The card Clerical Error has the text:

Choose a player. Collect any noble of your choice from that player's score pile. That player then chooses any other noble from your score pile and collects it.

The noble Robespierre has the text:

The day ends after you collect this noble. Discard any nobles remaining in line.

According to this thread on their interaction:

Clerical Error would work just fine, but end the day and discard all nobles in line if used to get Robespierre from someone else's score pile.

This seems to imply that noble abilities continue to work from the score area, which seems consistent with nobles like the Palace Guards, whose abilities must work from the score area. So, two-fold question:

  1. Does this mean that if I use Clerical Error to collect someone else's Rival Executioner ("Collect the top noble of the noble deck after you collect this noble"), I get that ability? (I'm guessing yes)

  2. Why doesn't the Master Spy ("After each action card is played, move this card to the end of the line.") move to the end of the line from your score area if anyone plays an action?

To put it differently, what rules framework can we construct for Guillotine about what types of abilities work in what zones of play to get the desired behavior?

2 Answers 2


To answer your first question, the answer is yes. All nobles that have effects that trigger on collection would have their effects happen again. For your second question I believe that there is typically a 'to the best of your(the cards) ability' with most games. So with Master Spy, he can't move to the end of the line because he is not in the line ... also he had his head cut off, but that's something entirely different.

  • There are plenty of action cards that put nobles that are not currently in the line at the end of the line. There is no rule preventing the Master Spy from moving to the end of the line from the score area. This wouldn't be a problem if triggered abilities didn't work from the score area but the first part establishes the precedent that they do.
    – Zags
    May 14, 2015 at 20:41
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    I'm making my argument based off of how I feel most of these games work. And to be fair, the cards that put nobles from a players pile back into the line expressly say that they do so. In the end, its your game and you should play it the way you think it should. I totally get the word 'collect/collected' and its interaction, it makes a ton of sense to me, but the Master Spy would be rejoining the line triggering outside of the line and wouldn't be able to move to the back of the line because he is no longer apart of the line. I don't see a FAQ ruling on it, so I'm just going with my gut.
    – Drew
    May 15, 2015 at 6:27
  • I agree with the conclusion that the master spy doesn't go to the line from the score area because of his ability. But what rules framework can we infer onto Guillotine that gets us this result? (See this answer for an example: boardgames.stackexchange.com/a/24127/9999). Consistency of rules trumps authorial intent.
    – Zags
    May 15, 2015 at 15:55
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    I think the word move implies a reordering, not adding and reordering. Generally, movements in line are relative to the initial placement of a card (move it forward or backward x places in line), which clearly doesn't affect cards that aren't in line. May 17, 2015 at 0:11
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    With Master Spy, the movement doesn't depend on where he is in line, but the key word move is the same. To be wholly consistent, it could be phrased "move this card from where it is in line to the end of the line", but I think the authors chose a reasonable, natural-sounding phrasing instead (not even assuming it was a deliberate choice). May 17, 2015 at 0:12

Part 1

Yes, you do get an extra noble from the deck when taking someone else's Rival Executioner with Clerical Error. If that collected noble has a "when you collect" ability, it will trigger as well.

Rationale: Based on the ruling regarding Robespierre, we can conclude that nobles with a "when you collect" ability trigger when that noble is collected, no matter what method. This includes during the phase of the turn when you collect the first noble in line, the card Clerical Error, the Fast Noble, the Rival Executioner. This does not include the card After You, which reads "Put the noble at the front of the line into another player's score pile." Only and all abilities with the specific word "collect" trigger "when you collect" abilities.

Part 2

A strict interpretation of the Master Spy seems to indicate he should move to the back of the line from the score area. The action cards that manipulate an arbitrary noble all have text saying explicitly that they only modify nobles in line, while the Master Spy's ability does not. For example, Public Demand has the text:

Move any noble in line to the front of the line

Fled to England has the text:

Discard any noble in line.

Meanwhile, the Master Spy simply says to move him to the back of the line, with no restriction that he must be in line.

The only proper defense for the Master Spy not moving to the line from the score area is that the word "move" only applies to nobles in line. The extra in line clause on Public Demand is an extraneous clarification. The actions that cause cards to change zones never say "move". They say "place" if the noble is coming from the score area or "add" if it is coming from the deck. Examples:


Choose a player. That player must place the last noble he or she collected at the end of the line.

Extra Cart:

Add 3 nobles from the noble deck to the end of the line.

Consequently, the Master Spy only moves to the end of the line while he is in line.

(Credit to Gregor for some of the reasoning here).

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