# Can the Wrack offer an impossible deal? Can the offer change?

In Cosmic Encounter (Eon edition), the Wrack's power is to offer a deal to the other player in an encounter, rather than fighting. If the opponent refuses, the Wrack "tortures" the opponent: for each token the Wrack has committed to the encounter, it may send one of its opponent's tokens or cards to the warp or discard pile, respectively.

It's not clear from the description on the power card itself, but the Wrack must follow through completely: the Super Flare allows the Wrack to stop the proposal/torture and go back to normal encounter resolution.

That lack of clarity makes me question two other things about the power:

1) Can the Wrack offer a deal (intentionally or not) that the opponent is incapable of accepting? A simple example would be "give me the Attack 40 and I'll give you a Compromise" where the opponent does not have the Attack 40. Further, if it's unknown whether the opponent can fulfill the deal, can they dodge the process by (truthfully) stating that they cannot fulfill it?

2) Can the Wrack change the deal? This would seem to be essential for the process, given the iterative way it's described:

On each torture you put any one of his tokens into the warp, or one of his cards (drawn at random) into the discard pile. If at any time he accepts the deal, stop the torture...

The opponent can clearly do whatever math is necessary before the Wrack starts removing anything (though it's true that which cards will be discarded is an unknown); combined with the fact that the Wrack can't stop without being Super, there's not much point in actually repeating the process as opposed to doing it all at once if the deal can't change on each step. However, the existence of the Super Flare makes me question that interpretation, because based on a straight reading of the power card:

If he refuses it you may torture him once for every token you have in the challenge.

(emphasis mine), it sounds like the Wrack is choosing at each step to perform the torture, and I would have thought that the ability to stop was built in.

First, let's make sure we are using the actual Eon texts (the ones given in another answer here are not the originals, as evidenced by the references to "ships" and "encounters"). Here are the originals:

You have the power to torture. As the offensive or defensive player, after alliances are formed, you may describe to your opponent a deal (see rules). If he refuses it you may torture him once for every token you have in the challenge. On each torture you put any one of his tokens into the warp, or one of his cards (drawn at random) into the discard pile. If at any time he accepts the deal, stop the torture and conclude the arrangement. If he never accepts, you have lost the challenge and he has won. Follow through with the outcome normally. If initially you elect not to torture, proceed with the challenge normally.

Super: You may stop torturing at any time before your limit is reached and continue with the challenge normally.

1. Nothing here says the deal has to be reasonable, or known to be possible. Wrack is not the Mind, so how could he even know with any certainty which deals are possible and which ones are not? While it might be easy to think that it's "unfair" for Wrack to dictate an impossible deal, this is not actually a problem. It's important to remember that if the opponent does not, or can not, accept the deal, then Wrack loses. He loses the challenge, loses his tokens, and (if he is the offense) loses the rest of his turn. He even loses the chance to get rid of a bad challenge card. A Wrack who constantly offers impossible deals is not using his power optimally.

2. The torture is iterative, but this doesn't mean Wrack can change the terms. The guys at Future Pastimes did (and still do) enjoy designing aliens and writing game text to be as flavorful as possible. The reason Wrack tortures one token at a time and gives the opponent another chance to accept after each token is for theme, drama, and tension. The logical thing would be for the victim to make the decision immediately and either accept all or none of the torture, but it doesn't always go down that way, as we will see in a moment. The definitive answer to this question was given by designer/editor Jack Kittredge in Encounter magazine, volume 1 number 6, on page 10:

from Dr. Robert Destro, Willingboro, NJ:

I have a question about the Wrack. Can he change his deal between token removal? ...

Ed: ... No, the Wrack can't change his deal because if he could he would propose something horrendous the first few tortures, and then become more reasonable toward the end. It is up to him to come up with something reasonable to start with. Rationally, the victim should consider it and accept or reject it right away and live with the decision. But there is a certain pressure once you actually lose a token or two that is hard to take. You do want the torture to stop. So I've seen a few deals at first rejected but then accepted after a torture or two.

There's probably an element of salesmanship skill here, too. If you are the Wrack, ideally you want to propose a deal that is good for you, torture a token or two, and then have your deal accepted. Some taunting, threats, chiding, pointing out unpleasant realities etc. along the way could theoretically help that happen.

• Perfect. The quote from Encounter in particular is exactly what I was looking for.
– jscs
Dec 9 '15 at 19:23

I found proper wordings for the abilities.

Wrack power is:

You have the power to Torture. As main player, after alliances are set but before cards are selected, you may use this power to offer your opponent a deal, following the regular rules for making a deal. If he rejects your offer, you may torture him once for each ship you have in the encounter. On each torture, you may select one of his ships to send to the warp or draw one of his cards to send to the discard pile. If he accepts the deal at any time, the torture stops and you conclude the deal. If he never accepts, you lose the encounter and he wins, with normal encounter resolution for you both and allies.

Super flare:

You may stop the torture at any time before reaching your limit and continue the encounter normally.

1) Yes, but it is not important. That situation isn't very different to offering something ridiculously unprofitable.

2) No. The process is iterative, because it gives the oponent time to rethink their decision (which resembles torturing a lot). Also when you torture them in a way they did not expect, they could break the process then. Moreover it gives an option to use the flair.

• This didn't feel completely right to me, and so I checked my old Encounter magazines. There is an answer about deals which lets deal makers specify a range of cards, so I guess the "40 for a compromise" deal is legit. +1 Oct 13 '15 at 23:33
• "That situation isn't very different to offering something ridiculously unprofitable." It seems importantly different to me: instead of offering someone two bad choices, you have taken away the choice entirely. So, to be clear, since the rules on deals are silent on impossible deals, there is no prohibition on an impossible Wrack offer, and an inability to deal/acquiesce to Wrack's demand is completely equivalent to refusal?
– jscs
Oct 30 '15 at 19:03
• @Ivar If you're going to be making edits, please make them more substantial than correcting a single word in each. If a one-character adjustment that wasn't impeding legibility is all that there is to be made, it's preferable to not make an edit at all. Apr 22 '17 at 14:55
• @doppelgreener should I correct typo's in new post or only if there are many Apr 22 '17 at 14:57
• @IvardeBruin If there is only a single inconsequential typo, leave it be. If there are many genuine improvements that can be made, e.g. many typos, make those improvements. That "please make at least 6 characters' worth of changes" restriction on suggested edits was there to train us to make substantial improvements or forgo making changes at all since it's not important enough to see the answer bumped. Apr 22 '17 at 15:01