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Author Topic: Polymath  (Read 5368 times)

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Schneau

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Polymath
« on: June 22, 2013, 09:59:17 am »
+1

Polymath
$5 - Action
When you play this, get the effect of the top card of the Polymath stack. If it is empty, the opponent on your left chooses which effect you get.
--
There are 5 effects, each of which appears on 2 of the 10 cards in the stack. Before the game, the stack is shuffled and only the top card is visible. The effects are:
- +$3, +1 Buy
- +2 Cards, +2 Actions
- Gain 2 Silvers, putting one in your hand.
- Trash up to 3 cards. +$1 per card trashed.
- +1 Card, +1 Action, Gain a card costing up to $5.


The main idea of this card, which I don't remember seeing before, is that the card changes depending on what the top card on the stack is. All of the effects are very strong for a $5 card, but you can't count on it being reliable for the effect you need. The wording is a bit rough, and the effects probably need some balancing. I feel like it would be fun to play with, but would it be too swingy?
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LastFootnote

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 11:02:41 am »
0

Does the stack change throughout the game? How can it be empty?
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SirPeebles

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 01:38:31 pm »
+1

Does the stack change throughout the game? How can it be empty?

I presume it can be empty through simply gaining all of them.

It seems like a cool idea.  One issue though, if the pile is empty, then I have to remember what the possible effects are to choose one?  I suggest either having them do nothing when the pile is empty, or there being one fixed effect when the pile is empty, and that this fixed effect should be printed on each card.
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Re: Polymath
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 01:56:52 pm »
0

Does the stack change throughout the game? How can it be empty?

I presume it can be empty through simply gaining all of them.

It seems like a cool idea.  One issue though, if the pile is empty, then I have to remember what the possible effects are to choose one?  I suggest either having them do nothing when the pile is empty, or there being one fixed effect when the pile is empty, and that this fixed effect should be printed on each card.
There's always the randomizer. You could print the choices there.
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Schneau

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 03:08:43 pm »
0

Does the stack change throughout the game? How can it be empty?

I presume it can be empty through simply gaining all of them.

It seems like a cool idea.  One issue though, if the pile is empty, then I have to remember what the possible effects are to choose one?  I suggest either having them do nothing when the pile is empty, or there being one fixed effect when the pile is empty, and that this fixed effect should be printed on each card.
There's always the randomizer. You could print the choices there.

This is what I was thinking. Or, it could be a fixed effect different from the rest. Or it could be the one on the card itself? I dunno!
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SirPeebles

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 03:13:28 pm »
0

One thought I had is making it an Action-Victory with a clause that says it is worth 2 VP if the pile runs out.  So effectively, when the pile runs out they all turn into dead cards worth 2 VP.
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Re: Polymath
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2013, 03:23:19 pm »
0

I'd change the wording to:
Polymath
$5 - Action
When you play this, get the effect of the top card of the Polymath stack. Then move the top card of the Polymath stack to the bottom.

It makes them Knight-ish, but that's O.K.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2013, 07:05:50 pm »
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OK, so... different effects are printed on each Polymath card.  You can buy Polymath.  When you play Polymath, it gives you the effect on the card in the stack, rather than the effect on the card you just played?  You'll have to do some fancy wording to make this work.  But it's interesting.

A concern is that this is SUPER swingy, based on the effects you've listed.  There will be weird situations where someone is able to trash early and someone else is not because that card is removed.  It's also very luck dependent because the random nature of the card makes it hard to plan around.  It also gets very weak in the late game because it is easy for the opponent to choose an effect that isn't useful.  Probably the trashing or the gaining effect, depending on the board and the stage of the game.  The silver gaining action is also not that strong.
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Archetype

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2013, 08:33:26 pm »
0

I'd change the wording to:
Polymath
$5 - Action
When you play this, get the effect of the top card of the Polymath stack. Then move the top card of the Polymath stack to the bottom.

It makes them Knight-ish, but that's O.K.
Ah wait, that doesn't make any sense. 'Polymath' needs to be called something different for that to work.
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scott_pilgrim

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2013, 09:30:02 pm »
0

This is an interesting idea.  I also really really like SirPeebles's idea of having them be worth victory points if the pile runs out.

I think you will have to do some funky wording antics to get it precise though.  Maybe something like:
When you play this, execute the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile.
When you play a Polymath card while this is the top card of the Polymath supply pile, +$3, +1 buy.

So say you play the $3/buy card (call it A) while the 2 cards/2 actions card (call it B) is on top.  Then you say "I played A, so I execute the top card of the Polymath pile.  That says when I play it (B), to execute the text on the top card of the Polymath pile, but I can ignore that because I didn't play B.  Then it says when I play any Polymath card, which I just did, while that is the top card of the Polymath pile, +2 card, +2 actions.  So I'll do that.  Now I finish resolving the text I was reading on A.  It says When I play a Polymath card while this is the top card of the pile, +$3, +1 buy, but it's not the top card of the pile, so I ignore it."

Alternatively, you might be able to have:
[horizontal line]
When you play a Polymath card while this is the top card of the Polymath supply pile, +$3, +1 buy.

Then that just becomes a general thing that happens whenever the cards are in the supply.  But having a horizontal line with no text above it (something which I think Band of Misfits needs) looks awkward, so I'm not sure if that's desirable.

And then I think Polymath would have to be a new card type, since "Polymath card" is not something that's already defined.  And I think each distinct copy would have to have a different name.  I'm not sure about that though, but I can't think of any cards with the same name but different effects.
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Dsell

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2013, 03:15:16 am »
+1

Polymath! What a great word. I had to define it when I took the SAT. Somehow didn't know the definition at the time. Of course its roots would seem to hint at the meaning, but was it a trap?! Nope and I got it right, huzzah! And then naturally it came up like six times in the next two months and I wondered how I ever didn't know.
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Warfreak2

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2013, 06:16:29 am »
+1

When you play this, execute the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile.
When you play a Polymath card while this is the top card of the Polymath supply pile, +$3, +1 buy.
There's a couple of problems here, in that "execute the text" isn't really defined, and the instruction appears twice.

If I play a Polymath, I have two effects to resolve. Firstly, I played a Polymath card while X was the top card of the Polymath supply pile, so I get +$3 and +1 buy; secondly, I execute the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile. Now, either that means I get +$3 and +1 buy again, or it means I follow the instructions as if I played the top Polymath card without putting it into play. Does that count as "playing" a Polymath card? Either way I'm trapped in an infinite loop: the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile tells me to execute the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile. If "executing the text" counts as playing, I get +$3 +1 buy infinitely many times.

My proposal:


Polymath, Action, $5
You get the Polymath effect of the top card of the Polymath supply pile.
---
While this is the top card of the Polymath supply pile, Polymath's effect is: +$3, +1 buy.


I think it's cleaner for the card to define an abstract "Polymath effect"; without additional text on the card, it's dead when the pile is empty.
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scott_pilgrim

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 05:21:43 pm »
0

Firstly, I played a Polymath card while X was the top card of the Polymath supply pile, so I get +$3 and +1 buy; secondly, I execute the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile.
But since there's no line on the card, the text only happens when specifically referenced, either by itself or by another card.  I'm not sure I'm understanding what the problem is with that?  It only happens once.  You play the card which lets you go to the text of the top card of the Polymath pile (only because it tells you to), and then you get to read that card.  I can't read things that are above a line unless I have to.  I think that if there were a problem here, it would be that "execute the text" is not defined (which you mentioned); so it's possible that that phrase doesn't let me look at text on another card.

It's kind of like how just because Bridge is in the kingdom, it's not the case that all cards cost $1 less.  It says right on the card that all cards cost $1 less this turn, but that doesn't happen every single turn because it's not below a line.  Highway puts that below a line, but fixes it by adding a "While this is in play" clause.

Does that count as "playing" a Polymath card? Either way I'm trapped in an infinite loop: the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile tells me to execute the text on the top card of the Polymath supply pile. If "executing the text" counts as playing, I get +$3 +1 buy infinitely many times.
I don't see why the first case (I assumed that "executing the text" was distinct from "playing") is a problem.  It tells me to execute the top card of the Polymath pile IF (and implicitly only if) I played that card.  I didn't play that card, so I don't do it.  I played a different Polymath card.

In my second proposed wording I just dropped the first sentence and put a line above the second one; I think that's the most precise way to do it.  But it doesn't look pretty.  Your wording might work too, but as long as there's a line above the text, you don't need to define "Polymath effect".  I think saying "You get the effect" is just as vague and undefined as "execute the text", so I'm not convinced that that solved anything.

On the other hand, maybe it's not such a big deal, since I think Donald X. is not even consistent with his own wordings.  I'm really convinced that both Band of Misfits and Noble Brigand need lines on them.  So it might be okay to sacrifice precision for looking nice.
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Warfreak2

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2013, 06:49:09 pm »
0

But since there's no line on the card, the text only happens when specifically referenced, either by itself or by another card.
The line is on the top card of the Polymath pile. It tells that when I play a Polymath, I get +$3 and +1 buy. Like Duchess says when I gain a Duchy, I may gain a Duchess, that event can be triggered even if the card I'm reading it from is still in the supply.

It tells me to execute the top card of the Polymath pile IF (and implicitly only if) I played that card.
But "execute the text on the top card of the Polymath pile" is text which is on the top card of the Polymath pile, which I am supposed to execute.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 06:50:53 pm by Warfreak2 »
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scott_pilgrim

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2013, 07:02:42 pm »
0

But since there's no line on the card, the text only happens when specifically referenced, either by itself or by another card.
The line is on the top card of the Polymath pile. It tells that when I play a Polymath, I get +$3 and +1 buy. Like Duchess says when I gain a Duchy, I may gain a Duchess, that event can be triggered even if the card I'm reading it from is still in the supply.
I gave two versions of the card.  The version that we were arguing about did not have a line on it.  Duchess has a line on it.  That is the difference.
It tells me to execute the top card of the Polymath pile IF (and implicitly only if) I played that card.
But "execute the text on the top card of the Polymath pile" is text which is on the top card of the Polymath pile, which I am supposed to execute.
Yes, but I did not play that Polymath card.  (Re-read my first post, I stated that Polymath would have to be a card type and that the different cards would need different names.)  I played a different Polymath card.  That text is on that top card, but it is preceded by a conditional, and that conditional is not satisfied, so I ignore it.  It's like when Ironworks says "If it's a Treasure +$1".  When I gain something that's not a treasure, I don't get +$1.  It's exactly the same with this.  Since I didn't play this card, I skip the rest of that sentence.  There is no loop involved, I made sure to avoid that with my wording.
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Powerman

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2013, 07:07:41 pm »
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That silver option is weak.  It's barely better than Explorer!
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Re: Polymath
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2013, 07:10:49 pm »
0

How about this?

Polymath
Type: Action - Victory - Looter
Play the Ruin on top of the Ruins pile. Trash it. +1 Card.
----------------------
Worth 1 VP if the Ruins pile is empty.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 07:12:15 pm by Matt_Arnold »
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Warfreak2

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2013, 07:15:10 pm »
0

I think most people, myself included, see the lines as nothing more than convenient visual formatting. As you say, Noble Brigand and Band of Misfits have when-buy and while-in-play clauses which are not separated by lines. In these two cases, the lack of that line is also convenient; Noble Brigand would just have to have the same text twice, and Band of Misfits would need to refer to "the card you named when you played this" or something equally cumbersome. If Duchess didn't have the line, it would still be clear that you don't need to play Duchess first in order to gain one with your Duchy.

I will admit that the "when you play this" prevents the infinite loop, my mistake. But it does seem very unwieldly, and I really don't think we need to add new rules to the game (such as what "execute the text" means) to implement this card.
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scott_pilgrim

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2013, 07:29:55 pm »
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Yes, but the line does have a grammatical function, and it does come up sometimes (the difference between throning a scheme or an herbalist, for example).  If you are just arguing that my wording is ugly, then I can agree with that.  But I really think that "execute the text" is no worse than "you get the effect", and I think separately defining the "Polymath effect" is undesirable.

And Duchess would communicate that without the line, but the inconsistency would drive any mathematicians crazy (like how BoM and Noble Brigand bother me).  My point is not so much that if Schneau prints this card he should absolutely use my wording, but rather that my wording is a technically correct wording which I think works (although I'm a lot more confident in my second version than I am in the first one), and that I personally would argue for it in the same way that I would argue for a line on BoM and Noble Brigand.

Ultimately, there's a trade off between precision and prettiness.  I tend to strongly prefer precision, but that's me, and clearly DXV, while generally very precise on most of the cards, had to deal with that trade off in a few cases.

Edit: I'm also not sure actually that Noble Brigand would be that much worse.  It could just have the line under the +$1, and that should work.  It specifically says "When you play...", so it would be thronable and everything.  And I think BoM could just concatenate "When you play this, " in front of its current text, and then stick a line above it and I think that would work.  I think the main weird thing about the BoM wording, and the reason DXV didn't do it, is that it would have nothing above its line (as I am advocating for Polymath), and that just looks funny to people.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 07:35:45 pm by scott_pilgrim »
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Warfreak2

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2013, 07:53:25 pm »
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Yes, but the line does have a grammatical function, and it does come up sometimes (the difference between throning a scheme or an herbalist, for example).
I maintain that the lines are not semantic. "When-x" events can be triggered whether the text is on a card you played (e.g. Goons), or have in your hand (e.g. Moat), or is in the supply (e.g. Duchess), or your discard pile (e.g. Tunnel), pretty much anywhere; their effects aren't bound to the stack, as it were, by playing the card they're printed on, otherwise you'd need to play Moat to be allowed to reveal it from your hand. Scheme's "at the end of your turn" isn't a when-x event, compare with "at the beginning of your next turn" on a Duration card.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 07:54:28 pm by Warfreak2 »
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scott_pilgrim

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2013, 08:05:03 pm »
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I'm not sure if you are continuing to disagree by giving those examples?  I'm almost certain Moat and Tunnel have lines on them, that's why they can do things at times other than when you play them.  When text appears above a line (or more generally, not below a line), the text tells you everything that happens precisely when that card is played.

Here is Donald X. on the issue:
Quote
By default, text on cards happens when you play them. It's true that there's a difference between "right now, set something up to happen later" and "at a certain time which from your perspective when you first see this will be in the future, do something." The dividing line lets you know that some stuff doesn't happen when you play the card (except it's missing on Harem, and the German version of Seaside puts it on duration cards even though they are the former case). Scheme does something when you play it, where that thing is to set up something to happen later. Similarly Bridge does something when you play it, but Highway does something while it's in play.

You couldn't just add a line to Scheme. Then the bottom half would have nothing specifying its scope - it could apply from the start of the game, with no Schemes ever bought or played. It would have to be like, "At the start of Clean-up, if this is in play, ..." Herbalist limits its scope by requiring itself to be discarded.

I don't think the dividing line is in the rules anywhere, but I think the FAQs are clear for all of the cards with them. The dividing line should be in the rules; I don't deny it.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/744463/diffrence-between-scheme-and-herbalist-when-throne

Durations are a set-up-for-later event, which is why they can be throned, same as scheme.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 08:11:42 pm by scott_pilgrim »
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Warfreak2

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2013, 08:12:41 pm »
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What I'm saying is that it's the "when another player plays an attack card" or "when you discard this other than during your clean-up phase" bits on those cards, not the lines, which tell you when these things can happen. The line is a visual convenience; I'm not aware of any card which would become ambiguous by removing the line, and we have two examples of cards which could consistently have lines, but don't, and their meanings don't change because of it.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Polymath
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2013, 11:54:13 pm »
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What I'm saying is that it's the "when another player plays an attack card" or "when you discard this other than during your clean-up phase" bits on those cards, not the lines, which tell you when these things can happen. The line is a visual convenience; I'm not aware of any card which would become ambiguous by removing the line, and we have two examples of cards which could consistently have lines, but don't, and their meanings don't change because of it.

On NB, it's done to save space (because it's already really wordy as it is).  On BoM, the text is for its "on play" effect.  There is no actual "while this is in play" effect there; the "until this leaves play" is just clarification for how BoM's on-play function works.
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