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Rules Update, March 2023

by James Heaney, Rules Manager (1E)

6th March 2023

Happy March! Today is the first Monday of the month, a day for a regularly scheduled rules update. There are no substantive changes this month, but we are generalizing a ruling that you possibly have never heard of.

Monthly Rulings

Let's go over this month's Recent Rulings Document.

The Interceptor Rule

Bajoran Raider

A number of cards say something like "RANGE +2 in Neutral Zone" (or some other region). There are two different schools of thought on how to interpret this. The first school of thought says that a ship must start its movement in the region in order to get the RANGE bonus, but it doesn't matter where it ends. The second school of thought says that a ship must stay in the region for the entire move action to get the RANGE bonus. I've seen both played in games. In fact, my local players may recall that I've been partial to the first school of thought.

As it turn out, Decipher ruled on this very question in the Glossary. No, not under "RANGE". Not under "movement". Not even under "regions of space". Their ruling was under the entry "interceptor"!

This is because the first card to rely on this ruling was Bajoran Interceptor, followed by the Alliance Interceptor and the Rebel Interceptor. But this basic wording has been used on all sorts of other cards for many years since, from Deranas to Used To Being Outnumbered, and most of them are not interceptors! Obviously, very few people ever found this ruling under "interceptor."

Anyway, Decipher's ruling was that, to benefit from a region-based RANGE boost, the ship's entire movement (including locations flown past) must be within the same region. For example, if Bajoran Interceptor (RANGE 5+X, X=4 in a region) moves from Establish Station (no region) to Kressari Rendezvous (Cardassia Region, span 2), its RANGE is 5. At the end of the move, its remaining RANGE is 3. If it then makes a second move from Kressari Rendezvous to the adjacent Orb Negotiations (Cardassia Region, span 4), its RANGE at the start of the move will be 7 (9 minus 2 already used), and its remaining RANGE after will be 3 (as long as any further movement is within the Cardassia Region).

Also, if you fly past any location not in the region -- such as an inserted [Univ] Space mission -- you can't use the RANGE boost.

The Rules Committee is not changing this ruling at all. But we are making it more prominent. Instead of living in the interceptor entry of the Glossary, "RANGE Boosts in Regions" will now be listed as an official clarification in the Rulebook, under Rule 7.1.5: Fly a Starship. And we've just devoted an entire monthly update article to explaining it, which should help as well.

Workhorses of the Fleet

There was some confusion about Workhorses of the Fleet in a recent forum thread. The phrase "those... classes" only looks at classes, not other characteristics like uniqueness. That means you get the attribute bonus while all the ships you own in play are Ambassador-, Constellation-, Excelsior-, Miranda-, Oberth-, or K't'inga-class, even if some of your Excelsior/Miranda/Oberth/K't'inga ships are unique.

Workhorses of the Fleet

Some players read it differently, thinking that "those" means "[Univ] Excelsior-, Miranda-, Oberth-, or K't'inga-class ships," and so the Excelsior/Miranda/Oberth/K't'inga ships had to be [Univ] to get the attribute bonus. This is not correct. (They only have to be [Univ] for the free play.) I issued a temporary ruling (or "bluetext") to clarify the issue for the time being.

The Rules Committee is divided on two issues:

  1. Is this ruling correct? If the ruling is wrong and "those... classes" really does objectively include the [Univ] characteristic, then we will have to errata the card to bring it in line with Design's intent.
  2. If this ruling is correct, what should we do about it? Part of the Rules Committee thinks that we should issue clarifying errata anyway, because it doesn't do for players to be confused. Another part of the Rules Committee thinks that errata is a big gun to roll out just because players misread a card in the first week after a release, and leans toward a Glossary ruling, or toward no action at all.

I'd be interested in hearing player perspectives on this. Is it ever appropriate for a card to receive a new Glossary entry in 2023, or should we always issue clarifying errata?

Fortunately, Workhorses would be fairly easy to give a clarifying errata, if we decide to go that route; there's plenty of room left on the card. However, there are other cards, like Life's Simple Pleasures (recently discussed here) that are correctly and clearly worded under the rules, but which still confuse some players... and there seems to be no way of fixing it without changing the functionality of the card or rewriting the lore, because it is already full of text. What should be done there, if anything? Should there be a Glossary ruling? A ruling in some new document? A rewrite of the download rule itself to emphasize that a card like Life's Simple Pleasures does not provide a destination? Something else? What is the Glossary for, in players' views?

See You Space Cowboy...

Thanks for reading! As always, please let us know if you see any errors, typos, or obsolete text in the rules documents.

And be sure to tell us on the forums what you think of everything we've done this month. Hopefully you're happy, but, if not, we want to hear that, too. Until next month, we'll see you on the spaceline!

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