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When instructed to gain a random Ally card, if the asset deck and discard do not have any ally cards (and the reserve has 1), can I take the Ally from the reserve? The rulings of interest are from the reference guide

Under Gaining Possessions and Conditions, the guide says:

Gaining a Card with a Specific Trait: Some effects instruct an investigator to gain a card with a specific trait (for example, “Gain a Madness Condition”). The investigator searches that card type’s deck then discard pile for the first card matching the specified trait and gains that card. Then he shuffles the deck.

Note that this does not say you can take a card from the reserve, but it also is speaking of not just the asset cards but others, such as conditions, spells, etc, so the omitted mention of the reserve could be a candidate for clarification.

The guide says, for specific cards:

Gaining a Specific Card: Some effects instruct an investigator to gain a specific card by name (for example, “Gain an Axe Asset”). The investigator searches that card type’s deck then discard pile for the first card matching the specified name and gains that card. Then he shuffles the deck.

• If the named card is in the reserve, the investigator gains that card instead.

So for a specific card the reserve is game, but to the letter of the rules, the directive was to gain a card with a specific trait, not a specific card.

My house rule on this was to allow the reserve to provide the ally card, and if there were more than one, for it to be drawn randomly.

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I can't find anything specifically about this in the rules or in any official rule clarifications. Given that I'd go with a strict reading of the rules and only allow a random ally to be drawn from the deck or (if none in the deck) the discard pile as per the section you quote.

When in doubt, applying the rules literally is usually the correct option. Especially, if it makes things harder for your Investigators.

  • The strict reading would mean to search the discard pile, not the reserve. Is that what you meant? – Joey Dec 12 '15 at 9:06
  • Yes. Fixed. Sorry about that. – Kris Dec 12 '15 at 9:30
  • I agree with the literal reading combined with the 'making things harder for the investigators' guidance. This particular case seems to be dripping with 'oversight' and not intentional omission of mention of the reserve for the case of the asset cards. Is there a general best place to get the attention of the designers, such as the ffg forum or boardgamegeek? – Joey Dec 15 '15 at 1:10
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    The golden rule: If in doubt, the interpretation on any rules must be whatever most hinders the players. – Sardathrion Dec 15 '15 at 9:37
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Nikki from FFG kindly provided an official answer:

I believe you’re asking: If an effect says “gain 1 random Ally Asset from the deck,” but there are no Ally Assets in the deck or discard pile, can I gain one from the reserve?

To which the answer would be no. When an effect instructs an investigator to search a deck, he also searches the discard pile if the card cannot be found in the deck. If a card that matches the search criteria is not found in the deck or discard pile, the search is finished without finding a card.

If looking for a named card, that card is taken from the reserve to prevent unneeded searching and shuffling.

So, no Ally card from the reserve.

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