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Vengeance of the Dead -- errata?

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AdamH
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Vengeance of the Dead -- errata?

The text of this card reads:

"After each effect that destroys Towns/Cities/Dahan in target land, 1 damage per Town/City/Dahan destroyed.

Let's say I am doing five damage in a land with two cities and a man in it. If I read this card and execute the instructions, I could assign three damage to one city and two damage to the other one, then Vengeance gives me a damage, which I use to put a third damage on the second city, and then I'll get another damage I can use to kill the man. If I just read the card and execute its instructions, this is what should happen.

But I go online and this is not what happens, I don't get that last damage so the man remains. I go to report a bug but I'm responsible so I look up the FAQs about the card and sure enough, this behavior is intended. Vengeance doesn't trigger off itself.

My first thought is, the FAQ shows that this is intended behavior, so why doesn't the card text reflect that? It would be so easy to just say "After each OTHER effect that destroys..." and now bam, the card says what the card should do while adding only a single word to the text. At the very least, if the card has to be this way, I would argue that it should be errata-ed to reflect what the card actually does. I had been playing it incorrectly IRL the few times it came up because the card was so clear on what it did (but maybe also because this was only clarified in the Jagged Earth rulebook). Honestly, if this is how things are going to be and the card isn't errata-ed, I'm just going to take it out of my IRL game. I even read this FAQ and then tried to use a Powerstormed Vengeance of the Dead on a land and that didn't even work how I expected -- I can handle complexity in games but this is ridiculous, the ruling here and how it applies to Vengeance of the Dead for some arcane reason just makes the card so complex that every time I execute the card text online (which I assume is the "correct" way to execute the card) I am unpleasantly surprised that I get less damage than what I thought I would. It will usually result in me undoing back to when I took Vengeance and picking another card, which seems like Vengeance is now a complete failure of a card on all fronts. Not good.

I would argue that the ruling to make Vengeance work this way is something that should be reverted. The only reason I could possibly think of is if you could somehow use Vengeance and Bringer's special rule to somehow destroy a town an infinite number of times, giving you infinite fear and just winning you the game, but after a lot of searching, I don't see a case where this is possible that this ruling prevents (to be fair, if there is one that I haven't found, I could see an argument for keeping the ruling, but then I would consider just adding a clause in an FAQ somewhere that fixes all infinite fear combos by saying something like "you can't use Vengeance to kill the same town/city multiple times in one turn" instead of this ruling). I can dream up ways to use Bringer to get infinite fear without even using Vengeance! The best this ruling does is turn "kill X towns" into "kill all towns in that land and maybe some adjacent lands" which honestly doesn't seem like too much of an effect given what you have to go through to set it up. It's not like Vengance is a powerful card anyways, it's so situational that I can never justify taking it unless it's going to be immediately useful, and that situation is so narrow and the effect is so weak most of the time that this card does hardly anything, not nearly enough to justify its huge energy cost and being a major power. Seems only fitting to have the potential of this card to be niiiice and high so that you might ever take it before the heat death of the universe. Killing all towns in a land is something that Jungle Hungers just does by itself for the same energy cost and while I will sing the praises of that card all day, nobody is calling for nerfs because killing all towns is "just too powerful" or something.

So yeah, this ruling on Vengeance is one that is not written on the card though it easily could be; results in either the card being "misplayed" if it's IRL and nobody is there to police people to play it "correctly"; or for some rules police or the online client to give you less damage than what you were expecting in a way that is not only too confusing for people like myself to even understand, but in a way that leads to an AWFUL player experience; and finally I have searched for quite some time to find a reason why the ruling needs to be this way and I just can't find anything at all that makes any sense to me.

Vengeance, the way it works now, is very not good and it needs to be changed. The easiest way to fix the card is adding a single word to the text, but my recommended way of fixing the card would be to take out that ruling and just let the card do what it says it does now. I feel strongly enough about this that if nothing changes on the card I'm just going to take it out of my IRL game and just never pick it when I see it online and lament the fact that I only get three Majors to choose from sometimes.

dpt
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One thing people often miss about Vengeance of the Dead is that a substantial part of its power (and Energy cost) comes from the first line with "3 Fear" and not any extra damage.

It sounds like you do understand the ruling. The general rule that "actions can't trigger themselves" was added in Jagged Earth as a consequence of more complicated tirggered actions, and the nerf to Vengeance of the Dead was an unfortunate side effect. (It's called out that this is a change in the Jagged Earth rulebook; I guess it's implemented online since that's a good consistent rule to implement.)

Let me point out that without this change, Vengeance of the Dead becomes too powerful in a game with Badlands (from Jagged Earth); if you have two Badlands in the land, you can combine this with any damaging power to easily destroy everything in a land and all adjacent lands.

You should of course feel free to house rule it as you like in IRL games.

AdamH
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Actions that didn't want to trigger themselves in the base game were given the "once per turn" wording like Powerstorm. It seems like if someone didn't want an action to trigger itself, that action should have also gotten that wording too. Making a rule on this that's buried in a rulebook is just not a good solution to this issue. A card should either tell me what it does or be obviously directing me to the rulebook to get the whole story. I'm not going to open up a rulebook or FAQ on every card I take in order to play Spirit Island -- the game is already complex enough as it is. If a card doesn't do this, it ends up being a poor experience for the player, I've worked in designing games for about 5 years now and this is one of the more important fundamentals there is when it comes to writing cards. It's better to change the functionality of a card or rule so that people actually do it right as opposed to relying on an FAQ or something to carry the weight here. Even I understand the ruling but then when I'm given the task of figuring out what the card is going to do when I play it, I consistenly don't get the "right" answer. I have played a LOT of Spirit Island and a lot of other complex games, I don't think I'm the stupid one here.

If people think the ruling should be that Vengeance acts this way, then my suggested change of wording should definitely be errata-ed onto the card. If the card is being errata-ed, then it could easily call out itself as an exception to that ruling by slapping in "(including this)" instead of "other than this." Right now there is a discrepency, which is simply unacceptable. It's easy enough to just patch the text on the online version of the card where this ruling actually matters.

How does Vengeance destroy everything in adjacent lands? Unless you have badlands there too I feel like you can probably only do one damage in an adjacent land?

As for "too powerful" well I'm pretty sure I just disagree with that. Nobody is complaining about how the Jungle Hungers is too powerful but it seems better than Vengeance-with-badlands in every way. Jungle Hungers is quite good without meeting the elemental threshold, but meeting that threshold is trivial to do with most spirits -- probably a lot easier than getting two badlands in a problem land. So you can just take Jungle Hungers even when you have barely any support at all and it's going to be good. I'm also usually a lot more enthusiastic to remove one city and all men from a land than all cities and one man. And sure, Vengance's damage can be fast but speed and range are only as good as the damage source you have to pair it with for the card to do anything at all. Now Vengeance needs a lot more setup, two very very specific types of support that you really can't count on finding, and it removes less relevant invaders from the board -- three fear just doesn't really make up for that. I am not convinced that badlands make Vengeance "too powerful"

liarliar
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If you think it’s underpowered, that’s fine. Not every power is going to appeal to every player, for sure. But it’s definitely working in line with the latest version of the rules.

dpt
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I do agree that Vengeance of the Dead is underpowered, and the change to make the rules on triggering more consistent made it worse. But rather than changing the whole framework, it's better to buff the card (probably in house rules; it's unlikely to get official errata). If you want to look at possible buffs, there's some discussion in the #explorartory-testing channel of this Spirit Island discord: https://discord.gg/KB86F7B