Ok, your position is clear, let's take it in another direction: which changes in rules/cards would you like to see to make the game more diverse and attractive for new players? Which obstructions in the game do you see? You can use this board section, but preferably start another thread.
This was split off from the other topic as this is a new line of thought and reasoning.
This game is a complex game with many strategies, tricks, tips, etc. No new player is going to be able to absorb it all. I've been playing for over 10 years and I still don't know everything.
1st - I think any changes in the rules or clarifications must be backed up by our primary rule sources (Rule Books from the Starters, CoL Tournament Policy, CRF, and Digests)
Odd. That eliminates approximately 99% of the rules/card errata that ICE issued when they existed. Why did ICE issue errata? Why can't we use the same reason?
2nd - How we choose to interpret those things can change as we've seen in the past, some rulings from previous digests have been overturned due to new lines of reasoning
That's a separate issue, and highly debatable, to say the least. In the past, NetReps have been willing to overturn rulings due to new lines of reasoning, except in the case of Chance Meeting, We Have Come To Kill, Black Horse, Strider, Adunaphel, Hoarmurath Unleashed, etc. That, however, has nothing to do with errata as it was issued by ICE.
3rd - You ask which changes in rules/card would I like to see to make the game more diverse and attractive for new players? I know this is going to sound harsh, but I'm not looking at the rules and such from the perspective of a new player. I'm looking at them from established players, tournaments etc. A new player is going to make mistakes by virtue of being a new player, s/he will learn along the way as the rest of us by doing research, playing, other players pointing out things, etc.
However, the purpose to the CoE is to "facilitate organized play and to ameliorate the playing environment." I am quoting directly from the Charter. If hanging on to a particular game rule is not ameliorating the playing environment, if a lack of errata has caused frustration, if rules issues sit on the NetRep board for two and a half years without issue, then it is both within the scope and the right of the CoE to issue errata. It has nothing to with whether ICE said something about it while they were around and everything to do with ICE's process, which was to change things according to perceived need, up to and including axing specific alignments/avatars.
(Unless you believe Palantir of Orthanc being worth no MPs to Fallen Wizards had a basis in the already existing rules? It was an attempt to ameliorate the playing environment, if you will.) That is the purpose of any CoE-issued errata, and has as much to do with Rules Interpretation (such as it has been) as a nice dinner of trout in lemon sauce.
4th - What obstructions in the game do I see. The biggest obstruction I see is the complexity of the rules, however I do not have a good solution to this other than for players to learn or make a quick cheat sheet. Perhaps extensive guides into the more complex rules would help. I know a lot of people have issues with chains, passive conditions, etc.
I thought that this was solved by the URD, which even went out of its way to provide commentary on difficult questions and examples of how rulings have been overturned through the years. There is also the Play & Examples file, which should go through a similar update under the NetRep's searching eye, and perhaps even expanded. I will also point out that it isn't the new
players who have diminished Worlds attendance over the years. It's old players tired of what Frodo referred to as "Tournament Scene Stagnation." I'll quote a little bit of it:
But there is a more complex reason for tournament frustration. At the Worlds level, and any other national or local tournament with a decent attendance, frustration with tournament scenes is happening (when they happen) because of a lack of new deck ideas. The same strong deck types are consistently doing well, even as (thank god) some brand-new deck types are popping up and taking the first-place spot now and again.
But these rare new deck types are not enough. I believe that most people play Middle-earth for the creativity of it. They may still be competitive players (or they may not be… it’s important to remember that many game players are not competitive in the tournament-level sense), however, if they see the presence of a few uber-types that constantly win, these players feel mired by creative stagnation, because they look at their own deck and think, “This deck is working, therefore it isn’t fun, and if I want to play a deck that does work, I have to choose between one of these silly solitaire decks…”
This isn’t just a question of whether it gets creamed in worlds play or vs. uber players, but also if it just gets beaten too many times on GGCCG because too many players regardless of individual skill are using these same tested, nearly perfect decks. So the counter-argument of, “There’s plenty of interesting hobbit-lore decks to make, so stop complaining and just play those, newbs” isn’t enough. Deck strength matters. With a limited player pool, decks that work become necessary for fun. Not losing massively, not losing all the time, defines “work.”
Additionally, those who play MECCG for the sheer thrill of competition are also saying, “Okay, I get it, these deck types have been proved already!” Many such competitive players, including the ones who designed these Death Stars to begin with, are (respectably) standing far away from these decks now, even informing other players on how to beat them.
But it’s not enough. Now, the Council of Elrond could keep applying laissez faire economics theory and say, “Well, just let the players decide when too much is too much. We’re not going to interfere: we will not issue new errata, new guidelines. When players don’t want to play these decks anymore, they won’t play them, plain and simple.”
The problem with this approach is that it’s too slow. It leaves out the fact that when players don’t want to play against these decks anymore, they will simply stop playing altogether. I’ve heard numerous stories about local/national playgroups that have disintegrated in this fashion. Such a laissez faire policy also does not address the problem of creative stagnation… unless you are an exceptionally talented or exceptionally obsessive player who swears by what I’m about to describe in my next paragraph:
I am sure that some players won’t see the point to democratizing our game so that it appeals to more or even weaker players. Why not keep the game going for those who still appreciate it, and screw everyone else who doesn’t, who just wants to complain? There will always be a certain group of players who love the player-versus-player purity of the game, so much so that even if they were playing a similar deck, even the same deck, versus their opponent, they would still get excited about the match. But eventually, we will end up with roughly 8 players in the entire world who are eager to alternate between the same 4 deck types, who pin all their strategic hopes to metagame tweakings of individual hazard strategies or a few resource cards, year after year. On some level, this kind of Platonic competition sounds interesting—even to me. But I bet that’s not a level the majority of players care about. Worse, there is already a name for the science fiction scenario I’ve described above. It’s called, “Worlds.”
In all, I find that your restrictions hinge upon a very flawed idea of errata, as though ICE didn't change things regularly or it were merely another step of document interpretation.
It isn't. It is a continuation of the process that ICE engaged in throughout the history of the game -- modifying certain aspects in order to create a level playing field and fun for the greatest amount of people.