ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Errata issued by the CoE, open discussion of candidate rules for errata, and submissions for the Annual Rules Vote.
User avatar
Bandobras Took
Rules Wizard
Posts: 2496
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:30 pm

ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Bandobras Took » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:12 pm

Zarathustra wrote:"A card's text does override the rules, yes, but only if there is no way to interpret the card's text without overriding the rules. If there is a reading of the card that is consistent with the rules, then that ruling is preferred over any reading that is inconsistent with the rules."
"Respect ICE-era rulings."
I ran across this in an old thread and it started me thinking. The conclusion I came up with is somewhat surprising:

Respecting ICE-era rulings in the sense of never overturning or altering them is actually destructive to the game and dishonors their legacy.

This is because, quite frankly, such a philosophy on the rules of the game ignores the intent of the designers of the game, which was to make a fun, balanced collectible card game that would accurately mirror Tolkien's world.

The idea that ICE-era rulings and even card texts should be immutable violates ICE's intent for the following reasons:

Balance and Fun:
Broken things exist. They are always going to exist because no two players think the same way. By restraining the game to the state it was in when ICE departed, imbalances that are discovered are perpetuated instead of getting fixed. This leads to frustration and boredom (hence the link between balance and fun -- boredom diminishes fun.

Mirroring Tolkien's World:
We play this game to simulate things that might have happened in Middle Earth. But even that does not excuse the idea that Eowyn is better at killing a Balrog than Gandalf so long as that Balrog is a character manifestation rather than a hazard manifestation. A River will stop Radagast from flying, but a Snowstorm won't.

If we really want to respect the ICE era and they game they gave us, then it behooves us to continue their work -- as they were constantly altering rules and card texts in order to achieve balance and fun, so should we. As they wished to see new players drawn in rather than repelled, so should we.

What they absolutely did not do while they were around was inject the cards and rules with embalming fluids and place them a sepulcher to be revered but never touched or altered again. ICE never stopped going over the rules and cards to make them more balanced. Neither should we.

The counter argument has been that the introduction of new rules and errata could drive away players and confuse new players. This is fallacious. We already can drive away new players by pointing them to the CRF section on Passive Conditions. New players will not be any more scared of a list of errata from the people responsible for organizing tournaments than they are of pressing Ctrl+H in GCCG.

I'll post more thoughts later.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly.

User avatar
Bandobras Took
Rules Wizard
Posts: 2496
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:30 pm

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Bandobras Took » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:29 pm

Sauron wrote:It's not a threat, I've stated this before. I hold no ill will for those pushing for these changes, everyone is entitled to their day. But know I will fight tooth and nail to stop such changes. I have my beliefs and opinions and I stand behind them. If the changes go through it will no longer be the game I love, the game I loved will have gone and I will go with it.
I can grant that creating errata will mean that Middle Earth will no longer be the game we love. The question is, will it have become something better?

Such a viewpoint as Sauron's is only feasible when a game is completely dead. Otherwise, I would have left the game after Middle Earth: The Dragons came out. The question is, do we really want a game that is completely dead at its core? Will this attract players? Will this keep the greatest amount of players playing? In my opinion, the answer is no. The hallmark of METW when it first came out (for me, at least) was the sheer amount of flexibility it had: multiple ways to win, multiple ways to lose, and multiple ways to do just about everything in between.

By locking the game into a calcified accretion of rules that admit no possibility of change, that flexibility is blunted.

That being said, the question of scope is critical: what should be the limits on making errata? I am not referring to the mechanical process for getting errata approved, but rather the ground rules for whether a given item ought to even be considered for errata. I would suggest the following limitations:

1) Errata should never change the function of a given card to something else entirely. This is the purpose of the Virtual Card project, and it is doing well in its way. The purpose of CoE Errata should be to make cards work as intended, not to make cards do something different.

2) Errata to rules should have in mind simplification and intent. For example, the rules for facing automatic attacks are very poorly written. An erratum would ask "What was the intent behind these rules? Is there a way to more simply express that intent that results in fewer gray areas and less vagueness?"

3) Errata should never be solely for thematic reasons. A balance issue or a card not working as intended should always be the overriding force.

These are my thoughts on whether the CoE should start issuing errata. I'll post another thread on a potential method for it and invite discussion.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly.

marcos
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:41 pm
Location: Córdoba, Argentina

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by marcos » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:20 pm

i agree, on everything, i think that we all also agree on that some drastic changes are needed to keep the game alive. We just need the right people that has enough determination to make such changes come true. The question is, are WE, the current CoE, the right people to do so?

I hope the rest of the chosen members are able to write down their thoughts here soon, their opinions are very much needed...

marcos
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:41 pm
Location: Córdoba, Argentina

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by marcos » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:37 pm

another question that just came to my mind is: are those drastic changes going to be better for the game or not? Luckily, some kind of answer also came to my mind: How can we know if we keep wondering instead of taking real actions... Let's just move on and we will find out if it is better or not

Shapeshifter
Council Member
Posts: 465
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 4:16 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Shapeshifter » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:03 am

Being a devotee to Dream Cards I am of course not frightened by any new errata. :)
I definitely support changing obviously miswritten cards.
In most cases it is, however, not that easy to decide if a card is obviously miswritten or if there was some intent behind it.

This being said I fully agree on this:
1) Errata should never change the function of a given card to something else entirely. This is the purpose of the Virtual Card project, and it is doing well in its way. The purpose of CoE Errata should be to make cards work as intended, not to make cards do something different.

2) Errata to rules should have in mind simplification and intent. For example, the rules for facing automatic attacks are very poorly written. An erratum would ask "What was the intent behind these rules? Is there a way to more simply express that intent that results in fewer gray areas and less vagueness?"

3) Errata should never be solely for thematic reasons. A balance issue or a card not working as intended should always be the overriding force.
marcos wrote:How can we know if we keep wondering instead of taking real actions... Let's just move on and we will find out if it is better or not
I agree on this. New errata can be easily playtested on GCCG or at LURE.

Thorsten the Traveller
Council Member
Posts: 1554
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Tilburg, Netherlands

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:14 pm

Agreed on the fact that the CoE has so far been putting ICE on a pedestal of God-like proportions, which doesn't do any justice to either the game, or to ICE, or the active players. I've written quite extensively on this matter at the meccg.net forum back in 2006 or so.

Nevertheless, far from being a conservative (as you know well) I do thinkt he actual active player base should be the focus. The balance between serving the game through keeping old customers happy or finding new ones is difficult to find, it involves many factors, but for the moment cards are scarse to find and so are new players, and the old players have proved to be quite resilient in sticking around, so the scale tips in their favor for now I'd say.

Thus, we should undertake some exploration missions trying to find out what their wishes and objections are with regards to different kinds of change. We are a representative body after all.

When it comes to errata, I also think that we need to involve rules-masters.
And I think errata should be a limited tool, not one used for changing the game(experience).

We as CoE should act as the parliament, the general managers, we decide on the course of action and grant authority to decissions, but that doesn't mean we have all knowledge of what's best for the game. So let's acquire that knowledge.
Stone-age did not end because man ran out of rocks.

thorondor
Council Member
Posts: 622
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: salzburg, austria
Contact:

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by thorondor » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:01 pm

looks like there is an agreement at least in that the COE is enabled to make their own errata. in the past i was rahter conservative, now after many years of beng part of the community, i really think that it is even vital for the health of MECCG.
eric amde some good points about refelecting the player base. but how can we do that? send out a few questions and waiting for answers? that would give us maybe 30 replies, almost a third probably from COE members.
i daresay that 90% of the players out there dont care very much about all of this. they just want to play and have fun.
out of the remaining 10% i daresay that a big majority is pro a new era of errata (done VERY carefully!). thats just an assumtion based on gut feelings mostly. but there are also facts like having new formats (dreamcard, coolplay, scenarios) attracting a lot of people, also known tourneyplayers.

its not about balancing. cause there will always be deck archetypes that are stronger than the rest. cut down the best 3 at the moment, there will be another 3 on top after. so that wouldnt help at all. (imo the game is quite balanced anyway!)
also i dont think we should start to "correct" cards, so that they reflect the books better. cause this would open a door to a lot of problems that have to be fixed then. imo its more a matter of play style. if someone thinks he has to misuse Path of the Dead, well, let him do so. i love thematic play, but in big tourneys nobody cares about that very much (neither do i!). (secanrio stuff is something else of course, but thats why we have virtuals, dreamcards, uep)

what we should do is fixing obvious mistakes, things we can take for granted that ICE would have altered sooner or later anyway.
also the whole terminology scuks atm (see the discussion about when a site is in play, used, or whatevery right now).

i just realize that i am repeating more or less what ben already said (in better words ;-) long story cut short: agreed!

i agree´with eric: its not the task of the COE to issue errata. lets have some Rules Wizards for that. we are just the governing body.

Thorsten the Traveller
Council Member
Posts: 1554
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Tilburg, Netherlands

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:00 pm

Small correction Wolfgang: I do think CoE should issue the errata, as it's the body that grants them authority. I just do not think we should be the ones who come up with them (exclusively).

Also, the 90% that just wants to play and does not want to get involved in change, might still be bugged and disappointed by it. But indeed we cannot do more than try to get the message out. Hence the idea for NC's to help, it always helps if you can draw on more people's enthusiasm.

For example, the Balrog 2 mind rule makes perfect sense. The Polish Council still decides to play without it (or decided), not sure they had a discussion, or the organizer of Polish Nationals just decided singlehandedly. If you can involve that council, you'd get more support for making it widely accepted (and thus successful). Same for German Promo's, proxy-use, and whatever future decree we can come up with.

For other imput, we can use the mailing list and start up a discussion here (we've got a poll instrument), and specifically ask key members of the active community to give some advise. We should keep the question specific though, otherwise you enter into the Joe's Saving the Game realm.

All however depends on the authority of the CoE as a whole, which in turn depends on the quality of the proposals, the decissionmaking proces and the general work we deliver. If that's good, people will hopefully see it as a package deal, and not cherrypick from whatever we come up with (yes to promo's, no to proxies etc.)
Stone-age did not end because man ran out of rocks.

thorondor
Council Member
Posts: 622
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: salzburg, austria
Contact:

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by thorondor » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:22 pm

Thorsten the Traveller wrote:Small correction Wolfgang: I do think CoE should issue the errata, as it's the body that grants them authority. I just do not think we should be the ones who come up with them (exclusively).
exactly what i wanted to say. just misused the word "issue". my english learning curve is still quite steep ;-)
Also, the 90% that just wants to play and does not want to get involved in change, might still be bugged and disappointed by it.
hmm, not sure. when saying that i think they dont care at all, they cant be disappointed - otherwise they would care.
For example, the Balrog 2 mind rule makes perfect sense. The Polish Council still decides to play without it (or decided), not sure they had a discussion, or the organizer of Polish Nationals just decided singlehandedly. If you can involve that council, you'd get more support for making it widely accepted (and thus successful).
maybe thats the way to go: to gather experiences in a test phase. so if a new rule like this balrog 2-minder has proven successful, its receives final approval by the COE.
Same for German Promo's, proxy-use, and whatever future decree we can come up with.
the proxy rule is widely accepted already. i made excessive use of it in rome ;-)
For other imput, we can use the mailing list and start up a discussion here (we've got a poll instrument), and specifically ask key members of the active community to give some advise. We should keep the question specific though, otherwise you enter into the Joe's Saving the Game realm.
agreed. thing is that we will slowly have to grow a culture of voting within the community.
when i am sending out some news, it goes to almost 2000 addresses, having only a couple voting in the COE election for instance - but the reasons may lie somewhere else here.

marcos
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:41 pm
Location: Córdoba, Argentina

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by marcos » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:30 pm

maybe thats the way to go: to gather experiences in a test phase. so if a new rule like this balrog 2-minder has proven successful, its receives final approval by the COE.
that is what i mean, if we keep wondering we will never know if any decisions we make are for better or worse...

User avatar
Bandobras Took
Rules Wizard
Posts: 2496
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:30 pm

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Bandobras Took » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:22 pm

As a further point, I would point to this thread:

http://www.councilofelrond.org/forum/vi ... =12&t=1020

While Manuel's "We'd better do this before people start celebrating" comment is particularly telling, what I wish to emphasize is that the NetRep is proposing what amounts to errata.

The position has been forced on him by the lack of any alternative. Such a ruling as that is errata (and I think the Adunaphel ruling falls under the same category, personally). If we provide a strong and above all active system for issuing errata, then the NetRep can go about the business of explaining how the cards and rules work as they stand and forward to the errata process any rules/cards he feels need errata.

I agree that we don't need to axe certain deck types, but a card that shows up in 98% of competing decks might be worth looking at, with an emphasis on understanding why it's showing up so consistently and whether this is a good thing.

On that note, I do not agree that rules experts should be in charge of errata. The function of a rules expert or the NetRep is to tell us how a card/rule works.

The function of deciding whether rules/cards need changes should properly belong to those who understand the metagame and organize/adjudicate tournaments. The two may coincide, but not always.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly.

Thorsten the Traveller
Council Member
Posts: 1554
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 1:44 pm
Location: Tilburg, Netherlands

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Tue Aug 10, 2010 9:08 pm

Well, it is true that in explaining the law you can create law, though the trias politica would suggest judges don't issue errata 8)
I guess there's a difference between rules and card errata here. But you are right Ben, in fact the NetRep should be seen as part of the CoE team, for that reason.

Also agreed on the rule-experts not being in charge of the project, but it has always been my understanding that one didn't get into the NetRep (team) without decent knowledge/experience of the game, not just being a rules fetisjist. Hence they might be helpful when compiling a list. Of course we might also do that. going over all digests and current issues.
Stone-age did not end because man ran out of rocks.

Bruce
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 3:43 pm
Location: Rome, Italy

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Bruce » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:32 am

I think we should first of all consider the CoE's mission. Its mission consists of keeping MECCG alive and well. Alive and well means basically having the widest possible number of players who are satisfied with the game. For this purpose, the CoE should represent all the players: both the more and the less active ones. The first group needs basically 2 things: clarifications about unclear rules and game situations (i.e. "can I play marvels told in response to Adunaphel being tapped?" or "does a character need unused DI to control an ally?"), and some tutorial (i.e. how to build a deck, a short overview of the most common strategies, and so on), they do not make problems about Strider being unable to use Athelas, Barrow-wight not being playable at Barrow-Downs, and so on. The latter needs to renew the game experience and do something to overcome the card pool stagnation. There are some highly complicated rules dilemmas (e.g. the onguard Foolish Words at the last europeans) which need rulings, but I agree that we should rely on rulesmasters for that to get an ultimate discipline of such borderline game situations.

If the CoE started altering the ICE legacy (modifying rules and or card texts), I'm afraid it would all end up in an arm-wrestling between opposing parties with different ideas of what is broken, what is cheezy, what is unthemathic and so on.

Some cards and strategies are more powerful than others, and some cards are much more frequent in decks than others. That happens in all CCGs. The same applies for the number of top-competition decks being very restricted. I don't think this is the real problem. No CCG can be 100% perfect, at least not for everybody. I think MECCG is well balanced and themathic as it is. After all, a game is an abstraction: for the sake of playability, the perfect adherence between rules/cards and Tolkien's works can be sacrificed, to some limited extent.

Intervention on existing rules and/or cards is justified whether its benefits are clearly greater than its costs. In other words, whether they fix unanimously acknowledged faults. Not by chance the only precedent was the Balrog 2-mind rule, which fixed an imbalance, and was welcomed by the whole community and didn't create any rift. Nevertheless, I consider this as a pretty unique case: an abuse of such intervention may lead to endless conflicts

It's true that the best way to really honor ICE's legacy is to carry on with their work from where it was interrupted, as already pointed out. Developing and promoting DCs and VCs until they reach the same level of popularity of the standard game will provide scope for new strategies and broadening the game experience: developing new sets of cards (if necessary accompanied by new rules, and/or modifications of existing rules) instead of struggling over modifications to the existing ones can be more productive, IMO. In my view, the "standard" MECCG, i.e. the whole ICE-era's legacy, would become an introduction to the "CoE-era" of MECCG, an inner core of something bigger (and better). ;)

Another powerful tool would be promoting alternative and highly thematic game formats based on "quests" and "missions" like the Cool Play and the Hamburger tournament. This would fit the needs of the players who (for whatever reason) want to stick with the standard card pool. Anyway, that would be another story.

To make it short, the point is not being conservatives or non-conservatives: the point is where we need to act in order to achieve our goals. IMO we should focus on developing something new, instead of taking huge efforts (with uncertain benefits) in order to retouch the existing.

Sfan
Posts: 140
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:59 am
Location: Königswinter, Germany

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by Sfan » Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:51 am

Congratulations Bruce! Well spoken and up to the point. Nothing to add or comment.

marcos
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 5:41 pm
Location: Córdoba, Argentina

Re: ICE-Era Rulings and Conservatives

Post by marcos » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:57 am

Sfan wrote:Congratulations Bruce! Well spoken and up to the point. Nothing to add or comment.
agree

Post Reply

Return to “Rules & Errata”