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When discussing an answer that I provided in another question (Battlestar Galactica: How to balance core game), the question arose of whether it is mandatory to play at least one card in skill checks. The rule book from the base game says:

Starting with the player that is Play Skills: to the left of the current player (and ending with the current player), each player may play any number of Skill Cards from his hand facedown to the common pile.

So, what does "any number" in this context mean? I assume that 0 would not be "any number", since playing 0 cards is not playing any card at all. I saw in this question (Strategy for succeeding at Crisis skill checks) that people generally assume that 0 cards can be played, but I think there is some flaw in the statement that makes it dubious. In the Revelead Cylon case, the book is very clear and states that a Revelead can opt for not playing cards in skill checks.

In the end, what is the rule for human players? Must them play at least one card or not?

  • Good idea to make it a separate question, I'll stay out of it and see what others have to say. – bwarner Oct 7 '15 at 13:12
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    The fact that the rules use the word MAY instead of MUST quite clearly shows that you don't have to play any cards if you do not wish. Remember that if there is a skill check, even if no one plays in, the 2 cards MUST be added from the Destiny Deck. – Daniel Lim Oct 7 '15 at 14:54
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The base rules, page 17, has an "Example of a Skill Check" (emphasis added):

  1. The player to the current player’s left plays two Skill Cards into the pile. The next player decides not to play any cards, and finally, the current player plays a single card.

I don't think they would have included this if a person had to play a skill card.

  • Good work finding something canonical! – bwarner Oct 7 '15 at 14:01
  • Frak! I didn´t notice that statement in the book! I´ll update my answer in the other question (and play the right way from now on...). +1 – Bruno Estrazulas Oct 7 '15 at 15:18
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Sometimes, it's known that someone has only "negative" colours. Forcing then to play makes no sense. We've never forbidden zero cards in the above scenario or any other, and this is supported by the rules.

Starting with the player that is Play Skills: to the left of the current player (and ending with the current player), each player may play any number of Skill Cards from his hand facedown to the common pile.

The words emphasized indicate the user is not obligated to play any cards.

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