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Rules Update, April 2024

by James Heaney, Rules Manager (1E)

2nd April 2024

Happy Easter Tuesday! The first Monday of the month is a regularly scheduled rules update, but it was deferred to Tuesday this week due to the Easter Monday holiday. This gave ahem some of us (ahem me) a chance to catch up after partying all day Sunday. As usual, this month's substantive changes and clarifications are in bold blue text. (You will notice that there isn't any bold blue text in this update.)

No Big News, either!

Monthly Rulings

Here's the Recent Rulings Document for this month, if you want to look: RRD 2024-04-02.

Downloading from the Side Deck Pseudo-Discards

This month, we clarify a question that has been asked surprisingly rarely (and, as far as we can tell, never officially answered) over the past several decades. Several side decks (Q-Flash/Q-Continuum, Storage Compartment Door, and Battle Bridges) have "pseudo-discard piles" (not a legal term) where used-up cards are placed face-up (either atop the deck or beneath it) until the side deck runs empty and you shuttle the pseudo-discards and turn them face-down to replenish the side deck. The question: can you download cards from these "pseudo-discard piles"? (Are they enough of a "part" of the side deck to count?)

Answer: yes.

That ruling will now live at Side Deck Downloads.

O'Brien and Kira

This card's special skill turned out to be less crystal-clear than we thought when we approved the wording, so we clarified it with a Glossary entry this month:

The skill gain is an automatic modifier, so you must select her skill immediately after the time travel; this is not optional. The skill lasts only "during" the turn she time traveled, and she cannot gain multiple skills by time-traveling multiple times.

"Leaving Play"

We ruled several years ago that a card that is discarded, removed from play, or returned to hand is "leaving play" -- even if the card had not technically entered play. For some reason (ahem presumably my error), that ruling never made it into a rules document. We sought to put it into a rules document this month after it came back to our attention, but portions of the ruling have become internally controversial. As a stopgap, we have issued a temporary "bluetext" ruling while we hash out the remaining details. The bluetext just confirms the older ruling: a card that is discarded, removed from play, or returned to hand is "leaving play" and triggers any effects that happen upon a card "leaving play." We'll update this when we resolve our disagreement.

Transwarp Hub at Intelligence Operation

We ruled that Transwarp Hub may be card-played (but not seeded) at Intelligence Operation, because its specific gametext ("Plays at any nebula") overcomes the general rule that outposts can't play at headquarters. (Intelligence Operation is both a headquarters and a nebula.) This, too, is controversial within the Rules Committee (less for rules reasons and more for game-balance reasons), and this will be a temporary "bluetext" ruling, applicable only to this specific pair of cards, until we get it hashed out.

Romantic Partner

Technically, until this month, the phrase "romantic partner" in lore did not make two personnel into romantic partners! (You had to use "romantically involved" or one of the approved synonyms like "wife".) We added "romantic partner" to the list of approved synonyms so the revised Arandis can be romantic partners with Curzon Dax. (There wasn't room in her cramped lore box for "romantically involved.")

"Starfleet" on Federation Cards

For several years, there has been a special rule (Rule explaining that phrases like "Starfleet use only" mean only the affiliation Starfleet, not the characteristic "Starfleet." For example, Calloway is a Federation personnel who is a "Starfleet medical technician." The only reason she couldn't use a Starfleet Phaser Pistol ("Starfleet use only") is because this rule said "Starfleet" in lore didn't count. This was causing problems for Creative, because we kept asking them to remove references to "Starfleet" from various Federation cards in order to keep the problem from getting any bigger. Today, however, we issued clarifying revisions to a batch of 8 [SF] Starfleet-related cards. (The phaser pistol now says " [SF] use only.") That solves the problem, and this rule can go away.

Cleanup, Cleanup Everybody Do Your Share!

We did some tidying up in the mission attempt rules, put in place clear rules for "report to", and updated the Glossary entry for Horga'hn to reflect its errata. With development of STCCG GEMP now well underway thanks to the superstar work of DataNoh, we are identifying more areas where the rules-as-written do not quite precisely match the rules-as-played, and we will continue doing tightening and tidying (as we did with the mission attempt rules this month).

See You... Out There

Thanks for reading! As always, please let us know if you see any errors, typos, or obsolete text in the rules documents. We are running behind on ordinary rules document maintenance, and we are trying to catch up over the next couple of months.

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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