Specifically when playing with a Factor and a Brain, I was wondering about the timing of activating these abilities. Suppose the Brain is in the school which already has 1 Intrigue. During mastermind abilities, I now add 1 Intrigue to the school. Can I now also activate the Factor as a Conspiracy Theorist and add a Paranoia to a character in his location?

Similarly, can the Protagonists do this with a Rich-man's Daughter + Girl Student? (Add a Goodwill to the Girl Student, then use the Girl Student to remove Paranoia from the Rich-man's Daughter?)

  • 1
    The creator of the game has stated that mandatory abilities trigger before optional ones, so the answer to your first question is no (because Factor's ability is mandatory, while Brain's is optional). However, I haven't found a ruling on the order of resolution for goodwill abilities.
    – ConMan
    Sep 27, 2016 at 1:40
  • Factor's ability is "Mandator: Always". Wouldn't it trigger all the time, including after I use the Brain's ability? I think the creator's ruling on mandatory abilities triggering first is applicable only when both abilities specify the same activation time, such as "Day End"
    – Teofrostus
    Sep 30, 2016 at 21:40
  • But both of those abilities are ones that trigger during the Mastermind Abilities phase.
    – ConMan
    Oct 2, 2016 at 11:35
  • ConMan, it is impossible for the Factor's abilities to activate during the Mastermind Abilities phase before any optional mastermind abilities are activated. Either they would have already activated prior to the Mastermind Ability phase or an optional ability would cause the ability's condition to be fulfilled resulting in the ability activating. Nov 5, 2016 at 21:19
  • @Teofrostus, not to pressure you or anything, but if the answer below is good, go ahead and mark the answer as accepted. Dec 7, 2016 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


When two mastermind-controlled abilities have identical timings, the Mastermind determines the exact order of resolution, with Mandatory abilities occurring first

When two or more abilities with the same timing occur, any Mandatory abilities will occur first, followed by any optional abilities. In the event that two Mandatory or two Optional abilities have identical timings, the Mastermind chooses what order they resolve in. (This is clarified in Cosmic Evil's player rulebook, but the base game doesn't have this issue due to no mandatory abilities having the "Mastermind Ability" timing. Midnight Circle, despite having one mandatory ability with that timing, doesn't clarify it.)

Should an optional mastermind ability cause a mandatory ability's requirement to be fulfilled and the timing is correct for that mandatory ability, then the mandatory ability must immediately be resolved. In all cases where the entire timing of two or more abilities is identical and the abilities can (or must) occur, the mastermind chooses which ability occurs first and resolves it.

Abilities with a specific timing only occur a single time during that specific timing (i.e. The brain's ability can only occur once per day during the Mastermind Ability phase). Abilities with the "Always" timing are considered passive and, if a condition is attached, are in effect while the condition is satisfied.

In the example scenario Teofrostus provided, using the Brain's optional mastermind ability to add a second intrigue to the school causes the Factor's first mandatory ability's requirement to be satisfied. This means that from that moment forward, the Factor can do the same ability as the conspiracy theorist. Because the Factor can then do the same ability as the conspiracy theorist (an optional ability with timing "Mastermind ability"), the mastermind may then immediately place 1 paranoia on any character in the Factor's location (including the Factor).

Goodwill abilities occur in the order that the protagonist leader requests them.

In the example that Teofrostus provided, the Rich Man's Daughter's goodwill ability is invoked (and presumed to have taken effect) and a second goodwill token is added to the Girl Student. Because the Girl Student now has enough goodwill (2) for her ability to be activated, the protagonist leader may now use her goodwill ability to attempt to remove one paranoia from the Rich Man's Daughter (a student, and thus a valid target).

The rules very explicitly state that if multiple goodwill abilities can be activated, the protagonist leader gets to choose which ones he activates and in what order they are activated in. The goodwill abilities phase only ends if one of two things happen: either there are no remaining abilities that can be activated or the Protagonist Leader does not want to activate the remaining abilities.

  • 1
    It's worth noting that in the base game's "Basic Tragedy" set, there is exactly one mandatory ability that shares a timing conflict with a potential optional ability: The serial killer's mandatory Day End ability and the Killer's 4-intrigue optional Day End ability. Strict interpretation of the clarification from Cosmic Evil would state that the Serial Killer's ability MUST trigger first because it is mandatory. This is the only outlier in the entire base game. Nov 5, 2016 at 21:47

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