Saturday, July 28, 2012

How To Answer Smartass Frankie Peanuts Questions

What is it about Frankie Peanuts that turns decent people into smartasses? Is there some kind of subliminal message in the art? Is there a hallucinogen in the ink that makes people believe their opponents are morons? Or is it just one of those cards where people assume they know what it does without actually reading it, and end up misplaying because of it?

For some reason, there are folks out there who believe Frankie Peanuts is an instant-win card that allows you to use tricky logic to force your opponent to do anything you want them to do. This is, as anyone without their head shoved halfway up their colon will tell you, obviously untrue. Frankie Peanuts can't force opponents to do anything they don't agree to of their own free will. You can try to frame the question in such a way as to suggest a certain answer. You can try to "Jedi Mind Trick" them into believing they don't have a choice. You can try to do these things. But if the opponent is savvy at all, don't expect to succeed.

FACT #1: They can only give a truthful answer.

You can't use funky logic syntax to force them to give you a certain answer. They can only give an answer that's true. If they're not going to concede this turn, there is nothing Frankie Peanuts can do to force them concede, because any answer that amounts to "I am going to concede" would be untrue.

FACT #2: They abide by the answer if able.

"Oh, but I'm so clever, I'll use Paradox Haze to ask two questions, and I'll make the first question commit them to a specific answer to the second question! Surely now my opponents will do my bidding!" Yeah, no, it doesn't work like that. When you spring your trap with your second question, you'll only end up making the opponent unable to abide by his answer to your previous question, since doing so would make his second answer untrue. All you accomplish is wasting two questions instead of one.

Also, there's no point asking whether they'll cast a spell this turn. They'll say "Yes" all day long, then never activate any mana abilities.

FACT #3: He says yes-or-no question. He doesn't say yes-or-no answer.

No, really, read the card. He restricts the questions to yes-or-no questions. He restricts the responses to truthful answers. If the question can be truthfully answered in some other way, Frankie is totally cool with that. This means your carefully constructed "Will you do exactly one of the following two actions: answer 'no' to this question; and/or give me twenty dollars" logic knot can be unraveled as easily as your opponent can lift his middle finger.

If you start adding in a gazillion confusing conditional clauses and questions-within-questions, all your opponent has to do is answer from the inside out and clearly declare his intentions. For example, Frankie Peanuts asks: "Is your Yes or No answer to this question the same as your Yes or No answer to the question of whether you will immediately concede the game?" Here, if the opponent merely says "I'm not going to immediately concede the game," then the jig is up.

If I really wanted to troll the Frankie Peanuts player, I would answer any strategy-based question with "I don't know because I'm going to decide that by rolling dice."

"Will you block my Grizzly Bears with your Hill Giant this turn?"

"I don't know because I'm going to roll dice to decide my blockers this turn."

And then I would roll something ridiculous like 12D6 and only deviate from my real blocking plan if all of them came up 1. This would be kind of a douchey move against someone who's genuinely trying to play Frankie Peanuts fairly, so it should only be used as a last resort against those who could benefit from a healthy punch in the face.

So what can Frankie Peanuts actually accomplish? Best I can come up with is getting hidden information. For example, ask them if their face-down creature is a Zombie Cutthroat. If the one card in their hand is an instant. That sort of thing. I dunno, that's the best I got. It's not a powerful card.

1 comment:

  1. I think the real issue is in the definition of a "yes-or-no" question. Such a question must cleanly categorize the world into two groups, without overlap and without situations where neither yes nor no is accurate. If they fail to ask a question like that, then they're not using Frankie Peanuts correctly.