Simple Mind

SITUATION:  While in play neither player may have more than one Situation in
play at a time.  Your opponent must discard all but 1 Situation he has in
play.  You must discard all Situations but Simple Mind.  This card does not
affect Situation:  Plots.  (Restricted to 2)

Here's an interesting one:  a Situation that removes Situations, yet different
from Plan Ahead.  And really, Simple Mind's power as a Situation-remover is
the primary power of this card.

When you play Simple Mind, the first thing you do is remove all of your non-
Plot Situations.  At the same time, your opponent removes all of his non-Plot
Situations except one.

This removal occurs _immediately_, for both players.  Ben Durbin refers to the
"timing rules" below.  However, to the best of my knowledge this is all
resolved.  Anything that removes a card(s) does so _immediately_.  This
applies to Simple Mind, Police, Plan Ahead, whatever.

This is Simple Mind's greatest virtue.  It can remove literally dozens of
Situations in one swoop.  Suddenly Xavier has to choose _one_ single Situation
to keep out of all of his Situations.  And the removal is immediate:  Focus
won't help.  In the short term, Simple Mind is essentially an Event that
removes all non-Plot Situations.  No wonder it's restricted to 2.

Simple Mind also lets you use Focus more effectively.  Rather than having to
try to Focus past four Carls or The Gatherings to play that Holy Ground, you
can play Simple Mind, and only have to bypass one.

This board-sweeping function is also Simple Mind's one disadvantage.  If your
opponent loses all of his non-Plot Situations except one, you are hit even
worse:  you lose _all_ of your non-Plot Situations except Simple Mind itself.

There's no way to get around this.  What's worse is that Simple Mind can tie
up Situations in your hand.  You cannot play _any_ Situations while you have a
Simple Mind on your side.  The only way to even get Situations out of your
hand is to play Focus on Simple Mind, play the Situation you want to get rid
of, and watch it get removed when Simple Mind flips back over.

Your opponent has a little more choice here.  He can leave a "Discard to Use"
card out, discard it, then play another.  Or he can Focus past Simple Mind,
play a second Situation, and then decide at the end of his turn which one he
wants to keep.  You can't even play two Simple Minds to make this harder for
him to do so!

So you should use Simple Mind in two types of decks:  decks that don't use any
Situations at all, and decks that primarily use Plots.

Let's take a look at Xavier St. Cloud, the Situation King.  Simple Mind costs
him the use of arguably his most potent cards:  Forethought, Plan Ahead, and
Poison Gas.  It also cripples Hidden Explosives.  His 12-Plot ability lets him
use lots of Plot/Situations.  However, his loss of Forethought means he has
nothing to protect them with except for Thunder Castle Game pre-game cards. 
Overall, it seems Xavier should avoid Simple Mind.

What about Kalas, a secondary master of plotting?  If he's willing to play
without non-Plot Situations he could do quite well by Simple Mind.

The third Persona to consider is the Kurgan.  His Disguise card is a Plot, so
it is unaffected by Simple Mind.  This makes it much more difficult for an
opponent to remove either Disguise or Simple Mind, since Disguise prevents the
use of Police/Remove Situation.

Take the Kurgan, and add some Head Hunter Plots.  That, plus Catwalk or Dead-
End Alley, can spell a quick end to the game.  Or use Destruction to get the
free Head Shot/Power Blows.  Or do both and really hurt them.  Add Cat & Mouse
for even more fun.

With any Plot-type decks, remember that the rare-yet-vital Director's Cut
Situation card is also eliminated from consideration due to Simple Mind.  It
is _not_ a Plot.

Who else should or shouldn't use Simple Mind?  Well, anyone who uses the
"standard" Continuity should avoid it.  Granted, this card has fallen into
soem disuse with the rise of the superior Ancestral Blade.  Still, if all you
have to stop Power Blows is Continuity, Simple Mind is a bad idea.

The only Persona besides Xavier that is heavily Situation-oriented is Nakano. 
The Sorcerer has four Reserved Situations (Master's Maneuver, Mirror Image,
Shadows of the Mind, Swords to Snakes), and tends to use Pedestrian/Hidden-
Only.  He probably has no desire to lose any of these.

Direct damage decks probably don't want to use Simple Mind either.  Most use
Chessex to get that extra Event each turn, or Bystander to avoid attack
damage.  Lock decks?  Can't use Jack Donovan, Honor Bound, and Safe Haven, so
scratch those as well.  Tower decks?  Typically, they rely on
Master/Swordmaster and Avery Hoskins.  Cross them off the list.

Beyond those considerations, practically anyone _can_ use Simple Mind.  All
you have to do is be willing to make a non-Situation deck.

This reviewer has found that Kastagir is a good choice for building a Simple
Mind deck around.  If armed with Ancestral Blade, he has no real use for
Situations.  His primary strategy is eliminating an opponent's defensive
resources, typically using Battlefield or Factory.  There aren't a lot of
Situations that currently help that strategy, and most of them (such as Louise
Marcus) aren't worth using.

When we talk about eliminating resources, that brings us to discarding . . .
which brings us to Nefertiri.  Her typical discard strategy, based around the
previously mentioned Locations and various Event cards, gets no help from
Situations.  Arm her with Ancestral Blade, give her Simple Mind, and watch her
ignore or remove all those harmful Situations.

Some Katana decks don't use a lot of Situations, perhaps due to concern about
Psychosis.  Simple Mind can be a good board-clearer, letting Katana Exert to
remove his opponent's last bothersome Situation.

Other Personas' use of Simple Mind can vary.  Heavy-hitter decks that use Carl
as back-up for their Berserks and Battle Rages won't like it.  Neither will
decks that hide behind Pedestrian and Bystander Situations, or that use the
various Master Situation cards.  Or decks that use Master/Swordmaster and the
Collect promo card to reduce their Exertions down to zero.  Or attack decks
that use Wargames West and Honor Bound to restrict the play of Specials.

Simple Mind strikes at both ends of the spectrum.  We mentioned earlier that
it isn't good for "direct damage"-type decks.  It's also not good for straight
swordfighting decks that want to use The Gathering.

Primarily, Simple Mind is a card that you have to tailor to your individual
style, and the Persona you plan to use.  By choosing to use it, you can mess
up a lot of strategies you may prefer.  However, since you're going into the
game knowing that their Simple Mind will be in play, you have a huge advantage
over an unwitting opponent who relies on Situations.

So overall, Steve gives Simple Mind a _7_.  This card can be a limiter and
board-cleaner, but the penalty of not using Situations yourself may be too
great.  There are a _lot_ of useful Situations out there, some that help
swordfighting decks (The Gathering, Honor Bound, Avery Hoskins, Master,
Master's Advance), some that hurt (Chessex, Jack Donovan, Safe Haven).  Simple
Mind may keep your opponent from getting those Situations out . . but it will
also prevent you from playing the cards to take advantage of their loss.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Ben - If the "timing" rules ever get ironed out for this card, it stands to be
the single most powerful Situation remover in the game.

Jeff - Awesome card.  Custom made for Kurgan decks with Disguise (and possibly
Cat & Mouse or other plots).  A mass Katana Quickening without the pain of
exerting, it can only be stopped by a TCG . . .

Rick - This is a great card to help against lock decks.  It also has great
value in a Katana attack deck.  If they play Psychosis, you play Simple Mind. 
All the non-plot Situations go away except for two, then you Exert to remove
the Simple Mind.

Hank - Really fun for anti-cheese decks.  It's main problem is it keeps other
anti-cheese cards from coming out . . . still, it's unique and has a good use.

Alan - An extremely useful card for anyone who doesn't play with Situations
themselves.  In the hands of Katana, however, this card's usefulness
magnifies, since it cuts down on the number of Exertions he has to make to
remove Situations from play.  Not a card I tend to use myself, however:  I'm a
bit of a "Situation Junkie", and I never have, nor will I ever play as Katana,
based on principle.

Jim - Simple Mind is a good anti-lock deck card.  It is particularly useful
for attack decks that are also using plots like Destruction.  This keeps your
opponent from playing Honor Bound and Wargames West, or keeping out multiple
Pedestrian Situations.

Chip - This is a good card to have in your deck if you don't plan on playing
Situations.  Not only does it not hurt you but it hinders your opponent from
playing all those Situations that can give you grief.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   7
Ben                     9
Jeff                    8
Rick                    9
Hank                    7
Alan                    7
Jim                     6
Chip                    8

Average:                7.62