It can be sometimes difficult to convey exact effects and abilities of individual cards in Multiverse and any other game in a way that is unambiguous, easily understandable, and isn't mired in in-game jargon.
When you write an effect for a card or a game rule you can sometimes get caught up in the game's terminology and while trying to convey the precise effect of a card end up writing sentences that are almost incomprehensible. A card from Magic: the gathering comes to mind: Deadringers reads "Destroy two target non-black creatures unless either one is the color the other isn't. They can't be regenerated". Try and untangle that!
I've had my own problems when writing accurate effects for cards. Usually, the problem comes down to bad and overly wordy terminology. For example, the card "Galactic Alliance" once used to read: Gain control of all planets under no player's control. This is comprehensible enough, but it doesn't read well. It also references players directly, which ruins the immersion of the game and reminds you that you're a player and not a conqueror of planets.
By changing some of the terminologies, specifically naming the process of gaining control of something - conquering, and things that are in nobody's control - neutral, the resulting wording becomes this: Conquer all neutral planets. This is a huge improvement over the original! Many other cards were made more readable thanks to these and other changes.
However, sometimes cards can be very tricky to word the right way, even when the terminology is right.
For some reason, galaxy cards in Multiverse have been very hard to word correctly. I've at times struggled with Asteroid Fields, Nebulas, and now Wormholes as well.
Here are all the incarnations of the Nebula card throughout the different versions of the card set, for example:
V 4.0 Ships need to move tice before leaving CARDNAME.
This is the first appearance of Nebula in the set. The typo in "twice" was included.
V 4.1 It takes objects two moves to move out of CARDNAME.
After the realization that other objects could theoretically move as well.
V 5.0 Objects that moved into Nebula this turn can't move next turn.
A rewording of the card following changes in terminology.
V 12.2 Objects that moved into Nebula this turn can't move this and next turn.
Fixed the card's effect for Solar Wing and other cards that can move multiple times in a single turn.
V 14.2a Objects that moved onto Nebula this turn can't move this turn and on their controller's next turn.
Fixed the card for multiplayer games.
V 15.3a Objects that moved onto Nebula this turn can't move by the end of their controller's next turn.
Rewording in order to simplify the text.
V 15.5 Objects that moved onto Nebula this turn can't move again until the end of their controller's next turn.
V 15.9 Objects that moved onto Nebula this turn can't move again until the end of their next turn.
Rewording after I removed the term "controller".
This last version works well enough, but I think it still sounds wonky and unclear to people reading its effect for the first time.
Of course, me being the one who wrote the card's effect, I can't tell for myself. What do you think: can this wording be improved further?
I've come up with three alternative wordings. Which one do you like more, and are any of them better than the current one (V 15.9)? You are welcome to submit your own suggestions as well.
1) If an object moves onto Nebula, it can't move again until the end of its next turn.
2) All objects that move onto Nebula can’t move again until the end of their next turn.
3) Whenever an object moves onto Nebula, its Speed becomes 0 until the end of its next turn.
Keep it up!
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