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Author Topic: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"  (Read 10722 times)

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scolapasta

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Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« on: March 11, 2020, 03:56:29 pm »
+1

Moving this discussion from the Bonus Previews thread, regarding Gamble's wording of "Reveal the top card of your deck. If it's a Treasure or Action, you may play it. Otherwise, discard it."

On Discord, Donald X. has said

Quote from: Donald X.
If you don't play the card you discard it, whether or not it's an Action/Treasure.

The wording is the way it is because of various cards that can move when they're discarded.  There's less potential confusion if you can't both move it with its reaction and play it.

Fix for next printing: If you didn't play it, discard it.

This suggested wording would definitely be better, because as I pointed out from some other cards, it isn't just about ambiguity but also consistency.

In this construct of "If X, do Y. Otherwise, do Z", "Otherwise" is really shorthand for "otherwise if not W, do Z", where the ambiguity is what is W: is it X, or 'you did Y" or (X or you did Y).

For Gamble, the ruling is W = (X or you did Y)*

* I don't think you can just say W = "you did Y", because doing Y *only* applies if X is true, but even if that were the case, the inconsistency still exists.

However, in the case of these other cards, W = X:

ē Tormenter, each other player only receives a Hex, if you had other actions in play. If you did not, but were unable to gain an Imp, the other players still do not receive a Hex
ē Jester, if the other player discards a Province, and there are no curses left for them yo gain, you do not then choose whether you or they gain a Province.
ē etc.

The two differences I see are that a) Gamble is play instead of discard and b) for Gamble it's "may play". Clearly a) shouldn't make a difference in the logic, but I don't really see why b) would either.

Please tell me if I'm missing something.

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Wizard_Amul

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2020, 04:07:35 pm »
+2

I really like wording other than "otherwise" for ambiguity reasons. "Otherwise" is vague whereas "If you didn't play it" is clearer. "Otherwise" is shorter, which is my guess as to one positive of having that wording, but I personally favor clarity over conciseness every time. Even if you explain text in the rulebook, I think it's more preferable to have the wording on the actual card be as clear as it can be so that you don't even need the rulebook in normal cases.
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GendoIkari

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2020, 04:14:40 pm »
+1

Correct all around; and really good point about Jester and Tormentor.

As the other programmers have said, the wording on Gamble really sounds to me like if you reveal an action but choose not to play it, you get to keep it on top. If the rulebook is already printed as saying differently, then I guess we're stuck with it for now; but that's not how the card reads to me.
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popsofctown

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2020, 04:18:35 pm »
+2

Concision hacking is fun.
"+1 Buy.
Draw the top card of your deck.  If it's an Action or Treasure, you may play it."
Why not?
It even seems like the preferred interaction with Nights without directly referencing an expansion mechanic.  I think the 5d chess Gamble/Settler/Moneylender combo is worth sacrificing.
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hhelibebcnofnena

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2020, 04:28:24 pm »
+3

Concision hacking is fun.
"+1 Buy.
Draw the top card of your deck.  If it's an Action or Treasure, you may play it."
Why not?
It even seems like the preferred interaction with Nights without directly referencing an expansion mechanic.  I think the 5d chess Gamble/Settler/Moneylender combo is worth sacrificing.

How does everyone else know that the card you played was the same as the card you drew? That's not public information.

Perhaps: "reveal and then draw the top card of your deck".
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popsofctown

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2020, 04:50:35 pm »
+1

Yeah you can just do reveal and draw if you want to be paranoid and it's still shorter.

MtG has a similar mechanic to what I posted, though (it's called Miracle).  At the kitchen table, it works because you're not a jerk.  At a tournament, it works because you have tournament rules describing how this procedure should happen in a way that makes this cheatproof (don't let the card touch the rest of your hand before you specify whether or not you are going to play it, even though it is still considered to be a part of your hand, which does not matter here for any dominion card I can think of).

A cheatcheck like the one on Mystic (which could be a peek instead of a reveal) has to be on the card because it changes the mechanical function of the card, cheatcheckless Mystic is fundamentally different from cheatcheck Mystic because if I whiff a cheatcheck Mystic my opponent always gains information that will let him know whether his Mountebank might plow into a Trader next turn or not.  A cheatcheck that does not require a mechanical change in information does not need to be written on the card, common sense can work as a substitute in those cases.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 05:00:00 pm by popsofctown »
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Donald X.

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2020, 05:49:54 pm »
+4

Over here too: "Otherwise" is how the card got to exist. I have a ban on using the small font.

And your argument can be, "okay, therefore this shouldn't exist." I respect that. I was a sucker for good times.
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mxdata

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2020, 06:34:14 pm »
+2

Over here too: "Otherwise" is how the card got to exist. I have a ban on using the small font.

And your argument can be, "okay, therefore this shouldn't exist." I respect that. I was a sucker for good times.

I suppose "refer to the FAQ if it's ambiguous" isn't so bad, since, after all, the rulebook comes with the card, and a decent tradeoff given the space restrictions on the physical cards themselves
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popsofctown

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2020, 06:40:09 pm »
0

"+1 Buy
Reveal and draw a card.  If it's an Action or Treasure, you may play it."

I left in lots of words you don't even need the first time, there's plenty of room to not do "miracles". 
DXV probably wouldn't want to use this because it's hacky, or some interactions like Farmland are off-message, or some other valid thing to care about that I do not, but I think that would have been a cute event. 
I'm not sure there exists any wording that makes a gamble that is functionally identical to "otherwise, with rulebook clarification" that doesn't dip into small font or put Buy on the same line, though, setting aside that the designer(s) shouldn't necessarily put in a multitude of hours trying to come up with one.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 06:47:44 pm by popsofctown »
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Shvegait

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2020, 07:18:14 pm »
0

How about this awful wording that invokes the stop-moving rule? It's slightly longer than "Otherwise" but shorter than "If you didn't play it".

"+1 Buy
Reveal the top card of your deck. If it's a Treasure or Action, you may play it. Discard it from your deck."
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popsofctown

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2020, 07:37:57 pm »
0

You'll never discard the card, because you're instructed to discard it "from your deck", and that's not where it is, it's in the <revealed cards area>, a concept only referenced in rules FAQ documents that does actually need to exist because otherwise whiffed Hunting Parties loop infinitely.
I think the idea of using the play of the card to dodge an unconditional mill 1 is cool though.  Maybe like, "Reveal the top card of your deck.  Discard it unless you play it as an Action or Treasure."  The last 5 words are sketchy/unprecedented there, possibly too much implication that you could play a Night as if it was a Treasure and if you add words to rule that out you're over budget again.
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Shvegait

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2020, 07:52:41 pm »
0

You'll never discard the card, because you're instructed to discard it "from your deck", and that's not where it is, it's in the <revealed cards area>

In that case, what causes a card to move from the <revealed cards area> back to the top of the deck? (Or, why does Vagrant not break the game? Other than that the FAQ says so.)

Edit: Nevermind, the rulebook says
Quote
"Reveal a card" - All players get to see the card. ē After revealing it, return it to wherever it was (unless otherwise instructed).

So this would be an instruction on where to move the card, negating the return to the top of the deck. Good catch.

Then:
"+1 Buy
Reveal the top card of your deck. If it's a Treasure or Action, you may play it. Discard it if it's not in play."

But that's longer again.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 08:01:25 pm by Shvegait »
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popsofctown

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2020, 08:12:15 pm »
+1

Oh, you know, there is a zone that is kosher to refer to on card -and- does not raise the miracles question (I think, maybe not, it depends on the rulebook for this new set)
It's just that it's the brand new one, Exile.
"+1 Buy
Exile the top card of your deck.  If it's an Action or Treasure, you may play it.  Discard it from exile."
Boom!
EDIT: oh no no no no it makes the new treasure go infinite and buy the supply bad bad bad.
EDIT2: Wait, maybe not, maybe that would invoke the stop moving rule? Because it would be a separate cards movement that got the card back into exile.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 08:16:17 pm by popsofctown »
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scolapasta

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2020, 09:58:57 pm »
0

Over here too: "Otherwise" is how the card got to exist. I have a ban on using the small font.

And your argument can be, "okay, therefore this shouldn't exist." I respect that. I was a sucker for good times.

I get that, and I do prefer the card exist than not exist. I'm also fine with the ambiguity because you can always check the rules to confirm. Where I struggle (possibly just my own personal issue :) ) is that it's inconsistent with other uses of "Otherwise." So  once I look it up for one use of the word, I'd probably just assume it's the same for other uses with the same construct.

So if this has to be the wording, did you consider the rule being the other way? i.e. not discarding an unplayed Action or Treasure. Besides the consistency, for me at least, that is the more intuitive read: "If X, then Y. Otherwise (if not X), then Z."
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GendoIkari

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2020, 10:35:49 pm »
+1

Over here too: "Otherwise" is how the card got to exist. I have a ban on using the small font.

And your argument can be, "okay, therefore this shouldn't exist." I respect that. I was a sucker for good times.

I get that, and I do prefer the card exist than not exist. I'm also fine with the ambiguity because you can always check the rules to confirm. Where I struggle (possibly just my own personal issue :) ) is that it's inconsistent with other uses of "Otherwise." So  once I look it up for one use of the word, I'd probably just assume it's the same for other uses with the same construct.

So if this has to be the wording, did you consider the rule being the other way? i.e. not discarding an unplayed Action or Treasure. Besides the consistency, for me at least, that is the more intuitive read: "If X, then Y. Otherwise (if not X), then Z."

Yeah, this. Ambiguous isnít great but not horrible; people will ask the question or look it up. But inconsistent... I feel like people who have been playing with Jester for years are going to just assume that this works the same way, and not bother looking it up or asking, and play it wrong.

Was it simply too powerful if it allowed you to keep an unplayed card on your deck?
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hhelibebcnofnena

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2020, 11:03:22 pm »
+1

Oh, you know, there is a zone that is kosher to refer to on card -and- does not raise the miracles question (I think, maybe not, it depends on the rulebook for this new set)
It's just that it's the brand new one, Exile.
"+1 Buy
Exile the top card of your deck.  If it's an Action or Treasure, you may play it.  Discard it from exile."
Boom!
EDIT: oh no no no no it makes the new treasure go infinite and buy the supply bad bad bad.
EDIT2: Wait, maybe not, maybe that would invoke the stop moving rule? Because it would be a separate cards movement that got the card back into exile.

Once we get into things like this, a lot of people will just wonder why it Exiles instead of reveals. I imagine DXV tried out a bunch of different things to avoid ambiguity, and they didn't work.
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popsofctown

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2020, 11:40:41 pm »
0

Does everyone else automatically understand why Vassal discards instead of revealing, playing if desired, then discarding?  I didn't have a deep intuitive understanding but I didn't particularly care.  I was plenty happy that it had card text that was unambiguous and I could understand that it could let me play action cards sometimes.
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Donald X.

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2020, 12:20:23 am »
+5

Yeah, this. Ambiguous isnít great but not horrible; people will ask the question or look it up. But inconsistent... I feel like people who have been playing with Jester for years are going to just assume that this works the same way, and not bother looking it up or asking, and play it wrong.

Was it simply too powerful if it allowed you to keep an unplayed card on your deck?
There's no story; there was a card, it got a wording, people had input. It discarded the card always; oops this set has Village Green, that's super-confusing, I wish Vassal were worded differently. It's work to look up whatever discussion there was, but you know, it got whatever discussion, and you know how it ended up. I see that it's a question, what does "otherwise" mean exactly. It's answered in the rulebook, which at least beats not answering it in the rulebook.
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hhelibebcnofnena

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2020, 11:46:59 am »
0

Does everyone else automatically understand why Vassal discards instead of revealing, playing if desired, then discarding?  I didn't have a deep intuitive understanding but I didn't particularly care.  I was plenty happy that it had card text that was unambiguous and I could understand that it could let me play action cards sometimes.

That's different from the Exile thing. It wouldn't end up in Exile either way, so why does it even visit there? With Vassal, you're visiting the discard pile, but if you don't play it, that's where it ends up in the end anyway, so it's different.
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popsofctown

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2020, 12:15:43 pm »
0

Yeah, ok, point.

My favorite hack is still the drawing one, which preserves the "that's where it would end up anyway" concept.
It's just fun to kick the tires with other stuff.
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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2020, 09:16:07 pm »
0

Over here too: "Otherwise" is how the card got to exist. I have a ban on using the small font.

And your argument can be, "okay, therefore this shouldn't exist." I respect that. I was a sucker for good times.

How about "If you didn't, discard it" though, like I said in the other thread? It looks like it could fit? Obviously for any future printing.

Shvegait

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2020, 10:30:17 pm »
+1

Over here too: "Otherwise" is how the card got to exist. I have a ban on using the small font.

And your argument can be, "okay, therefore this shouldn't exist." I respect that. I was a sucker for good times.

How about "If you didn't, discard it" though, like I said in the other thread? It looks like it could fit? Obviously for any future printing.

With this wording, when the card is not a Treasure or Action, it's actually not clear whether this instruction has to be followed. Because the verb is missing, the reader has to interpret that this is referring to the "you may play it" clause. But that clause doesn't apply when the card is not a Treasure or Action, so one interpretation is that this sentence is still conditional on "If it's a Treasure or Action".

There is another out for this card, but maybe it was already tried, which is getting rid of the "you may":

"+1 Buy
Reveal the top card of your deck. If it's a Treasure or Action, play it. Otherwise, discard it."

There's no ambiguity now. And if you have something you don't want to play, well, it's called Gamble. Is that too awful for some reason?
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GendoIkari

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2020, 11:04:22 pm »
0

Not that I necessarily get a vote, but my vote for a future printing would be to keep the card wording exactly as is; and update the FAQ wording / ruling to match. This way we get identical behavior for identical wording between Jester and Gamble. Unless of course that just makes Gamble too strong. But honestly I think a lot of people who don't read these sorts of things are going to end up playing Gamble that way anyway.
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mxdata

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2020, 11:49:16 pm »
0

Not that I necessarily get a vote, but my vote for a future printing would be to keep the card wording exactly as is; and update the FAQ wording / ruling to match. This way we get identical behavior for identical wording between Jester and Gamble. Unless of course that just makes Gamble too strong. But honestly I think a lot of people who don't read these sorts of things are going to end up playing Gamble that way anyway.

It doesn't seem like leaving it on top would make it that much stronger.  I mean, think about it, how appealing would an event that was just "+1 Buy.  Reveal the top card of your deck" be?  Especially since whatever's on the top of your deck is just gonna be part of your initial 5-card hand, so there's not that much you could do with that knowledge.  Seems to me that there would be little practical difference between "discard an unplayed Treasure/Action" and "leave an unplayed Treasure/Action on top of your deck"
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GendoIkari

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Re: Ambiguity / consistency of "Otherwise"
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2020, 12:04:03 am »
+1

Not that I necessarily get a vote, but my vote for a future printing would be to keep the card wording exactly as is; and update the FAQ wording / ruling to match. This way we get identical behavior for identical wording between Jester and Gamble. Unless of course that just makes Gamble too strong. But honestly I think a lot of people who don't read these sorts of things are going to end up playing Gamble that way anyway.

It doesn't seem like leaving it on top would make it that much stronger.  I mean, think about it, how appealing would an event that was just "+1 Buy.  Reveal the top card of your deck" be?  Especially since whatever's on the top of your deck is just gonna be part of your initial 5-card hand, so there's not that much you could do with that knowledge.  Seems to me that there would be little practical difference between "discard an unplayed Treasure/Action" and "leave an unplayed Treasure/Action on top of your deck"

Well no, if itís an action that you donít want to play now, then youíve just thrown away your $2; you gambled and lost. But if itís an action you donít want to play now, thereís a pretty good chance that you do want to play it next turn... like if itís a Village, Throne Room, Remodel, etc. So no it wouldnít be a lot stronger that way, but it was already super weak in the case that you discarded the action. Worse than if you hadnít bought it at all. Leaving it on top just helps mitigate that weakness.. instead of losing $2 and your action for next turn, you only lose the $2.
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