IOU an Explanation: Where to DRAW the line? [Hopefuls Only]

Card draw simulator

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RulesAnarchist · 417

Update - Been walked back in another FFQ email as of June 7th, 2023. In a weird way.

Have you heard of Minh, the Deep One Abomination, the bastard child of Amanda and Silas? Here, I present you her in her full 2023 glory. Make sure to stay tuned and keep pressing the ♥ button if you want to see more drama-trauma!

Recently rumblings from FFG issued this decree:

It’s possible, but only if you take the right steps. To play Practice Makes Perfect while The King in Yellow is in your threat area, you must have committed at least 2 skill cards during Step 2 of Skill Test Timing, then play PMP during the subsequent player window to hopefully get the third card that you need. (If you don’t find a skill with PMP, I’d say you return the committed cards to hands, and discard PMP.)

Do you know what this means?! Alt Text

You can now commit up to 2 skills while King in Yellow is out, on an IOU basis, in the expectations of... hopefully finding enough commits. And if it doesn't work out, well just be Silas and bounce those cards you already committed to hand.

Da Gameplay

  1. Start a skill test. Make dat skill test real HARD. Drawing Thin.

  2. Commit Unrelenting and Signum Crucis to a skill test while The King in Yellow is in play. Unrelenting will immediately draw you cards. Signum Crucis will immediately put tokens into the chaos bag.

  3. Tell everyone at the table that you will commit a 3rd card at some point during this skill test to satisfy The King in Yellow's "You cannot commit exactly 1 or 2 cards". Get on that IOU commit basis.

  4. During the window after St. 2 Commit cards from hand, play a Practice Makes Perfect. Make sure to find a Practiced skill that you can commit. Not something silly like Survey the Area.

  5. Oh... did you not find a 3rd skill? Perhaps you were not hopeful enough. Just return Unrelenting and Signum Crucis to your hand, after they already drew you cards and added tokens....

  6. BUT WAIT! Don't do that! You tell everyone at the table, that you just KNOW you'll find that 3rd skill, so you stick through the test with those cards committed, because you see...when you are hopeful for a "chaos token with a symbol", Butterfly Effect, could result in you committing a 3rd card. Maybe you can draw with Empirical Hypothesis or Cryptic Research or even the Unrelenting during that second window and now you have that 3rd skill in your hand.

  7. You draw a non-symbol token. Oh... well okay NOW you can bounce your Unrelenting and Signum Crucis to hand. Good for you, daughter of Silas Marsh.

  8. Since those skills are back in your hand, daughter of Amanda Sharpe. Take another test and commit those skills again. Rinse and repeat.

Honorable Mentions

  • Mr. "Rook" is a fantastic engine card, if you've never played him. He lets you find King in Yellow when he searches your deck. This deck makes filtering for your weakness so OP that... perhaps taboo him a little more please?

  • Grisly Totem has a ability that sticks around ... maybe even after the skill card gets bounced? So should you pass that skill test even after your Signum Crucis and Unrelenting were returned to your hand, draw 1 card?

  • Lifeline try to fail as many tests as you can, so then you can take more actions. More actions, more tests. More tests, more cards drawn and more tokens.

  • Written in the Stars mill an Unrelenting from the top of your deck, so that you commit it to a skill test with King in Yellow on an IOU basis... then don't fulfill it, and then viola! "I'd say you return the committed cards to hand" tadaaaaa.

What's Next?

Tell me something you find utterly preposterous? Leave it in the comment, I just know you hopefuls out there will be delighted with what I come up with.

Das me, Rules Anarchist signing out uWu ^_~V


May 12, 2023 mattastrophic · 3115

This is wild... so if you can do the thing that you can't do yet but with a promise that you'll be able to later... HMMM...

May 12, 2023 mattastrophic · 3115

Got it! So Lola Hayes can do whatever she wants as long as she promises to be in a matching role before it's all over. This does open up a lot of really interesting and intuitive play patterns!

Thanks for asking the question, whoever you are!

May 12, 2023 sweetpumpkinboy · 42

My sneaking suspicion is that whoever is behind the ruling at FFG, doesn't have a solid grasp of the card pool.

They probably casually suggested reverting to a game state under the assumption that skills only have effects that come in the later steps of the skills test framework. That's certainly my most charitable explanation.

May 12, 2023 PaxCecilia · 398

Rather than creating an anonymous account to clown on the rules team, surely we could just agree that the ruling is, on the face of it, extremely incorrect as per the words written on the cards & RRG and move on with our lives?

May 12, 2023 RulesAnarchist · 417

@sweetpumpkinboy Pretty close to my conclusion--though backtracking game states even if they were harmless as a ruling paradigm is not my favorite.

May 12, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

@PaxCecilia In general, I agree with you about "moving on with our lives." But playing Arkham Horror is part of my life, and the game will be healthier and longer-lived if published cards and campaigns are backstopped by coherent rules. We have a right--and an obligation if we care about the durability of the game--to demand a design team that comprehends and preserves an intelligible rules framework. Currently, there is no such team. Those of us who have listened to Mythos Busters and played the fanmade "Winter Winds" campaign can rule out Nicholas Kory, by his own admission, as a source of rules chops. So where will they come from? Questions submitted in the last several months are as likely to receive a coherent as a nonsensical answer, and often with complete disregard for the rules as they have previously existed. How do you propose those of us who care for the health and longevity of the game proceed?

May 12, 2023 PaxCecilia · 398


agree that the ruling is, on the face of it, extremely incorrect as per the words written on the cards & RRG

But not these inane public hand wringing posts drawing attention to a mistake.

May 12, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

Your recommendation is that we message the same link that provided the ruling? And ask them if they really, truly meant what they said? I unironically acknowledge that this has repeatedly worked over the last several months, but does it sound like a long-term sustainable practice? Your alternative option is to quietly ignore all rulings that don't make sense to us, which is of course what many of us do, but the problem is that rules aren't one-offs; they're part of a framework. Tomorrow's ruling derives from today's answers, which extend from yesterday's principles. Eventually, following your second recommendation leads us into balkanized and incompatible playgroups whose public rules discussions are nonsense due to all our necessary stopgaps, idiosyncrasies, and contingencies.

May 12, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

And to your final point, how you propose we differentiate rules from mistakes?

May 12, 2023 PaxCecilia · 398

Yes. As crazy as it might sound, I do not think we should attempt to publicly lambast the rules team for a mistake and instead should use the communication tools available to open a good faith dialogue to actually fix the problem.

Not that long ago we were waiting a year+ for responses to questions in the rules form. Now we wait less time, sometimes as short as a week, but occasionally get responses that are not fully coherent. If you are legitimately concerned about “sustainability”, you should recognize this back and forth is now an integral part of the process, and that the first pass of a ruling should be met with a bit more scrutiny when it seems off.

You will differentiate rules from mistakes by following the new process. This is what the community asked for and it’s time for people to quit being childish about it and adapt to the new circumstances we find ourselves in.

May 12, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

Well, I don't know if "childish" is the right word. I've read the above list a couple times and it strikes me as pretty clever satire. Maybe you're referring to my own comments? Either way, I don't think it's warranted. And I don't share your admiration of FFG's recent change from a dripfeed of correct rulings to a firehose of false ones. I have a Magic 8 Ball beside my computer that's pretty fast with rulings. My problem is that I can't discern its "answers" from its "mistakes," so it's basically useless and makes makes me yearn for human intelligence and rulebook comprehension at the other end of my inquiries. But maybe that's not right; maybe I just need more "hope."

May 12, 2023 PaxCecilia · 398

Childish wasn't directed at you, you've been nothing but civil until this most recent reply. It is directed towards the author of the deck list who is well known member of the community who should have the decency to stand behind their convictions publicly. It's also childish because the deck list write up contains an obvious jab at another deck list author.

Point to where I indicated admiration. Do you think I'm stoked that we're getting rulings that do not agree with the rules of the game? Of course not. But I'm talking about a realistic, good faith, kind approach with which to resolve the issue on a long term basis (which by the way, sustainability is what you asked me to answer to, and you do not seem to have provided any actual answer to what I've written other than becoming more hostile. Why is that?)

This ruling is flat out wrong by all measures, and the way to address it is to use the rules form that I linked up above to tell them. This is what makes it slip out of satire and into antagonizing the developers for me, the fact that there is obvious solution to such a massive non issue and instead here we are, slowly slipping into more and more absurdity as we question "what does it mean for a ruling to be wrong, and how do we objectively measure a rulings wrongness?". I've given you the answer, use it if you are experiencing problems.

@RulesAnarchist shame on you.

May 12, 2023 PaxCecilia · 398

I hope my position has been made clear and I no longer will be replying to this deck list to avoid to receiving any more unwarranted algorithmic push to the front page over the coming weeks. Apologies to anyone in the community who also hates seeing this shit and just ignored it like I rightfully should have.

May 12, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

No, you've done the right thing in replying. I recognize that your perspective is offered in good faith, and I think even your palpable anger is helpful--as is the original author's. Algorithm be damned, people who read the decklist now also read your comments and can make up their own mind. Not speaking the truth for fear of empowering or disempowering "the wrong people" gets us to a bad place. I will say that I continue to disagree with you about the prospect for constant two-way dialogue in that FFG rules question forum that has heretofore been for us to provide questions and them to provide answers. I will proffer, without irony or malice, that the long term solution is instead that the employee whose every email is signed "FFG Rules Expert" needs to actually be one.

May 12, 2023 chirubime · 25868

Dr. Jekyll here! There certainly seems to be quite a bit of sublimated anger about the whole matter. I simply didn't want to do the same thing I did with the Daisy deck a few months back since you can't delete ArkhamDB decks, something I learned whilst trying to redact that after the ruling was rolled back. I wanted it to be very clear that decks posted on this account are not meant to be replicated in games.

If you're upset about anonymity, I stand by my deck and I stand by the engagement drive I'm asking for in my deck. #TouchGrassGang.

May 13, 2023 Nenananas · 249

Now I'm actually hoping they'll give out more wacky rules like this just so we can see more of your hilarious decklist descriptions.

May 13, 2023 Cuherdir · 1168

Just going to chime in and say: AMAZING explanation, don't know why you have Survey the Area though, it's practiced :P :P

That ruling obviously is another one to just ignore, but I love taking rules at face value and running with the consequences <3 Great description, too

May 13, 2023 Cuherdir · 1168

Why Last Chance though?

May 13, 2023 chirubime · 25868

@Cuherdir the last chance, reckless, and survey were just all meme skills to deny hitting 3 skills. Doesn't have too much deeper meaning :P

May 13, 2023 mattastrophic · 3115

All right, I got it. If play/commit restrictions come with a window to "fix" the gamestate, this opens up a lot for Lola, bringing her to the intuitive way people most often play her before they get smacked across the face by the timing chart.

For example, Lola could play Lucky! With the knowledge that she can swap into Survivor right after in order to sort out the restriction. Nice.

May 13, 2023 Cuherdir · 1168

@chirubime Oh yeah, never playing it I totally forgot you cannot pmp it :D

May 13, 2023 vylanis · 1

I disagree that there's anything wrong with the ruling. Rather, I think that's a really big stretch to go from what they said -- you can try to commit the cards in hope of meeting the condition required to commit them, and if you don't meet the condition you just put them back in your hand -- to the conclusion you drew -- you still get all the benefits of committing them even though you ended up retroactively un-committing them.

Per the rules:

  1. If a skill card is committed to a skill test, its ability may be used during the resolution of that skill test, as specified on the card
  2. Per the errata on "Rise to the Occasion:" All cards committed to a test are committed simultaneously. This means you cannot use Double or Nothing to double the difficulty of a test and then commit Rise to the Occasion based off the doubled difficulty of the test.

While the FFG ruling could definitely have been worded better to avoid confusion, I think from the context of other rules their intent is to clarify how Practice Makes Perfect's wording "...and commit it to the skill test, if able" interacts with King In Yellow. You are only able to trigger PMP once you begin the skill test, and you aren't able to commit the PMP card unless you are committing more than 2 cards, but since cards are committed simultaneously there's no order of operations that makes sense for the PMP-King in Yellow interaction.

The ruling was "yes, you can do this, provided that PMP gives you a 3rd card to commit -- but since you don't know if you have a 3rd until resolving PMP, if it fails to pull something you just un-commit the cards." I don't think this means the cards were committed, resolved their effects, & returned to your hand -- it means you tried to commit them, they turned out to be ineligible, and so they ended up not being committed.

First, to me this is the more obvious interpretation anyway. But second, for further evidence, if this isn't what they meant then... well, this deck happens, which pretty much can't have been the intent.

May 14, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

@vylanis I respect your good faith effort to make sense of the ruling, but if the “rules expert” meant what you suggest, then our designers are even more careless than the author implies. There are two timing windows during each skill test: one before cards are committed (ST.2), and one after. It is impossible to play Practice Makes Perfect simultaneous to other card commitment. I trust that the rules team knows this, and I don’t believe they forgot. As to this absurd outcome, you’re right it was unintended, but so would any other outcome be. Modern rulings are too haphazard to ascribe a word like “intent” to.

May 15, 2023 Ektheleon · 210

@vylanis normally, you're exactly right. Commit a Deduction and then bounce it back to hand? Card's not committed anymore, you don't get the icon and you don't get the extra clue. Doesn't matter what was committed earlier, all that matters is what's on the test when you get to results.

Unrelenting and Signum Crucis, though, do things after you commit them, so if you throw them in during step 2, that's when you draw cards/add blesses, before you move on to the post-step-2 window where you can play PMP etc. If something later bounces them to hand, like (normally) Silas or Butterfly Effect, that doesn't retroactively undo the effects that already happened.

May 15, 2023 vylanis · 1

@Ektheleon I understand that's the case for something like Silas or Butterfly Effect, where you have legally committed a card, and then an effect un-committed it. But in this case, the card was "un-committed" via the discovery that it was never a legal play to begin with, which I think is not a similar enough situation to conclude the results are the same.

May 15, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

Another really strange feature of the ruling is the expert's insistence that the "only" way to get to three cards via IOUs is by committing two during ST.2, then playing PMP for the third. We are expressly forbidden from the other order (PMP for 1, then commit 2). Weird. I wonder what the governing principle is.

May 15, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

@vylanis I intend no slight by saying this, but I can't quite tell if you grasp the timing sequence of skill tests.

It's impossible to play Practice Makes Perfect during the regular timing step for card commitment. There is, however, a timing window before and after cards are committed, during either of which Practice Makes Perfect may be played. The ruling discussed above states that the second window--the one after all cards are committed normally--is the only one during which PMP is legal, and only after 2 cards were committed regularly (which would have been illegal).

Again, do you grasp that in the regular order of business--leaving this specific decklist aside--if I commit Unrelenting to a skill test and draw Practice Makes Perfect off it, I am allowed to play it and commit an additional card? (And I am prohibited from playing PMP simultaneous to other cards?)

Well, to harmonize the timing framework with this ruling, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to play Unrelenting and another skill card in the hope of drawing into Practice Makes Perfect, which could in turn find my third commit.

Is this silly? Yes, but it leaves us with plenty of options: 1) ignore the ruling, 2) petition FFG to reverse the ruling, 3) commiserate and have a laugh, 4) throw out large sections of the rulebook, 5) argue about it.

I'm down for the first three, but I can't find the sixth option of somehow harmonizing this with the rules as they've existed up to this point. I sincerely wish I could.

May 16, 2023 freshmint22 · 1

@Eudaimonea Could you commit Unrelenting to a skill test (to benefit from the card draw) in the hopes of drawing into Practice Makes Perfect while in the knowledge that you cannot succeed because both copies are already in the discard pile? Or were never in your deck to begin with?

A bad faith interpretation of the ruling, to be sure, but I'm not sure it would be a violation of it in practice. The ruling seems to imply that commiting two cards to a skill test while The King in Yellow is in play does not become illegal until it is explicitly demonstrated that there are only one or two skill cards committed to the test by completing all relevant stages of the skill test. The mechanics of the games rules simply should not depend on a player's knowledge of what is in their deck, or their intent, when they do something.

Are there any other rules or game mechanics that specifically rely on good faith from the player rather than providing a solid framework for describing how the game is played? Hidden treacheries, I suppose. Expanding on this, do you need to be able to accurately describe the purpose of any action taken in the game in order to be able to do it?

May 16, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

@freshmint22 I basically agree with your whole post. Honestly we tend to run into immediate trouble by extending the logic of recent rulings. A ruling like this isn't based on logic in the first place so it can't be extended or universally applied. To treat this whimsical decree as a "rule" is to transform "You cannot commit exactly 1 or 2 cards to a skill test" into "You cannot end a skill test with exactly 1 or 2 of your cards committed to it." The downstream implications for other "cannots" would then demand attention.

But this interpretation is also contradicted by the ruling itself, which insists that the only way to circumvent The King in Yellow with Practice Makes Perfect is by standard committing 2, then playing PMP for 1. There is no conceivable reason why we shouldn't be able to flip the order and do PMP for 1, then standard commit 2. For that matter, as the deck author suggests, by this logic there's no reason we shouldn't be able to PMP for 1, then standard commit 1, then PMP for the third. Or standard commit 1, then Practice Makes Perfect for one, then Butterfly Effect for the third.

The bottom line is that the nominal rules expert responsible for all this caprice refuses to--or is incapable of--answering questions in a systematic and consistent way. Efforts to reconcile this nonsense into a coherent framework are folly. I don't blame the individual so much as whoever does staffing.

Can we get by without a rules team? Can the rules team we have become a lot more serious or methodical? Can it be supplemented or replaced? I'm not well-informed enough to speak intelligently about all this, although I kind of doubt the first one. I am confident enough to say though that the current rules team has been giving us Calvinball for months now.

May 16, 2023 vylanis · 1

@Eudaimonea I completely agree that I see no reason at all in the rules that you couldn't play PMP at the initiation of the skill test, before committing any cards at all. PMP says "Play during a skill test at your location." Not "Play when you can commit a card to a skill test," or anything else that would support the assertion that you need to commit 2 cards first before you play PMP; PMP is a legal play even with King in Yellow in play. Now, it might be a legal play that draws you a card you can't commit because of King in Yellow, but the card already accounts for that -- it says "and commit it to the skill test, if able."

So I still don't agree that this ruling supports being able to make this deck, but I completely agree the ruling is stupid because the answer to "can you play PMP in hopes of getting the 3rd card you need to be able to commit over King in Yellow" could have just been "yes."

May 16, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

@vylanis Except you're reading into Practice Makes Perfect a clause that lets you draw the card if you can't legally commit it. The rules prohibit initiating effects that don't have the potential to change game state, and I think Practice Makes Perfect with The King in Yellow in play and without enough cards already committed falls under this prohibition. So I'm afraid the correct answer is "no."

May 16, 2023 Ektheleon · 210

classic understanding is that you just can't play PMP under King in Yellow, full stop, right? Regardless of how many other cards you have committed or will commit, PMP itself only commits one card, and you can't do that.

May 16, 2023 Eudaimonea · 4

Right, yeah. I had one too many qualifier in my comment. Sorry.

May 16, 2023 Pugtato · 1

Just to recap:

Skill tests have a framework of steps in the rulebook.

  • Step 1 is "Determine skill of test. Skill test of that type begins."
  • Between Step 1 and Step 2 there is a Fast Player Window.
  • Step 2 is "Commit cards from hand to skill test."
  • Between Step 2 and Step 3 there is a Fast Player Window.
  • Step 3 is "Reveal chaos token."

Practice Makes Perfect is a fast card that says "Play during a skill test at your location." The rules for Fast say that "If the instructions specify a duration or period of time, the card may be played during any player window within that period." Therefore you can only play PMP during the windows BEFORE or AFTER Step 2, when you commit cards from hand.

This is important because The King in Yellow says "You cannot commit exactly 1 or 2 cards to a skill test." Until now (and in my opinion, rightly so) this has meant "at any given time". You couldn't commit only 1 card from hand. You couldn't commit only 2 cards from hand. You couldn't play PMP because it commits 1 card, as @Ektheleon said. And you couldn't try to combine commits during Step 2 and fast events like PMP because they happened at different times.

So the idea that you can play PMP to "get a third card to commit" as @vylanis seems to interpret, must change the meaning of the text on KIY, as @Eudaimonea pointed out. But that logic immediately leads to this deck, because if you can get to 3 committed skill cards over the course of the entire skill test, you need to allow for cards like Butterfly Effect, and you must still resolve effects from committing cards like Unrelenting and Signum Crucis immediately.

Jun 17, 2024 stephwhatever · 1

This decklist is hilarious! I'm so glad I accidentally stumbled upon it (and the comment section along with it) and found out about the PMP drama.