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Rules Update, February 2020

by James Heaney, First Edition Rules Master

3rd February 2020

Happy February!

The Glossary is scheduled to be updated once per year, on the first Monday of January. This update is supposed to include all the previous year's rulings. Because former Rulesmaster Jon Carter announced his retirement in December, the 2020 Annual Glossary Merge was delayed until February.

New Glossary

The extra month gave us a few weeks to finish putting something together. The First Edition Rules Committee is proud to announce an all-new online Glossary and 1E Rules Tool!

As of today, the Glossary is an online HTML document, much like the Rulebook. You can use the handy index and search bar on the left-hand side to jump to specific entries. Cross-references within the text are also clickable hyperlinks, and references to cards are linked back to their database pages on the website. Each section is also linkable, so, if we're having a forum discussion about landing ships, you can post a link directly to the landed ships entry. My favorite part, though, is the simple ability to copy and paste text from the Glossary without having to worry about weird line breaks!

Of course, many people will continue to prefer a PDF, and there's no arguing that a PDF is a lot easier to print out and bring to a tournament. And, of course, the Rules Committee is going to continue to provide the Glossary in PDF format. But you will still be able to enjoy some improvements. The new Glossary PDF is displayed in a new (slightly larger) font that, according to our research, is friendlier to the eye. It features all the same internal and external links as the web Glossary; you can even jump directly to entries, just like the web Glossary. To make it more readable, we've added clearer section headings, and a bit more space overall. This has made the overall document run a few more pages (even though it's the same number of total words). My favorite part, though, is that we finally, after 21 years, have a Glossary PDF with actual icons in it, instead of the bizarre "icon code" we've all learned to read over the past few decades.

New Rules Tool

The last part of this release is the 1E Rules Tool.

This tool is not quite the same as the 2E Rules Tool. 2E has very few rulings, and it's very clear which rulings apply to which cards. Maybe 1E will be there someday, but it's hard to see how we could get there while retaining the richness of 1E. We certainly aren't there today. Instead, the 1E Rules Tool is a way to smoothly navigate between cards and the Glossary.

Every night, the 1E Rules Tool scans the Glossary for new entries and links each card in the 1E card database to its Glossary entry (if it has one). So if you're looking at 35th Rule of Acquisition or The Whale Probe–or any of hundreds of other cards that have specific rulings about them–you can now immediately jump to those rulings.

Hopefully, these three changes are going to make navigating 1E's complex rules a whole lot easier for a whole lot of people. It's only a beginning, but we hope you agree it's a promising one.

Lots and lots of time went into making all this. It turns out it takes WAAYYYYYY more than a few hours over a weekend (as I foolishly predicted) to convert so many pages of Glossary text into a new format. It took hours of complicated regular expression parsing and no small amount of plain ol' elbow grease. And there are almost certainly still some bugs and oversights, which we hope you'll report to us. So a big thanks to everyone on the Rules Committee who helped bring this about, and we hope you enjoy the new Glossary!

...And The CRD

Of course, we also updated the Current Rulings Document this month. Basically, we emptied it, as we do during every annual Glossary merge. The only actual rules change is a temporary ruling regarding Empathic Touch (and similar cards), which was announced last week on the forums in response to a question. (The question: can the Empathy who fuels Empathic Touch then escape killer dilemmas due to being stopped? Answer: Nope.)

A temporary ruling is "temporary" because we are still discussing some of the details and trying to figure out where it belongs in the rules. Going forward, we hope to make it a priority to keep the number of temporary rulings down to a minimum, so this will be (we hope) short-lived.

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