I'll do more later, but I'm starting to get frustrated by the interplay of three effects in VTES.
and Game Complexity.
These are basically the same set of forces that are turning up and maxing tax law overly complicated in Australia. As a feedback loop it works something like this.
A Card or Rule is created with a specific intent (e.g. Villein: To make Minion Tap more difficult to play but also to not become a perceived problem like Minion Tap had become)
Players read the Card/Rule with a mindset based on "If the law doesn't explicity say it can't be done, then it must be legal even if I know the intent is the opposite". (From what I remember of the Tax Lawyer babble I used to hear when I worked in a Big 4 Accounting Firm they label that the "Narrow Reading"). Some players seem to spend their entire time reading cards for 'loopholes' where they can deliberately circumvent the intent of a card/s or rule/s.
So those creating the cards and rules then feel compelled to 'close the loopholes'.
In Australia, that process has created Tax Law documents for Federal Taxes that is something like 3000-pages on A5 paper at 8pt print for Company Taxes only. The next part is that around 500 tell companies what taxes they need to pay, how to pay it, when, how to document it, how long to keep records and so on. The other 2,500 are basically the deductions against the other 500 pages. When I was dealing with a 'small uncommonly used section' the core of the deduction was covered in about 3 pages (including when and where, documentation, etc), another 20+ pages was amendments made to it because people deliberately went out of their way to abuse the wording of the first 3.
I know that many lawyers realise, especially tax lawyers, would be out of a job if they didn't make the tax law more complex. By making it more complex, they make their existence more needed and get to charge more to sort out the problem they explicitly helped to create.
How this seems to be playing out in VTES:
This has been the set of forces that seem to be heading us towards EVERY card nearly having its own off-the-card ruling about how it 'should be read' and how it 'should be played' and it often just reads a long list of ways you are or are not allowed to abuse the card beyond its intent.
This is why there have been rulings that several players find counter-intuitive. This is why there are words that now seem to have gained new 'keyword meanings' compared to what they have had in the past.
Now I am not saying that the Role of Pascal is irrelevant. He is needed and valuable and does a good job (and I apologise if he thinks I am deliberately targeting him or LSJ).
As players, I think we need to take a greater responsibility for our collective Legalist tendency. We need to stop looking for the ways we can break cards by ignoring things like the card's design intent and if nothing else, help to make our game less complex. VTES does not need to have new players thinking they have to become close buddies with the Rules-Lawyers and keep their own 20-page document of not-on-the-card-card-texts-and-interpretations-of-those-cards to play VTES once a week...
It is our fault that things in VTES are becoming this way. We should drop our need to push for the loophole as if it gains us some genuine advantage. We pay for that 'advantage' in increased complexity.