A story about the Gadget/Technology cards in Invasion from Protospiel. A playtester had just purchased a card with the following 12 words of text:
Move up to 3 of your own or enemy ships to Europe.
Playtester: “I hate this card, this is stupid. Europe isn’t scoring this turn so this is useless.”
Me: “Since Europe isn’t scoring, why don’t you move another player’s ships there?”
Playtester: “You can’t do that with this card.”
Me: “I’m pretty sure it says you can.”
Playtester: “No, it doesn’t.”
Me, now concerned that there is an error on the card: “Can I see?”
As it turns out, reading the card aloud was enough to convince the player that it could be used to get enemy ships out of the way.
This is a difficult situation. On one hand, I don’t want to confuse players, and I want to take playtester feedback seriously. On the other hand, this is not a complicated effect, and I don’t want to coddle recklessness or incuriousity. This player should be beaten by a more thoughtful opponent.
I hope that my change to Gadget cards that makes them public mitigates the effect of a player drawing a card and being frustrated because the right way to use it isn’t obvious; the other players can use the card instead and forcefully demonstrate.