First off, there is nothing in the rules to differentiate between Short vs Permanent events playability or their rules-altering ability.
I see the rules as a set of Allowances
and the card effects as modifying those Allowances. When a card provides allowances or restrictions, it 100% of the time (except A Chance Meeting and We Have Come to Kill) indicates the rule being altered for the occasion. Any example otherwise is sloppy language, a mistake, or an oversight.
A Chance Meeting is simpler than Open to the Summons so I'll start there.
A Chance Meeting
provides additional allowances beyond the rules while also having a restriction. "A character <Allowance - (even a Hobbit)>
may be brought into play <Restriction - with direct influence>
at any <Allowance - Free-hold, Border-hold, or Ruins & Lairs>
The normal rule for playing characters being: "During your organization phase, you may perform one and only one of the following activities: You may play a character card. You must have enough general influence or direct influence available to control the character. You must place him at his home site or at any Haven site. ... Before you play your Wizard, you may use general influence to bring a character into play at any haven or at his home site. After revealing your Wizard, you may use general influence to bring a character into play only if your Wizard is at the site at which the character arrives (i.e., a Haven or the character’s home site)
Normally you are allowed to play a character during the Organization Phase at his home site or at a Haven, and under Direct or General Influence.
With A Chance Meeting
, you have the additional allowance of playing the character at a Free-hold, Border-hold, or Ruins & Lairs. However, you also have the restriction of playing the character under Direct influence, and cannot play him under General Influence, which would otherwise be allowed by the rules. A Chance Meeting does not create an allowance that enables the played to go beyond the "During your organization phase, you may perform one and only one of the following activities" rule. So if you are in the site-phase, and you play A Chance Meeting, then you are still beholden to the fundamental rule that "you may play resource cards anytime during your own turn unless specifically prohibited by the rules
or the cards themselves." And the rules only allow play of characters in the Organization phase, thereby prohibiting play of cards outside of that phase. However, the designers of the game have said that A Chance Meeting is intended to be playable in the site-phase. So are we to assume the lack of errata indicatesthe lacking description on the card was an oversight. But why did they not give it errata? Who knows.
What about We Have Come To Kill
? It states "A character may be brought into play under general influence or direct influence at any Shadow-hold, Ruins & Lairs, or Border-hold. This does not count against the one character per turn limit."
We have the rule "During your organization phase, you may perform one and only one of the following activities." We Have Come to Kill specifically provides allowances for playing characters beyond one, but it doesn't mention anything about the Organization Phase. But again, the designers of the game have given special permission to We Have Come to Kill similar to A Chance Meeting.
One of the beauties of this card is that it does not have to be played during the organization phase when you normally bring characters into play. You could even use We Have Come to Kill to bring in a character during the site phase, after the automatic-attack has been faced. --Ichabod
What about Open To The Summons
? It provides the allowance of "One agent minion may be played with target company at a Darkhaven." How does this fit into the rules? The Rules state "If the character is not an agent, you may only play him at his home site or at any Darkhaven site." The rules so not allow playing an agent at a Darkhaven. Open To The Summons creates this allowance. It does not create any other allowances. For example, the agent played via Open To The Summons must still be played according to the character playability rule of "If your Ringwraith is in play, your Ringwraith (or a character with enough direct influence to control the character to be played) must be at the site at which the character is to be played."
There is no allowance for Open to the Summons to go beyond the character playability rule of "During your organization phase, you may perform one and only one of the following activities."
The sloppy language leads to other questions What about Burglary? Can it be played in the Organization phase? What about Old Road? Can it be played in the organization phase? Why are A Chance Meeting and We Have Come to Kill special exceptions?
A Shadow of the Past
Why is there not strict adherence to the rules? Why can certain cards be exceptions? Why are most of the rulings completely divorced from the rules of the game? And in past Digests, when someone sensible actually brings up a rule, why does the Ruling seem to not care? I will never know but i have a guess. And someone with more knowledge, please correct me if I am wrong or provide details where i have missed them. Just to be clear, I am talking about Ichabod's rulings, not the later rulings by Gnome, Van, etc, which are even worse than Ichabod as far as actually remember the rules and making consistent and correct rulings.
--Coleman Charlton and Mike Reynolds designed Middle Earth the Wizards.
--Craig "Ichabod" O'Brien was hired by ICE and and was "responsible for answering rules questions online and over the phone, and keeping a file of the rulings that I've made (the CRF). I'm also responsible for editing the Player's Guide, helping design and playtest new expansions, and irritating the Silent Death series editor" (official newsletter #2, August 24, 1998 at http://www.meccg.net/netherlands/meccg/ ... 02high.pdf
Oh ok. So now we can see why there are discrepancies between the Rules (presumably written by Charlton and Reynolds) and the Rulings and Players Guides (written by Ichabod).
In fact, we don't even have to wonder. Ichabod straight up tells us that he ignores the rules. And that consistency with the rules is merely one factor in ruling:
"Making a new ruling involves several factors: simulation, mechanical balance, and rules consistency. I try
to make the rules consistent first... I sometimes make a simulation decision because I feel it is more important than rules consistency
... Sometimes I think I know the card text, and I'm wrong. Sometimes I just shoot from the hip without thinking... What I say is official, but is not necessarily the final word. All of the new rulings I make I copy to Mike Reynolds for review. And when a new edition of the CRF comes out both Mike Reynolds and Coleman Charlton review it. If either of them disagrees there is a discussion. Usually it is Mike, as Coleman is not that concerned about the minutae of the rules
. About half the time Mike overrules me, and about half the time I remember to bring a knife to the discussion, and he lets me have my way
. I would like to ask that everyone not go over my head to Mike when they disagree with one of my rulings. He's going to see any new rulings I make anyway, and when there is a large outcry on the net about anything, I make sure to let him know. "
OK so, Ichabod doesn't necessarily care to make rulings consistent with the rules as long as the ruling provides a better balanced game. No wonder the rules don't align. He straight up tells us he makes sure he gets his way.
A Chance Meeting, Rebuild The Town, and We Have Come to Kill seem to have caused many issues in particular. More questions than anything else. I wonder why. Probably because the rulings contradict the rules.
Rule: "Resource events do not generally require an untapped site nor that the automatic attack be faced. This may vary based upon specific card text."
Ichabods Ruling: "Nope, don't you dare play Gates of Morning before entering the site" (WTF)
And sometimes we even get errata that is pointless.
Rebuild the Town - Card Erratum: Replace "Playable on" with "Playable during the site phase on." And then to be "perfectly
" clear, the CRF states "A company
may not play any resource during the site phase until they have faced all automatic-attacks, unless that resource directly affects an automatic-attack. Removing an automatic-attack does not directly affect it,
although cancelling does."
However, you can STILL
play Rebuild the Town before the automatic attack given the rule "Resource events do not generally require an untapped site nor that the automatic attack be faced." This is supported by the CRF "Entities associated with a company include the characters, allies, and items in the company, and any events played on the company or on another entity in the company. The new site and site of origin are not entities associated with the company
So, events like Rebuilt the Town can still be played before facing an automatic attack because events are only restricted if a company plays them and Rebuild the Town is played on a site, which is not associated with a company. What is going on here?!
The Rulings are bogus, but even the errata is bogus? The old Rebuild the Town abuse must have been STRONG to actually get errata.
OK, so, Ichabod gets his way and he gets to make bogus rulings. But why isn't there errata issued to provide consistency with Ichabod's rulings? Ichabod tells us:
reason (besides fixing typos) for issuing errata these days is to fix mechanical problems
in the game. We don't issue errata for simulation problems, because there is too much errata as it is."
And Reynolds tells us this in Newsletter 1 (June 27, 98) "My base responsibility is writing card text. 1) communicating with playtesters, 2) developing card text through playtest iterations, 3) keeping a finger on the pulse of our customers, 4) representing the marketing needs of the
, 5) writing articles and scenarios for publication, and 6) overseeing the rulings/errata process.
This all explains why we have bogus rulings that are inconsistent with the rules. You can image Charlton saying "Ichabod, you are in charge of internet rulings and creating a CRF, but don't bother me because although I wrote the rules, I don't care about the minutae. And while Mike would like to keep you in your place, you will likely strong-armed him to your will. We will let your bogus ruling and CRF slide as long as you hide all of the Rulings away in an internet CRF hosted on your own website (that is now dead to the world, though luckily backed up and maintained by MECCG.net). The Marketing department and investors have demanded
that we don't issue any further errata unless necessary to not scare away new players because we still have thousands of boxes of The Dragons and White Hand sitting on the shelves and the Distributors are starting to demand that we buy-back unsold stock. And plus this ship is sinking and we don't have the time to deal with this right now. "
And in Ichabod's honor, the 2018 CoE issued a worthless "clarification" to A Chance Meeting that doesn't actually affect how the card is played, just how Ichabod would have wanted it.
All of this is conjecture and I don't know any of these people or have any contemporaneous experience with them or the game. But let me know if you think otherwise. This tangent probably deserves its own discussion and so I'll start a new thread elsewhere at some point.