Extensive waffling and editing has taken place since this post first appeared 5/28. As of the evening of 5/29 some things are completely different. It might be worth reading it again.
While writing a checkpoint slip, I suddenly realized one (ha!) of the route instructions might be faulty. It passed the sniff test initially, but as I retraced the logic and checked specifics in the rules, my confidence in it wavered. What concerned me even more was that I used similar instructions earlier without incurring any doubt. Something was critically different this time, but what?
There are still a lot of holes in the NWRC Generals. When I fell into TSD rally, the entirety of the NWRC Generals fit on a single, double-sided page. Today it fits on four, with much of the increase due to larger font size and formatting. That’s still pretty thin for rules that support course following events. I don’t have any problem with a thin rulebook. My focus is where the rules get vague or leave a gap that is open to multiple interpretations.
Today’s soapbox is about route instruction actions and ACTION POINT(s).
- [A] All route instructions have one or more actions to be executed, whether or not an action is explicitly stated.
- [B] All route instructions have one or more ACTION POINT(s) where actions are executed.
- [C] Multiple actions within a route instruction may occur at one ACTION POINT.
- [D] An action may consist of several sub-actions occurring at different ACTION POINT(s). The sub-actions may be implied.
These statements are not found in the NWRC Generals but can be derived from the rules therein and stand up in practice.
Section 4.1 only says that an instruction may have multiple actions and it may have multiple ACTION POINT(s). That an instruction must have at least one action and ACTION POINT comes from section 4.3 telling us that an instruction can only be executed at an ACTION POINT.
- 77. R AT STOP, CAST 25
NRI 77 has two actions at one ACTION POINT. This conforms to [A] & [B], demonstrates [C], and [D] does not apply.
- 78. L AT “STOP”, CAST 25
This is less obvious. You could make a case that NRI 78 has three actions and two ACTION POINT(s). Is there an implied action to OBSERVE “STOP”? In this instance, I think there is no need to visually note and pass “STOP” before taking other action because AT places the REFERENCE in the vicinity. NRI 78 has two actions at one ACTION POINT. This conforms to [A] & [B], demonstrates [C], and [D] does not apply.
- 79. OBSERVE “TRUCK ROUTE”
This is the easy one, in case you weren’t paying attention. NRI 79 has one action and one ACTION POINT. This conforms to [A] & [B], while [C] & [D] do not apply.
- 80. “CONGESTION”
WTF (words, too few). Lazy Rallymaster? Saving toner? This is the previously mentioned implied OBSERVE. One action and one ACTION POINT. The instruction must be executable, and section 4.3 tells us it must have an ACTION POINT. The appropriate action is OBSERVE, although it is not explicitly stated in the NRI. While there is nothing in the Generals about implied actions, they must exist for 4.3 to hold up. The ACTION POINT is at the REFERENCE. Once again, this conforms to [A] & [B], while [C] & [D] do not apply.
- 81. L AFTER “TUNNEL”
Two actions and two ACTION POINT(s)? Nope. There is no implied OBSERVE hiding here. The AFTER requires that you pass the indicated REFERENCE before you can execute the L. This is just another one action, one ACTION POINT instruction when written as above. I would consider it two actions with independent ACTION POINT(s) if it was worded OBSERVE “TUNNEL” THEN L. Both ways conform to [A] & [B], while [C] & [D] do not apply.
Now let’s jump ahead a few chapters and get this over with.
- 119. R AFTER 2ND “TRAIL CROSSING”, CAST 25, WATCH FOR HORSES FOR 1 MILE
Are there five actions? Three, maybe four ACTION POINT(s)? Perhaps multiple implied OBSERVE(s)? That was my thinking, too. But there is nothing to support that position in the NWRC Generals. The foundation established with NRIs 78 and 80 above means the AFTER kills off thoughts of an implied OBSERVE action. The first ACTION POINT has three actions – R, CAST, WATCH FOR HORSES FOR 1 MILE. We don’t have terms for the situation where (or when) the start and end of an action occur at different points. The instruction is readable and logical, so I maintain there must be another action and ACTION POINT. At that first ACTION POINT, the three actions are actually R, CAST, and [Start WATCH FOR HORSES FOR 1 MILE]. The final action – [End WATCH FOR HORSES FOR 1 MILE] – and second ACTION POINT occur one mile later. This NRI effectively demonstrates all of the concepts [A]-[D].
I hope that all made sense. When the Generals talk about actions/ACTION POINT(s), whether or not a REFERENCE is needed/used, and determining execution or completion of an instruction there are some places that could use improvement.