Spellcraft ontology

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Spellcraft ontology

--cwc88--
"When played, both players..."  -Doomcloud

"When enter play you gain..."  -Aeromancers

"When enters play does 1 damage..."  -Stormship

"Gains 1 strength when you play a spell costing..."  -Sky Hydra


At the risk of sounding overly philosophical, I'm looking for some clarification regarding the various "states of being" that each card type is capable of experiencing within the game.  

Doomcloud is a minion that has an effect "when played".  Does this mean the effect will occur even if Doomcloud is immediately killed/destroyed by Waiting Grave or Lost at Sea, respectively?

Aeromancers and Stormship are minions that have effects "when enter(s) play".  Does this mean the effect will occur ONLY if the minion is not immediately killed/destroyed by Waiting Grave or Lost at Sea?

Sky Hydra gets stronger each time you "play" a spell.  Does this effect occur even for spells that are countered by Spell Net or Mesmer?

IF the answer to all of the above questions is "yes," then my interpretation of the rules of the game would indicate that a minion can either be: 1) a card in one's deck; 2) a card in one's hand; 3) a card "being played"; 4) a card "in play"; 5) a card in the discard pile; or 6) a card removed from the game entirely (via ashes, etc [?]).  

Similarly, a spell can be in any of the above six "states", with the notable exception of: 4) a card in play, since spells have an immediate effect and then go straight to 5) the discard pile without actually "residing" in play.

(For the sake of completeness, this interpretation suggests that items, auras, traps, and barriers are all capable of any of the same 6 states as minions; I am ignoring powers due to their uniqueness).

Would it be accurate to define "a card being played" as: "a card that a player is ATTEMPTING to put into play from his/her hand by paying the necessary power points (0-5)"?  

And would it be accurate to define "a card in play" as: "a card that has SUCCESSFULLY* either 'been played' (see above) from a player's hand or has been 'put into play' (from one's deck/discard pile/etc by the effect of another card)"?    

(*Emphasis here on "successfully"; meaning that a minion can be "a card being played" as soon as I pay the power points for it and drag it to the board, but can also not successfully "enter play" and therefore not be "a card in play" if my opponent has Lost at Sea or Waiting Grave in play.)

If I'm still on track...

Are cards considered to be "being played" and/or "entering play" if they are coming somewhere aside from one's hand (think Kobo Summoner, Rebirth, etc)?  

I think an understanding of the classification of these different "states of being" for each card type is crucial for being able to know how various cards work, especially with regards to one another and especially as the game continues to develop (I'm expecting trap traps, cards-both spells and minions/items/auras- that put other cards "into play", etc.)

I understand many of the answers to my questions could be determined through observation of how various cards interact, but it's difficult to create all the necessary situations to test them.  Besides, I think knowledge of what to expect is valuable for all players, and that a more clear explanation of this topic would be useful to avoiding confusion among new players (which, in some cases, may unfortunately drive potential players away).

Hopefully someone can use the above as a springboard for a concise and accurate description of the concepts involved.

Thanks for your time and feedback.
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Re: Spellcraft ontology

MikeGoblin
Administrator
:-)
You can imagine the fun I had creating the game engine to manage all of this eh :)

But in general the behaviour should be consistent.
So you don't need to test every scenario, you will get a feel for expected behaviour fairly quickly.

"When played", "enters play", etc are all synonymous for "card is moved on to the board", and it counts as "played" in the same sense as if the player had moved the card from the hand to the board.

Spell counters will stop all effects of that spell including triggering other cards waiting for a spell to be played.

I expect you all know more about the actual behaviour of the game now than I do however!
And if you find examples that you think are surprising and/or contradictory with respect to other cards, then we would be very interested to see those - and perhaps they should be changed - or perhaps they are specific to those cards ;)

I hope that helps!
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Re: Spellcraft ontology

--cwc88--
mikeGoblin wrote
"When played", "enters play", etc are all synonymous for "card is moved on to the board", and it counts as "played" in the same sense as if the player had moved the card from the hand to the board.
Should this read '...are all synonymous for "card is moved on to the board from one's hand'..."?

If not, that suggests to me that a Kobo Miner that "enters play" as a result of the effect of a Kobo Summoner will retrieve an item from my deck for me, per the Miner's effect (I have no idea if this happens or not).

If "when played" and "enters play" are synonymous, and both mean "card is moved on to the board from anywhere", I would expect both: 1) to get an item when my Kobo Miner is brought into play by my Kobo Summoner and 2) to get a spell when my Aeromancers are brought into play from the discard pile after playing Rebirth (again, I have no idea if either or both of these occur).

If there is no effective difference between "when played" and "enters play", perhaps it would be useful to use only one for clarity's sake.  Ditto for "killed" and "destroyed".  Waiting Grave currently "kills" a minion that, if my understanding is correct, never actually "exists" "in play".  

I also think the chosen words and their definitions, as well as how they relate to what I have been referring to as "states of being" ought to ultimately be more thoroughly explained in the rulebook.

Please don't mistake my questions or suggestions as criticism.  The game obviously works very well as is, and I'm sure creating, producing, and administering it were, are, and continue to be tremendous undertakings.  I also will be the first to point out that a longer and more complex rulebook may actually turn people off of the game instead of making gameplay more clear (to beginners), which is obviously an important consideration.

But I also think players familiar with the game ought to be able to see a new card and immediately understand all of its possible interactions with other cards, based solely on a clear and complete understanding of the rules and not on past experience with particular cards.  Furthermore, players ought to be able to point to a particular line or lines of the rulebook as the foundation for this understanding. And I think this could be most easily accomplished (in part) by avoiding using two similar or competing words or phrases when one will do.  

Just my humble opinion.  Thanks for the fast response, Mike.
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Re: Spellcraft ontology

markturnergoblin
I think it should be when 'enters play' as  a kobo enters play by any means it should get an item from the deck.ie  if a summoner summons it, hatches from an ominous egg or whatever method.
All minions entering play should do their effects. However we recently reconfigured some of the programming and I am aware of a few more compliacted ones that do not work now.There are a few from lost at sea and waiting grave,We will have to look into those.

It may be an idea to have an advanced desription of some of the cards so its obvious  for example what lost at sea does to other cards, but yes I think making the basic rulebook longer would not be good.,we deliberatly  kept it as consice as possible.
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Re: Spellcraft ontology

Jambo(75)
In reply to this post by --cwc88--
There are also some differences with card effects when they come into play and are killed/destroyed by cards.  For example, if I recall correctly the Unicorn does actually award the +3 life before it's killed and I believe it's the only one that works this way.
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Re: Spellcraft ontology

Quintavarium
In reply to this post by --cwc88--
In a game with the depth of Spellcraft, there tend to be some very subtle interactions between cards.  I have tried to summarize a number of those in the thread "card idiosyncracies".  Posts there do address a number of your questions -- if you have not read it, you might find it interesting.

Unfortunately, I believe that no matter how clearly an effect is described, different people may have different visions of how that effect occurs.  For example, I want to envision "Living bomb" as a spell that turns a living creature into a bomb, which then explodes for actual physical damage.  Thus it could not be cast on a magic immune creature, but should still do damage to a magic immune creature opposite any non-immune creature it is cast on.  Since it does not work this way (it does no damage to magic immune creatures), obviously the developers viewed it differently.  And who am I to argue -- it is their creation after all.

The only way to be 100% confident how something will work is to test it.  Because some combinations are extremely hard to stumble across, I do wish there were a "test mode" where I could play decks against myself without earning gold.  Not only could I more easily test obscure combinations, but I could see how a developing deck plays against human intelligence without revealing my deck to other players.  But I also understand this to be a kind of "geekish" wish -- I doubt many players would use it.
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Re: Spellcraft ontology

--cwc88--
In reply to this post by markturnergoblin
The way the cards currently read suggests that Waiting Grave interacts differently with Aeromancers than it does with Sea Dragon, with regards to the timing and the effects of the two different minions in question.

As soon as Aeromancers is "played" (here I mean literally dragging the card to the board with 3 power points available), Waiting Grave kills it, as it is the "next minion that is played."  Therefore, Aeromancers' effect does not trigger, as Aeromancers never "enters play".

As soon as Sea Dragon is "played", it's effect will trigger and put a spell into my hand from the discard pile.  Also (one would think simultaneously, although in what order the two occur is unknown to me), Waiting Grave kills Sea Dragon, as it is the next minion that "is played".

I don't know if Sea Dragon's effect triggers even if Waiting Grave is in play or not.  If it does not, I would like to know why.  And if it's because "playing" a card is different from a card "being played", wherein the latter means "card successfully makes it onto the board without being countered by another card or effect" ("enters play", if you will) then I would suggest a change in the vocabulary.



It seems to me things would be more clear if "in play" was instead referred to by some term that does not use the word "play".  This would make the distinction between "playing" a card and something "entering play" more clear.

Hypothetically, assume what is now called "in play" is instead called "the realm".  All minions, barriers, items, auras, traps (and powers), once "played," exist in the realm until they are sent to the discard pile, removed from the game entirely, or sent back to one's hand or deck.  Spells are never "in the realm", as they exist only long enough to pass on their effect before moving to the discard pile (more on spells in a minute).

With this working definition of "the realm", "playing a card" would then mean only the following: "moving a card from one's hand to the realm by paying the necessary power points (and, physically, this is accomplished by dragging the card from one's hand to the "realm" section of the board)."

Aeromancers would then be played by dragging it to the realm.  However, if a Waiting Grave is already in the realm, Aeromancers would not enter the realm.  If this or a similar wording were adopted, Aeromancers effect would be rewritten to say "When enters the realm you gain a random spell from your deck".

Accordingly, if the effect on Sea Dragon were not rewritten, you would get a random spell from your discard pile as soon as Sea Dragon is played, regardless of whether or not it enters the realm.



These or similar definitions would allow at least three distinct criteria for "triggering" different effects of minions (or other cards) with respect to their being played/entering play, etc.:

1) A card could have some effect when played (regardless of whether it enters the realm)

2) A card could have some effect when it enters the realm (regardless of whether it was played from one's hand and not negated by a trap or similar effect OR entered via the effect of some other card such as Kobo Summoner, Rebirth, etc.)

3) A card could have some effect when it enters the realm from one's hand.  In this instance the effect would occur only if the card was played, not negated by a trap or similar effect, and therefore successfully entered the realm.  The effect would NOT occur if the card entered the realm via the effect of some other card.


Regarding spells and cards such as Sky Hydra that have effects based on spells being played:

Using the above hypothetical definitions, "playing" a spell would be the same as "playing" any other card, except instead of then "entering the realm" or "not entering the realm" (as is the case with a minion played while Waiting Grave is in the realm), spells would either "pass" or "be negated", for lack of better terms.  Sky Hydra could then either gain 1 strength for each spell costing 1 or more that you play, or do so for each such spell that you  pass (one that isn't met with Spell Net/Mesmer); whichever is the original intent of the developers.


To Quintavarium's post:

I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not suggesting any change whatsoever to what occurs in the game of Spellcraft or how it occurs.  That is obviously not my place and even if it were, I genuinely can't think of any improvements to the actual gameplay.  

The only thing I am suggesting here is giving some consideration to the nomenclature that is used to describe the what  and how of the game.  

In my mind, this is very different from the envisioning you describe with the example of Living Bomb, something I understand completely.  But, as you say, just because one has a different envisioning of a card based on its name doesn't mean a thing with regards to how the card plays.  Nor should it.

And what I am attempting to discuss here deals with the textual effects of the cards, as written; Furthermore, it doesn't deal with how those written effects are envisioned or interpreted...I don't mean to suggest that because I think Such-and-Such a card "ought to" do something, that the Goblins should make it so, because that's what "makes sense" to me.  Rather, what I am suggesting is that some consideration be given to the words used to describe different effects precisely to prevent differing interpretations and/or confusion about what these effects, and the words that describe them, mean from card to card and situation to situation.

It's true that if one plays enough Spellcraft, one can expect to eventually come across all the various interactions between the traps and "enters play" effects and so on and so forth for the cards available.  But instead of doing all of this and keeping a mental or written list of all the various permutations, it makes far more sense (again, humbly, to me) for a game to have a list of rules that will clearly dictate how all possible permutations will be resolved.  This becomes especially important as the card base (and, perhaps, card complexity) grows and the number of such permutations increases exponentially.

One ought to be able to enter a game of Spellcraft with an unknown opponent using an unknown deck that contains cards one has never seen or used before and still know exactly how the card will behave in all circumstances based solely on the text of the card and an accurate understanding of the rules.

Anything less would be like playing your first game of chess having never been told what the queen is capable of doing.  Sure, you could just "play and find out" by watching your opponent, but I would argue that isn't truly playing, especially if your opponent uses his queen to take yours because you didn't know it was capable of moving in that manner.  I would also argue that a novice is more likely to continue playing if he entered his first game knowing what the queen does....

Just my two cents.

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Re: Spellcraft ontology

MikeGoblin
Administrator
A great analysis there cwc88 and the motivation for the improvements to the descriptions and terminology is really appreciated!

We're reviewing this now as a result and we will incorporate improvements into the next (and later) versions.

Your description of triggering states matches the implementation too, and should help identify any inconsistencies in card descriptions (or behaviour).

Loving the conversation guys :)