Once you have drawn a Commitment card, you may choose to either keep the Commitment and end the turn or play one or more Excuse cards that are equal to or greater than the value of the Commitment to avoid it.
Example: Bob turns over a 10 point Commitment card. It's big, and Bob is at 20 points and really can't afford to take it. Bob plays two Excuse cards for a total of 12 points to avoid it.
While you are playing Excuses, other players may play Influence cards to temporarily increase the Commitment value, requiring you to play even more Excuse cards to avoid the Commitment.
Example: Alice plays a 3 point Influence card on the Commitment. Uh oh! Bob needs at least one more point of Excuse to get out of this one or he'll have to take the Commitment. Added to Bob's 20 points, the commitment would bring Bob to 30 points and he'd be out of the game!
If you do not play enough Excuses to meet or exceed the value of the Commitment (plus any Influence cards played on it), then you take the Commitment. Discard any Influence and Excuse cards played on it and display it face up in front of you as your point total.
Example: Bob plays all he's got: an 5 point Excuse! That's his last hope as he's desperately trying to get out of this last Commitment. He beats it soundly with 17 points.
If you do play enough Excuses, discard any Influence and Excuse cards played, then the Commitment passes to the next player (clockwise) who then must repeat the process; play Excuse cards totalling an equal or exceeding value of the Commitment (and any Influence cards that would be played) or they must claim the Commitment.
Example: Bob removes the Influence and Excuse cards before passing the Commitment to Gary.