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Subject: PREVIEW: Four New Faces rss

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David Knepper
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Another Fantasy Flight Games preview: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=4269

- The Sloth
- The Tide
- The Grumpus
- The Brute
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David Montgomery
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Sloth is worse than Amoeba. The power should work after cards are revealed, not before.

Tide is half good half what? I like the offense part. I'm not sure why you'd ever make others discard cards that they get to pick. Would have been better if the card was random.

Grumpus is uninspiring. It doesn't help me win the game, it only slows everyone else down and makes it so no one will send 1 ship against me, they'll all send 2, making it harder to win on defense.

Brute is probably the best of the lot, but that's not saying a whole lot. I think the power has intrigue, but it doesn't really seem to fit in the spirit of cosmic.

To put a positive spin, I do want to play these powers. I want to explore the new things in this expansion.

I'm just not overly thrilled with what's here so far.
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Sean Franco
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Tide and Brute both seem very playable.
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Chris O
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The problem with a lot of these powers that I am seeing as they are just Jay's personal home-brews from years ago that are borderline the same as already existing powers.

On top of that I have seen nothing about the 5 classic powers we all voted for in this expansion: Aristocrat, Mesmer, Judge, Diplomat, Doppelganger.

EDIT: Let's be real here:

Sloth is a nerfed Amoeba, Grumpus is a modified Guerilla, Tide is helpful to everyone else but himself (especially allowing enemies to discard the cards they WANT to), and Brute I actually like a lot, he is similar to Magnet (which is not in the game) but only in the sense of booting someone out of an encounter.

Overall these 4 previews half are garbage (Sloth/Grumpus), one is weak (Tide) and one is really cool (Brute).
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Adam Rouse
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All I have to say about this update is... poor Macron.
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Shane Brewer
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Messianic wrote:
The problem with a lot of these powers that I am seeing as they are just Jay's personal home-brews from years ago that are borderline the same as already existing powers.

On top of that I have seen nothing about the 5 classic powers we all voted for in this expansion: Aristocrat, Mesmer, Judge, Diplomat, Doppelganger.

EDIT: Let's be real here:

Sloth is a nerfed Amoeba, Grumpus is a modified Guerilla, Tide is helpful to everyone else but himself (especially allowing enemies to discard the cards they WANT to), and Brute I actually like a lot, he is similar to Magnet (which is not in the game) but only in the sense of booting someone out of an encounter.

Overall these 4 previews half are garbage (Sloth/Grumpus), one is weak (Tide) and one is really cool (Brute).


This.
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Sean Franco
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adamxpaul wrote:
All I have to say about this update is... poor Macron.

True 'nuff.
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Assaf Becker
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DrBrewhaha wrote:
Messianic wrote:
The problem with a lot of these powers that I am seeing as they are just Jay's personal home-brews from years ago that are borderline the same as already existing powers.

On top of that I have seen nothing about the 5 classic powers we all voted for in this expansion: Aristocrat, Mesmer, Judge, Diplomat, Doppelganger.

EDIT: Let's be real here:

Sloth is a nerfed Amoeba, Grumpus is a modified Guerilla, Tide is helpful to everyone else but himself (especially allowing enemies to discard the cards they WANT to), and Brute I actually like a lot, he is similar to Magnet (which is not in the game) but only in the sense of booting someone out of an encounter.

Overall these 4 previews half are garbage (Sloth/Grumpus), one is weak (Tide) and one is really cool (Brute).


This.


Ditto
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Typo in Sloth:

...send the sloth token in their place instead of deciding how many ships to commit.

An even weaker version of Mayfair's Wraith - When allying, Wraith not only kept the number of ships committed a secret, but also which side he allied with. Not that big of a deal, but at least it gives him a bit more surprise potential. And the Wraith was also essentially immune to powers like Bully, Hate, and Shadow (Assassin) - you still lose the ships, but you can't be kicked off a colony unless you're reduced to less than one ship per colony you have.

The Brute seems way too powerful - you always pick your opposing main player and take his best card, or else he has no ships in the encounter - losing the opportunity to gain a colony as offense, or losing a home colony as defense. Compare to Mind.

I'm the offense, I draw Brute's color. Oh well, my turn is wasted. I launch, invite allies in case there are any suckers playing, then I return my ships to colonies. I play my worst card, and play passes to the next player.
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Joshua Parva
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I like the Sloth. It seems like it would be an interesting power to see at the table.

The Brute does seem pretty powerful... Rather than constantly shying away, though, I think in my group, they'd be ultra aggressive against the Brute and gang up on him (well, as much as the destiny cards would allow) to try and force him to lose his power.

I really like the Tide. I think it thematically feels like an ebb and flow. I'd be interested to see how it works at the table.

The Grumpus art is... questionable. The power seems fairly potent and definitely could change how people value colonies. But it could make games drag on and on. Or it simply keeps people from ever making the Grumpus mad. I really can't tell -- I'd have to see it in play.
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Joshua Parva
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Messianic wrote:
The problem with a lot of these powers that I am seeing as they are just Jay's personal home-brews from years ago that are borderline the same as already existing powers.


Do we know how many of the 25 alien powers are Jay's home-brews? I remember reading an FFG article that some were, but it only previewed two powers... (Dervish and Converter?).

Messianic wrote:
On top of that I have seen nothing about the 5 classic powers we all voted for in this expansion: Aristocrat, Mesmer, Judge, Diplomat, Doppelganger.


I've heard people mention this several times. I can find no mention of this in the FFG articles for Cosmic Storm. When were these voted on? Were they on the FFG forums?
 
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Adam Rouse
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It was done on Facebook, I believe. I had thought they were going to be in the fan-made expansion though, not this one.
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David Montgomery
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Don't hold your breath for classic powers. I think we'd be lucky to see 1 at this point.

Honestly, I think that Jay wanted this expansion to be truly his. Supposedly #5 is all fans, so he wouldn't have a chance to put his mark on that. That left #4 for him to influence. For better or worse that's what we have.

Personally I think #5 will be better than #4. Overall, I'm disappointed in what's here. You would think with extra months to design this expansion that it would be better than the previous ones, but I'm left wanting better.
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Jon Gon
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I'm also disappointed. The Sloth is just a weaker Amoeba. The Tide is very uninspired and not very useful. The Grumpus is undoubtedly one of the weakest aliens of the FFG set.

Not only are these powers subsets of existing powers, but they all seem eerily weak.

The Brute, on the other hand, presents two different abilities. The first is a stronger version of the Mind; the second is exactly like my power Phobos:



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Barney Bustoffson
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Grumpus is the worst alien. I would rather play Worm.
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Just a Bill
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Messianic wrote:
The problem with a lot of these powers that I am seeing is they are just Jay's personal home-brews from years ago that are borderline the same as already existing powers.

That's my sense as well ... it feels like a homebrew expansion. (I'm kinda surprised they actually admitted that these were essentially dug out of a dusty old shoebox.)

Messianic wrote:
seen nothing about the 5 classic powers we all voted for in this expansion: Aristocrat, Mesmer, Judge, Diplomat, Doppelganger.

I would trade everything we've seen so far for just two or three of those aliens.

parva wrote:
When were these voted on?

On facebook, Peter Olotka announced that FFG had asked him for 5 Eon aliens for expansion #4. Folks voted and came up with those "top 5." But I don't actually expect them to appear in this expansion. (I hope they don't, anyway, because so far this set looks like it's gonna save me $45 by being non-essential.)

adamxpaul wrote:
I had thought they were going to be in the fan-made expansion though

Nope; it was supposed to be this one. I know for a fact that they were submitted to FFG months ago. (I worked with Peter offline to help fine-tune the wordings.)

parva wrote:
Grumpus ... seems fairly potent

I'm not seeing that. As Grumpus, your power affects only the players you coexist with, and they just leave 2 ships on the planet instead of one. Sure, if something happens to you they each lose one ship, but you just lost an entire colony. And it's not like you can repeat the trick to get their other ship, without working hard to get your colony back onto that same planet.

On top of having a rubbish alien, you are a poor choice to invite as an offensive ally, unattractive to ally with when you are the offense, and not a good candidate for trading colonies in a deal. (Somebody show me why Grumpus doesn't suck space ass through a crazy straw.)

It's possible that those "soft disadvantages" actually outweigh the printed advantage; in which case Grumpus could be the first published anti-power.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I'm the offense, I draw Brute's color. Oh well, my turn is wasted. I launch, invite allies in case there are any suckers playing, then I return my ships to colonies. I play my worst card, and play passes to the next player.

Urg, yeah ... that will be absolutely no fun to play against. Okay, Brute definitely doesn't go into my play set.

mathguy6189 wrote:
I'm just not overly thrilled with what's here so far.
DrBrewhaha wrote:
This.
Sir Schmoopy wrote:
Ditto
Jon Gon wrote:
I'm also disappointed. ... subsets of existing powers ... they all seem eerily weak.

Cosmic Storm will be the first expansion set that I am not pre-ordering. So far nothing here is a must-own.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
parva wrote:
Grumpus ... seems fairly potent

I'm not seeing that. As Grumpus, your power affects only the players you coexist with, and they just leave 2 ships on the planet instead of one. Sure, if something happens to you they each lose one ship, but you just lost an entire colony. And it's not like you can repeat the trick to get their other ship, without working hard to get your colony back onto that same planet.

It doesn't just affect the players you coexist with, it affects the incoming colonies as well (hosing the Macron once again). Anyone who attacks you must send N ships to have N-1 of them land on the planet if they win. Which as Chris said, makes it a variant of the Guerrilla.

Even the "good" powers we've seen so far are uninspired - just minor variants of existing aliens. Get some extra cards, save some ships, steal an opponent's cards, kill some opponents' ships, etc. There's nothing truly original here like The Claw or Chrysalis or Cryo or Human or Graviton or Poison or Lunatic or ...
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Joshua Parva
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Even the "good" powers we've seen so far are uninspired - just minor variants of existing aliens. Get some extra cards, save some ships, steal an opponent's cards, kill some opponents' ships, etc.


I'll admit, nothing so far really blows my hair back... But I think each expansion has featured several aliens I'm not thrilled with. Hopefully there will be a few gems in there we haven't seen. Hopefully.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
There's nothing truly original here like The Claw or Chrysalis or Cryo or Human or Graviton or Poison or Lunatic or ...


I don't know if I'd consider the Human truly original. Sure it's not 100% like other powers, but it's also a power that makes my players groan if they get it. They feel it's a non-power. Automatically add four? It's predictable, a known quantity, and easier to plan for than most powers. How is that not a weaker version of the guy who can use attack cards as reinforcements (Reserve?) where there's at least a hint of unknown you need to account for? Or maybe the Zappable part of the Human is what makes it a power... I don't know. Never thrilled me.

I agree Claw and Chrysalis are incredibly different, but they are also powers my group sees as UnFun and removes from the game -- I don't think I've played with the Claw more than twice... ever.

Then again, I've seen plenty of people win regardless of their power, where it's been more about reading the other players or knowing when to screw them over at just the right moment.
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Just a Bill
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
It doesn't just affect the players you coexist with, it affects the incoming colonies as well (hosing the Macron once again). Anyone who attacks you must send N ships to have N-1 of them land on the planet if they win. Which as Chris said, makes it a variant of the Guerrilla.

Ah, right, I forgot about that bit. But I would call it a subset of Guerrilla. In this comparison, Guerrilla sends all but one of each player's ships to the warp, works as the offense or the defense, and doesn't require ships in the encounter. Grumpus affects only one ship per player, works only as the defense, and applies only if he had a colony on the targeted planet.

Guerrilla has the soft advantage of making the opposing allies want to send only one ship. Grumpus has the soft disadvantage of making the opposing allies want to send more than one ship.

So yeah, again, let's take an existing alien and make it a little different by making it either weaker or stronger than the alien we're copying.

This expansion feels like the later seasons of a TV show where the writers don't really know how to keep it fresh or make it must-see TV; they are coasting on the audience they earned in the early years, expecting that if it's stamped with the brand, the audience will gobble it up (and sadly, many will). Remember how in the later seasons of Bewitched, they largely repeated entire plots (sometimes with the same punchlines), just with a new Darrin? Different face, but very similar experience. If the writers don't know how, or are afraid, to inject exciting new content, the safest thing is to just follow the old patterns and sell it to us again in a different hat.

It seems like it's all over the place now. Bulwark, Grumpus, and Sloth are weaker cousins to Zombie, Guerrilla, and Amoeba. Tide is basically a twist on General that helps your opponents by letting them take out their trash. The two space stations we've seen are versions of Lunar Cannon and Precursor Seed on a different card template. Dervish in expansion 4 is going to copy Trader and make it more flexible, then Whirligig in expansion 5 is going to copy Trader and make it more flexible. There's another new alien in the fan expansion beta that the Eon guys let slip is similar to something we haven't seen yet from Storm.

A little redundancy is to be expected. But when it becomes a standard design strategy, maybe we've jumped the shark.
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Sean Franco
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Grumpus affects only one ship per player, works only as the defense, and applies only if he had a colony on the targeted planet.

Grumpus also works if you get hit by Plague, Shadow, Bully, Rifts, or anything else that makes you lose any colonies.
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Just a Bill
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logopolys wrote:
Grumpus also works if you get hit by Plague, Shadow, Bully, Rifts, or anything else that makes you lose any colonies.

My comment was in the context of the comparison to Guerrilla and the normal, typical "benefit" Grumpus will confer.

But to address your point, let's define what we mean by "works." In the rare case where another player makes you lose an entire colony outside of the normal encounter mechanic, other folks on the same planet lose one ship. Your more common examples — Plague and Rift — require Grumpus to deliberately sacrifice his own colony (generally a poor choice).

If folks are re thinking that this is somehow going to take out other player's colonies as well, it's highly unlikely that those players will leave only a single ship on the planet where they coexist with Grumpus. And even if those other players are stupid, how strong is it to lose your own colony to make one or two other players lose colonies? All you've really done is help the unaffected players move ahead of you and your unfortunate roommates.

Yeah, it "works" ... meaning it "barely functions."

It would be a great tactical advantage to be in a game where my opponents have aliens like Grumpus, Sloth, and Bulwark. They are virtually no threat to me at all, and the benefits they confer on their owners are minimal.
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How is it possible to assess whether a power is good or not in a vacuum? I mean, isn't that entirely what's going on in these threads?

Put it this way, I don't see any single power that's awesome under all circumstances. Nothing in this game exists by itself, because there is no typical game of Cosmic Encounter.

Think about all the things that go into making the experience:
- Alien powers
- Number of players
- The personalities of the players
- Flares in the deck
- The way the cards are dealt
- Whatever expansion element you play with
...and any number of other factors you can't even predict.

I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of what's being said. I think Grumpus sounds a little lame too. But I'm a little amazed that everyone here is able to predict the behavior of their own group so extensively, especially in a game like this one. I couldn't say what powers I think are over or under powered, because the answer is always "it depends."
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aurelian
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Not sure I agree with others' comments on Tide, it seems both interesting and potentially quite strong - the initial card draw is 3 if it wins its first attack. Brute is okay too, but Sloth and Grumpus seem very weak and uninspired. One can only hope they have strong flares (both wild and super) to compensate. The mechanism/ideas behind Sloth and Grumpus are both valid, but they just haven't been dialed up to a power level that will normally have any effect on the game. It's a pity because in doing that they occupy design space that could have been used for similar but better aliens.
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sthill46 wrote:
Not sure I agree with others' comments on Tide, it seems both interesting and potentially quite strong - the initial card draw is 3 if it wins its first attack. Brute is okay too, but Sloth and Grumpus seem very weak and uninspired. One can only hope they have strong flares (both wild and super) to compensate.

Well, if we want the flares to compensate the weakness of the powers, then we should expect weaker wilds.

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Jon Gon wrote:
sthill46 wrote:
Not sure I agree with others' comments on Tide, it seems both interesting and potentially quite strong - the initial card draw is 3 if it wins its first attack. Brute is okay too, but Sloth and Grumpus seem very weak and uninspired. One can only hope they have strong flares (both wild and super) to compensate.

Well, if we want the flares to compensate the weakness of the powers, then we should expect weaker wilds.


You're right! I was thinking more of compensation for players who buy this expansion rather than just to balance the alien. A strong Wild flare can still enhance a game even if the alien isn't in play. As a good example, I personally always like to see the Locust wild flare appear - even though Locust itself is seen as fairly weak.
 
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