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When resolving a Combat Encounter, you may gain +2 Strength. If you do, each 6 you roll when resolving a etc etc

If I have a +5 weapon, typically I take the higher bonus as my bonus (they are not added together), and I can use the non-bonus effects on all items I hold. In this case, because it says "If you do", does this mean I must take the +2 Strength as my bonus and nothing higher, even if I have such an item, in order to use the blunderbuss rolling effect stated after?

1

If you choose to gain the bonus, then you must add 1 success for any 6 rolled (after the rerolls, if applicable) and substract 1 success for any 1 rolled (after the rerolls, if applicable).

But the bonus itself isn't special. As always, you apply the highest available bonus. If it's not the bonus provided by the Blunderbuss, that doesn't affect the other ability in any way.

The choice to gain the bonus activates the other ability, not the fact of applying the bonus.

The card could be as well written like this:

When resolving a Combat Encounter, you may gain +2 Strength. If you do gain the bonus, each 6 you roll when resolving a etc etc

Edit: I have asked Nikki Valens - Eldritch Horror's designer, for an answer.

Here it is, with emphasis added in the most relevant part:

The blunderbuss has a potencial negative effect in that rolling 1’s will negate successes. It may be that an investigator does not wish to use this effect. For this reason, the bonus and the other effect are tied to an option on the investigator’s part. The investigator may choose to both gain the bonus and the other effects (6’s are two success and 1’s negates successes). Even if the investigator applies a higher bonus from another effect, the 6’s and 1’s will still be affected. Please note however, the choice to use the effects of the blunderbuss must be made before dice are rolled.

  • Reference needed to validate claim. Not saying it is not true, just want to see a reference as I am far too jaded to believe in anything any more. – Sardathrion - Reinstate Monica Feb 19 '16 at 10:20
  • Well, I can forward you the email, but I guess an email could be easily forged. The only reliable way of verification I can think of is asking the designer the same question. Verifying every answer this way would probably be inefficient, but for a random sample it should be fine. – tsuma534 Feb 19 '16 at 10:30
  • Her. I suppose she's in a good terms with every EH player. She does answer most questions swiftly, but she has never posted in a forum as far as I know. If you don't know how to contact her, there's a "Customer Service" link on the FFG page, and after clicking it the "Rules Questions" section is the place to look for. I try not to abuse that contact form, she would have no time left for the design if she had to answer all the rules questions that arise. – tsuma534 Feb 19 '16 at 11:11
  • This answer seems correct by the rules as written; the bit about only using the highest gained bonus but still being able to gain multiple bonuses is pretty clear. – Samthere Feb 19 '16 at 15:50
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The card is quiet clear: If you do. If you do not use the +2, then you cannot use the special ability. This does make the blunderbuss less useful than the shotgun.

There seem to be some confusion in what I mean. I read

When resolving a Combat Encounter, you may gain +2 Strength. If you do, each 6 you roll when resolving a combat encounter counts as two successes.

To mean

When resolving a Combat Encounter, you may gain +2 Strength. If you gain +2 Strength from the Blunderbuss, each 6 you roll when resolving a combat encounter counts as two successes.

I read may as an invitation to either do it or not. You have a choice whether to apply the bonus or not.

If I have a knife that grants me +3 Strength and I use that bonus, then sixes do not count as double successes. If I chose to not use the knife but instead use the +2 from the Blunderbuss, then all sixes rolled are double successes.

This follows the golden rule of cooperative games:

If a rule can be interpreted in several ways, the right one is the least helpful to the players.

  • Indeed. "If you do" part is clear. But If you do what? Is it "If you do gain the bonus" or is it "If you do apply the bonus"? These are two completely different things. You may have many assets that make you gain a bonus to the same test, but you only apply one of these bonuses. Back to Blunderbuss, as usual "If you do" clause means "If you do choose the option from the previous sentence". The previous sentence is "You may gain +2" So "If you do" is "If you do gain the bonus" not "If you do apply the bonus". I advise against the ambiguous "use" term when speaking about bonuses in EH. – tsuma534 Feb 19 '16 at 8:36
  • You may have not noticed, but I have provided an official ruling from the game designer, and it's the opposite of your ruling. Referring to your example, you may use both +3 from the knife and the 2-successes-per-six-rolled from Blunderbuss. – tsuma534 Feb 19 '16 at 10:11
  • "You have a choice whether to apply the bonus or not." No, the player never has a choice in this matter. You always apply the highest applicable bonus. This was clarified earlier and included in the most recent errata. But you may have a choice whether to gain a bonus, and this is the case here. – tsuma534 Feb 19 '16 at 10:17
  • Ok, I have just checked and the most recent errata does include the information that you have to apply the highest bonus. As for the Blunderbuss-specific statement, to check my credibility you would have to ask Nikki the same question. As it can be done easily, and you can smoothly discredit any such false claims, there's no point for me to provide a false quotation from the designer. – tsuma534 Feb 19 '16 at 10:26

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