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Rules Update, November

by James Heaney, First Edition Rules Master

2nd November 2020

Happy November! Today is the first Monday of the month, which is the scheduled day for rules updates.

Thanks to the A Private Little War Rules Supplement (and an unusually short gap between First Mondays), this is the third rules update in four weeks. No wonder I feel like I keep writing these! It's been a lot, and so we gave ourselves (and you) a few weeks to relax and absorb what's already happened. There are no substantive rules updates this month! You can skip the rest of this article if you want!

But there's still some fun stuff, if you want to read on...

Clarifying Errata Arrives!

Back in May, the First Edition Department announced a new approach to errata. Instead of housing all errata in a single Errata Team, errata responsibilities would be divvyed up between three departments:

Proof File Screenshot

We took our new responsibility to heart and set right to work, working with First Edition Director Charlie Plaine to build a new release pipeline from scratch. Today, just six months later, Art is releasing the very first batch of clarifying errata: Alien Abduction, Alien Abduction: Test Subjects, Computer Weapon & Hyper-Aging, DNA Metamorphosis, Hyper-Aging, Menthar Booby Trap, Nitrium Metal Parasites, and REM Fatigue Hallucinations all got fresh wording.

Quick! What do all those cards have in common? (HINT: It's a rule.)

In First Edition dilemma resolution, "cure" requirements are treated differently from "nullify" requirements and regular requirements. In general, you can tell "cure" requirements apart from other requirements because the "cure" requirements say "cure." Pretty easy!

However, there have always been a few cards whose requirements were legally considered "cure" requirements even though they didn't have the word "cure" on them. Guess which ones?

Yep, it's these eight. We've errataed all of them to use the word "cure." This allows us to eliminate a paragraph in the Glossary and a paragraph in the Rulebook. We also believe it will make it a lot clearer how these eight cards work under the rules -- and, frankly, we think that eliminating weird exceptions to the dilemma resolution rules makes all dilemma resolution easier to understand, especially for newer players.

Since we were editing these cards already, we made a few other tweaks. None of them meaningfully change how the cards work. You'll notice that several cards that used to say "full turn" now have countdowns instead. We even put a countdown icon on the Hyper-Aging half of a combo dilemma, which is a first. That's consistent with longstanding policy (back to the Temporal Rift errata) that countdowns are how the game manages long-term effects now. We also changed the wording on REM Fatigue Hallucinations to reflect how the card actually works, according to its Decipher-era Glossary entry. (The combo dilemma for REM Fatigue already had the word "cure" on it, so we didn't touch the combo version in this batch.)

There will be more clarifying errata in future months. We have plenty of ideas. However, for obvious reasons, clarifying errata is something that only happens when Art has some slack where it can do this for us. Art's ability to produce cards is limited, and new cards and functional errata (which actually affect the game) necessarily take priority. So I can't tell you exactly when the next clarifying errata is coming -- but I can tell you we know what it is.

Hopefully those errata images posted on time! If not, sit tight, they'll show up soon. (They always do!)

Monthly Rulings

Here's what's covered in this month's Recent Rulings Document.


Conforming Updates

Since this month's batch of clarifying errata makes a couple paragraphs of the Glossary/Rulebook obsolete, we removed them.


Glossary-to-Rulebook

This has been announced before, but I've received a couple of questions about it, so I just wanted to note it again:

Over the past few months, we've been slowly bringing the Glossary and Rulebook into alignment with each other. The Rulebook should contain all the generally applicable rules of the game, while the Glossary should be an index to the Rulebook and a repository for specific rulings about specific cards and words. The Glossary should be a supplement to the Rulebook (and not an insanely long one!), not a replacement for the Rulebook. That was Decipher's original plan for the Glossary, and, while we expect it to take several years, that's where we're steering it.

This month, we worked on the seed phases. We made sure that all the rules about the seed phases are included in the Rulebook, then we deleted the corresponding Glossary entry. (It now is just a link that says "See Rulebook: The Seed Phases.") Just like that, a 1,144-word Glossary entry (1.3% of the Glossary) is reduced to a cross-reference.

Seed phases is the ninth Glossary entry to receive this treatment so far. We continue to aim at "converting" an average of one Glossary entry per month.


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


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