Saturday, January 03, 2009

Don't paraphrase rules...

... Or if you do, make sure you do it in a way that doesn't in fact change the rule!

Time and time again I have come across rules questions stemming from the questioner's misunderstanding of a base rule - often because rather than learning the base rule in the first place, the questioner was explained an approximation or paraphrase of the rule.

Case in point: There is a discussion on BGG right now in a rules thread for Battlestar Galactica. It seems clear to me that a particular poster in that thread was told when he was taught the game that "Cylon ships don't activate during Revealed Cylon turns." This is not accurate - rather the rule is that the Activate Cylon Ships step and the Jump Preparation step are skipped during Revealed Cylon turns. What's the difference? Well, some Crisis cards which may come up during a revealed Cylon turn, and especially Super Crisis cards which ONLY come up during a revealed Cylon turn, activate Cylon ships as part of the crisis. Obviously, these ships DO activate. Only the symbol at the bottom of the card which may or may not activate other ships during the Cylon Activation step of the turn is ignored (because again, that step is skipped according to the rules for revealed Cylon turns).

If you have read the rules or learned them properly then it sounds trivial and ridiculous to hear "how come there are Cylon activation symbols on the Super Crisis cards, if they can't activate on a revealed Cylon turn?" And yet, that very question came up.

This is a pet peeve of mine, so I thought I'd put up a post which I could perhaps point to at some future time.

Don't paraphrase rules... or if you do, make sure to do so in a way that doesn't functionally change them!
You're just asking for confusion later.

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