Rules of the Game
SITUATION
While this card is in play, any player that plays a
Ranged Attack loses 1 Ability.  Discard this card any
time another Rules of the Game is played.  (restricted
to 3)

Rules of the Game
SITUATION
While this card is in play, any player that plays an Ally
loses 1 Ability.  Discard this card any time another
Rules of the Game is played.  (restricted to 3)

Rules of the Game
SITUATION
While this card is in play, any player that plays an
Event that does damage loses 2 Ability.  Discard this
card any time another Rules of the Game is played.  (no
restriction)

Here we have three cards that come down to the very core
of at least two of the most common sources of "cheese" in
the Highlander CCG:  ranged attacks and direct damage.

Game mechanics questions first, as always.  If a Rules of
the Game is Focused, it is not removed if another RotG is
played.  Why?  Because the text on the first RotG is
nullified, so there is nothing to require its removal.

However, if you manage to get down two RotG, they are
_both_ removed by the play of a third one.  Unless those
two are Focused the turn you play the third one.  Then,
all three are removed by the play of a four, unless,
etc., etc.

All three Rules of the Game cards inflict Ability loss,
not damage.  Cards that prevent damage, such as Dr. Sonny
Jackson, will not aid against them.  Ability lost may, as
normal, be healed back normally.

As always, an Event that causes Ability loss (Boom Boom,
Bassett & Hotchkiss, etc.) is not considered to be an
Event that does damage.

The particular Rules of the Game must be in play when the
card in question _is played_ for the Ability loss to
occur.  Playing it the turn after the relevant type of
card is played has no effect.

Rules of the Game/Event damage talks about "an Event that
does damage."  This does not mean that the Event in
question actually has to inflict damage:  only its
capability to play damage.  So if someone plays a Street
Punk when Greenfield Hobby is out, they will still lose 2
Ability.

So that's how they work?  Why should you use them?

The most obvious answer is if you want to keep the game
in the realm of swordfighting.  Rules of the Game/Event
damage won't help against every cheese-type card (see the
exceptions for Boom Boom and B&H noted above), but it
will help thwart quite a few.  Or at least make sure that
the person playing cards like Angry Mob/Careful Planning,
Watcher/Hunter, and Toadies will share some or all of
your pain.

Rules of the Game/Event damage can also lock their hand a
bit, since as noted above, if they play an Event damage
card even if Greenfield Hobby is in play, they will still
lose Ability.

Rules of the Game/Ranged Attacks counters a threat that
is perhaps not so obviously cheesey.  However, if you're
one of the seven current Persona who only have Back Away,
you might disagree.  A Kalas deck using Trip, Pistols,
and the Kurgan Q, or a Slan deck with Challenge/SE and
Shooting Blade, is in many ways just as cheesey, if not
more so.  This particular RotG puts a stop to that in
most cases.

The main problem with this version is that, thanks to the
Kurgan Q, currently someone can basically inflict two
damage on you, at the cost of only 1 Ability loss.  Corda
& Reno and Kern can do four damage by playing Thrust,
Equalizer or Musket, and using the Kurgan Q.  A one
Ability loss is pretty trivial compared to this.

Still, if you can Divine Intervention that bothersome
Kurgan Q, Personas that use Pistols, or Kinman, may soon
come to realize that playing Ranged Attacks against you
is a bad idea.  After all, you can always play Holy
Ground or Dr. Sonny Jackson to avoid the damage from
their attacks.  There's nothing they can do to avoid the
Ability loss caused by Rules of the Game.

The third Rules of the Game deals with Allies.  Although
many cards in Highlander only deal with Situation/Allies,
Rules of the Game/Ally is a bit stronger.  Why?  Because
it works on Event and Edge Allies as well.  This means
that it is an excellent punishment card against opponents
relying heavily on Renee Delaney or Darius.  It even
works against Det. Bedsoe.

Obviously, if you are going to use one or more of these
three strategies (Event damage, Ranged Attacks, Allies),
you shouldn't include that particular Rules of the Game
in your deck.  That's not to say that you can't include
one or both of the others.  A Kalas deck relying on Event
damage might still be well off to include three
RotG/Ranged Attack.

But this brings us to the question of who should include
Rules of the Game, and which version(s).

If you're one of the current seven Immortals (Slan, the
Kurgan, Kern, Kalas, Corda & Reno, Kane, Yung Dol Kim)
who have no dodge-type defense against Ranged Attacks,
Rules of the Game/RA is something you should seriously
consider adding to your deck.  Personas with limited
defense against Ranged Attacks (Fitzcairn, Hyde,
Ceirdwyn, Kanis, and Kanwulf) might also wish to consider
the addition of this RotG.

This brings us to an interesting consideration:  if
you're someone who plans on _using_ Ranged Attacks, you
may want to include Rules of the Game.  Obviously, not
the Ranged Attack version, but one or both of the other
two.  Why?  Because if you play your Rules of the Game,
it will remove your opponent's.  This means you can
devote your Situation-removal to other cards.

So Personas who are heavily into Ranged Attacks (the
Kurgan on some occasions, Corda & Reno, Kinman, and Kern)
may want to include one or both of the other two Rules of
the Game.

Almost anyone might include Rules of the Game/Event
damage in their deck, since anyone with a few Angry
Mob/Careful Planning combos can be dangerous.  However,
Personas with an emphasis on Event damage, such as Xavier
(Alliance), Katana (Toadies), Ceirdwyn (Retribution),
Amanda (Surprise Attack), and Nefertiri (Temptress) might
wish to consider using different Rules of the Games to
counter and remove.

The only Persona that is currently specifically Ally-
reliant is Ceirdwyn.  Since she is vulnerable to Ranged
Attacks, and tends to use Event damage and Allies
herself, Rules of the Game/Ranged Attacks is her best
choice.

You still might run into an Ally-reliant deck, of course.
The key here is to not use Allies yourself.  If you have
no intention of using Renee Delaney or Darius, and are
concerned about running into decks using either (or
both!), Rules of the Game/Ally may be an excellent choice
for you.  Even more so if you have reason to want to
remove from play either of the other two versions.

Some Personas may wish to rely on their own superior
abilities.  Connor, for instance, can handle Ranged
attacks (due to his dodges) and Event damage (It's a Kind
of Magic, plus generic means).  Kane may wish to rely on
stealing his opponent's Allies.

And if you're going to use all three aspects that Rules
of the Game opposes, you also don't want to use them.
For obvious reasons, don't include them in your Kalas
Pistol/Angry Mob deck, particularly if you're going to
Darius in a Seduce or four.

So overall, Steve gives Rules of the Game/Ranged Attack a
3, Rules of the Game/Ally a 5, and Rules of the
Game/Event Damage a 6.  RotG/Ranged Attack just isn't a
strong enough disincentive against the Ranged Attack
decks out there that can use the Kurgan Q to get a
minimum of 2 damage.  If the Ranged Attack rules are ever
altered so that they cannot have their damage boosted,
this rating could change.

Rules of the Game/Ally is useful in nearly any deck, and
can cripple Ceirdwyn.  However, it requires that you not
use Allies yourself, or be willing to Focus RotG to play
them.  For those who don't use Renee Delaney or Darius in
their decks, that may not be a problem.

And finally, we come back to Rules of the Game/Event
damage.  This card is an excellent anti-damage card,
since it hurts your opponent for playing Event damage
cards and you still have your options open for dealing
with the Event damage on your turn.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Rules of the Game is an interesting set of cards.
The Ranged Attack one is almost useful... if you're
playing an Immortal without access to Dodges.  The Ally
one is mostly useful as a Ceirdwyn Nemesis.  The direct
damage one is absolutely beautiful, though.  The fact you
can Focus one to keep it in play when playing another is
really nice...especially when you consider that these
Situations stack due to them adjusting Ability.

Hank - The Rules Of The Game cards are great. They
_strongly_ penalize particular strategies, but another
ROTG will remove one in play.  I could see people putting
in ROTG in decks like they do Locations, to either
protect their strategy or prevent another.  I think
they're a cool idea.

Alan -

Prodipto - These cards make it a little painful to use
less savory tactics in play.  An opponent would have to
seriously consider whether it's worth playing that Ranged
Attack/Ally/Damaging Event with the appropriate RotG out.
However, more often than not, the 1 Ability Loss is worth
the cost of playing an Angry Mob or a Callum or
Musketed/Equalized Thrust.  In the end, the satisfaction
of sticking it to your opponent for "breaking the rules"
is tremendously diminished by the fact that they're
usually willing to eat a little Ability loss early in
order to hammer you later.  Another major drawback is the
fact that each RotG is discarded when another is played.
If they could come out in multiples, or stack, then they
would be much more powerful.  Of course, with Focuses,
multiple, stacking RotG's can make life very unpleasant
for your opponent more quickly.

Allen - Generally, the three Rules of the Game are a
solid addition to Highlander that should prove useful to
a wide number of decks.  RotG/Allies is the weakest of
the three, since a large number of your opponents will
use no Allies.  Dr. Sonny and Renee (annoying) decks will
be hurt, however.  Hit them with a Twist of Fate whenever
you can so they can't Focus past you.  As the game
continues to devolve into a John Woosian melodrama,
RotG/Ranged will become more and more useful.  If you are
playing a Back Away-only Immortal you already need to
strongly consider including RotG/Ranged in your deck.
Cheese RotG has good effect, but lacks the response
ability of Greenfield.  It's completely useless against
Xavier, but then so is Greenfield.

Bruce - (In general) As long as Rules of the Game
continue to reflect the actual rules of the game and
penalize non-genre type game play, they are good for
Highlander as a game and will cause people to think
before playing un-Highlander like decks.  (Ranged
Attacks)  With the large number of Ranged Attacks that
have suddenly hit the game, this card should be a staple
in most toolbox decks. You can always Focus to play your
own Ranged Attack so it really only targets Ranged Attack
abusers. Too bad it doesn't stay in play for First Blood.
(Ally)  There are a lot of Allies out there now that can
cause you serious harm. How many Renees are they going to
play knowing that they will lose a point each
and every time they do. (Event Damage)  Events that do
damage, by definition, hurt. Most of them also fall
outside the rules of the games, making this card very
appropriate. It can provide significant protection from
other Events that only do damage as a side effect as
well.

Stealth Dave - Collectively, the Rules of the Game cards,
when in play, penalize players for using "unsavory"
tactics.  However, you have to get them in play and
_keep_ them in play to do any good, and Simple Mind is
becoming a better and better option to defend against all
these nasty Situations out there. These cards are also
completely reactive, meaning you have to stop playing
your own strategy and take time to play RotG.  (RotG
Ally) Most effective against Ceirdwyn. (Come on, baby!
Play those Allies!) Also helps against those nasty Avery
decks (though not much), and stops Dr. Sonny in his
tracks! (RotG Event Damage) The latest attempt by TCG to
kill all cheese.  Good or bad, it's becoming harder to
play any Event damage.  Not only does it cause 2 Ability
Loss instead of 1, but it is the only RotG that is
restricted to 6 instead of 3.  Of course, it doesn't
affect healing or Ability Loss, but if you're worried
about cheese, this is a good card for the job.  But you'd
better pack some Greenfield any way.  (RotG Ranged
Attacks) Stop those !@#%ing Pistols!!! Shooting Blade
users aren't as worried (you still gain 3 points on
them), but Equalizer and Musket users might think twice
about it.

Jonathan - I feel like the Rules of the Game cards are a
nice addition to the game as a whole, and sealed deck in
particular, but not necessarily highly competitive play.
If your deck has a particular fear or weakness, you can
compensate for it a little with these cards. Generally, I
think the Ranged Attack version is the most useful, with
the profuse spread of dangerous Ranged Attacks in the
game (will everyone play with Shield? I think not).  The
Ally version could also be useful against those Ceirdwyn
types. The one big problem I see with these cards is lack
of versatility. You could put them in your deck if you
fear Ranged Attacks or cheese, but they might just be
wasted space. If you fear Ranged Attacks or cheese, you
could always add Dr. Sonny. In any event, I would attempt
to add more versatile cards to my deck instead of cards
that might not have any function. However, these are good
cards for newer players who don't have access to some of
those rarer cards, and need a card for protection against
some of the more troublesome aspects of the game.

Charles - I like the idea of penalizing a player for
deviating from the "Rules of the Game". A Kurgan deck
that loads up on these might have a chance against a
Kinman 9mm Deck; unfortunately, these cards are of little
use against a deck that is not playing a strategy that is
affected by the "Rules...".

Ratings Overall (Ranged, Ally, Event Damage)

Steve               3/5/6
Jeff                5/4/7
Hank                7/7/7
Alan                  N/A
Prodipto            3/5/3
Allen               7/4/5
Bruce               8/6/7
Sdave               5/3/5
Jonathan            4/4/4
Charles             6/4/4

Average:                5.33 (Ranged)
                        4.67 (Ally)
                        5.33 (Event)

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