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Author Topic: When do cards do things  (Read 13281 times)

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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2012, 01:50:40 pm »
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So Looters don't count because they're in the general rules for an expansion, but Durations cards do count because ... ? :) Seems to me that's the normal action of that card type, not a property of specific cards. Had they not been labelled duration, then well that would be different. But they were. Edit: then again, the duration cards do actually specify on themselves "do this stuff next turn", the rule about Duration cards is only that they stay in play until they've got no useful effects left. Hmm.

Yeah, your edit is right. And remember, we're talking about times at which an effect of a card activates. Every time it's the start of your turn, you have to ask "Did I play a Caravan last turn? Did I play a Wharf last turn?" and so forth, and execute the appropriate effects if you did. In principle, although none does, a Duration card could say "At the beginning of your next turn's buy phase..." or "When you trash a card next turn..." or whatever. (And note Outpost doesn't have an effect at the start of a turn.)

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Regarding Rats: I didn't realise the wording was that specific, that's interesting. If you're going to include them then you should probably include Knights cards too as you have to shuffle them before you play.

Hmm, good point. I'll think about that.

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If you're including Black Market, then surely Spoils cards, Hermit, Tournament and Urchin count in 'Before the start of the game' too? They all make you add a non-supply pile of some description like Black Market.

But Spoils, Madman, Mercenary, and the Prizes could in principle stay in the box with no setup at all, and only be fetched when someone actually needs to gain one. With Black Market, you have to choose which actual cards are in the Black Market deck, and you have to do that before the game begins, because the choice affects gameplay.
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Qvist

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2013, 08:46:41 am »
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I know this thread is old, but I finally put AJD's list in the wiki

http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Triggered_events

It's not finished, so feel free to make any changes and additions.

Jeebus

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2013, 02:35:09 am »
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I'm in the process of writing my own silly list which is kind of related to this. So the wiki article was useful to me. There are some things I don't agree with though.

Possession is listed under "when you trash a card" ("The card is set aside and returned to the discard pile at end of turn"). Here it's from the perspective of the player being Possessed. But under "when another player would gain a card", "at the end of the turn", and "after this turn" it's from the perspective of the Possessor. Not sure how to fix it, but it should be made clearer.

In games using this, when you buy a card
Embargo, Hovel: Why "in games using this"? Hovel can only be trashed from your hand if it's in your hand, and Embargo's Curse gaining happens from the tokens, not Embargo itself being in the game.

State timers
I don't find it useful to view "while this is in play" as a trigger. I suppose it could be shorthand for a "when this enters play" trigger pluss a "when this leaves play" trigger (with the first event describing the change and the second describing the reversal). But I think it's better to think of it as describing a state. I call it a state timer. The same goes for "during your buy phase" and "in games using this".
Goons has the state timer "while this is in play". The state is that the trigger "when you buy a card" is in effect, which it isn't at other times. Highway has the same state timer, but the state is just cost reduction. Bridge has the state timer "for the rest of your turn", and the state is cost reduction too. The state timer itself is in effect when Bridge is played.

Most states are that some event trigger is in effect, but some don't have anything to do with event triggers: Peddler, Highway, Princess, Quarry, Band of Misfits (under the "while this is in play" heading).

I'd also argue that Lighthouse doesn't have the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger, in spite of the wording. No event actually triggers when another player plays an Attack. Instead it just has the "while this is in play" state that Attacks don't affect you. Moat also has that state, lasting for the rest of the particular Attack, but only coming into effect when you reveal Moat as part of the event triggered by the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger.

Watchtower: The "if this is in your hand" header seems pointless for Watchtower. It's simply "when you gain a card", just like Royal Seal, although Royal Seal also has the "while this is in play" requirement.

Grand Market: You don't need both the "when you would buy a card" and "while Copper is in play" things. They say the same thing. I would keep "while Copper is in play", which is actually a state timer.

Contraband: I guess a when-would-buy trigger works, but I would make it a state timer instead, like for Grand Market (both being "you can't buy..." states). So "during your buy phase", just like for Peddler.

pinkymadigan

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2013, 09:27:36 am »
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This reminds me of a game manual from Fantasy Flight Games.

"You have 10 phases.
Before, during, or after a phase you can play some cards."

Just check the rules for The Lord of the Rings card game if you don't believe me. :)
That sounds like a classic FFG manual. I bought every expansion of Descent V1 up to the Quest Compendium before I realized they weren't even spell checking their product anymore.
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Davio

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2013, 10:40:56 am »
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Just read the reply about Outpost.

Can you draw the same Outpost on your Outpost turn?

I mean, say your deck is just 5 cards: Outpost, Caravan and 3 Coppers for simplicity.
You play Caravan, drawing nothing and play Outpost.
It's now your clean-up phase so you shuffle and draw 3 cards (3 Coppers).
Outpost is now done "doing what it's doing" and goes to your discard pile.
Caravan lets you draw a card, you shuffle 1 card and draw Outpost.
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Drab Emordnilap

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2013, 11:28:04 am »
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In games using this, when you buy a card
Embargo, Hovel: Why "in games using this"? Hovel can only be trashed from your hand if it's in your hand, and Embargo's Curse gaining happens from the tokens, not Embargo itself being in the game.

I disagree about Embargo. The tokens themselves don't have any abilities; they're just checked by the triggered ability of Embargo. And Embargo's ability has to be a "in games using this" ability, or it would trigger multiple times whenever a player bought a card, if Embargo had been played multiple times throughout the game.
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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2013, 11:28:47 am »
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Just read the reply about Outpost.

Can you draw the same Outpost on your Outpost turn?

I mean, say your deck is just 5 cards: Outpost, Caravan and 3 Coppers for simplicity.
You play Caravan, drawing nothing and play Outpost.
It's now your clean-up phase so you shuffle and draw 3 cards (3 Coppers).
Outpost is now done "doing what it's doing" and goes to your discard pile.
Caravan lets you draw a card, you shuffle 1 card and draw Outpost.

No; when you play Outpost it stays in play through the next turn regardless.
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Jeebus

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2013, 11:31:44 am »
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Outpost is now done "doing what it's doing" and goes to your discard pile.

Duration cards are never discarded until Clean-up.

Jeebus

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2013, 11:39:45 am »
+1

I disagree about Embargo. The tokens themselves don't have any abilities; they're just checked by the triggered ability of Embargo. And Embargo's ability has to be a "in games using this" ability, or it would trigger multiple times whenever a player bought a card, if Embargo had been played multiple times throughout the game.

That would only happen if it were a "when you play this" ability, like the stuff above the dividing line. But it doesn't say anywhere that it is. It's a "when you buy a card" ability which is always in effect. It's just that when no Embargos have been played, the ability finds zero tokens.

It's true that the tokens are just checked by that ability, I just wrote it short and sloppy.

Drab Emordnilap

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2013, 11:42:44 am »
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I disagree about Embargo. The tokens themselves don't have any abilities; they're just checked by the triggered ability of Embargo. And Embargo's ability has to be a "in games using this" ability, or it would trigger multiple times whenever a player bought a card, if Embargo had been played multiple times throughout the game.

That would only happen if it were a "when you play this" ability, like the stuff above the dividing line. But it doesn't say anywhere that it is. It's a "when you buy a card" ability which is always in effect. It's just that when no Embargos have been played, the ability finds zero tokens.

It's true that the tokens are just checked by that ability, I just wrote it short and sloppy.

My question has always been, which copy of Embargo triggers when you buy a card? There's ten of them, after all.
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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2013, 12:03:23 pm »
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I'm in the process of writing my own silly list which is kind of related to this. So the wiki article was useful to me. There are some things I don't agree with though.

So, I'm thinking of these in terms of "when would Goko, Isotropic, or any other Dominion-refereeing computer have to check whether something is supposed to happen?". Whenever you buy a card, you have to check whether it's Mint; whenever you gain a card, you have to check whether you have Watchtower in hand, and so forth.

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Possession is listed under "when you trash a card" ("The card is set aside and returned to the discard pile at end of turn"). Here it's from the perspective of the player being Possessed. But under "when another player would gain a card", "at the end of the turn", and "after this turn" it's from the perspective of the Possessor. Not sure how to fix it, but it should be made clearer.

I don't think this should be distinguishing between different players. When you trash a card, you have to check whether you're being Possessed; when you would gain a card, you have to check whether you're being Possessed. The referee doesn't take the perspective of a single player.

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In games using this, when you buy a card
Embargo, Hovel: Why "in games using this"? Hovel can only be trashed from your hand if it's in your hand, and Embargo's Curse gaining happens from the tokens, not Embargo itself being in the game.

Agreed. Hovel is just "when you buy". Embargo's constraint isn't "in games using this", but rather "once you've played this, for the rest of the game".

Quote
State timers
I don't find it useful to view "while this is in play" as a trigger. I suppose it could be shorthand for a "when this enters play" trigger pluss a "when this leaves play" trigger (with the first event describing the change and the second describing the reversal). But I think it's better to think of it as describing a state. I call it a state timer. The same goes for "during your buy phase" and "in games using this".

Sure, but it's useful to put things like this on the same list.

Quote
I'd also argue that Lighthouse doesn't have the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger, in spite of the wording. No event actually triggers when another player plays an Attack. Instead it just has the "while this is in play" state that Attacks don't affect you. Moat also has that state, lasting for the rest of the particular Attack, but only coming into effect when you reveal Moat as part of the event triggered by the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger.

I disagree. The event that triggers when another player plays an Attack is that the Attack doesn't affect you.

Quote
Watchtower: The "if this is in your hand" header seems pointless for Watchtower. It's simply "when you gain a card", just like Royal Seal, although Royal Seal also has the "while this is in play" requirement.

Agreed.

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Grand Market: You don't need both the "when you would buy a card" and "while Copper is in play" things. They say the same thing. I would keep "while Copper is in play", which is actually a state timer.

"While Copper is in play" is the state timer; "when you would buy Grand Market" is the event trigger.

Quote
Contraband: I guess a when-would-buy trigger works, but I would make it a state timer instead, like for Grand Market (both being "you can't buy..." states). So "during your buy phase", just like for Peddler.

Contraband's effect isn't restricted to your buy phase; Black Market shows that it affects your Action phase too. If it has a state timer, it's "for the rest of this turn", like Bridge and Coppersmith.
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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2013, 12:04:17 pm »
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My question has always been, which copy of Embargo triggers when you buy a card? There's ten of them, after all.

The one that was used to Embargo the pile you're buying from. Next question?
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Qvist

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2013, 03:16:48 pm »
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Feel free to edit that article. I was just putting down there everything I had in my head. I knew that this isn't 100% correct, but at least I can look it up in some place. I agree with the most things you said.

Davio

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2013, 03:34:44 pm »
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Outpost is now done "doing what it's doing" and goes to your discard pile.

Duration cards are never discarded until Clean-up.
Okay, I thought duration cards were discarded when they were done doing what they're doing.
But I just read Seaside rules and Outpost specifically says "Leave Outpost in front of you until the end of the extra turn."
But what happens when you play Outpost on and Outpost turn? You only draw 3 cards again, but don't get an extra turn. Do you still leave the second Outpost out?
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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2013, 03:44:40 pm »
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Outpost is now done "doing what it's doing" and goes to your discard pile.

Duration cards are never discarded until Clean-up.
Okay, I thought duration cards were discarded when they were done doing what they're doing.
No, they're discarded during Cleanup of the turn on which they finish what they're doing.

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But I just read Seaside rules and Outpost specifically says "Leave Outpost in front of you until the end of the extra turn."
But what happens when you play Outpost on and Outpost turn? You only draw 3 cards again, but don't get an extra turn. Do you still leave the second Outpost out?

You do, although I don't find the reasons for doing so convincing.
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GendoIkari

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2013, 03:54:36 pm »
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My question has always been, which copy of Embargo triggers when you buy a card? There's ten of them, after all.

The one that was used to Embargo the pile you're buying from. Next question?

No, Drab is right. The only way Embargo makes sense is if you pretend it says "in games using this." It can't be a specific Embargo triggering. Say you played 2 Embargos, both on Gold. With your way, when someone buys a Gold, both Embargos would trigger, and they both say "gain a Curse per Embargo token"... so you would get 4 Curses, not 2.
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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2013, 04:27:44 pm »
+1

My question has always been, which copy of Embargo triggers when you buy a card? There's ten of them, after all.

The one that was used to Embargo the pile you're buying from. Next question?

No, Drab is right. The only way Embargo makes sense is if you pretend it says "in games using this." It can't be a specific Embargo triggering. Say you played 2 Embargos, both on Gold. With your way, when someone buys a Gold, both Embargos would trigger, and they both say "gain a Curse per Embargo token"... so you would get 4 Curses, not 2.

Yes, I suppose you're right. I was pretending it says "Put an Embargo token on top of a Supply pile. For the rest of the game, when a player buys a card from that pile, he gains a Curse" instead of pretending it says "in games using this". (I think my way of understanding Embargo's effect is more elegant, but that's just me.)
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Jeebus

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2013, 05:46:09 pm »
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I like the replies here. They make me think about this. Hopefully we can get it right.

Embargo is a tricky one.

I think AJD's idea was that playing Embargo puts a state into effect ("from now until the rest of the game"), which is that the when-buy trigger is in effect. The when-buy event is that you gain a Curse per token. But in order for this to work it can't be per token period (since each played Embargo would add another when-buy trigger). As GendoIkari said, that would mean you would get 4 Curses for 2 tokens. So each token would have to be tied to a specific Embargo somehow.

My question has always been, which copy of Embargo triggers when you buy a card? There's ten of them, after all.

This is a good point. I said that it's a when-buy trigger which is always in effect, but it could be argued that that would mean there are ten of these when-buy triggers always in effect. However, I don't see how "in games using this" prevents this..? In a game with Embargo, the game is using all ten Embargo cards. So there would still be ten when-buy triggers in effect.

The same problem then appears for Duchess. When you gain a Duchy, you could gain ten Duchesses.
And also for set-up events like on Trade Route and Young Witch. Trade Route would make you put ten tokens on each Victory card!

Obviously these rules are meant to be completely separate from the specific card copy they're on. They're each just one rule that's in the game when the Kingdom pile is. However, there doesn't seem to be anything technically saying why it's one event trigger and not ten. After all, each Goons in play gives you a VP per buy. Even though it says "while this is in play" that's just when the trigger is in effect. It doesn't say that it's necessarily one trigger per Goons. But since it is one trigger per Goons (events are cumulative), by the same token it should be one trigger per Embargo.

I don't know how to describe the proper timing on Embargo (or Duchess, Trade Route, etc.) to solve this...

Just a Rube

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2013, 06:04:04 pm »
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Yes, I suppose you're right. I was pretending it says "Put an Embargo token on top of a Supply pile. For the rest of the game, when a player buys a card from that pile, he gains a Curse" instead of pretending it says "in games using this". (I think my way of understanding Embargo's effect is more elegant, but that's just me.)
It's probably relevant that, according to the secret histories, the physical embargo card originally went on the pile. In that case, that physical copy of embargo would have been triggering.
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Donald X.

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2013, 06:11:07 pm »
+3

Obviously these rules are meant to be completely separate from the specific card copy they're on. They're each just one rule that's in the game when the Kingdom pile is. However, there doesn't seem to be anything technically saying why it's one event trigger and not ten. After all, each Goons in play gives you a VP per buy. Even though it says "while this is in play" that's just when the trigger is in effect. It doesn't say that it's necessarily one trigger per Goons. But since it is one trigger per Goons (events are cumulative), by the same token it should be one trigger per Embargo.
Goons triggers once per Goons via the default for all triggered abilities in most games - "when x happens, do y" means, directly after x happens, do y once. When you pass Go, you don't take all of the money from the bank, you just get $200.

I don't know how to describe the proper timing on Embargo (or Duchess, Trade Route, etc.) to solve this...
Embargo, Duchess, and "Setup" abilities are not precisely phrased. I will use my usual excuse that, AFAIK, they do not confuse people; no-one thinks they are supposed to take all 10 Curses due to one Embargo token or all 10 Duchesses when they buy a Duchy, no-one puts 10 counters on each VP pile for Trade Route or adds 10 Banes to the supply for Young Witch.

More precise cards would indicate that they were just giving you a reminder, and then the rulebook would have the rules for those things in their non-FAQ sections.

Embargo has a when-buy trigger, is timed like other when-buy triggers, and probably does what you think it does.
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Jeebus

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2013, 06:27:46 pm »
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I don't think this should be distinguishing between different players. When you trash a card, you have to check whether you're being Possessed; when you would gain a card, you have to check whether you're being Possessed. The referee doesn't take the perspective of a single player.

But it's not listed under "when you would gain a card", that's partly my point...

Quote
Quote
I'd also argue that Lighthouse doesn't have the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger, in spite of the wording. No event actually triggers when another player plays an Attack. Instead it just has the "while this is in play" state that Attacks don't affect you. Moat also has that state, lasting for the rest of the particular Attack, but only coming into effect when you reveal Moat as part of the event triggered by the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger.

I disagree. The event that triggers when another player plays an Attack is that the Attack doesn't affect you.

But that's not an event in my view. At that point nothing has affected you yet, the player hasn't started resolving the Attack. If it were a trigger, it would have to be a "would" trigger on the very event on the Attack that could affect you. So "when another player would do something on an Attack card that affects you" or something. And the event is "he doesn't do that thing." Actually this would be closer to how a computer program would implement it. But for our purposes here, I think what I said is better.

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Quote
Grand Market: You don't need both the "when you would buy a card" and "while Copper is in play" things. They say the same thing. I would keep "while Copper is in play", which is actually a state timer.

"While Copper is in play" is the state timer; "when you would buy Grand Market" is the event trigger.

No, you don't need both. With the event trigger, the state timer is pointless.

Quote
Quote
Contraband: I guess a when-would-buy trigger works, but I would make it a state timer instead, like for Grand Market (both being "you can't buy..." states). So "during your buy phase", just like for Peddler.

Contraband's effect isn't restricted to your buy phase; Black Market shows that it affects your Action phase too. If it has a state timer, it's "for the rest of this turn", like Bridge and Coppersmith.

You're right!

BTW, Coppersmith is like this: It has the state timer "for the rest of your turn" (in effect when Coppersmith is played). The state is that an event trigger is in effect: "when you play a Copper", and the event is +$1.

AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2013, 06:38:10 pm »
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I like the replies here. They make me think about this. Hopefully we can get it right.

Embargo is a tricky one.

I think AJD's idea was that playing Embargo puts a state into effect ("from now until the rest of the game"), which is that the when-buy trigger is in effect. The when-buy event is that you gain a Curse per token.

Nono... on this analysis of Embargo, the when-buy event is that you gain one Curse, not a Curse per token. (And the fact that the card says "one Curse per token" is a case of the card text not literally lining up 100% with card's effect, like Nomad Camp.)

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So each token would have to be tied to a specific Embargo somehow.

Each token is tied to a specific Embargo card because each token is placed by a specific Embargo card. On this analysis, the Embargo tokens are just to make tracking easier; gameplay would be the same without themólike Trade Route tokens. (Trade Route could just say "+$1 per Victory card pile in the supply from which a card has been gained this game".)

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I don't see how "in games using this" prevents this..? In a game with Embargo, the game is using all ten Embargo cards. So there would still be ten when-buy triggers in effect.

The same problem then appears for Duchess. When you gain a Duchy, you could gain ten Duchesses.

Agreed.

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And also for set-up events like on Trade Route and Young Witch. Trade Route would make you put ten tokens on each Victory card!

Nah, for set-up events it's the randomizer card that's telling you what to do. By the time you have ten Young Witches, set-up has already taken place.  ;)
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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2013, 06:45:38 pm »
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Obviously these rules are meant to be completely separate from the specific card copy they're on. They're each just one rule that's in the game when the Kingdom pile is. However, there doesn't seem to be anything technically saying why it's one event trigger and not ten. After all, each Goons in play gives you a VP per buy. Even though it says "while this is in play" that's just when the trigger is in effect. It doesn't say that it's necessarily one trigger per Goons. But since it is one trigger per Goons (events are cumulative), by the same token it should be one trigger per Embargo.
Goons triggers once per Goons via the default for all triggered abilities in most games - "when x happens, do y" means, directly after x happens, do y once. When you pass Go, you don't take all of the money from the bank, you just get $200.

Forgive me, but I don't quite see how Goons' behavior follows from "directly after x happens, do y once". Goons tells you that "when you buy a card, +1 VP", so directly after you buy a card, you take 1 VP once. If you have multiple Goons cards in play, all telling you the same thing, there are two ways to interpret that: (1) each one of them tells you "when you buy a card, +1 VP", they all agree with each other on that point, so you do just what they all tell you to do and take 1 VP when you buy a card; or (2) the way it actually works. Each of those models is compatible with the standard interpretation of "when x, do y"; the fact that multiple cards in play with the same instruction are cumulative, not parallel, is a separate rule.
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AJD

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2013, 06:50:00 pm »
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I don't think this should be distinguishing between different players. When you trash a card, you have to check whether you're being Possessed; when you would gain a card, you have to check whether you're being Possessed. The referee doesn't take the perspective of a single player.

But it's not listed under "when you would gain a card", that's partly my point...

Right, my opinion is that that's an error.

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I'd also argue that Lighthouse doesn't have the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger, in spite of the wording. No event actually triggers when another player plays an Attack. Instead it just has the "while this is in play" state that Attacks don't affect you. Moat also has that state, lasting for the rest of the particular Attack, but only coming into effect when you reveal Moat as part of the event triggered by the "when another player plays an Attack card" trigger.

I disagree. The event that triggers when another player plays an Attack is that the Attack doesn't affect you.

But that's not an event in my view. At that point nothing has affected you yet, the player hasn't started resolving the Attack. If it were a trigger, it would have to be a "would" trigger on the very event on the Attack that could affect you. So "when another player would do something on an Attack card that affects you" or something. And the event is "he doesn't do that thing." Actually this would be closer to how a computer program would implement it. But for our purposes here, I think what I said is better.

Hmm, maybe. I was conceptualizing "being granted immunity from an Attack" as an event.

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Grand Market: You don't need both the "when you would buy a card" and "while Copper is in play" things. They say the same thing. I would keep "while Copper is in play", which is actually a state timer.

"While Copper is in play" is the state timer; "when you would buy Grand Market" is the event trigger.

No, you don't need both. With the event trigger, the state timer is pointless.

'When you would buy this, if Copper is in play you don't buy this?' Yeah, I suppose so.
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Donald X.

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Re: When do cards do things
« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2013, 07:14:01 pm »
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Obviously these rules are meant to be completely separate from the specific card copy they're on. They're each just one rule that's in the game when the Kingdom pile is. However, there doesn't seem to be anything technically saying why it's one event trigger and not ten. After all, each Goons in play gives you a VP per buy. Even though it says "while this is in play" that's just when the trigger is in effect. It doesn't say that it's necessarily one trigger per Goons. But since it is one trigger per Goons (events are cumulative), by the same token it should be one trigger per Embargo.
Goons triggers once per Goons via the default for all triggered abilities in most games - "when x happens, do y" means, directly after x happens, do y once. When you pass Go, you don't take all of the money from the bank, you just get $200.

Forgive me, but I don't quite see how Goons' behavior follows from "directly after x happens, do y once". Goons tells you that "when you buy a card, +1 VP", so directly after you buy a card, you take 1 VP once. If you have multiple Goons cards in play, all telling you the same thing, there are two ways to interpret that: (1) each one of them tells you "when you buy a card, +1 VP", they all agree with each other on that point, so you do just what they all tell you to do and take 1 VP when you buy a card; or (2) the way it actually works. Each of those models is compatible with the standard interpretation of "when x, do y"; the fact that multiple cards in play with the same instruction are cumulative, not parallel, is a separate rule.
"While this is in play, when you buy a card, +1 VP."

If I have two in play, they aren't telling me the same thing - one is referring to itself, the other to the other.

Perhaps someone would try to read that as "While this is in play, the special rule that gives you +1 VP for buying a card is active," so that the second copy would be redundant. That seems weird to me but people do ask just that kind of question. Luckily there's a FAQ and it indicates that multiple Goons are cumulative, with an example.
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