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

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Ken H.
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salty53 wrote:
Rubric wrote:
I wish the artwork had been consistent across the colors -- that could have been another hook.

It's not consistent? I thought all the planet colors were completely solid player color on one side and a red/yellow/green/blue/grey pictures of planets on the other side.


Yes, it's consistent. I just went off the rocker for a minute. Back now.

Basically, I remember thinking way back when the FFG set came out, that they should have used different planet images on the disks. So, each player could have a barren-looking planet, an earth-like planet, a gas giant, etc. That way, aliens could have a way to tie in to a specific type of planet, and the "types" would be otherwise unobtrusive in most games.

Somehow, my brain got wires crossed, and I was thinking they actually DID do that, and then I made the natural assumption that they had done it wrong.



Edit:
Bill wrote:
In effect, we each have A, B, C, D, and E planets, and everyone's A planet is somehow related to everyone else's.

Another challenge is that it may be difficult to write this stuff elegantly ... "the planet with the same highlight color in its artwork in another player's system" ... ick.


Yes, that's what I was talking about. The challenge would be somewhat easier if the planets had distinct artwork. Or even just letters printed on them.
 
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Just a Bill
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Rubric wrote:
then I made the natural assumption that they had done it wrong.

Hilarious and sad that this would be the natural assumption.

Rubric wrote:
Or even just letters printed on them.

So glad they didn't do that. I really appreciate the clean, cinematic look of the planets, ships, tokens, cardbacks not having words and numbers everywhere.

Mayfair was ugly all around, but they really blew it with those stupid dingbat symbols on the system hexes in Simply Cosmic, and the fact that they felt compelled to stamp the destiny deck with the word "DESTINY" and the moons with big, ugly "MOON" text vomited across the artwork. (And why? Who would ever get confused about which components were the moons?)

One of the reasons the FFG version is the best in my book, and something that helps make up for the horrible wordsmithing, is the elegance and beauty of the graphical design. Stamping ABCs on the planets would be kinda like putting a barcode on a painting.
 
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Just a Bill
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Just noticed this on Vanguard:

The Warp wrote:
... (after he or she loads the hyperspace gate, but before pointing it at any planet) ...

This is how things worked under Eon, but FFG changed the sequence so that you aim the gate first, then load the ships. So I guess this would change to one of the following, depending on the desired timing:

• before the hyperspace gate is aimed
• after the hyperspace gate is aimed but before ships are launched
• after ships are launched
 
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Shane Brewer
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Just a quick comment on Host and the worry that it is overpowered.

It does have some built in self-limiting factors:

1. It only refreshes it's collection of flares (soul-jar?) on the change of a turn rather than each encounter so it must decide when to play a flare and when to hold it. It's a gamble to play everything on the first encounter because maybe it should be saved for the second encounter. It's also a gamble to hold something for a second encounter because it may not actually happen. Powerful flares may not be optimally used or may be unplayable because the Host is trying to choose just the right time.

2. If Host does get one or two great flares and wants to hold them for just the right time then the Host will only be refreshing one or two cards and thus not truly utilizing it's potential.

3. Every flare is a one shot deal that may eventually come back to haunt the Host when it is added to the deck.

4. Finally, Host's power gets zapped by both Card and Cosmic Zaps.

I am definitely interested in the playtest results (I'm not sure where the best place to post them is for the Facebook crowd but for the BGGers please add them to the Alien thread which is HERE). I've got some tweaks in mind if necessary but I like things the way they are for the most part.

Lastly, I do love the "Host" name and, to a lesser degree, the power to channel. However, if someone has a better "power to _____" I would love to hear it. Some ideas "Power to Embody" or "Power to Animate".

Also, I'll add my mini-review of the other aliens soon. (Quick preview: this package of 12 kicks Storm's 25 in the...well...you know.)

Finally...Lastly...Also...where the heck is my editor? Bill?
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DrBrewhaha wrote:
4. Finally, Host's power gets zapped by both Card and Cosmic Zaps.

I think this is significant, and also kind of interesting. If a player happens to have both, which one does he spend?

I'm not too worried about Host being overpowerful. Having played Cyborg and gotten stuck with two or three unplayable flares on my sheet, I'm sure that sometimes players will be screaming that Virus I mean Host is broken, and then other times the Host player will be just begging to finally get a decent flare in his next refresh. We tend to think of flares as holy-grailish cards, but actually a lot are pretty weak.

I think it's a good power that changes the complexion of the game in a nontrivial (but not catastrophic) way. It's especially impressive considering it's basically Shane's first real entry.

DrBrewhaha wrote:
I am definitely interested in the playtest results ... please add them to the Alien thread which is HERE).

We might want to set up central locations for playtest results. Jack, I guess we should think a bit about what's the best way to organize that so it doesn't become unmanageable.

DrBrewhaha wrote:
Finally...Lastly...Also...where the heck is my editor? Bill?

Right here ... whatcha need?
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I think Host needs his flares to be removed from the game after use, not added to the discard pile, or you are gonna have a game where everyone's hands are bogged down in stupid flares.
 
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Messianic wrote:
I think Host needs his flares to be removed from the game after use, not added to the discard pile, or you are gonna have a game where everyone's hands are bogged down in stupid flares.

Actually, making the game flare-heavy is one of the things I like about this alien. It's something new. The game could take on a whole different timbre, depending on how the Host player approaches his power.
 
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Ken H.
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DrBrewhaha wrote:
Lastly, I do love the "Host" name and, to a lesser degree, the power to channel. However, if someone has a better "power to _____" I would love to hear it. Some ideas "Power to Embody" or "Power to Animate".


Well, it's growing on me the more I think about it. I like Host and I like the power to Channel. I just don't think they go together very strongly. Are hosts known for channeling?

As used here, I think Host refers to a person who is possessed by a demon or infected with a parasite. Or, it could be a reference to the biblical word for army. None of these things really "channel", though.

When I think of channel, I think of a medium allowing communication with spirits. It also means copying somebody's mannerisms. Both of those meanings fit the mechanics.

Between the two, "channel" is probably the stronger connection to what the alien is actually doing, as opposed to "Host".

I won't belabor the issue any further, though. It's in the ballpark regardless.
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Messianic wrote:
I think Host needs his flares to be removed from the game after use, not added to the discard pile, or you are gonna have a game where everyone's hands are bogged down in stupid flares.

Actually, making the game flare-heavy is one of the things I like about this alien. It's something new. The game could take on a whole different timbre, depending on how the Host player approaches his power.


I tend to agree. I think adding flares to the deck is one of the strengths and key features and I wouldn't want to totally eliminate it. And chances are the flares that get added will be the good ones rather than the lame ones. More flares means more crazy encounters with lots going and AND it will also me more new hands and card turnover.

All that being said, I understand Chris' point and will be interested in the playtest feedback.
 
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Rubric wrote:
DrBrewhaha wrote:
Lastly, I do love the "Host" name and, to a lesser degree, the power to channel. However, if someone has a better "power to _____" I would love to hear it. Some ideas "Power to Embody" or "Power to Animate".


Well, it's growing on me the more I think about it. I like Host and I like the power to Channel. I just don't think they go together very strongly. Are hosts known for channeling?

As used here, I think Host refers to a person who is possessed by a demon or infected with a parasite. Or, it could be a reference to the biblical word for army. None of these things really "channel", though.

When I think of channel, I think of a medium allowing communication with spirits. It also means copying somebody's mannerisms. Both of those meanings fit the mechanics.

Between the two, "channel" is probably the stronger connection to what the alien is actually doing, as opposed to "Host".

I won't belabor the issue any further, though. It's in the ballpark regardless.


I hear you Chris. One of the alternate names I considered was Legion (the Biblical one "for we are many") but I was worried it was too Biblical and less Cosmic. Great name for a rock band but maybe not an alien. Other possibilities are Host with the Power of Many or Power of Legion? or maybe Legion with the Power to Host or the Power of Many?

But I don't necessarily feel the need to change.
 
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Messianic wrote:
I think Host needs his flares to be removed from the game after use, not added to the discard pile, or you are gonna have a game where everyone's hands are bogged down in stupid flares.


As I mentioned earlier, I worry a little but about this too so I'll be interested to see how playtesting goes because I do think I like the alien. I would worry that as the game progresses, if it tends to drag a bit, that when people draw cards or hands that they get few encounter cards and many non-encounter cards.
 
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We tend to play with a lot of flares (at least 5 per player) and it's always a blast. I don't see a problem with adding to discard pile...

-shnar
 
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Regarding Muckraker - What if he could:

A. Add to his hand one of the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power? Or maybe -
B. Add to his hand all the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power? Or maybe -
C. Add to his hand all the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power only if the accusation stands? Or maybe -
D. Add to his hand all the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power only if the accusation doesn't stand?

Would one of these proposals make him too powerful? Not powerful enough?
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Shane Brewer
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shnar wrote:
We tend to play with a lot of flares (at least 5 per player) and it's always a blast. I don't see a problem with adding to discard pile...

-shnar


That's good to know.
 
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Just a Bill
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homertve wrote:
Regarding Muckraker - What if he could:

A. Add to his hand one of the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power? Or maybe -
B. Add to his hand all the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power? Or maybe -
C. Add to his hand all the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power only if the accusation stands? Or maybe -
D. Add to his hand all the non-encounter-cards discarded by using his power only if the accusation doesn't stand?

Good thought process. One thing that's cool about C is that it gives the Muckraker an incentive to discard his own cards in order to make the accusation stick. And this could feed itself, since the cards he gained last time can be used to make the slander stick this time.

A potential concern, though, is if this made everyone else feel that defending against an accusation was hopeless, or too much of a benefit for Muckraker, and thus nobody really discarded cards. Roberta already thinks nobody will discard anyway, and this seems to give them more incentive to prove her right.

Maybe the whole thing needs to be re-centered on targeting main players instead of allies, with the stakes being higher. Essentially turn some form of the Super flare into the power.
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Maybe the whole thing needs to be re-centered on targeting main players instead of allies, with the stakes being higher. Essentially turn some form of the Super flare into the power.

I said this earlier.

What if you get to target the main player, but if the accused gets kicked out of the encounter, he's the one that gets the discarded cards?
 
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logopolys wrote:
I said this earlier.

Whoops, sorry I missed that.

logopolys wrote:
What if you get to target the main player, but if the accused gets kicked out of the encounter, he's the one that gets the discarded cards?

I thought about something like that, but I'm kinda trying not to make yet another encounter auto-win effect.

Here's another approach. It unfortunately loses the king-of-the-hill card voting mechanism, but I think provides a clearer benefit:
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. Name any number as your "bribe threshold" and then discard any one card from your hand for each winning ally you wish to slander. 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. If you are an ally and your side won, the main player on your side may protect any or all allies from your power. You may not accuse yourself.
(Main Player or Ally Only) (Optional) (Resolution)

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) (Resolution)

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) (Resolution)


In a game against this guy, I'd be pretty happy to draw junk like the kicker x0 and reinforcement +2.
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
logopolys wrote:
What if you get to target the main player, but if the accused gets kicked out of the encounter, he's the one that gets the discarded cards?

I thought about something like that, but I'm kinda trying not to make yet another encounter auto-win effect.

I don't see it as an auto-win effect at all. Maybe you didn't understand what I meant; I was looking to give super-compensation to the player that got kicked out.
 
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logopolys wrote:
Bill Martinson wrote:
logopolys wrote:
What if you get to target the main player, but if the accused gets kicked out of the encounter, he's the one that gets the discarded cards?

I thought about something like that, but I'm kinda trying not to make yet another encounter auto-win effect.

I don't see it as an auto-win effect at all. Maybe you didn't understand what I meant; I was looking to give super-compensation to the player that got kicked out.

But targeting the main player and kicking him out of the encounter before cards are selected is basically an auto-win effect. At least that's what the current Super flare does. What was your intent for when a main player is kicked out?

As far as the super-compensation for who's kicked out, doesn't that take us deeper into the territory of "weaker than Magnet"?
 
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You could take a page from Cosmic Storm (I know, stop me!) and if an offensive player is kicked out, the encounter continues with zero ships. That player still has to play the encounter card and get the ramifications of a win/loss (and possible deal situation?)

Also, I feel like option D will at least not discourage players from discarding (only if the accusation does not stand). Though I think Muckraker should only be able to pick up one card from that action, not all.

What it means is if no one stands up for the accused, Muckraker gets nothing, but that player is out. If one person drops a card, the player stays in, and Muckraker or anyone else can dump a card to kick them out again. This means Muckraker could dispose of the occasional undesirable non-encounter card (Mobius Tubes, if it hurts others way more than him, or a bad kicker). Someone else has to drop a third card to keep that player back in the encounter, and Muckraker could potentially pick his card back up if the state doesn't change again.
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
logopolys wrote:
Bill Martinson wrote:
logopolys wrote:
What if you get to target the main player, but if the accused gets kicked out of the encounter, he's the one that gets the discarded cards?

I thought about something like that, but I'm kinda trying not to make yet another encounter auto-win effect.

I don't see it as an auto-win effect at all. Maybe you didn't understand what I meant; I was looking to give super-compensation to the player that got kicked out.

But targeting the main player and kicking him out of the encounter before cards are selected is basically an auto-win effect. At least that's what the current Super flare does. What was your intent for when a main player is kicked out?

I think we were looking at auto-win in two different ways. I was describing something which the accused could still win in, depending on how people vote. I look at auto-win as something closer to Pacifist.
 
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The Warp wrote:
You could take a page from Cosmic Storm (I know, stop me!) and if an offensive player is kicked out, the encounter continues with zero ships.

If you're "kicked out" of the encounter, you can't really still be participating enough to play an encounter card. (So we should draw a clear distinction between "ships sent away" and "player kicked out," which are two very different things.) If you want to have the concept that "kicking out" a main player means he is still involved in the encounter, then this would imply that an ally who is kicked out still "counts as an ally" but just has no ships. That's messy, inconsistent with other effects, and probably will cause interpretation problems.

All of which is why I started going away from the pre-reveal kicking-out-altogether thing and focusing on a post-reveal denial-of-benefits approach ... which I now find more interesting anyway. I don't think anything else really does this.
 
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Bill wrote:
Cosmic Encounter, in my opinion, has lost a little of its essence in how much it has been "sanitized" in the modern version, and by the reluctance to incorporate things like moons. The game can benefit by including a few more of those "holy crap, that's completely ridiculous" elements. (Of course I mean ridiculous in the sense of unconventional or over the top, not in the sense of broken-powerful, useless, or derivative.) This kind of thing was a core part of Cosmic's identity, and one of the reasons I fell in love with it.


I just wanted to highlight this little nugget from earlier in the thread since it got passed by quickly without comment. It really resonated with me and I think it's important that we don't necessarily have to turn Cosmic Encounter into an advanced space combat simulation. There is room for some craziness. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
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Ok, some quick thoughts.

Ace - love it. It immediately evokes a "How the heck do we stop this alien?" and "What are the sneaky ways I can win with this alien?" response. Nothing boring about it. It changes the way the game is played which is very cool.

Angler - pure and simple. A Finder with Gills. Needs to be added to beef up the Green alien collection - oh wait, it's Yellow. Hmmmm. Still good but I could make a case for Green (once a little card knowledge is gained).

Bride - really like this one. Lots to the power but written in a nice, concise way. For some reason the theme feels weird. It just doesn't feel like space alien them - more like a Agricola theme.

Daredevil - I like the idea of the daredevil - the Power of Risk - but I have never had any luck with aliens where you discard a low attack card to do something. It seems like I always have cards that just miss the cutoff. Maybe playtesting will point the way.

Engineer - I really like a tech-alien. I am always sad that the tech cards lie mostly unplayed by my group. This seems like a clever way to make use of unused cards and would be popular in my group.

Extractor - when I read this alien I was really hit with a NetRunner vibe. An alien than can access the corporate stacks that are protected by ice. Now there's a game with specialized terminology. The price is high though.

Grifter - one of those unsanitized Martinson aliens. I think I would be happy to have it in the game. It would definitely add something new.

Host - In my mind I have a vision of how it should play. I hope it lives up to that vision.

Klutz - I love the power of clumsiness but wish there was a better way to implement it. As it is it really has nothing to do with clumsiness - just discard a couple lame cards and relocate a ship. The power of clumsiness deserves more.

Muckraker - I like the mechanics but think they might need a little tweaking with a higher payoff. Has potential and will need to see it in play.

Vanguard - I like this one. The vanguard encounter offers a cool way for the player to get cards or make it tough on the opposition. Are allies invited during the vanguard encounter?

Whirligig - this one just feels a little too derivative. I wonder is there is some tweaking that can be done to make it more unique.

Overall a really good set. Even my least favorites, Daredevil and Whirligig, might be nice with a little tweaking. Here's to a 50-alien expansion.
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ACE Very clever. Maybe too clever. I think this will result in no fun for the Ace player, or the other players. He can never be invited as an offensive ally, and if the other players are smart, they should never invite him on defense, either. It's basically one player playing a solitaire game, while the rest play Cosmic Encounter.

ANGLER Excellent as-is. A

BRIDE Clever, but weak. What motivation does the spouse have to show you cards or trade them with you? It becomes a weaker version of Parasite. You can ally at will with another person, and they with you. There's no actual significance to the marriage, though. They have no special reason to make extra deals for cards with you. Maybe if the Bride and her spouse automatically shared the other's victory. C

DAREDEVIL Seems like a very weak version of Mercenary. Mercenary gets rewards as a winning main player always - regardless of margin of victory. Mercenary gets rewards as a winning offensive ally, always, which Daredevil never gets. Mercenary doesn't grant any additional rewards to his allies. Mercenary can take Rewards - cards from the deck, from the Reward deck, or ships from the warp. Daredevil only takes cards from the deck. Does the ability to discard one low attack card make up for the reduced Mercenary ability? Needs work. D

ENGINEER Pretty good! It's a little odd that you're motivated to have lots of ships in the warp. It probably needs to be reworded a bit to account for the techs that aren't revealed until used. I applaud the inclusion of an alien that deals with Technology (as long as it's a good alien). B+

EXTRACTOR OK. "Extractor" doesn't really match "Subspace Conduits", and "Subspace Conduits" doesn't really match what the power does. There's no conduit - it's just a one-time extraction. Also, it seems very weak - it can be used a maximum of 5 times in the game, and if it is used five times, you'll have five ships left to play with. Compare to Angler, Aristocrat, Scavenger (Cosmic Storm), etc. Maybe let the sacrificed ships just go to the warp instead or out of the game. Super is useless. D+

GRIFTER Is this intended to be a 2-in-3 chance to turn a loss into a win? If so, then this is a minor, unbalanced version of Trickster - an already boring power. If it's really intended to be a real three-card-monty game, then this makes CE into a dexterity game, relying on the slight-of-hand skills of the player (which would probably devolve into a version of the Trickster anyway.) No fun: Opponent has three foreign colonies, gets a lucky guess against Grifter, wins the game. What does the Wild mean when it says, "If the revealed card is not your card and it changes the outcome of the encounter to your favor"? F

HOST OK. Sort of like Cyborg, but with flares only. Sort of like Aristocrat. Not too bad, but I'd recommend using Aristocrat instead. C

KLUTZ Seems a bit weak, but maybe not. What if there are no ships on adjacent planets? What if only your own ships are on adjacent planets? Must you knock off one of your own ships? The Wild isn't useful to the one who plays it. Why would you ever use the Super as an offensive ally? And as the offense, wouldn't you just drop your ships directly on the table? Thus you can save all of them from the warp if you lose, or keep them all in the encounter if you would win. B-

MUCKRAKER Also clever, but not interesting. Discard the most interesting cards in the deck, without effect, to stop or keep one ally. Compare to Magnet, or Mayfair's Subversive. Other players have very little motivation to help another player remain an ally - certainly not "discard a non-encounter card" motivation. And the player affected can't do anything about it himself! D+

VANGUARD Needs work on the wording. Weak and slow. All it does is make it harder for players to gain colonies in your system. They effectively have to win two encounters in a row. Compare to Filth and Pygmy. Or to Mercenary. Essentially, you get an extra defensive encounter - you can either gain rewards if you win, and end your opponent's turn, or you can dump a low encounter card, or you can play an N and drain your opponent's hand. The "Vanguard Planet" doesn't seem at all necessary. C+

WHIRLIGIG Meh. A random version of Trader. C-
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