Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

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Bandobras Took
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Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Bandobras Took » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:34 pm

CoE Charter wrote:The Council shall enact new rules of play, or modify existing rules of play, upon the assent to two thirds majority vote of a quorum. A quorum shall be deemed convened when no less than six out of nine council members vote within the announced time frame. Votes shall be cast either as YEA or as NAY, indicating respectively those in favour of the matter or those not in favour of the matter. Rules enacted or modified shall be ratified only by the affirmative vote of two thirds of the members of metw@silent-tower.org and such persons as shall communicate their vote by email to the Council Registrar or by web form on the egroups site. Ratified rules, be they enacted or modified, shall come into force 30 days following the last vote establishing ratification.
According to this, the Council already has the right and power to enact errata. The problem is simply that the original method is defunct. I would like to propose an alternate method:

1) We put an errata up for vote with a voting period of thirty days.
2) A simple majority of CoE members voting yea will suffice.
3) We contact the National councils about the errata and ask them to ratify it with their vote within thirty days.
4) If a majority of the National councils that respond vote yea, then the rule is ratified and will come in to force thirty days after the end of the voting period.

This has the advantage of involving the National Councils while being flexible enough to accommodate changing technologies. The primary flaw of the old method was simply relying on a method that has since become outdated. A secondary flaw, in my opinion, was the requirement of two-thirds majority. I believe a simply majority is sufficient.

And as far as guidelines for proposing errata:

1) A given errata will not be proposed more than once per year.

This prevents the process from being swamped by people who never give up their pet agendas. I'm probably one of them, come to think of it.

2) No strictly thematic errata shall be proposed.

This is because theme rests largely in a player's mind. If there is a balance issue and a theme issue, then it's fine, but the primary concern of the CoE should be a balanced and fun tournament atmosphere.

3) Proposals shall be made in the following format:
Name Of Rule Subject Or Card

Current Text Of Rule/Card

Proposed Erratum/Errata

Gameplay And Balance Reasons For The Change

(Optional) Public opinion links, etc.

(Optional) Designer Intent links, quotations, etc.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly. This prompted the backlash erratum that I will link to as soon as I notice it is officially posted. :)

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Bandobras Took » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:03 pm

And as an example of the above format:

River

Current Text: Playable on a site. If a company that has moved to this site this turn does not tap a ranger, it must do nothing during its site phase.

Proposed Errata: Playable on a company using Under-deeps movement or Region movement that contains a Wilderness, Border-land, or Shadow-land. Target company may do nothing during the site phase while this card is in play. Target company may tap a Ranger to discard this card. Otherwise, this card is discarded at the beginning of the End-of-turn phase.

Gameplay and Balance Reasons For The Change

1) The mechanics of River are actually pretty messy. It required a CRF ruling to clarify that one Ranger had to tap for each river. This wording makes tapping a Ranger an active condition of discarding it. Furthermore, the original River enters the vague area of "somewhat like a Passive Condition, except the card isn't even in play." This change makes for simpler adjudication.

2) As well, the presence of River can unduly weight the game toward the Ranger skill. ICE's original River card did not require a Ranger to tap, merely to be present. They changed it to its current state because it was underused before, but it would seem they went overboard -- River is pretty much a given in tournament play. While the intention of ICE was to threaten the non-ranger company, River is a threat to even multiple-Ranger companies because of the myriad ways of tapping them out.

The solution proposed here is twofold: first, River will not hit companies moving through Free-domains or Dark-domains. According to MELE 27, Free-domains and Dark-domains are meant to represent the heaviest concentration of sentient beings. Therefore, if River is to be restricted, these are the natural region types to be exempt (there are likely bridges in these areas). Furthermore, Lost in Free Domains already keeps companies from doing anything in the site phase, so there is no need for a double threat.

Secondly, Starter movement is given a boost by making a company safe from the effects of River. Starter movement is actually supposed to be safe from such things according to MELE 78: "It is assumed that the site paths used in starter movement represent known and well-traveled routes so that Ringwraiths can used them to avoid water barriers that do not have fords, bridges, or ferries." (Emphasis added) Making starter movement protected from River provides a direct boost to Wizard and Ringwraith players, who are at times under-represented in tournaments compared to the Fallen Wizard and Balrog players, respectively. Likewise, this will provide a boost to active Ringwraith strategies that is definitely needed. A Ringwraith need no longer rely on an untapped Ranger follower (read: Uvatha) in order to accomplish something during the site phase.

3) This eliminates the exploit of playing River just to get rid of it by saying "A company could potentially move to the site," even though both players know there's no way a company is actually going to move to the site. Both the requirement to play it on a company and the requirement that the company be moving alleviate the problem while still allowing River its primary purpose: to stop a company from doing anything during the site phase.

4) Similarly, there will be less confusion/bookkeeping about which company has moved to which site and therefore come under River's onus. Targeting the company instead of the site makes for a simpler, easier-to-remember hazard without reducing its intended potency.

Public Opinion Links:
There can be no doubt that many people dislike River's effect on the game.

http://www.meccg.net/dforum/viewtopic.php?t=1110
http://www.meccg.net/dforum/viewtopic.php?t=879
http://www.meccg.net/dforum/viewtopic.php?t=1094

Designer Comments:
I wish to reemphasize MELE p. 78. The designer intent was to have Starter movement be safe for Ringwraiths.
I also point to MELE p. 40: "you may not play a card just to discard it." Playing River on a site no company is moving to is a clear violation of the spirit of that rule, but is currently mechanically available.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly. This prompted the backlash erratum that I will link to as soon as I notice it is officially posted. :)

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Shapeshifter » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:15 am

Just a short remark.
Bandobras Took wrote:
CoE Charter wrote: 3) We contact the National councils about the errata and ask them to ratify it with their vote within thirty days.
4) If a majority of the National councils that respond vote yea, then the rule is ratified and will come in to force thirty days after the end of the voting period.
As far as I see it most National councils are currently dormant, inactive or don't exist at all. I don't see a need to resurrect them, we have a global players community.

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:32 pm

Quite an extensive story, for now I'll say this:

1) We should think about the extension issueing errata will/can have. We might (probably) have to distinguish between goals first, namely
-fixing flaws or annoiances in cards that keep the way the game is played overal the same (cheeze reduction, so to speak)
-renewing the game experience by way of errata (changing metagame)

For the first objective a few errata could suffice, for the second the erratum tool is not without compromise, you'll get more debate, the list might be endless, and people might be less willing to accept them. So caution on the second, e.g. this River erratum would be stretching it too much perhaps, I mean River could have a simpler erratum that serves mainly goal 1.

Either way, it might be worth while to first make an inventory for possible errata, not just go and vote on a separate proposal each month or so.

2) I actually think reviving National Councils is a good idea, I have been toying around with it for some time. Through NC's we could generate more support, if and only if we can find single individuals to promote and make them responsible for a longer time frame. It doesn't have to involve alot of work, early on NC's meant organizing tourney's etc, which was a bigger deal. Now it would be more of a representative function, a spokesperson for his country so to speak. And now we have the CoE board, we could easily set up a section for each NC, so no more website maintenance required either and easy communication.
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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by marcos » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:14 pm

Thorsten the Traveller wrote:Quite an extensive story, for now I'll say this:

1) We should think about the extension issueing errata will/can have. We might (probably) have to distinguish between goals first, namely
-fixing flaws or annoiances in cards that keep the way the game is played overal the same (cheeze reduction, so to speak)
-renewing the game experience by way of errata (changing metagame)

For the first objective a few errata could suffice, for the second the erratum tool is not without compromise, you'll get more debate, the list might be endless, and people might be less willing to accept them. So caution on the second, e.g. this River erratum would be stretching it too much perhaps, I mean River could have a simpler erratum that serves mainly goal 1.

Either way, it might be worth while to first make an inventory for possible errata, not just go and vote on a separate proposal each month or so.

2) I actually think reviving National Councils is a good idea, I have been toying around with it for some time. Through NC's we could generate more support, if and only if we can find single individuals to promote and make them responsible for a longer time frame. It doesn't have to involve alot of work, early on NC's meant organizing tourney's etc, which was a bigger deal. Now it would be more of a representative function, a spokesperson for his country so to speak. And now we have the CoE board, we could easily set up a section for each NC, so no more website maintenance required either and easy communication.
this are some wise words, specially in point number 1

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Bandobras Took » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:20 pm

Shapeshifter wrote:Just a short remark.
Bandobras Took wrote:
CoE Charter wrote: 3) We contact the National councils about the errata and ask them to ratify it with their vote within thirty days.
4) If a majority of the National councils that respond vote yea, then the rule is ratified and will come in to force thirty days after the end of the voting period.
As far as I see it most National councils are currently dormant, inactive or don't exist at all. I don't see a need to resurrect them, we have a global players community.
Since it would only require a majority of those that vote and respond, we can pass errata if none respond. This is not so much a chance of resurrecting them as giving them a chance to resurrect themselves.

@Thorsten: I agree fully.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly. This prompted the backlash erratum that I will link to as soon as I notice it is officially posted. :)

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by thorondor » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:41 pm

i also agree with eric abotu the errata issue.

about reactivating councils: i would love to see this happen! it would serve the game and player communities a lot. but i think we will have to do this from the scratch, not just waking up what is sleepig.
but its also important that the nations (at least some) have there own place, not only a section in the COE. i am sure thats the success of the spanish community: they have their own homepage and forum in their own language. i am sure the french community would benefit a lot from something similar (i know there are some plans already for a homepage). these 2 countries are known to have many players that dont speak english very well. also they have a lot of cards (still available for very cheap!) in their own language. so its a kin dof logic that they have there own place. bt then, i also think it could help other countries. for new players its easier to feel comforable, if they dont have to be part of a worldwide community (at first). the focus is on local gaming with local players.

of course its possible to have national councils and COE combined (i guess). why not havinf subdomains like councilofelrond.org/austria? inclduing sections in the forum in their national language? this could be provided as a speacial service by the COE to national councils, that dont have a homepage yet.

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by thorondor » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:55 pm

one more thing:
speaking about defunct methods (btw: this silenttower list is still existing), the council method wouldnt work as well, cause there are almost no active councils any longer. so it could look like a trick, cause getting no replies would mean green lgith for whatever.
then, its a difficult thing for council representatives to elicit how "his" players decide. finally: do the spanish council (representing hundreds of players) have the same weight as the austrian (representing 6-8)?

imo it should be up to a rules expert group and the COE to make final decisions. maybe we can grant the councils to send at least one representative to this expert group?

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:13 pm

why not have subdomains like councilofelrond.org/austria?
Exactly. Of course each council is free to have their own page, so much the better. But some sort of link with CoE is needed.

I didn't mean we should democratically weigh in votes of NC's, so we could legitimize our decisions. Rather, directly approach a person to serve as broker or as public relations for his country. I myself will endeavour for example to approach all active players in Netherlands for input (and any new players can come to me for info). It must be possible to find some enthusiasts for each major community.

In fact, but this is another matter, it would be great to have a CoE in which for each country such person has a seat, for a longer period of time, not just a year (as people get bored of voting every year for a general CoE).
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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

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

of course its possible to have national councils and COE combined (i guess). why not havinf subdomains like councilofelrond.org/austria? inclduing sections in the forum in their national language? this could be provided as a speacial service by the COE to national councils, that dont have a homepage yet.
aye
imo it should be up to a rules expert group and the COE to make final decisions. maybe we can grant the councils to send at least one representative to this expert group?
aye

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Bandobras Took » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:11 pm

Aye to both, as quoted by marcos.

P.S. This can't be right. The CoE actually doing something? :)
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly. This prompted the backlash erratum that I will link to as soon as I notice it is officially posted. :)

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Bruce » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:30 am

Having a non-voting CoE spokesperson for each national council would be a good idea. IIRC there were such spokespersons, until a few years ago. Let each NC decide the way they want to choose their own spokesperson and how long his term should be. The CoE may just limit itself to evaluate whether the choosing method can be accepted as sufficiently democratic or not, and watch over the selection process.

An active NC needs a website and a forum in its own language, that is of VITAL importance. Providing a national subdomain on the CoE website as suggested by Wolfgang is highly recommendable.

Just a couple of suggestions:

1. No matter the details about the "buroeaucratic" process of erratas' approval, it would be recommendable IMO to make the errata undergo a playtest period of, say, one year. Players would be encouraged to try to play with the errata and express their feedback. Under this standpoint, it would be interesting to see the combined effect of different erratas under trial. IMO the consequences of a change in a card's text or in a rule can never be really thoroughly considered until the practical effects are experimented.

2. As I already pointed out in another discussion, an errata is opportune whether it provides a clear and widely acknowledged benefit to the game. If most of the people consider its effects not relevant, it is not worth it to waste time and energy just to make things even more complicated. I'm thinking expecially of new players having to deal with several different sources of rules, erratas, spoilers and trying to understand something. That could be frustrating and demotivating for them. Therefore I think that the national spokespeople should report the feedback from their national councils about any single errata approved by the CoE: if a general and widespread acceptance is reported from every single NC, fine. Many players are active in their NC's forums, but not in the CoE's forum, hence the need for a spokesperson to get the most possible complete and reliable feedback from the players' community. As "general and widespread acceptance" I mean an almost unanimous approval.

3. I'd be wary of a simple majority in the CoE to approve an errata. IMO sticking to two-thirds is better. If the 1 year trial period were implemented, we could require a simple majority for the first approval, and then a two-third majority at the end of the trial period to confirm the errata: if the errata turned out to be opportune, those who raised an eyebrow at the time of the first approval will give their "aye" after the trial period.

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Bandobras Took » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:05 pm

If we make it too difficult to pass errata, then we haven't done anything and the game continues to be locked in rigor mortis.

I'm currently creating a Universal Rules Document so that there will be one source for people to go to.

Finally, there's nothing preventing us from modifying any errata we issue upon receiving feedback. The only thing that would prevent us from doing so is if the process is too stringent in the first place.
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly. This prompted the backlash erratum that I will link to as soon as I notice it is officially posted. :)

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Frodo » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:46 pm

I have to say, it is really exciting to see everyone talking about modifying our beloved game again. I hope I can serve as some part of this.

Bandobras's outline for Errata looks excellent to me. (On a side note, I love the safe starter movement idea for River, and although I see the thematic principle behind making free-domains safe, there are very few hazards in a non-sideboard deck that can hurt multiple-companies-in-Gondor decks--except River.)

I agree that the erratum process can be alienating to players, and that we must be careful with it--a topic that has been brought up dozens of times in the past decade. I believe the Star Wars analogy is that we are the Galactic Senate and the player councils are the angry planets we are trying to vote into line, but without their support, we can be ignored, and are nothing. A really basic principle behind errata-making, of course, is that if many active players seem to want it--more than those who don't--we should do it. But also consider that any new rules changes, errata, etc. should also have as its goal simplification and ease of play for GETTING NEW PLAYERS INTO THE GAME, not just to trying to appeal to the shortening pile of existing players.

Which brings me to a more pessimistic point. You guys are talking about all these rules changes, etc. but I'm looking at all of this from the perspective of the United States, where, I am very sorry to say, *almost nobody is left who plays this game.* (If they are left, they are like the people I stumbled across a few weeks ago at the gaming convention GenCon, who were using Ghan buri Ghan in a casual game and were very excited, and when I asked them if they were coming to US Nationals the next day, they said "they don't play in competitive games, because competitive games don't allow for cool decks that use the Ghan!" (They also had no idea who JOE BISZ was!) So players like this are scattered, not part of an overall community or web page, and they will have no idea--and probably not care--about errata changes, etc., UNLESS WE CAN FIRST GET THEM BACK INTO A BROAD COMMUNITY THAT SERVES THEIR NEEDS.

(P.S. I spoke to Josh and we are now going to get rid of US Nationals at Conventions and replace it with a "Casual Gaming Afternoon", so as to hope to reach out to the remains of MECCG players across the country. I have great hopes for ARDA in this respect too, which was quite popular at GenCon.)

Sorry for what may appear to be off-topic, but I meant to circle back to my point that the goal should be not just to appeal to current players (in hopes of KEEPING them in the game) but also to getting new players to come into the game (which of course touches upon obstacles we must debate elsewhere, such as availability of cards, and the crazy rules).

So, in keeping with what has been said here, I would probably prioritize a list of CRITICAL ERRATA--game play which the COE believes is currently either A) frustrating current players and removing them from the game, or B) keeping new players out of the game. After passing such critical errata, we should stop, and put all our efforts into solving our other problems. Then we can come back to the erratta--once there are enough people to care!

Ben: you have all of Mark's notes from how far he got on his Universal Rules Book already, correct?

--Frodo

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Re: Charter Amendment (and/or rewrite) Involving Errata

Post by Bandobras Took » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:37 pm

I fully agree with Frodo's points. Nice to see you here again, by the way. :)
Remember, NetRep rulings are official. This does not necessarily mean they are correct.

You probably aren't playing Fallen Wizards correctly. This prompted the backlash erratum that I will link to as soon as I notice it is officially posted. :)

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