Headache Avoidance Made Easy
After several oftentimes spirited discussions, I have reached the following conclusions:
Nobody really knows how to define basic terms and rules in Middle Earth. This is not aided by the CRF or anything else; the result of researches in those directions more than likely leads to greater confusion rather than any unanimity for the simple reason that ICE itself was usually unclear and imprecise in their terminology.
These optional rules and definitions are for advanced simplified play -- advanced, because nobody but an advanced player is likely to care in the first place, and simplified, because these should cut through about 90 percent of the crap that goes on in the first place.
An action is any activity that you and your opponent may perform in the game. This definition is taken from the Middle Earth rule book and is not that which occurs in the botched Lidless Eye Glossary entry. If you as a player have to do something or your opponent as a player has to do something, it is an action. Otherwise, it is not.
Therefore, tapping a card, revealing a card, rolling dice, playing a card, searching through your deck, changing site cards, etc. are actions because you must physically do them.
Anything else is not an action. Giving a character -1 to his prowess is not an action in and of itself. You as a player have done nothing. Note that this contradicts the CRF ruling on Ready to His Will. Adding strikes and prowess to an attack is not an action because you as a player need do nothing. The only action would have been playing the card.
ICE never provided a solid definition of action, and often used the terms "action" and "effect" interchangeably.
This gets rid of all that silly stuff about being able to respond to the effects of certain cards in order to do what they're supposed to halt you from doing. In The Heart of His Realm, Mask Torn, and Flotsam and Jetsam are notable examples.
During the Movement Hazard/Phase, Player 1 declares a Card Play action. The card is Umagaur keyed to a Shadow-Hold. When the card resolves, it will create an attack and also allow further non-unique orcs and trolls to be played against the company. Neither of these is an action (i.e., they do not declare and resolve, and one may not respond to them). Player 2 responds to the declared card play action by declaring a card play action. The card is Quiet Lands. Player 2 responds to his own card play declaration with another card play declaration, in this case Gates of Morning.
The last card play action resolves first. Gates of Morning is in play.
The second card play action resolves next. Quiet Lands is in play, and the Shadow Hold will now be treated as a Ruins & Lairs. This is not an action because neither player actually has to do anything at this point. They're both sitting down waiting for the chain of effects to resolve.
The first card play action resolves. However, there is no longer a Shadow-Hold to key things to. The card play action fizzles.
In order for there to be an Active Condition, there must first be an action as per the previous definition. Furthermore, it must fit one of the following criteria:
For card play actions the card will often list such conditions as Playable on X or X only. These are considered Active Conditions for the play of the card.
A target is an Active Condition as per CRF annotation 8.
Otherwise, an Active Condition is only denoted by the following standard phrase: "do X to do Y."
All active conditions need only be satisfied at declaration of an action, not at resolution. They are checked in the order in which they appear on the card. This is the only way to avoid cards requiring both tapped and untapped sites.
In a Hero vs Minion game during the Site Phase, a Hero Player attempts to play Far Sight.
Sage only, site phase, and an untapped site where "Information" is playable are all conditions for the play of the card.Sage only during the site phase at an untapped site where "Information" is playable. Tap the sage and the site to search through your play deck and choose an item that you must reveal to your opponent. This item is placed in your hand and the play deck is reshuffled. The sage makes a corruption check.
Tapping the Sage and site are conditions for the action of searching through your deck, as denoted by the standard "tap TO do action".
Making a corruption check is a condition for nothing.
(Under standard rules, the condition for the play of the card and the condition for the searching action would be checked at declaration and resolution -- thus making the card require both a tapped and untapped site and sage when the card resolves. This is ridiculous and is therefore dispensed with in the simplified rules -- we only check active conditions at declaration.)
On the next turn, the Minion player plays All Thought Bent On It.
Sage only, site phase, and an untapped site where "Information" is playable are once again conditions for card play.Sage only. Playable during the site phase on an untapped sage at a site where Information is playable. Tap the sage and the site. Search your play deck and choose a item you must reveal to your opponent. Place the item in your hand and reshuffle your play deck. The sage makes a corruption check.
Tapping the sage and the site are not conditions for any action. They are themselves an action required by the card, as they lack the necessary "tap TO do action" phrasing.
The corruption check is also not a condition, but rather an action created by the card.
Later in the game, the Minion player with the Minion Arkenstone decides to use its special ability to get rid of Thorin.
The action is the Hero Player discarding the dwarf. There are three conditions for the declaration of this action:If the bearer of this item is at the same site as a Dwarf character, you may discard this item to force the discard of the Dwarf (and all cards he controls).
1) The bearer must be at the same site as the
2) target dwarf, and
3) the Minion Player must discard the Minion Arkenstone.
Doing 3 will make 1 invalid, but this does not matter because the conditions were checked in order and need not be checked again when the action resolves.
A Passive Condition causes an action to happen as stated on a card already in play. If there is no Action (as per the above definition), then a given contingency cannot possibly be a Passive Condition. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Card vs. Rules:
A card must directly and unequivocally override a rule or the rule is considered to be in force. If there is room for doubt, the rule wins. A few of the more salient examples are below:
Character Play: Unless a card directly states that a character may be played outside the organization phase, a character may not be played outside the organization phase. Unless a card directly states that such a character may be played in addition to the one character/turn limit, only one character may be played/turn. Unless a card directly states that it allows a FW to play orcs or trolls, orcs or trolls may not be played. No, Thrall of the Voice does not allow orcs or trolls anywhere in its text, and so the rule in the White Hand which states orcs or trolls may not be started, played, or brought into play remains in force. Since no character in the entire game contains the phrase "Replace" or "Replacement" or "Place" (I'm looking at all of you that claim Strider somehow says this -- he doesn't) all character play must abide by these rules.
There are two characters which may "join" a company. This is an entirely different mechanism from playing a character from your hand and refers to a different process.
As per the CRF, Fallen Wizards may not start with or play a character with more than 5 mind, but if they do have one in play, it is not discarded.
Note that the rules provide for an alternate method of character play during the site phase as a result of an influence attempt. This method outlines playing a character by revealing the same card during an influence attempt.
Characters played by this method do not follow any of the rules outlined for normal character play. Thus, home site/haven requirements are abrogated, it need not be in the organization phase, it may be in addition to another character previously played and Fallen Wizards may freely ignore orc/trull rules. All company composition rules are also ignored, but will be in force during the next organization phase. The White Hand rules state that a Fallen Wizard may not use characters with more than 5 mind, and that includes revealing such a character for an influence attempt. The Balrog cannot include non-orc/troll characters in his deck, and agents are always treated as hazards, not as characters, so he could not reveal an agent while making an influence attempt.
As with character play, a card must directly override:
1) The requirement of tapping a character;
2) The requirement of tapping the site;
3) The requirement of an untapped site; and/or
4) The phase requirement
before the given requirement is considered not to be in force.
During the organization phase, a company plays Eagle-Mounts. Because this card does not explicitly override the phase requirement of movement, the site will be chosen when the card play action resolves, but movement will occur during the movement hazard phase.
The word "any" overrides all normal restrictions. The phrase "any character" means that it need not be a character in the company whose turn it is in the movement/hazard phase, just as "any time" means that it need not be in the movement/hazard phase at all.
A company containing a Gold Ring Item has moved to Mount Doom and their movement/hazard phase is over. During the next company's movement/hazard phase, the hazard player plays the Nazgul Are Abroad, which allows Nazgul to attack any company so long as they have a ring item and are at a shadow-hold. The hazard player than plays in Great Wrath to attack the company at Mount Doom.
The keying of an attack is announced when the action which will create the attack upon resolution is declared. A player has until the resolution of this action to fizzle the attack by changing site/region type. Once the action has resolved, changing the site/region types no longer makes any difference.
This will be very much a work in progress, but it might be nice to play a game with consistent rules which allow cards to do what they're supposed to do for a change. Feel free to point out potential abuses/suggest ideas.