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Cosmic Encounter» Forums » General

Subject: Question about races for first game. rss

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Christian Rehm

Palm Bay
Florida
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I just purchased Cosmic Encounter, along with the first two expansions, for my gaming group and I can't wait to try it.

I want it to be a good first experience for everyone and I'm curious which aliens would be good for a first game. I understand the green ones are the "beginner" aliens but I'm sure there are some favorites out there easy to play with and offer decent balance.

So I ask you this, Cosmic community, which aliens would you pick for a good 4 or 5 player game if you could hand pick them beforehand.

Thanks for your help in advance!
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Toni L
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Zombie-Sorcerer-Clone-Macron-Trader.

Neither one breaks the rules in the insane "Cosmic" way (so it's easy for everyone to follow the game), yet each one gives player a tangible benefit. Some benefits are mediocre, yet constant (Zombie, Macron); some are powerful, yet situational (Clone, Trader); and Sorcerer introduces the mind-melting "screw you" moment so typical for Cosmic (which can be beneficial, but also detrimental for user if not used properly - a valuable concept to learn early on).
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Michael Marvosh
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Any of Zombie, Oracle, Trader, Macron, Warrior, Clone.
 
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J. Riddell
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A couple of suggestions for strategy.

I'd suggest almost discouraging users from asking for allies. I've had some new players turned off by a "share the wealth" attitude where everyone wants everyone else as allies and the game ends short and falls flat. Another common early mistake is for users to think of Negotiate cards as throw away encounter cards. This is not the case and negotiate encounters should be played at the right time and not just saved up for last because they seem lame.

You could teach both of these lessons with one encounter which is what I sometimes do after trying to teach strategy. Get everyone to join you in an encounter and ally with you. Beg for help. Say you only need a few more ships and you're almost sure you could win the encounter. New defensive players will defend with all they have and people will load up ships to help you and join in the blood bath to get a free planet. Play your negotiate and send all you allies to the warp and you get compensation. Baptism by fire. End the encounter with a reminder to your fellow players to never underestimate the power of a negotiate and to watch out for allies and players that ask for allies. They are always out for something.

It takes a few plays to get the mechanics down, but then when you settle in and start understanding the nuances that each alien brings and how to manage your hand the game will start to shine.

Lastly, I often introduce this game as being unfair by design. It is not about having balanced power. It is about doing the best with who you are and the hand that you're dealt. Sometimes a seemingly under-powered alien can, through skillful play and negotiation, come out on top in remarkable and memorable ways.

Have a great time with your game group and Cosmic Encounter.
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Just a Bill
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christianrehm wrote:
I understand the green ones are the "beginner" aliens but I'm sure there are some favorites out there easy to play with and offer decent balance.

I may be misunderstanding you, but just in case you're wanting recommendations for jumping past the green ones, I should offer this little sermon:

There is often a misperception that because the green aliens are recommended for your first games they are somehow "weak" or "for beginners only". This is not true at all. Green aliens are just as good as yellow and red ones; Cosmic veterans do not exclude the greens. I've been playing since 1981 and some of my favorite aliens are now classified as "good ones to start with".

Red ones are not red because they are stronger, better, or anything like that. Indeed, some of the red aliens can be considerably weaker than some of the greens. They are red because a new player might wonder why they work the way they do, or they might depend on knowledge of the deck, or they might generate rulings questions or debates, or any number of other reasons.

Play your first game with green aliens. Don't be in a hurry to leave them in the dust or you will be missing some great Cosmic games.

If that wasn't what you were asking then ... well, no charge for the sermon. ;-)
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Warren Denning
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Yeah the green light aliens are not "beginner" they are just the easiest to understand. I think as Kevin Wilson put it, aliens that can be summed up in two sentences.

I most certainly would use ONLY them for your first few games until the group gets adjusted to how Cosmic Encounter plays.

For my group I started with:
Clone, Mutant, Macron, Zombie and Trader.
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AKQJX
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I agree with Bill, and the sermon is worthwhile.

I'm still a bit puzzled over why they chose to categorize the alien powers that way. But when you think about it, you get fifty powers in the base game. So although they don't say it in the rules, the Green powers seem to have been chosen to give you a good Cosmic experience without overwhelming you with choices. The Cosmic experience isn't the same as experience level of players.

Edit: Ninja'd
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Ken H.
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christianrehm wrote:
So I ask you this, Cosmic community, which aliens would you pick for a good 4 or 5 player game if you could hand pick them beforehand.


Personally, I wouldn't do it that way. Part of the fun of the game is picking your poison, so I'd just go with the standard draw 2 and choose 1.

Hand picked sets can still be fun -- I just wouldn't do it for the first game.
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Me, sin? Pf! Nah! Chill
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Red just means more complex or more subtle, it doesn't mean stronger or better.

When CE was first published by Eon Games, there were only 15 aliens, and only pieces for 4 players. The original 15 aliens were:

Amoeba, Chronos, Clone, Empath, Laser, Macron, Mind, Mutant, Oracle, Philanthropist, Trader, Virus, Void, Vulch, Zombie

And these are good ones to start with. Eon didn't use the green/yellow/red ratings. 9 of them are now classified as "green". I'd particularly recommend these:

Clone, Empath, Macron, Mind*, Mutant, Oracle, Philanthropist*, Trader, Vulch, Zombie

Others I might add to this list are:

Cavalry, Deuce*, Filch, Fury, Glutton, Hacker, Remora*, Sorcerer

*Even though these are "yellow".
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Xagyg
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Cosmic Encounter » Forums » General
Re: Question about races for first game.
Philanthropist
Oracle
Clone
Zombie
Either Trader or Mutant
Warpish
 
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Christian Rehm

Palm Bay
Florida
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Thank you everyone for your input. It's much appreciated.

I read a lot on CE before buying it so I was aware of the alert levels Thank you everyone for your input. It's much appreciated.

I read a lot on CE before buying it so I was aware of the alert levels on the different aliens and what they meant to the game. I was in no hurry to bypass the green aliens, I just thought some of them might be better suited to show off some interesting options in the game.

I have every intention to randomize the alien selection in the future and incorporate the more advanced features into the game slowly. I just didn't want to overwhelm anyone on the first play through. I find the more basic you make a game out to be initially the greater reception it has. Kind of like Settlers has a beginner game set up to make sure everyone has a good starting settlements and not have to worry about choosing the right balance themselves. Once they're hooked on the game mechanics overwhelm them with how much deeper it really is!

Really good reply J.Riddell, I'll defiantly use that example.

We'll have our first CE game session this Saturday. In addition to any more alien suggestions I'm curious if I should go with the 4 planet variant to get more plays in or stick to the regular 5 planet.


Again, thanks for all the help guys
 
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Markus
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Lozionica wrote:
Zombie-Sorcerer-Clone-Macron-Trader.


This is a great set although I might swap out Clone or Trader for Warrior.
 
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Just a Bill
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DeePee wrote:
Lozionica wrote:
Zombie-Sorcerer-Clone-Macron-Trader.
This is a great set although I might swap out Clone or Trader for Warrior.

I would make it Trader. This game is all about hand management, and Trader is a major thwarting element. Diminishes the value of Negotiates. Breeds a sense of futility. Never cared for it much.
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Geoff Speare
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Bill Martinson wrote:

I would make it Trader. This game is all about hand management, and Trader is a major thwarting element. Diminishes the value of Negotiates. Breeds a sense of futility. Never cared for it much.


I like Trader because I like to play with lots of Flares (and the "play multiple Flares per Challenge" rule), and Trader is a good way to deal with the uber-hand.

However, Trader can be frustrating, especially to new players who are not used to the freewheeling nature of Cosmic. I too would probably not use it for a newbie game.
 
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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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I also found that the 'oh no, I've only got two greens tO choose from' complaint has a surprising hold over some players untilthe grasp the idea that for the most part the aliens are all roughly as 'good' as each other.

Eco
 
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