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Subject: Aliens Under Consideration for the Fan Expansion (Block 1) rss

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Jack Reda
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I am posting a few sets of aliens that are currently being considered for inclusion in expansion 5, the "Fan Expansion", which will likely include some classic Eon aliens as well. More on that later. For now, I want to get the BGG community of CE fans and interested players to discuss, critique, advise, and ultimately help playtest many of these aliens.

Each Block will contain a dozen aliens that have been designed by fans, and received some praise/excitement/endorsement so far. Not every alien posted will necessarily make it into the set (even in a modified form), so we're going to determine which ones rise to the top of the pack. The last block will contain revised Eon aliens too. Results of discussions and tweaking will be posted in the CE Facebook page for additional feedback, and then eventually a list of candidates will make its way to FFG. There will be about 3 blocks (maybe 4) as well as one with Eon aliens that have been revised. Block 2 Block 3

These threads should be limited to the aliens in them. Feel free to continue posting new ideas in their own threads, and when it comes time to start polling on actual fan favorites, we'll open it up to a wide range of contenders. I should point out that serious playtesting is a critical element to figuring out just how well an alien performs, how desirable it is to play, and how having that alien in a game affects the other players. It's easy to come up with a powerful alien you'd love to have in the game, but if it makes everyone else miserable, it may not make sense to include it. Critiquing the aliens in Cosmic Storm before playing them was an interesting exercise, but I learned a bit about how good or bad each one really was only after playing with them. And on that note, some of the criteria we're hoping to meet with this next expansion:

- New ground. We want some aliens that do things no other alien does, or has mechanics that other aliens don't use.

- Less familiar ground. Some retread of game factors is inevitable (things like "gain/lose ships", "gain colony", "change encounter totals"). The question is, do these aliens bring something new to the game in how they approach those factors? Are they factors that a small few other aliens deal with? There are a LOT of aliens that let you add to (and in many cases also subtract from) encounter totals. More aliens that do that are not necessarily desired, unless there's something really innovative to it. There are far fewer aliens that interact in some way with Destiny, for example (but keep in mind, we aren't really looking for another Dictator).

- New game experiences. Do these aliens alter or affect the most common actions taken in the game? Do they make players think about what they are doing in the game in new ways?

- Gaining or forcing others to lose cards/ships are the most common alien effects. If a new aliens does this in some way, is there also a unique quality to what the aliens does to justify its inclusion?

Lastly, we'll want recommendations on the alert level for each alien. Too many red level, or too few green level aliens presents an additional challenge. But what are your thoughts on it? If there were 20 really fantastic fan aliens in the expansion, and only one was green, is that a serious problem for newer players getting this expansion? I am going to post proposed alert levels for each alien in the blocks, but comment away.

I also want to emphasize again the importance of playtesting and feedback. I have begun playtesting all of these aliens, and will continue to do so (in games using only playtest aliens, but then also against established aliens). We have an opportunity to get this expansion out in a shorter timeline than the last one, provided there is adequate playtesting and cross-checking. That's why fan-participation is a must. We'd love to be polling favorites by the end of September, but we're going to just see how things go.

Bill Martinson and I are helping to shepherd this alien selection process, and I will let Bill and Peter chime in on anything I have left out of this introduction (and will edit accordingly).

---------------------------------------------------------------------

BLOCK ONE


ACE
Wins with One Colony


Game Setup: Remove one of your planets, and the four ships on it, from the game

You have the power to Triumph. At the start of your turn, if you have any foreign colonies, use this power to win the game. You may still win the game via the normal method.

Other players may have an encounter at one of your foreign colonies whenever the destiny draw allows them to target either your home system or the system that hosts that foreign colony.

(Offense Only) (Mandatory) (Start of Turn)

Crack shots, daring pilots, and epic swordsaints, the legendary Aces require only the most trivial of opportunities to achieve total victory. Fearfully hunted to presumed extinction, only a few hidden Aces survived the cosmic purge. Now reinforced by a handful of converts and grown children, they hope to fortify one secret base and take the galaxy by storm.

WILD: As a main player, after encounter cards are revealed, if your opponent is not the Ace you win the encounter. Give this flare to the Ace after use (or discard it, if the Ace is not playing).
(Main Player Only) (Resolution)

SUPER: As the defense, if you lose the encounter, instead of sending your defending ships to the warp you may relocate them to any one other planet in a different system to establish a colony there. Afterwards, discard this flare.
(Defense Only) (Resolution)

---------------


ANGLER
Fishes for Cards


You have the power to Fish. As a main player or ally, before encounter cards are selected, you may use this power to ask any player on the opposing side if he or she has a specific card, such as an attack 12, a regular negotiate card, or the Virus flare. If that player has the card, he or she must give it to you. Otherwise you must draw a card from the deck.
(Main Player or Ally Only) (Optional) (Planning)

Developing on a monaquatic homeworld filled with untold prey species, the Anglers learned patience, stealth, and selectivity – disciplines that serve these passive predators well as they now take to the stars. Assessing the aliens they encounter and luring carefully selected victims to an early demise, the Anglers often reel in valuable spoils to satiate their growing needs.

WILD: You may name a specific card and look for it in the deck. If you find that card, show it and add it to your hand. If not, you must take one card from the discard pile by majority vote of the other players (you break ties). Reshuffle the deck and give this flare to the Angler (or discard it, if the Angler isn’t playing).
(As Any Player) (Any Phase)

SUPER: If you receive the card you asked for (from the other player or from the deck), you may use your power a second time during this encounter.
(Main Player or Ally Only) (Planning)

------------------------

BRIDE
Marries Players


You have the power to Marry. As a main player, before alliances, you may use this power to marry your opponent by forcing that player to give you one of his or her ships from any colony and placing it on this sheet. You may only be married to one player at a time.

Spouses may ally with each other without being invited, show each other any cards in hand, and trade cards at will.

At any time you may divorce your spouse. Turn that player's ship upside down on your sheet. You may not remarry a player you previously divorced. If you lose your power from having too few home colonies, you must divorce your current spouse.
(Main Player Only) (Optional) (Launch)

The Brides have left a trail of broken circulatory pumps and legal hi-jinx across the cosmos. And yet the allure of the Brides is impossible to resist. The Brides, however, eschew the social pressure of the present and reject wallowing in the past as they drifts through space longing for a fantasy future with their true soul mate, be it a low life Hate or a noble Ethic.

WILD: As the defense, you may run away from an encounter. The offensive player's turn ends and play passes.
(Defense Only) (Destiny)

SUPER: You may remarry a player you previously divorced. Turn their ship on your sheet face up.
(Main Player Only) (Launch)

--------------


DAREDEVIL
Cuts Close to Gain Rewards


You have the power of Risk. As a main player, after cards are revealed you may use this power to discard an attack card valued between 01 and 10 from your hand and subtract that amount from your side's total.

If your side wins by 3 or less, each player on your side draws cards from the deck equal to the number of their ships involved (in addition to any normal rewards).
(Main Player Only) (Optional) (Reveal)

Preferring an uncertain but exciting existence to predictability, Daredevils thrive off adrenaline, even that of others. Danger elevates the Peril's abilities, and it's allies either rise quickly or fall hard. For Daredevils, the closer the shave, the bigger the rush.

WILD: If you are not involved in the encounter, you may draw a card at random from either main player's hand. If you draw an attack card, it is added to that player's total. Otherwise, you may either keep the card or discard it and draw a card from the deck to add to your hand.
(Not Main Player or Ally) (Reveal)

SUPER: Your side gets to draw cards if you win by 6 or less.
(Main Player Only) (Reveal)

--------------


ENGINEER
Gains Tech When Losing


You have the power of Technology. As a main player, when you lose an encounter or fail to deal, use this power. Draw two techs from the technology deck (whether it is in use or not) and choose one to place facedown on this sheet (discarding the other one). If a tech was already on this sheet when you draw another one, choose which one to keep, discarding the other.

During any regroup, if you have ships in the warp equal to or greater than the number necessary to "complete the research" for a tech on your sheet, you may move it off of your sheet. This tech is considered completed and revealed. There is no limit to the number of techs you may have completed and in play.
(Main Player Only) (Mandatory) (Resolution)

Noted for an emphasis on conformity and utilitarian existence focused only on the necessities of life, this primary female eusocial society comes alive during crisis periods. Invaders and raiders have been stunned by counter-attacks by Engineer hives using previously unseen inventions seemingly born out of thin air. Now with the home system once again secure, the most powerful of the hives have struck out into the universe fueled by new ideas and novel interstellar propellants born from the previous dark times the race hopes to avoid.

WILD: Draw from the top of the cosmic deck and keep the first artifact card you find. Discard the rest of the cards. If you run out of cards before finding an artifact, take any artifact from the discard pile. Give this card to the Engineer when you play it (or discard it if Engineer is not in the game).
(As Any Player) (All Phases)

SUPER: When you lose an encounter, play this card to search the technology deck and put into play one card of your choosing (instead of your normal draw from the technology deck).
(Main Player Only) (Resolution)

-------


EXTRACTOR
Sacrifices Ships to Choose Any Card


You have the power to Extract. You may use this power to target one of the following areas: the cosmic deck or reward deck (if in play); one of those decks' discard piles; or one player's hand. Destroy one or more of your ships (chosen from anywhere in play) by removing them from the game. Then look through the cards in the targeted area for up to 30 seconds, take one of them, and add it to your hand. If you looked through a deck, shuffle it afterwards. You may use this power at any time, even during another game effect (e.g., to obtain a zap card to cancel an effect that was just announced). You may not extract the same card (or any copy of it) twice in the same game.

The number of ships that must be destroyed to use this power increases with each successful use: exactly 1 the first time, 2 the second, 3 the third, and so on. You may invite other players to destroy their own ship(s) to help you meet this requirement.
(As Any Player) (Optional) (All Phases)

After the Extractors discovered the secret of subspace conduits, they quickly learned to pull the most spectacular heists in the Cosmos, bringing untold riches to their people. Unfortunately, repeated use of the technology weakened the fabric of space more and more, and the death toll from environmental instability escalated quickly. Fortunately for the surviving Extractors, they were able to rationalize these losses as acceptable casualties.

WILD: You may choose one of your ships on any colony and remove it from the game. Then take the top card of the discard pile or the reward deck discard pile and add it to your hand.
(As Any Player) (Any Phase)

SUPER: If you invite all other players to help you destroy ships and none do, you may choose any players' ships in play to meet your destruction requirement.
(As Any Player) (Any Phase)

--------------


GRIFTER
Performs Three-Card Monte


You have the power of Three-Card Monte. As a main player, if you lose the encounter and have two or more cards in your hand, use this power at the end of the reveal phase. Take any two “distraction” cards from your hand and mix them facedown on the table together with your losing encounter card. Your opponent now points to one of these three facedown cards, which you turn faceup.

If your opponent chooses your losing encounter card (or a copy of it), you still lose the encounter, but your opponent also gains a free colony anywhere in your system using up to four of his or her ships from colonies. If your opponent chooses a different card, you win the encounter instead, but all allies on both sides must immediately return to their other colonies.

Afterwards, the two distraction cards return to your hand. You do not reveal the distraction card(s) that your opponent did not choose.
(Main Player Only) (Mandatory) (Reveal)

Having confidence in their innate ability to distract and befuddle. The Grifters zig zag through the known, the unknown, and the known unknown Cosmos spotting their next mark before it suspects anything is amiss.

WILD: When you lose an encounter, you may turn the two encounter cards face down in front of you. You now have 30 seconds to mix the two cards, keeping them face down on the table while mixing them. Your opponent must now identify your card by pointing to it. If the revealed card is not your card and it changes the outcome of the encounter to your favor, you win the encounter.
(Main Player Only) (Reveal)

SUPER: You may play four-card monte.
(As Any Player) (Reveal)

----------


HOST
Plays and Adds Unused Flares


Game Setup: Draw 3 cards from the unused flare deck and place them facedown on this sheet.

You have the power to Channel. At any time, you may use this power to play a wild flare from this sheet as though it were in your hand. If the flare would return to your hand after use, then you must discard it in the regular discard pile. If you are Cosmic Zapped, replace the flare on this sheet.

Cards played from this sheet do not count toward the normal limit of one flare per encounter.

At the end of any player's turn, you may use this power to remove any or all remaining flares on this sheet from the game, then draw cards from the unused flare deck to place facedown on this sheet until you again have three.

(As Any Player) (Optional) (Any Phase)

The Hosts' ability to channel the spiritual essence of past and future aliens allows them to manifest some of the defining characteristics of their alien occupants. After being channeled, some aliens decide the experience was so pleasant they will return to active public life, popping up here and there to affect galactic events.

WILD: You may draw three cards from the unused flare deck and add them to your hand. Give this flare to the Host after use (or discard it, if the Host isn’t playing).
(As Any Player) (Start Turn)

SUPER: When replacing cards on your sheet at the end of a turn you may draw two additional cards. Choose from all drawn cards, placing them on your sheet, until you have three. The remaining cards are removed from the game.

(As Any Player) (Resolution)

--------------


KLUTZ
Fumbles Cards and Ships


You have the power of Clumsiness. Whenever you draw more than one card from the deck (including when you are dealt your initial hand), use this power to fumble and drop one or two of the drawn cards.

Whenever you place more than one of your ships on the same planet, use this power to bump any one other ship off of an adjacent planet in the same system.

Fumbled cards and ships go to the discard pile and the warp.
(As Any Player) (Mandatory) (All Phases)

The Klutzes are described by their Cosmic neighbors as being all thumbs, and this is meant quite literally. Possessing no fingers and only marginally opposable thumblets – typically seven, eleven, or fifteen, depending on whether the individual is male, female, or foomale – it is a wonder they can even tie their own podpads. Klutz reproduction is thus hypothesized to occur via a phenomenon that has come to be called “improbably fortunate collisions.”

WILD: For the rest of this encounter, each time another player should draw more than one card from the deck, you may deal out that player’s cards. Deal one faceup, deal one to the wrong opponent, or do both (with the same card or two different ones).
(As Any Player) (Any Phase)

SUPER: As the offense or an offensive ally, before encounter cards are revealed, you may examine your ships in the hyperspace gate, then drop them from one foot above the gate. If any ships on your side of the encounter come to rest at least partly on the table, after cards are revealed the offense decides which ones return to the gate and which ones return to colonies.
(Offense of Offensive Ally) (Reveal)

----------


MUCKRAKER
Gets Ally Thrown Out


You have the power to Slander. As a main player or ally, at the start of the resolution phase, you may use this power to accuse any or all allies on the winning side of subversive intent. First, discard any one card from your hand for each winning ally you wish to slander. Then, name any number as your "bribe threshold". Each accused ally may bribe you to recant your accusation by giving you one non-negotiate card from his or her hand; if the card is an attack card, it must equal or exceed your bribe threshold. Accused allies who can not or do not bribe you receive no colonies, rewards, or other benefits of winning the encounter, and return to their colonies. If you are an ally and your side won, the main player on your side may choose to protect any or all allies from your power. You may not accuse yourself.
(Main Player or All Only) (Optional) (Alliance)

The Muckrakers excel at driving wedges into trust relationships, and never miss an opportunity to sow seeds of discord if it suits their aims. Presenting themselves as watchmen dedicated to protecting their neighbors from flim-flam artists, they secretly scheme to remove those who would stand in their way.

WILD: As a main player or ally, at the start of the resolution phase, you may force one winning ally to leave the encounter, returning his or her ships to colonies.
(Main Player or Ally Only) (Alliance)

SUPER: You may discard this flare to accuse either main player instead of an ally. Unless you are bribed to recant, the accused player must return his or her involved ships to other colonies.
(Main Player or Ally Only) (Alliance)

----------------


VANGUARD
Heads Off Attacks


You have the power of Precedence. At the start of any encounter, if you have no Vanguard planet, you may choose one planet in your system to become your Vanguard planet by placing a token on it.

Whenever another player attacks your system (before pointing the hyperspace gate at any planet), use this power to force that player to first have a Vanguard encounter against your Vanguard planet while still in the launch phase. He or she loads the gate, and you each play encounter cards. If you win, you gain defender rewards for each ship you have on the planet, and the encounter counts as a loss for your opponent. If you lose, your opponent may proceed with his or her encounter, or end the encounter and collect rewards for the number of ships he or she had in the encounter (and counting this as a successful encounter).

No ships are lost as a result of the Vanguard encounter, not even for a failed deal. A successful deal in a Vanguard encounter provides rewards for both sides and ends the offense's encounter. If after encountering the Vanguard planet your opponent has no encounter cards, his or her turn ends.
(Defense Only) (Mandatory) (Launch)

For as long as the Vanguards remember, they have told the tale of the lost ship that held off an entire fleet. From that legend an empire grew, and the Vanguards have seen the usefulness of sending a small force ahead to meet their attackers. Those unable to oppose the advance units quickly see the futility of engaging the main forces.

WILD: You may force your opponent to reveal his or her encounter card to any player he or she invites as an ally.
(Main Player Only) (Alliance)

SUPER: If your opponent loses the Vanguard encounter, you may send his or her ships to the warp.
(Defense Only) (Launch)

--------------


WHIRLIGIG
Mixes Two Hands


You have the power to Swirl. As a main player, during the planning phase, you may use this power to mix the two main players' hands. Both players put their hands face down on the table, and you mix them together. Once the hands are mixed, you choose how they will be returned:

-Even Steven: Both players get an equal number of cards. If there is an odd number, you get the extra card.
-As Is: Each player gets the exact number of cards they originally had.
-Switcheroo: Each player gets the number of cards the other player originally had.

Once you decide, the other main player takes his or her number of cards at random from the mixed hands. You take the rest.
(Main Player Only) (Optional) (Planning)

A powerful species, the Whirligigs went from planet to planet mixing stuff up. Sometimes they replaced it with junk, sometimes with something helpful; and sometimes something bad would appear. There was a lot of uncertainty of what might happen when the Whirligigs came to call.

WILD: As a main player, during the planning phase, you may take one card at random from your opponent and mix it with one card of your own. Your opponent chooses which card to take back.
(Main Player Only) (Planning)

SUPER: When using your power, you may take the other player's cards and mix them with your hand while looking at them, then return them in one of the three ways.
(Main Player Only) (Planning)

Edit 1: Change Ace to Red Alert, fixed Extractor's flare, updated language on Vanguard.
Edit 2: Added link to Block 2, added Tech deck use line to Engineer.
Edit 3: Changed wording on Extractor and its super, changed some wording on Vanguard. Did NOT change Muckraker yet, as its currently in a PBF test.
Edit 4: Changed Engineer to draw two cards, choose one.
Edit 5: Edited Engineer to include failed deal for power use. Updated to revised Muckraker. Removed flare deck from Extractor.
Edit 6: Updated Bride language.
Edit 7: Updated Daredevil, Muckraker, Vanguard.
Edit 8: Updated Ace flare.
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Roberta Yang
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I like all of these except the Whirligig, which just looks like a Cosmic Storm version of Trader.
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Jeffrey Speer
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I love the idea of the three card monte, but Fantasy Flight's card backs aren't consistent enough so that may be an issue.

Still love it, though, and if the game were sleeved that solves the problem.
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Patrick Doss
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love these. will these be printed and officially published by Fantasy Flight?
 
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Lance Codarin
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i don't really get ace! from what i get he just needs to win once or trade colonies once and he wins! isn't it just too overpowered?
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Just a Bill
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A few quick comments:

Ace feels red-alert to me. His opponents need to really understand the game or it could be over very quickly.

Extractor seems to have Showoff's flare; doesn't fit thematically.

I love the "runaway Bride" joke. (First time I remember seeing that flare.)

Vanguard is a problem because Cosmic needs planets to be adjacent to each other in a linear-like fashion. This can be fixed by giving him a "vanguard token" to mark his vanguard planet, or by saying he swaps in planet of a different color (of course followed by the usual "Do not use this power unless you have an unused player color"). I suppose it could also use the Genesis planet, but then some tech-patching would be required.

Darklaw90 wrote:
i don't really get ace! from what i get he just needs to win once or trade colonies once and he wins! isn't it just too overpowered?

He has to win once and then hang onto that colony until the start of his next turn. And of course most players will never want to trade him a colony.

It's risky and scary to be sure, but it might be okay. Things like this are why real playtesting is so important!
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Jack Reda
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I like the vanguards token.

I agree on red alert for Ace. I kinda like this alien even though it is one of those aliens that don't give you something to do. It gives the others something to do.

Some trivia: Daredevil was called Peril, Bride was Gown.

Send me the right flare on Extractor so I can correct it. Thanks.
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Ken H.
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I've only read through them one time, but Ace definitely got the strongest reaction from me. While alt wins are not new, this one certainly feels new, as well as powerful, scary, tense, and interesting. Awesome idea -- I hope it gets through the process.

Extractor is my least favorite. I don't like the "form a conduit" language. Too much theme in the rules text. It should just say something like "use this power to look at a deck, hand, or discard pile, and take one card" etc. Also, I'm not sure what is meant by "during another game action". Why is that there? The ability itself sounds okay, a bit weak maybe. The escalating cost is kind of hard to evaluate outside of actual play.

Bride looks fun. Edgy, especially if your actual spouse is at the table, but fun and different and cool.

Just some quick comments. I'll think about it some, and post more later.


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After winning the Vanguard encounter, can the opponent target the Vanguard planet again for the proper encounter? If so, it seems like the Vanguard colony will almost always be the first to be lost, which removes a substantial portion of the power's benefit (making the initial encounter easier for invaders and locking you out of getting rewards). The writing is a bit confusing - what happens if a deal is made in the Vanguard encounter? - and does that thing where it repeats general rules on the alien sheet when that might conflict with other effects (e.g. if you win the Vanguard encounter, your opponent's encounter, not turn, ends - usually the turn ends too, but there's no need to hose the Machine here).

I'd also recommend getting rid of the Game Setup text and instead writing "At the start of any encounter, if you have no Vanguard planet, you may choose one planet in your system to become your Vanguard planet" - this allows it to play nice with effects like Reincarnator and protects it from being permanently hosed by something like the Wild Locust.
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1. Thanks for posting that here as well as in Facebook. I feel more comfortable to talk about it here for some reason.

2. Right now, I don't have the time to read all of these carefully, but I plan to that soon.

3. About Ace - I actually printed it out a while ago (*), and playtest it several times with my group. I have to say, that although I really liked the idea when I first read that alien, it didn't get a good welcome from my friends. It felt too much to them for some reason. The whole game focus was on that alien, and that alien alone, and instead of playing Cosmic Encounter, we played "Let's kill Ace first, play Cosmic Encounter later". It was a liability not only for the other players, but for the player who played Ace himself. We pretty much never played it again. Now I have a second group and I think I want to try to give it another chance.

----

(*) - We even asked one of our friends to design an alien image for him, based on a character from Futurama. It was part of a birthday present which include five "new" aliens. Here's the picture.



(Yeah, I now know it's supposed to be a red-alert alien. I was stupid when we made this)

Oh, and we came out with a different Flare:

Wild: At the start of your turn, for each foreign colony receive one defender reward.
(Offense only) (Start Turn)

Super: When you lose a foreign colony you can discard up to three cards from your hand.
(As Any Player) (Any Phase)
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Roberta Yang
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Muckraker is strictly weaker than Magnet.

e: I know Magnet isn't actually in FFG's edition but come on, it wasn't exactly a powerhouse back in Eon.
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Ken H.
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salty53 wrote:
I like all of these except the Whirligig, which just looks like a Cosmic Storm version of Trader.


At a minimum, change the name. Dervishes are known for whirling, so this is stepping on thematic toes in addition to mechanical ones.

Also, whirligigs spin -- they don't swirl. Swirl fits the mechanics, but is a mismatch for the alien's name.

Re/ Muckraker: I really like the "debate" process of iterative discarding. That's something that could be kept and worked on. But, it seems wasted when the end result is just to remove one ally.
 
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Rubric wrote:
Extractor is my least favorite. I don't like the "form a conduit" language. Too much theme in the rules text. It should just say something like "use this power to look at a deck, hand, or discard pile, and take one card" etc.

Sometimes in Cosmic these things aren't just for theme; sometimes they exist so that there is a clearly defined "handle" to reference. This effect needs some careful writing for the timing to work correctly, and the conduit is referred to multiple times by subsequent game text as well as the Super flare. I doubt you want those components to have to say "the deck, discard pile, or hand you targeted" three or four times, right?

Rubric wrote:
I'm not sure what is meant by "during another game action". Why is that there?

Let's say somebody just played a Plague. The actions that can happen right now, before the Plague starts to have its result, are things that specifically cancel or modify the Plague, such as Card Zap or Wild Anti-Matter. Extractor's power is not a specific response to the Plague, so ordinarily he would have to wait for it to resolve before using his power — thus he couldn't grab a Card Zap in time to stop it.

So that phrase is meant to specifically give him permission to use his power as a response to things, and grab a card that can interact with the original action. This is very unusual in Cosmic, and is intended to be part of the alien's gameplay value.
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Rubric wrote:
Extractor is my least favorite. I don't like the "form a conduit" language. Too much theme in the rules text. It should just say something like "use this power to look at a deck, hand, or discard pile, and take one card" etc.

Sometimes in Cosmic these things aren't just for theme; sometimes they exist so that there is a clearly defined "handle" to reference. This effect needs some careful writing for the timing to work correctly, and the conduit is referred to multiple times by subsequent game text as well as the Super flare. I doubt you want those components to have to say "the deck, discard pile, or hand you targeted" three or four times, right?


Okay, it's better now that I understand why it's written like that. It's still really high on the complexity scale.

Other possible issues with the alien:
1. There might be a memory issue given the restriction against extracting the same card twice, especially since there is apparently no requirement to reveal the chosen card.

2. The time limit (while necessary especially for the flare deck) is hard to enforce. What happens at 31 seconds? I assume the power fails, and you do not get a card. The issue (which comes up with deals also) is when does the clock start, who keeps track, is the timekeeper required to (or allowed to) give you a countdown when the time is nearly out, what is allowed to still occur after the time limit (like, how much time do you have to actually "take" the card, now that your time to "look" has expired) and so on.

On the other hand, though, if those issues aren't too problematic, the concept of powers with time limits has potential.

3. Can you target the Reward deck even if it's not in play? If allowed, it's not necessarily a problem, but it's hard to imagine a group of 6 players who would all agree one way or the other on that.


Quote:
Rubric wrote:
I'm not sure what is meant by "during another game action". Why is that there?

that phrase is meant to specifically give him permission to use his power as a response to things, and grab a card that can interact with the original action. This is very unusual in Cosmic, and is intended to be part of the alien's gameplay value.


That makes sense now also. I just don't think non-hardcore players are going to see it.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Rubric wrote:
Extractor is my least favorite. I don't like the "form a conduit" language. Too much theme in the rules text. It should just say something like "use this power to look at a deck, hand, or discard pile, and take one card" etc.

Sometimes in Cosmic these things aren't just for theme; sometimes they exist so that there is a clearly defined "handle" to reference. This effect needs some careful writing for the timing to work correctly, and the conduit is referred to multiple times by subsequent game text as well as the Super flare. I doubt you want those components to have to say "the deck, discard pile, or hand you targeted" three or four times, right?

Rubric wrote:
I'm not sure what is meant by "during another game action". Why is that there?

Let's say somebody just played a Plague. The actions that can happen right now, before the Plague starts to have its result, are things that specifically cancel or modify the Plague, such as Card Zap or Wild Anti-Matter. Extractor's power is not a specific response to the Plague, so ordinarily he would have to wait for it to resolve before using his power — thus he couldn't grab a Card Zap in time to stop it.

So that phrase is meant to specifically give him permission to use his power as a response to things, and grab a card that can interact with the original action. This is very unusual in Cosmic, and is intended to be part of the alien's gameplay value.


It might make sense to give an example in the description, like Plague.
 
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These are (for the most part), are really good or at least have the potential. Please take my comments with a grain of salt as they are without having playtested any of them yet and I don't do Facebook so I haven't followed that either, so this is just some thoughts that popped in my head while looking them over ... so please feel free to correct me on anything that's been considered already.


ACE -- I admit, I really like the idea of this, although I fear that it might create an early rush to destroy Ace. Which will not be fun for Ace. It won't work all the time, but it might happen enough to lower the fun factor for Ace and change the dynamics of the early game where everyone gangs up only to get back to the normal game afterwards. On the plus side, it does force all players to adjust their thinking and I do like that.

ANGLER -- Simple and to the point which is nice, although it seems to be a bit of a subset of Sniveler, but I do think it's different enough to stand on it's own. The Wild is a little awkward, I think, with the majority vote thing ... might it have been better to just say: "if not, you must take one card from the discard pile at random, then shuffle...".

BRIDE -- I think the power itself is interesting, but I really hate the name for some reason and I'm not sure why (I haven't had a bad marriage experience), the second I read it I guess it didn't seem alieny, either way I can't put my finger on it. Was it considered to have Bride, maybe at the start of their turn, choose who to marry ... rather than wait for the opponent they want? That might be the only thing I'd change power-wise.

DAREDEVIL -- I really like this one, gives the player some choice and strategy. However, as a Daredevil, would it be appropriate to include some sort of downside if he fails when using his power? Possibly something like ... "If you use this power and win by more than 3 [or lose the encounter], you must discard a number of cards at random equal to the number of ships you have in the encounter." I know that might be a bit strong, but just throwing that out there.

Edit: Seeing Barney's response below made me think that the Daredevilish part is the fact that he could cost himself the encounter.

ENGINEER -- It's nice to see an alien specifically used for Tech, of course, it will need the Use With Technology stamp.

Edit: I suppose, rather than a Use With Technology stamp .. it could simply have Game Setup text. That way, as mentioned by Barney, you wouldn't even need to be using the variant in general.

EXTRACTOR -- The "conduit" language is a bit funny, but seeing Bill's explanation I get it, although I would still prefer something along the lines of: "sacrifice one of your ships to choose one of the following: .... The first time you use this power, choose 1 ship ... You must remove 2 of your ships from the game when you use this power a second time, etc." Also, as far as the Super goes, I can think of a couple reasons why someone would want to help you, but can think of more reasons why they wouldn't want to, so it doesn't feel very Super to me ... maybe either force another player to pay for it, or, allow Extractor to always pay just 1 ship no matter how many times he uses his power.

GRIFTER -- It's a little bit like Magician, with a dash of Gambler and Trickster. I like the idea because it's an active power that keeps the main players involved even after the encounter cards are revealed. I can see some frustration by the losing player ... but it would be nice to gain second colony if they pick the right card. I would also wonder if this would work as the opposite ... If you win the encounter you can challenge your opponent to try and gain a second colony yourself, etc. Not a fan of the 30 seconds in the rules for the Wild, but I get the slight of hand meta-game of a Grifter ... however, I'm not sure how I would change it otherwise at the moment.

HOST -- Simple and a nice way to include the unused flares, which is something that CE needed ... although depending on the flares drawn, I can see the deck being inundated with flares.

KLUTZ -- Another simple and easy to use power, I think the Super is a bit fiddly ... although right now I don't have an alternative to suggest.

MUCKRAKER -- I like the idea, but it's a lot to do just to throw 1 ally out of the encounter ... how about forcing your opponent to choose and discard a non-encounter card from his hand to keep his ally, or allies? Even that's a little weak and a bit similar to Magnet (or was it Chrystal, I can't remember exactly). It would force a change of the Super ... maybe each player on the opposing side would need to discard a non-encounter card to stay in the encounter, if the opponent cannot or will not then they automatically lose the encounter.

VANGUARD -- I'm indifferent to this, I like the idea, but I can see it prolonging the game a bit. I'm okay with that, but it could drag things out at times. And maybe having a token to identify the Vanguard planet would be helpful.

Edit: Good to see that the encounter is more of a mini-encounter, of it won't drag the game on then I think I like it

WHIRLAGIG -- This seems like the Oracle flare, but happens on a more regular basis. I think this alien settles in along the lines of Dervish and Changeling creating quite a bit of chaos, and it really negates any kind of hand management. I think it will be enjoyed by players who love chaos and hated by players that prefer more strategy.

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ACE - I would want to hear about how this does in playtesting. On the surface, it appeals to me for its unique quality.

ANGLER - Well, this is clearly a card gaining power, but since it's been on a few people's wish list for so long and because it is such an obviously innovative idea, I think it's a must have for the set.

BRIDE - Having a power that lets you literally plan out encounters with another player is pretty unique. I am fine with the name and theme here.

DAREDEVIL - This is a better name than Peril for sure. I think you could get away with making this green. It's another card gainer, but I really like the idea of players trying to reduce how much they are winning by. It is its own weakness (since it can really backfire on your).

ENGINEER - I love this. I think it's high time you had an alien that uses the Tech (and you don't need to have several Tech aliens, nor do you have to require Tech in the game).

EXTRACTOR - I am not crazy about the whole subspace conduits thing. I don't think you need it. It's an interesting alien. I'm with Adam on the super flare. I don't think it will get used enough for a flare. It could in the power, but the super should be something more useful.

GRIFTER - This could be great or terrible. And not easy to know until you play it.

HOST - I love it.

KLUTZ - Seems pretty straight forward. Maybe it isn't that exciting, compared to the others, but not a bad power.

MUCKRAKER - Not sure this will have enough going on to be interesting.

VANGUARD - I have been playing this one for some time. It's good and fun, and does not really slow the game down. The pre-encounter only takes about a minute. The offense has to decide if he can win a double, or just use the time to dump a bad card without losing ships.

WHIRLIGIG - This is kind of Dervishish to me. I think better powers can be had.
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These are some pretty cool ideas. The ones that seem coolest to me based on reading them are the Bride (which I think sounds hilarious), Angler, and Host.

I agree with Adam on the following (although I haven't actually seen the alien in use, so take it with a grain of salt):
oatesatm wrote:

HOST -- Simple and a nice way to include the unused flares, which is something that CE needed ... although depending on the flares drawn, I can see the deck being inundated with flares.


I wonder if it would be better if the used flares were removed from the game rather than placed in the discard pile? However, doing that would remove the possibility of other people accessing the flares that Host used, which might make it too strong.
 
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My two cents:

Ace - I already commented on that.

Angler - I like it exactly as it is. It's an interesting enough power, and it can do some very interesting things.

Bride - Very interesting concept. The Wild is a little ambiguous to me. Does it count as a lose for the Offense? an unsuccessful encounter? The second part ("The offensive player's turn ends and play passes") seems to cancel Machine's power - Does he get to use his power or does "play passes"? All in all, I like it and I want to see how does it play out.

Daredevil - I don't know if you playtested it or not, but my concern is that a player will be afraid to use his power. Even if he does have the exact attack card to make the totals differ by only 3 points, his opponent (or his allies) can still play a Reinforcement +3 to win as the defense. It's a big risk that I don't think some players will take. Oh, and the rewards for doing that is cards from the deck for him and for his allies, just like Tide does only better - He doesn't risk losing the encounter, and most of the times, he'll have more tokens on his sheet than the number of ships Daredevil had in the encounter. I do like the concept of risking something to gain something, but in this case I think the risk is too high while the gain is too low. I also like the Wild.

Engineer - Great. I would very much like to playtest it.

Extractor - Great concept. I like the way he have to lose ships forever to use his power. Again, I would love to playtest it. One question: The Super Flare says that he can "invite" one or more other players to sacrifice ships for him. What does it mean? Do other player can refuse this invitation? If they can, why would they agree to such invite?

Grifter - I think I don't like it. Basically for the same reason I don't like Trickster. One problem, regardless: If Grifter had three cards in his hand, let's say those cards are the Attack -07 and two flares. He had to play the only attack in his hand, and due to his mandatory power, he just gave his opponent two foreign colonies (The monte won't work in that case because the card back of the encounter card is different) so not only his power didn't help him to win the encounter, it helped his opponent to a great deal. Maybe this power should be Optional.

Host - Great and interesting power.

Klutz - I don't understand - When you "place more than one of your ships... bump one ship off of an adjacent planet" or "Fumbled ships go to the warp"? It kind of contradict each other, doesn't it? About the power itself - I like the ability to discard some of the cards he's getting but I don't like the weird thing he can do with his super. My table is very big, you can almost never miss it. I don't know, to me, it seems too silly. How is this idea for his Super: "When you fumble a card using your power, you may fumble it into any player's hand"?

Muckraker - So basically it's a Force Field (or not) on one player throughout the game (or until you lose your power). I guess it could lead to some interesting dilemma - "Should I give up my wild Virus to let Cavalry help me win this encounter as my ally?", "Should I discard my Mobius Tubes to kick out Warpish from this encounter?", "What if another player will cancel my discarding by discarding another card?". I guess different groups will handle this differently. Oh, and I don't think it should be a Green-alert alien. Yellow, at least.

Vanguard - Cool. In addition to what Roberta said, I suggest adding to the first paragraph - "If you do have, you may move your token to a different planet in your system" - to address what she said in her first paragraph.

Whirligig - Not interesting enough. It's based too much on luck.
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For me Ace seems very intresting but I suspect;
A: Everybody will gang up in defense and offense against him.
B: It will also really depend on the amount of players. In a 5ply game the game could be over in first round even if ply tries to stop him:

Ace (black) begins -> draws red
-> attack red (blue, orange and green allies) -> Wins
(high card or something like that, not unlikely first round)
Red draws green -> Wins -> draws green.
Green draws blue -> Wins -> draws blue.
Blue draws orange -> Wins -> draws orange.
Orange draws green -> Wins -> draws blue.
-> Ace has won.

I admit it is a "super unlikly" event, but most to make my point that even If all player helped (by letting everybody land) and play for second rounds. If they dont win even fewer destiny is drawn!
 
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Now those are a wonderful set of aliens. Good job to all those who came up with their development.

My least favourites are Ace and Grifter. Ace would disrupt the game it seems and focus too much on stopping him. Would like to play a game with him though for sure to see.

Grifter is just not my cup of tea. Losing an encounter to potentially keep a good card for a future encounter. Meh.

I do love, love the idea of Muckracker. Sounds so fun to play. The cost do seems hi to the other players, but if we can make it work, it would become of my all-time favourite alien.

Good job all, looking very much forward to seeing other blocks of aliens.
 
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Here's the theory on Super Extractor.

The alien power starts out cheap, gets more expensive, and then becomes literally impossible to use. Imagine that you've spent 1+2+3 ships and have only 14 left, or you've spent 1+2+3+4 and have only 10 left. Now you don't want to, or can't, spend any more.

But you're in an encounter where it's important to win (or crucial to make the other side lose). Or the non-main players are all desperate for the Quash, or whatever. You say to the other like-minded players, "I could grab that [card we need] out of the discard pile, but I can't afford it ... who can help me?" Wouldn't two or three other players chip in just 1 or 2 ships each to buy the outcome they desperately want? I certainly would!

And a shrewd Extractor would probably start using this super even earlier (if he had it). The moment I had that flare, I would start saying things like "I can get [yadda yadda] card and play it right now against [threat guy] if even one of you will help me with just one ship." The whole point of the flare is to give the Extractor one or maybe two more "pick a card, any card" uses of his power, and to keep it from being technically impossible to use his power after spending 10 ships.

But it tries to do so in a very socially interactive way: you have to finesse it; sell it. We have so very many effects that just do what they do; I want to see more that cause the players to negotiate and discuss, to leverage and shame and lie and believe and disbelieve. To get somebody to grudgingly do something they'd rather not do, for the good of the coalition.

We have to play it to see if it really works, but I want to at least try it before we throw it out.
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I like Extractor a lot. My suggestion was to make the super part of the power. He can always try to coax others into helping pay the cost of a "sure thing", and then the Super would give him some way to bring his ships back into the game (like during his regroup; retrieve a ship from out of the game instead of out of the warp). It is slow, so I think it avoids serious abuse, but does give him a chance to get one or two more power uses per game.
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The Warp wrote:
My suggestion was to make the super part of the power.

I was thinking the same thing; let's try it.

I'm a little surprised by the pushback on the conduit thing, considering that Cosmic has a pretty long history of story words in game text: throw a celebration party, take a spin, loot your opponent's cards, pray for divine intervention, put it in cold storage, infect that player, the planet is then "fumigated," healed player, devour the planet, hired ships, gobble up a card, show of loyalty, activated remotes, the player you flatter, subjugated ships.... (I refuse to mention the one on Arcade.)

But since several have mentioned it, here's what the power could look like without the theme word, and also trying to incorporate some of the other feedback (as well as clarify whether the ship sacrifice comes before or after any potential zap). Is this better?
You have the power to Extract. You may use this power to target one of the following areas: the cosmic deck, reward deck (if in play), or unused flare deck; one of those decks' discard piles; or one player's hand. Destroy one or more of your ships (chosen from anywhere in play) by removing them from the game. Then look through the cards in the targeted area for up to 30 seconds, take one of them, and add it to your hand. If you looked through a deck, shuffle it afterwards. You may use this power at any time, even during another game effect (e.g., to obtain a zap card to cancel an effect that was just announced). You may not extract the same card (or any copy of it) twice in the same game.

The number of ships that must be destroyed to use this power increases with each successful use: exactly 1 the first time, 2 the second, 3 the third, and so on. You may invite other players to destroy their own ship(s) to help you meet this requirement.

SUPER: If you invite all other players to help you destroy ships and none do, you may choose any players' ships in play to meet your destruction requirement.

Rubric wrote:
What happens at 31 seconds? I assume the power fails, and you do not get a card.

Once you've invoked your power (and it isn't zapped), then it's mandatory to look through the targeted area and take a card. So if you run out of time, then you just have to grab something.

Rubric wrote:
when does the clock start, who keeps track, is the timekeeper required to (or allowed to) give you a countdown when the time is nearly out, what is allowed to still occur after the time limit (like, how much time do you have to actually "take" the card, now that your time to "look" has expired) and so on.

Answer those questions for deals, and you've answered them for any other effect that has a time limit. In other words, this burden needs to be borne by the rules, not each effect that uses a timer.

In my experience, nobody enforces this in real time. When a deal is running long, somebody usually just says "okay, it's been more than a minute; make a decision now" and the guy makes a decision now.

(By the way, I think a 60-second time limit is a clean way to solve the #1 complaint about Aristocrat as well.)
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1. I didn't mind the conduit thing.

2. I agree with making the "old" super part of his power.

3. I like the new version.
 
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