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In a game I played last night, it came up that a hunter using a stake found a vampire and I, as Dracula, played a seduction event card. Which resolves first: is the vampire encounter discarded from the stake effect? Or is the hunter bitten as per the seduction event?

If the stake would resolve first, was I required to play the seduction card? I don't have the text in front of me, but it says something like "Play after a hunter has searched to reveal a vampire encounter" which sounds like it may be required to be played when that condition is met.

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4th Edition clarifies this, as determined by the game rules editor on BGG https://boardgamegeek.com/article/30655996#30655996

SEDUCTION (new): Play when a hunter performs a search action and before any hunter cards are resolved. If there is a vampire encounter in this hideout or lair, instead of resolving the encounter, that hunter is bitten. Then, return that encounter card to your hand.

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  • That... actually shows designer's intent on how this particular interaction is supposed to work. I'm gonna incorporate some of the details into my answer, though I will point out that the question did specifically ask about 3rd Edition. Still, since third edition's rules don't clearly indicate how the interaction is resolved, we can use the 4th Edition rules as an indicator of what the intended interaction is. – KitsuneZeta Dec 19 '18 at 4:52
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Stake:

Reveal this card before you search. If you reveal a vampire encounter or "Hoax", discard both this card and that card.

Seduction:

Play when a hunter performs a search action

If there is a vampire encounter in this hideout or lair, instead of resolving the encounter, that hunter is bitten. Then, return that encounter card to your hand.

(emphasis mine)

Assuming cards discarded by Stake doesn't get to resolve (otherwise it doesn't do much and in case of Hoax doesn't do anything at all), and Seduction replaces resolving a vampire encounter with another effect, I conclude that Stake resolves first and prevents Seduction from being played, since it doens't have a valid target anymore.

This BGG thread comes to same conclusion.

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In 3rd Edition, no clear ruling exists.

For clarity, here's the two card effects in question, as they are in 3rd Edition:

Stake [item]

Reveal this card before you search. If you reveal a vampire encounter or "Hoax", discard both this card and that card.

Note that since Stake is revealed when a hunter searches (not "played"), it isn't discarded until a vampire or hoax is found, and thus can be used until this happens.

Seduction [Dracula Event]

Play when a hunter performs a search action

If there is a vampire encounter in this hideout or lair, instead of resolving the encounter, that hunter is bitten. Then, return that encounter card to your hand.

The only time an event card must be played is when the timing is "Play Immediately" (with no "or" clause), in which case the moment it is drawn, it is played. For the sake of the rest of the answer, assume Dracula did in fact play it when a hunter that revealed Stake decided to search.

As you can see, there is an obvious conflict between the two cards' effects.

There is no official ruling regarding which effect takes priority in 3rd edition

I've checked the "Learn to play" book, the rules reference, and the errata/FAQ, and none of them clarify this particular conflict. There are a few trains of thought for this:

Option A: Played cards take priority over unplayed cards

Because Stake is never actually played but Seduction is, Seduction takes priority. If a vampire encounter exists, resolve the rest of Seduction's effect and then discard Seduction. If a second vampire encounter exists, resolve Stake on that encounter. If a Hoax is revealed instead of a vampire encounter, Stake resolves its effect (discarding both Stake and the Hoax) and Seduction is simply discarded.

Option B: Cards with more specific effects take priority over cards with more general effects

Because Seduction specifically triggers an effect off of a vampire encounter while Stake triggers an effect on both vampire encounters and Hoax, Seduction would get priority on the first Vampire encounter revealed (just like with Option A above).

There is also some precedent for this in the rules reference - If there is a conflict between a card trying to cause a specific effect and a card that says the effect "cannot" occur, the effect does NOT occur, and no card effect can override. The singular exception is if a third card negates the card with the word "cannot" on it, at which point we start looking into stack resolution (see Option D).

Option C: The first effect in the queue takes priority (First In, First Out)

Following this logic, because Stake was revealed (and its effect added) before Seduction could be played, Stake is first in the queue and gets priority over Seduction. If a Hoax or Vampire encounter is revealed, Stake triggers and the item and encounter card are both discarded, moving Seduction to the front of the queue, which in turn allows it to activate when a Vampire encounter is revealed. Regardless of whether Seduction's effect occurs, discard Seduction after the search (it doesn't return to the hand after being played)

This is also the only option here where it is actually disadvantageous for Dracula to play the event card. It also runs counter to the precedent set by other cards, including cards that cancel other cards.

Option D: The top effect on the stack gets priority (Last in, First Out)

This is fundamentally the opposite of Option C in that the last effect added (Seduction, in this case) is on top of the stack and resolves first, akin to games like Magic: The Gathering and Red Dragon Inn. The first Vampire Encounter revealed would be handled by Seduction, which then leaves the stack, and Stake doesn't trigger because the Vampire Encounter isn't there anymore. Now the top effect on the stack is Stake. The next Vampire Encounter (if there is one) is handled by its ability. If there was only one Vampire Encounter, Stake remains with the hunter that revealed it.

Should a Hoax be revealed, Seduction ignores it and remains on the stack, while Stake triggers from it and is discarded (removing it from the stack).


The effect text of Seduction was modified in 4th Edition, creating a clear order of resolution

In 4th Edition, several cards received text changes from 3rd Edition. Seduction was one of those cards, and its effect text was changed to the following:

Seduction [Dracula Event]

Play when a hunter performs a search action and before any hunter cards are resolved

If there is a vampire encounter in this hideout or lair, instead of resolving the encounter, that hunter is bitten. Then, return that encounter card to your hand.

This change creates a definitive resolution order, as Stake is a hunter card and thus would "resolve" after Seduction would be resolved.

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