that's true.  Reward-back cards might be the dominant draws in a game with excessive defensive ally invitations — but not all games are like that, there are plenty of other ways people draw cards, and players don't always take all of their rewards from the reward deck.  Plus card-drawing is only half of Remora's power, so I can see how he's nerfed but I'm not ready to believe he's nerfed "badly".



#14 Adam

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 08:16 PM

It's often a good idea to draw from the Cosmic deck so you can get a flare or two.  The Rewards deck isn't so much better when you average flares in the equation.  Still a lot of negotiates, negatives, and rifts to sift through.

That said, I could see someone drawing all from Rewards in this case simply to spite Remora.  I would.  Maybe it is deserving of errata / clarification.  I could see how that might have been the intention.



#15 crimhead

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 03:57 AM

Adam said:

That said, I could see someone drawing all from Rewards in this case simply to spite Remora.

So would I, I think.  Most of the time, anyway.  I'd think it would be common.






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