When Abilities Guide Rules

“Sir, if any of my circuits or gears will help, I’ll gladly donate them.” — C-3PO When we as players work to understand the rules structure of any game the primary goal is to understand how to play the game.  We want to play right, and we want the rules to create a consistent play […]

Profile photo of Kevin By Kevin On July 09, 2013 Posted In X-Wing Miniatures Game

“Sir, if any of my circuits or gears will help, I’ll gladly donate them.”
— C-3PO

When we as players work to understand the rules structure of any game the primary goal is to understand how to play the game.  We want to play right, and we want the rules to create a consistent play environment.  In a CCG-like ability structure, such as X-wing’s, the biggest part of that is understanding how all those crazy abilities work and interact with each other.  There are times, though, when a particular ability can help inform us about how the larger rules operate.

This week we have a good example of this in action with the full reveal of Ten Numb.

The Issue
During the speculation period when we were all trying to guess what the covered words in Ten’s ability were, my money was on the ability saying cannot be canceled by the defender.  Why?  Because dice don’t cancel results.  Here are the relevant rules, all from page 12:

  • Spending an Evade Token: …he may return it to the action token supply to add one additional {Evade} result to his defense roll
  • Compare Results: For each {Evade} result, cancel (remove) one {Hit} or {Critical Hit} result from the attack roll.

Results seem to be the only thing that matter when you’re checking for a hit – dice aren’t mentioned in there at all, so the only thing the ability could affect is the results.  Since there’s no way in the rules to differentiate a dice result from a token result, the ability couldn’t be based on that, right?  Well, not so much.  Ten throws a spanner in the gears of that interpretation, so to speak.  How can his ability differentiate between identical game elements?

When Abilities Clarify Rules
This effectively runs to intent, but I think it’s a safe one that everyone can agree on: The developers intend for Ten’s ability to work, and would not have intentionally written an ability that could never trigger.  If we accept this foundation, we can use it to inform our interpretation of the base rules structure.  There doesn’t seem to be any way to tell one result from another, but Ten obviously expects that there is…  so we must be missing something.

If we take a closer look at the rulebook, we can find elements that point to results knowing where they come from, or at least being linked to them still:

  • Page 14, Example Step 8: This step of the example shows dice and evade results all lined up and cancelling hits.  I’d previously assumed this was mostly just for visual convenience, but in light of Ten’s ability it seems more meaningful.
  • Page 12, Canceling Dice: Each time a die result is canceled, a player takes one die displaying the canceled result and physically removes the die from the common area.  This relates to attack dice, not defense, but it tells us that there is still a connection between the dice and the results they display.

Do the rules tell us explicitly that results remember where they came from?  Sadly, no…  but there’s at least a vague outline of that in the rules, and we can leverage an expectation that Ten’s ability will work to give it more shape.

When (not) To Use This Approach
Ten’s ability provides one of the cleanest examples I’ve seen of this principle in a long time.  I had read the rules as not distinguishing the source of an {Evade} result, but if that’s true then his ability just doesn’t work, so I was clearly wrong.  But like all intent-based analysis, we do have to be cautious when applying it.  Let’s consider why this works in Ten’s case by looking at things that would stop this approach from working.

  • It doesn’t contradict the rules: Ten’s ability increases our understanding of the rules without actually contradicting anything that’s written.  Especially when considering the example and Canceling Dice section, we can see the potential for results to know where the came from.
  • It doesn’t contradict other abilities: If there were other abilities which relied on our old interpretation, that would be a problem.  In this case, there’s not – nothing functions based on the idea of agnostic results.
  • We aren’t applying Rules As Iwantthemtobeplayed: The foundation for this is the simple expectation that Ten’s ability does something.  We’re not trying to reinterpret rules to make his ability work better against Soontir Fel, or worse against ships with shields.  This is probably the biggest roadblock to using this method more often.  The ability we’re using as a basis must have a perfectly clear, rock-solid interpretation of its function so that we aren’t trying to change rules to affect its power level.  In Ten’s case, I think we do, because there aren’t any alternative interpretations of his ability that make sense.

A Counterexample
Let’s briefly consider a counterexample.  There’s an ongoing gray area surrounding what exactly is an “attack” and which steps it includes.  Can we use any existing abilities to tell us what an “attack” is?  Sadly, I don’t think so, but here are some possibilities with the reasons why I don’t think they work:

  • Ion Cannon Turret: If “attack” is Steps 2-7, then the turret does not function.  Unfortunately, we have rules on page 11 which point to weapon selection being during Step 2.  Since making the turret work would contradict those, we can’t use it.
  • Gunner: Whether or not the Gunner’s attack includes Step 1 (Declare Target) has a pretty big impact on its usefulness and power level.  I’m not sure there’s anything there that would help us define an attack either way, but we need to stay far away from it regardless.

This is is a method of rules interpretation that we have to do cautiously and with properly analytical care.  It also carries a bit of risk with it – after all, it is entirely possible that the developers simply wrote a rule which doesn’t work within the framework of the rules, and we run the risk of drawing incorrect interpretations of the rules from it.  Generally, though, I think it’s a beneficial to work from a baseline assumption that the rules have an underlying functional structure that we sometimes simply can’t see through the haze of the natural language.  Abilities like Ten’s can plant a flag that pokes above that fog and show us what’s actually there.

  1. To me this is kind of a distant cousin of something like homing missiles, only much more obviously so. Meaning, homing missiles specify that you cannot spend evade tokens when defending against a homing missile attack.

    Now they’re clearly not the same, but it is a rule which shuts down the source of the result (ie: an evade token), rather than the result itself. I think those cause less confusion, because it prevents the result from ever happening (so to speak) but in a roundabout way it strikes me as related.

  2. What I find kind of interesting or potentially confusing is breaking down the steps of combat with regards to Ten. Comparing results comes after the defender modifies attack dice. If your ship had a focus token, and you roll an eyeball, spend it, and convert one of your defense dice to an evade, and that evasion is the difference between eating a critical damage result, does he ignore it because it is considered a defense die, regardless of whether its result has been modified?

  3. I think you’re wrong on this one.

    The rules on page 12 describe the process of canceling results, and do so in terms of physically removing dice from the common area. If there’s a distinction between results from Evade tokens and results from “real” dice, then Evade tokens themselves fail to function–there’s no die to remove, so results from Evade tokens can’t be used to cancel hit or crit results.

    The only way to resolve that discontinuity is to treat results from Evade tokens exactly as if they were dice results. If Evade tokens work at all, they qualify as part of the “by defense dice” clause.

    1. It does describe canceling results as removing dice… but defense results are not actually canceled:

      “For each {Evade} result, cancel (remove) one {Hit} or {Critical Hit} result from the attack roll”

      That’s it. You use your evades to cancel hits, that removes the attack dice, but the evades themselves stay. This is consistent with the graphics in the example as well, that show attack dice X’ed out but doesn’t do the same for defense dice.

      1. That had never occurred to me, but you’re right.

        That’s unfortunate, because it moves me closer to your position, which I still think is silly–not because it’s yours, but because I think it’s a silly distinction to draw, and it just adds one more complication to table play.

      2. I don’t necessarily disagree, but like it or not it’s a distinction that obviously exists, and they’ve built Ten’s ability to differentiate based on that distinction.

        I do think this is a case where the designers had it in their heads that there was a difference in results based on source. The rules don’t do a good job of highlighting that, but it does seem to be there. I expect this isn’t the last we’ll see of this sort of thing. As they get more creative with abilities they’re going to start hitting more places where we’ve all misinterpreted how certain rules work, but it didn’t necessarily matter until now.

      3. I’m also continuing to think of other alternative wording, and one jumps out at me: “by the dice pool” is even shorter than “by the defender”, and would have been unambiguous.

        And while I’m all for creating new abilities and exploring new corners of the design space, I still don’t like this. It’s not intuitive, it creates more things to do and track at the table, and (maybe most importantly) it weakens the ability. It does force an Imperial opponent to use Evade, and there’s power in dictating your opponent’s choice of actions, but it makes him much less effective against the ships he should be great against–Vader and PTL Interceptors, who now want to take Evade as one of their actions, but were probably going to do that anyway.

        I’m still going to hope for a FAQ or even errata that indicates that they screwed up, but mostly I’m starting to feel like there’s a stink coming off FFG’s rules. If they’re not thinking seriously about overhauling the whole rules structure, they’re not paying attention.

      4. I disagree with that. The entire Imperial faction of the game is based around agility-based (and hence dice-based) survival. Ten with Marksmanship guaranteeing a landed crit on any TIE he shoots at would be stupidly overpowered.

        It’s still an incredible ability. It just goes from “I don’t care what your TIE is, I’m going to hit it and why did you even bother spending the points on a Stealth Device again?” to “Well, you just decided my entire squadron’s action selection for me, thanks!”

      5. Two other minor nitpicks: First, “dice pool” is not a term which actually exists in the game. If they had gone with that, we’d be arguing over what that meant, and whether evade tokens added to that pool.

        Second, “by the defender” and “by the dice pool” have the same number of characters in them. The latter is actually longer if you include the space ;P

  4. Just so I’m clear on what we are discussing, does this quibble go beyond inferred words we’d have liked to see in print? For example, I read Nien’s ability to be this:

    “When attacking, 1 of your [crit] (dice) results cannot be cancelled by defense dice (results).”

    The reference to Nien’s attack doesn’t actually SAY “dice results”, but doesn’t need to — we know that we are talking about a dice roll.

    Alternately, the reference to defense dice doesn’t actually SAY “dice results”, but doesn’t need to — we again know that we are talking about a dice roll.

    Honestly I see no issue with the language as far as inferred words

    My qualm with Nien’s ability, and oh yes I do have one, is in what happens in the following situation:

    Nien rolls 2 [crit] results. The target rolls 1 evade result, and has an evade token as well. So which [crit] result is the one that can’t be cancelled by dice results? I’ll use my evade token on that one, and use my evade dice result on the one I’m allowed to cancel normally. Is this legal, or is it not?

    1. I think it would be. Defense results cancel attack results; since it’s something done with defense dice, which the defender owns, I don’t see how it’s anyone’s choice but the defender which results cancel which. And if that’s the case, there’s no scenario that doesn’t come out the same.

      1. Attacker picks a “locked” result before canceling: Defender allocates his results accordingly.
      2. Attacker tries to game the ability by not declaring a result as locked. Defender says “I cancel that crit with my die”, then the Attacker activates Ten’s ability, and the defender uses the Evade result.

      So long as we grant that it’s the defender that gets to allocate defensive results – and I think it’s very hard to argue otherwise – the “which crit is it??” argument is irrelevant.

      1. Where I take issue is in the place you say it’s very hard to argue. This is not so cut and dry

        FIRST QUESTION — Is Nien’s ability a threshold?
        Does Nien Numb’s player get to name which [crit] result cannot be cancelled, or can [crit] results not be cancelled until Nien Numb’s ability text is satisfied? If the latter is the case, then you cannot use evade dice results to cancel crits until you’ve let one through.

        Same example becomes:
        — Nien rolls 2 crits. They are laid out in a row.
        — Defender rolls 1 evade. It is laid out against the row.
        — Defender opts to add the evade token against the row.
        — The first crit can’t be cancelled by the evade die.
        — The second crit is cancelled by the evade token.
        — The evade die ends up doing nothing. 1 damage, crit.
        That’s a different result entirely from my prior example, and entirely plausible as the way it’s supposed to work.

        SECOND QUESTION — What is “adding to”?
        When you spend an Evade token, you add it to the results of your roll — but do you get to place it where you want it, or must you place it at the end of the evade results as the LAST evade? Nothing I have found in the rules suggests you may re-order the evades as you choose to place the token where you want it. You roll, get results, then may add to (or change) those results.

        If you have to add your evade token as the LAST evade, this matters against Nien + Autoblaster a great deal.

        I suppose what I’m getting at is that Nien’s ability is actually far murkier than it initially appears.

      2. Is it just pool vs pool? The defender adds/changes, then takes an evade to remove a hit/crit from the attacker’s pool? I think I need to work this out…

        2 crit results -vs- 1 evade result and 1 evade token:

        — The defender removes 1 crit result with the evade result. This is legal, because 1 crit result remains in the attack pool. Nien’s ability is being met.

        — The defender removes 1 crit result with the evade token. This is possibly legal, because the token isn’t a dice result. It also might make the prior cancel illegal though… the question is whether these damage cancels all happen at once or if they happen 1 by 1. Just because you cancel step by step doesn’t mean the result is official until a damage conclusion is reached.

        I’m unsure. However people want to play it is how it will be played, but I’d really prefer if FFG would take 1 hour to throw out a quick FAQ. Answer this question. Answer Cluster Missiles. It doesn’t have to be all-encompassing, just an answer to the bigger and more confusing questions.

      3. I think you’re deeply overthinking this, and coming from me, that’s saying something 😛

        A lot of what you’re introducing, such as an ordering of dice vs. tokens and the order they have to be spent in, doesn’t have any real basis in the rules. Nor is it necessary for any of the rules to function properly, including with Ten’s ability.

        The “When attacking” timing on Ten’s ability makes it more of an environmental effect, like Wedge. You don’t have to argue over WHICH point of agility Wedge is removing, is down by one for the duration. Same with Ten. When you roll, if a {Critical Hit} comes up, one of them can’t be canceled.

        Cancelation is a very simple loop as well. “For each” means do them one at a time, just like damage. There aren’t any other restrictions on which has to be used first, whether the uncancelable one has to be affected first or last, etc. I have a dice-given result – I’ll cancel that hit. I have another dice-given result – I’ll cancel that critical hit. I have a token-given result, I’ll use this one to cancel Ten’s special crit. Or reverse the order – it really shouldn’t matter.

        You’re effectively creating a problem that doesn’t exist by trying to introduce new restrictions on both timing and choice. If you leave those out, it’s not really all that hard.

      4. @Theorist

        Reading the card literally, the example used in FIRST QUESTION doesn’t make sense; all Ten’s ability says is that ‘one crit result cannot be canceled by defense dice’- one was canceled by a defense die, and the other by an evade token. It’s not canceled by a die, so ‘one crit result [wasn’t] canceled by defense dice’. The defender doesn’t get hit, and the rule applied by Ten’s ability was followed.

        You could place the evade result wherever you want, though in the context of Ten’s ability, it makes the most sense to save it for the last hit that can be cancelled due to hits being cancelled before crits. I’m not familiar enough with the Autoblaster text to comment on that though.

      5. @Kevin — I am bothered by the advice of “if you ignore the part that bugs you, nothing is wrong”… especially coming from you, the first person I expected to see my point that the combat steps aren’t defined enough to interpret Nien’s ability. Just because someone, even a large group of intelligent people, believes something… doesn’t make it correct. I’d rather have definitive logic than a majority vote. In this case, the fact that other people do not all see the problem I see doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Clearly it is, because someone (me) was confused by murkiness in the rules. Like any one of us, I represent a portion of the player base. Some people will be confused or troubled in the same way. That’s a real problem, even if it’s only a small portion of players. It will create arguments, and if a TO takes an odd position on Nien then it can create even bigger arguments that require an official answer.

        Let’s -ASSUME- that an evade token can spot-cancel the special [crit] in some fashion… method unimportant, as far as my next question — When evades are spent to cancel dice, which player is in charge of the cancelling process?

        If the attacker is in charge, then Nien’s ability is stronger. The attacker can get rid of the token first (perhaps on a hit), which removes the issue altogether.

        If the defender is in charge, then Nien’s ability is weaker. The defender can save the token and spot-cancel the special crit.

        I have my own opinion. We all will. Some of us will be right and others wrong, but the ONLY way to know if for FFG to definitively answer. The rules do not spell it out for us clearly enough to reach objective conclusion.

        We are also not entirely sure that “adding an evade result” does not add that result AS AS DICE RESULT. Possibly use of an evade token physically (or at least abstractly) adds a new defense die to the result, turned to show an evade. Does the token represent a defense die? It’s possible that it does, once spent. The rules are not clear enough on this point.

        If this is the case, then Nien’s ability is stronger than we are reading it to be. It means whenever Nien rolls a crit, that crit is definitely going to land.

        Again, we can all form opinions. But there is no objective conclusion… it’s all guesswork, with some clues but not enough to be definitely correct no matter how sure we “feel” we are.

        I imagine that my own interpretation of how Nien’s ability should work isn’t different than others. I’m not troubled by any disharmony there… rather I’m glad we aren’t arguing too much over it, because that would be a waste of everyone’s time since it could never produce a definite answer. What troubles me is that no matter what we all agree on as far as playing this pilot, exactly how Nien really works isn’t something we actually can know without some official input. We can all agree and nod our heads as much as we like.

      6. At no point am I ignoring the part I don’t happen to like. You present two concerns, both of which I’ve already addressed, but will again.

        1. Who controls the spending of the defense dice? They’re the defender’s dice, and the defender’s results. That means the defender controls them, just as the attacker controls the choice of which dice to reroll for a target lock.
        2. What’s to say it doesn’t add a physical die? The example on page 14 clearly shows the token, not an additional dice. Further, the rules are shockingly explicit in how dice are handled, including physically changing the facings to show new results. How do we know the evade token doesn’t add a die? Because it doesn’t say “When the defender spends an evade token, take a die from the reserves and place it in the common area showing an {Evade} result”.

        Play it as you will. I’m honestly not sure why you even bother participating in the discussion if the only conclusion is “We can’t play the game until FFG clarifies every crazy possibility I can invent that isn’t explicitly countered by the rules.”

      7. As you say, this becomes an issue is if the attacker has sole control over assigning evade results to hit and crit results, and chooses to use the result from the Evade token to cancel a hit.

        That’s plausible, although weird, and it is a genuine example of what I meant upthread when I said that introducing a distinction between dice results based on their source is going to be awkward at the table.

      8. To clarify, when I say “plausible”, I mean it not in terms of “possibly legal”–Kevin is right about who owns the dice–but in terms of “I can imagine someone trying that in a tourney”.

      9. @Kevin — I will ask that we refrain from a few things:

        1) loaded language — “until FFG clarifies every crazy possibility I can invent” is extremely disrespectful to me, as well as a cheap shot to undermine my point of view. Frankly, I and anyone else who would want to speak up on any given subject deserve better from you.

        2) running with assumptions — They may be defender’s evades and evade token, but they are attackers hits and crits. We cannot just assume that the defender has sole charge of that step… especially since these rolls occur during the attacking ship’s combat activation. That question needs more than just a guess as its answer.

        This one is all over the place. I see a lot of assumptions being made in lieu of actual answers, and then more assumptions being based on those assumptions, etc etc in an ever longer chain. It bothers me that we have to assume some many details in order to decide how Nien’s ability works — I think it is like Cluster Missiles in that it will require an official answer, and that’s a valid point of view whether you’d like it to be or not. Nothing in my stance is unreasonable. I don’t wish to rest assumptions on top of one another… I’m less comfortable with it than you. If you want me to respect your view, respect mine.

      10. 1) Sorry I think the idea is a crazy one, but I think it’s a crazy idea. I don’t know how you can read the rules and come to the idea that an evade token could add a die. Does it explicitly say it DOESN’T add a die? No, but it shouldn’t have to.

        If you want to argue what the rules ARE, then you should present some support for the idea that an evade token adds a die. If all you’re going to do is pull up ideas that aren’t explicitly countered by the rules, you’re effectively asking me to disprove the invisible intangible pink unicorn lurking next to my computer. It’s not really a fair debating tactic.

        I’m sorry you think it’s a cheap shot, but it is exactly what you’re doing: inventing something which is wholly unsupported by the rules and saying “We can’t know how to play this until FFG answers this.” I’d prefer that you judge my arguments based on the quality of my arguments, but if you feel the need to judge them based on disagreeing with yours, that’s up to you.

        2. There’s a big difference between assumptions and reasonable analysis. Is there anything in the rules or general understanding of X-wing that would hint at anyone controlling the defender’s dice other than the defender? Again, you’re offering up something with no support in the rules, and demanding it be disproven.

        My goal here is, and always has been, to try and figure out how to play the game. If you want to argue that the rules are too vague to play the game, I’m honestly not interested. I’m going to take what we’ve got and make the best of it. Sometimes that will mean filling in gaps – Ten is honestly a pretty minor example of doing that compared to stuff we’ve dealt with before.

        Finally, please don’t confuse my respect for a given view you might hold with respect for you, or any of your other views. I think you’re pretty off the wall on this one, you’re presenting views that have no foundation in the rules, and are not presenting any sort of positive (i.e. provable) argument. That’s not going to draw a lot of respect from me. But that’s this argument – not you on a personal level, and it’s certainly not a statement on other views you might have.

      11. It’s like you can’t help yourself. Disagreement with someone else’s POV means 2 things — you don’t think what they think, and you think you own thinking on whatever subject is more sound. There is a way to do that respectfully with the understanding that you (despite being quite sure of your own stance) might be the one in the wrong, and then there are references to pink unicorns and bluntly saying you are going to continue talking to someone in a way they JUST TOLD YOU strikes them as disrespectful. I am not saying you don’t respect me, Kevin — I’m saying you aren’t showing any respect when you take that avenue in discussion, and you are saying that just because you are sure of what you think that anyone not agreeing with you is committing heresy. Plus I’d say you are intimidating anyone else who mioght want to chime in, because they might not want to deal with you and the way you’ll talk to them.

        Also, you don’t own this discussion. I was not solely addressing you, just expressing my view on Nien’s ability and possible ways to interpret it that don’t conflict with the rules as written. If you weren’t interested in having a conversation with me on just where we really are as far trying to understand Nien, then you should have left others to comment on what I said instead on imposing yourself where you didn’t want to be. Don’t argue with me and then say you don’t want to argue with me.

        I don’t fault your goals. We’ve had this conversation in another thread. I share those goals. The rules SHOULD be as clear to everyone as is possible. I haven’t invented anything — I have introduced possibilities into a void in the rules, and nothing unreasonable. I’m not advocating anything, save the point that in this case the rules are not as clear as I’d like or that we need.

        If you want to talk about what I -think-, then it’s this:

        The cancel-proof crit PROBABLY does not get “chosen”, and is rather just the last crit in the pool that hasn’t been cancelled yet. There doesn’t seem to be any reason that the attacker would have to choose which crit it was, or any benefit gained if they could.

        The act of cancelling dice PROBABLY belongs to the defender, since the defense results are doing the cancelling. Most games allow the controller to do things in the order they choose, so the defender could save an evade token to cancel an otherwise cancel-proof crit. In order to do this effectively, the defender would have to expend evade dice results first, then use the token last.

        Nien’s ability is PROBABLY dealt with as a pass/fail check, not a guarantee. When a crit would be cancelled, the ability is checked to see if it is the last crit. If it is, then it can’t be cancelled by defense dice.

        Evade tokens are PROBABLY considered dice, even though they don’t physically add a defense die (as you say… page 14). This I realize may be an unpopular view, and it’s Nien that makes me think that as far as abilities go the token “stands in” for a defense die. His ability is otherwise strong against his fellow rebels, and much weaker against pretty much any imperial ship (except the Lambda… if I recall that one doesn’t have an evade option).

        I prefer to deal in evidence, and I don’t find much to support or rebut much to do with Nien. It bothers me, I’ve expounded on why/how. Why speak up if my view is we need more to go on? Because I’m not perfect — I might have missed something on one page of another, or failed to reason out some important detail. But my goal is to find a working idea of Nien, the same as everyone else.

        And Kevin, I do both respect you and find you intelligent — know that. I wouldn’t bother asking better of you if I thought little of you, because I’d be wasting my time and breath on a cause I knew lost. I’m not asking you to agree with me AT ALL. I’m asking you not to act like what I think is somehow a joke just because you don’t agree with it. I’m reasoning things out just as much, and just as well, as you are. I’m not debating with you. I’m just speaking my mind. It’s you who have turned this into a debate and are trying to “beat me”. Stop it.

  5. While I do agree that some of these wordings can be viewed as convoluted to a degree, sometimes I believe that we are making them out to be far more of a problem than they are. I think Theorist’s example would be fine. Numb rolls 2 crits, the defender rolls 1 evade and has 1 evade token (which did not come from a dice roll). He uses his evade roll to cancel one crit and since it says that 1 of Numb’s crits cannot be cancelled by dice rolls then it should be perfectly ok to cancel the other one with the evade token (which did not come from a roll).

  6. I don’t have a problem with the wording– The evade token adds an evade result, not a defense die with an evade result, so the evade token can be used to cancel the remaining crit not able to be cancelled by defense dice.

    Example:
    Ten Numb rolls 3 crit results
    Defender (with an evade action token) rolls 3 evade results. Defender can only use two of the evades from dice
    Defender can use his evade token to negate final crit

  7. I don’t understand this discussion or the similar one on BGG.
    I can’t for a moment imagine that FFG aren’t now really careful with the wording on their cards, knowing how pedantic geeks like us can be. As they playtested this card, surely they tried “cancelled by defense actions” and also “cancelled by defense dice” and they obviously concluded that “dice” was appropriate and “actions” was too strong. So, it’s only dice and not tokens.
    So, scenario one… Ten Numb attacks and gets two crits and a miss. The defender rolls two evades but also has an evade token. They can’t use both dice to evade so they use one die and one evade token. Then a ship friendly to Ten Numb unleashes hell on a ship with no evade tokens.
    Second scenario… Ten Numb attacks and gets two crits and a miss. The defender rolls an evade and an eye and has a focus token. The defender knows that if they turn the eye into an evade then it’s a waste of a focus token because 1 crit cannot be cancelled by defense dice and that would create two evades on defense dice. So they cancel one crit with a defense die and then have to take one crit, saving the focus for when they attack.

    To me, the point of this ability is not only to increase the number of crits but also to force opponents to consider using Evade much more frequently than they would use Focus, which means that they’re less likely to return fire as hard because they’ve got no Focus on their attack.

    I can’t read it any other way, I’m afraid, and that’s how we’ll play it in our local game unless FFG tell us otherwise.

    1. FFG has been making games with poorly worded rules for as long as they’ve made games. It’s hardly surprising to me that now that they have games that get passed along to future development teams totally removed from the initial designers that you’re seeing more issues popping up.

    2. I agree that it should be played as you suggest, Tusken Raider, until FFG speaks on the matter — I do also think somebody should tap them on the shoulder and say “uh… doods…” as well.

    3. The problem is that poorly worded rules (whether applicable in this instance or not) cause unnecessary difficulties in tournament play. While that may not matter to everyone playing xwing, FFG appears to be very keen on encouraging tournaments and leagues at shops. Unclear rules have a divisive effect on the community, as an interpretation used in one location may not be shared at another. When building squads around a particular interpretation, I know I personally would be annoyed to have a different interpretation negatively affect my performance. I want to have games determined by skill, not by arbitrary and volatile rulings that also set me against my opponent in a harsher sense than this game requires.

      1. And this is where I believe that before a tournament any players concerned should email questions to the TO in advance to say, “Here are some controversial issues – can you please clarify how you’ll be ruling on them.”

        I did this for the London Regionals with regards one matter, got an appropriate answer, played accordingly and had a great time.

      2. Absolutely, asking for clarifications from the TO upfront is something I’ve been compelled to do at the regional I went to. But, that only covers one side of the problem, and makes the tournament scene less appealing to more casual players, as they need to essentially have a list of their own questions or hope that the TO publishes an FAQ specifically for the tournament.

        Even with the TO printing out a list of questions and handing it to each player in the tournament, it’s still jarring for people who are not invested in online discussion forums where those topics are discussed and aren’t expecting to learn additional rules to play their game in a more formalized setting.

      3. It’s also kind of absurd to have to change your list when going from one tournament to another because things are being ruled on differently there. A clear set of rules would go a long way toward 2 different groups of players being able to meet and play one another casually… that’s not even possible if each’s local store plays the rules differently.

  8. I think the following on the latest set of rules clears this up…
    [Page 12] Box “Modifying Dice Results”
    Add: Some effects add a specific result to the combat. To resolve this, the player places a token or unused die displaying this result into the common area.

    So an evade token adds a defence die showing an evade. As such an evade token cannot be used to cancel the crit (since all it does is add another defence die). I think the only reason they don’t specify it has to be a die is that base game only has 3 of each die and 3 defence + evade would break that!