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Thanks Firebird.

The resulting rules system seems self consistent and manageable to me now.

I feel compelled to point out that the inability to discard (a played) Blacksmith to Save your energy in that situation is something which nobody could possibly figure out from reading the rulebook as written. But it's not otherwise a problem of any significance.

I'd suggest if there's ever a later edition of the rulebook to make the state a card is in while it has been played-but-not-resolved explicit, give it a name, make it clear that it's still considered "in your hand" at this time, and actually write down what can and can't cause it to leave your hand.
Hi Firebird

Thanks for the detailed response. What you're saying does however raise a few questions. Sorry to harp on, but it wasn't any of the answers I was expecting, so the questions I'm now asking are entirely new issues.

"Blacksmith" A0065 has no instruction to discard it, so fails the "(if indicated)" condition in Sarah's statement. Can I therefore play Blacksmith to save 2 energy on a check, then play Brooks' "Save your energy" and discard "Blacksmith", even though the second effect on Blacksmith is still pending?

Page 19 of the rulebook says "You can discard card_type_skill cards from your hand into your discard pile at any time". Does what you're saying overrule that statement on page 19 and prevent me from voluntarily discarding the card from my hand until the effects have been resolved?

Am I able to voluntarily decline to gain the pending effects from an ability in order to block/discard a card sooner?

Thanks for the response, but this answer is only going as far as telling me what I already knew. My main purpose was to argue that it should be reconsidered. But, if I accept it as given, the implications still have some uncertainty that I feel is not answered by this reply.

Can I confirm then that I can discard card A to pay for another ability on card B, even though I have already activated an ability on card A which will result in card A being discarded, such as described in the example with Endurance? Thereby paying the cost of both cards with just card A.

Can I get clarification on what happens if a card is discarded (either to another card's ability, or to text in the consequence step) before all of the effects have been applied? Can the remaining effects still be applied?

If the answer to the above is that remaining effects cannot be applied, does this also apply to instructions such as blocking the card?

Can I confirm that Denhom's and Arthen's "Determination" is still discarded during the gear up step, despite that being inconsistent with the statement that " A played card is discarded (if indicated) as soon as all its effects have been used, or otherwise at the end of the complete action resolution sequence."?
Some cards have effects which apply in different steps, and also text saying to block or discard them. This topic is about where those cards exist in between activating them for the first effect, and applying the second, later, effect. This matters for at least three reasons:
1. Other cards which care whether they're the "only card in your hand".
2. Cards which let you discard other cards from hand as part of their effect.
3. When you can and can't recover the card with "You are Focused" (although I would like to think this is actually entirely irrelevant).

There's two ways I can see to interpret the situation.
A) When you play the card, you immediately gain all of the effects and follow all of the instructions. Some of those effects don't have any impact until a later step, but that's fine.
B) When you play the card, you immediately apply the first effect which is relevant when you play it. However, the card then becomes stalled waiting for the second effect to become relevant. In that time the card is still considered to be in your hand, because you haven't reached the instruction to block/discard it yet.

(A), as far as I can tell, works completely fine and has no issues associated with it. It requires accepting that an effect from a card can still apply even though the card was played earlier and has moved elsewhere, but there's really no reason to have a problem with that. There's also clear precedent. A hand_blue_add effect that appears in a white "consequence" box is applied in step 4A, but the impact of that hand_blue_add is relevant in step 4B. Denhom's "Determination" must be discarded during the "Gear Up" step, but clearly the icon_succes or bonus_jocker_black still apply during the Result step. (A) is the favourable interpretation with respect to other cards that want to be the "only card in your hand", and this is a good thing because those cards in general are quite bad and the effect is hard enough to apply as it is.

(B) on the other hand seems to me extremely problematic and unnecessary. However, I'm forced to take it seriously because it seems to be the official stance taken in this thread:

The problems with (B) come from cards which discard other cards from your hand as part of their effect/cost. According to this interpretation, there doesn't appear to be anything stopping me from, for example, playing Endurance to get -3deck_action_card on a check, then (since I've yet to apply "ignore -Xdraw" and the card is still stalled in my hand waiting) discarding Endurance to Brooks' "Save your energy", and getting -4deck_action_card while only ever discarding the one card. I don't want to be able to do this sort of thing, but if the card is still in hand I can't see any reason why I can't.

Further, what happens to the card if it's discarded before finishing applying its effects? Do the effects still happen? If so, why did the card need to stay in hand in the first place, if the effects could have still happened from the discard pile the whole time? Or are the effects interrupted and I can't apply the second effect in the later step? If that's the case though, what happens if the card was going to be blocked? Logically that should be interrupted as well, have I now got out of paying the cost??

Also, how does Denhom's "Determination" work in this case? The discard is quite explicitly first and in an earlier step. I have to assume it's in my discard pile when the effect is applied.

Finally, this interpretation seems at odds with the rulebook page 18, which in its description of both "block" and "discard" says that you move the card "immediately". I get that the point is you haven't "reached" that instruction yet while the card is stalled waiting to apply another effect, but it's quite unintuitive.

All told, I think interpretation (B) unnecessarily opens a massive can of worms that could have been entierly avoided with interpretation (A). I would like however some official word on this since I can't reasonably continue believing (A) while official comments in other threads imply (B).