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Subject: Alternate Reward Deck rss

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Jack Reda
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Crosspost from Cosmic Encounter on Facebook:


The plan right now for the Fan Expansion is to include an alternate Reward deck. This will allow us to include some new card types that players can get, new artifacts, and ultimately give players the option of combining both Reward decks into one 64 card deck.

So this Alt Reward Deck needs to stand on its own, and its 32 cards should probably have a mix of cards comparable to the other Reward Deck..

The Original Reward Deck is part of Cosmic Incursion (the first expansion), and is composed of:

11 Attack cards (-7, -4, -1, 10, 10, 10, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23)
3 Crooked Deal Negotiates
4 Reinforcements (+4, +5, +5, +6)
1 Morph
4 Kickers (x0, x2, x2, x3)
4 Rifts (3, 4, 4, 5)
5 Artifacts (Card Zap, Cosmic Zap, Hand Zap, Finder, Space Junk)

What new cards do you want to see in the new deck?
What mix of existing card types should there be?
What new artifacts should we include?
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Do we have all 'artifacts' from EON or even Mayfair? Like Rebirth or Warp Break (though I supposed Rifts are sorta like Warp Breaks)? Or Timegash or Victory Boon? New ones in general would be good. I also wouldn't mind seeing more unusual Attack cards, just odd numbers not yet seen (do we have an Attack 0 yet?).

Either way, just having a thicker reward deck would be very nice

-shnar

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Alex Pseudonym
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This is a good start for possible negotiate variants: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/799834/negotiate-epic-orator...
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Barney Bustoffson
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shnar wrote:
Either way, just having a thicker reward deck would be very nice :)


This.

We need Timegash, Victory Boon, and Rebirth. Some kind of Wild Zap.

There are some crazy ones on the warp. Maybe some of the powers that don't get made could be made into artifacts.
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Jack Reda
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Back in the 90's, I created a Edict deck (the old term for Artifacts, and it was the original Reward Deck. Whenever you gained rewards, you could draw one card from the Edict Deck as part of them. This was how I tried out all the crazy edict ideas that were out there. A lot of them were pretty goofy after a few players. There was one called Ubiquitous that let you all on both sides, which was pretty good. But my favorite was the Wild Zap.

I did a FFG version last year for my set, and it can zap:

Alien Power, Artifacts, Flares, a Ship, Reinforcement, Kicker, or Rift.

It's pretty fabulous.

And I also added the Ship Zap card that Bill has, and it's a very popular.

My set beefs up Rebirth to let a player re-establish colonies on any or all home planets. I always loved Victory Boon. And I think Timegash is worth having back in the game.
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Just a Bill
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The first reward deck provided three new artifacts, but I think we need to fit more than that into Reward Deck 2; probably like 6 or 7. Statistically, we will probably need another Card Zap and Cosmic Zap, so I'd like to suggest that we take the 4 rift slots from the first RD and spend them on 4 more artifacts in RD2. That would allow us a total of 9 artifacts, two of which would be Cosmic Zap and Card Zap. And maybe another Mobius Tubes, thus leaving 6 slots for new artifacts, at least 3 or 4 of which should be Eon/Mayfair classics.

The Warp wrote:
But my favorite was the Wild Zap.

I like this concept, but "wild zap" sounds a bit like something that zaps things that are wild (wild flares, wild destiny); so I'd like to advocate something like "Omni-Zap." Regardless of the name, I think it should have a built-in cost since such a card is clearly a superset of the other zaps; it should be expensive to use.

This will be especially important when Mesmer gets printed. If Mesmer has to remove, say, two or three of his ships from the game every time he prints an Omni-Zap for free, it can be self-balancing.

The Warp wrote:
And I also added the Ship Zap card that Bill has, and it's a very popular.

Ship Zap has become one of my favorite add-on artifacts. When everyone knows it's lurking in the reward deck, the boring old SOP of leaving just one ship on every foreign colony is suddenly out the window; you have to think more about your fleet arrangement.

The Warp wrote:
My set beefs up Rebirth to let a player re-establish colonies on any or all home planets. I always loved Victory Boon. And I think Timegash is worth having back in the game.

Those three are pretty essential additions for me, and have felt kind of absent since 2008. I'd also like to see Sanity, but I'm not sure we really need Keeper and Warp Break.

Mayfair's Solar Wind has grown on me. I think it's a pretty good effect as long as it works post-reveal.

I've got propose wordings for most of these in the Cosmorium.
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Adam McLean
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I was thinking that there could be some Precursor Rejects ... Some of the weaker alien powers that don't get chosen maybe can get a card of their own or just turn some of those weaker powers into artifacts.

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Ian Toltz
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These two are my favorites from the Cosmorium. Both are great for screwing with the end game and making decisions more difficult.





Would enjoy seeing them as 'official' cards.
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A few more Rifts so that taking Reward cards from other players is still risky. If not Rifts, then maybe some other dual-purpose card that explodes when stolen.

Weird encounter cards. Those Reflect cards in the Cosmorium look like a good idea.

Bustoffson wrote:
We need Timegash, Victory Boon, and Rebirth.


Having just looked these up, wow. These look fun.
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Lance Codarin
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as written on facebook i'd say flare zap (to be used only on the freewheeling variant)

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Jack Reda
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Because of the different card art than the cosmic deck, I kind of feel like the Rift mechanism is essential. There should be a card that does one thing for you, but if taken from you explodes.

This alternate Rift could work on something different than ships. So you could have card Rifts (discard this at a regroup to take 3/4/5 cards from either someone's hand, the deck (and/or discard?). If this card is taken from you, you may draw 3/4/5 cards from that player's hand.

Just think if one player then drew another Rift from the first one. That's cosmic, baby.
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Just a Bill
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If we have new rifts with different gameplay, then there are at least three different approaches we can talk about for card naming. This will be especially important if any of the values are the same (3/4/5) between the two different effects, since most people don't actually read the cards they are playing.

1. Title/Subtitle

Take a cue from crooked deals and use a template like Rift (Special Edition), but of course with more thematic words.

2. Different Card Type

Use a synonym like Fissure.

3. Value Differentiation

Back when the Eon guys were assigning values to cards, they intentionally built in some elegance in that no number was ever used on two different effects. The kickers were 0, 2, and 3, while the attacks danced around those values. Aside from the aesthetic tweak for those of us who care, this was a subtle benefit for the learning curve and helped prevent the occasional brain-fart.

With this in mind, the new Rifts could still be called just Rifts but use only values less than 3 and/or greater than 5.

There could be a Rift 1 and Rift 2 that let you pull cards from useful places as Jack suggested, and when they detonate you have to discard that many cards from your hand — but the player you stole the rift from looks at your hand and chooses the card(s) you have to discard.

I like how organically that works, since the only time a Rift ever detonates is when it is stolen from another player, and thus there will always be one clearly defined "someone" who will choose which card(s) you have to discard.

———

Having said that, though, I'm not convinced that there have to be negative cards in the reward deck. I realize the Rifts are there as a counterbalance to stealing reward cards; however, I see a different counterbalance. The reward deck is such an obvious benefit, and players clearly flock there in droves, so I think the more relevant counterbalance is the fact that when you milk the reward deck you know you are more of a target for compensation and other theft. I don't see anything wrong with that threat being a little bit stronger.

(Note that Rifts make Negotiates weaker, while the absence of them makes Negotiates stronger.)

And let's recognize that most of the players who purchase this expansion set will already have the first reward deck (everyone encourages everyone to get Incursion first) and will surely mix them together. So the Rift threat will virtually always be there, albeit diminished a bit.

Now, I'm not bothered by including new rifts, and I do like where this card idea is going. But then we need to cut something somewhere else to make room for more artifacts. The artifact profile from the first RD is not going to cut it for this one.

Here's a partial idea I've been playing around with:

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Ian Toltz
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Shredding Day wrote:
Weird encounter cards. Those Reflect cards in the Cosmorium look like a good idea.


They're nice in concept, but in play they end up being very, very similar to morph. I'd rather see the new card slots spent on something more interesting and unique.
 
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Jack Reda
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When first thinking about the alternate reward deck, I noodled this mix:

Rifts: 2, 4, 6
Kickers: -3, -2, -1, 3, 4
Attack cards: -10, -5, -1
Negotiate: 3 cards like Epic Oratory, Weak Bargain, Pardons (allies go home)
Artifacts: Ship Zap
Wild Zap (can zap Power use, Ship, Artifact, Flare, Reinforcement, Kicker, Rift)
At least two other artifacts (perhaps beefed up Rebirth, Victory Boon, or Time Gash)
Reflect: 39, 29, 19, 09, -09
Reinforcement: +1, +1, +5, +5
Hazard Attacks: 01, 02, 03, 12, 21 (digits are reversed when a hazard icon appears on destiny- so the 03 becomes a 30).

I was trying to emulate the original mix to some degree, while introducing a manageable number of new things. As you said, there will be a certain number of newer players that get this expansion (and reward deck) before getting Incursion, and we wouldn't want to overwhelm them.

On the other hand, if we either approached it as the Red Alert Reward Deck, or simply didn't feel like that newbie constraint was terribly critical, I would actually prefer to see something like this:

Rift (Fissure): 1, 2, 6
Kickers: x-2, x3, xNumber of your ships in the encounter
Attack cards: -10, -1
Negotiate: 3 cards like Epic Oratory, Weak Bargain, Pardons (allies go home)
Artifacts: Ship Zap, Card Zap, Cosmic Zap, Solar Wind
Wild Zap (can zap Power use, Ship, Artifact, Flare, Reinforcement, Kicker, Rift)
Beefed up Rebirth, Victory Boon, or Time Gash)
Reflect: 39, 29, 19, 09, -09
Reinforcement: +1, +5, +Number of Ships on either side
Hazard Attacks: 02, 03, 04, 12, 21 (digits are reversed when a hazard icon appears on destiny- so the 03 becomes a 30).
 
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Just a Bill
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Asmor wrote:
[Reflects are] nice in concept, but in play they end up being very, very similar to morph.

Having played them in many games, I have to disagree. There is a mechanical similarity certainly, but the decision space for choosing to play one is different. A morph is an equalizer: if you think your ships + reinforcements will be higher, it's a winning card. A reflect, on the other hand, is generally a winning card by itself since most of the values are much higher than average; but it's a winning card that degrades to a Negotiate if your opponent reveals one, meaning you might have to give him a colony to get one yourself, whereas with an Attack of the same value you were likely to have just won outright.

Asmor wrote:
I'd rather see the new card slots spent on something more interesting and unique.

It's always good to talk about the opportunity cost, but in this case what is the actual comparison? Is the Reflect taking the place of something new and cool and revolutionary? Or is it taking the place of a similarly-valued Attack card?

In other words, if we need encounter cards in the reward deck to keep the overall mix in the right zone, then taking out a Reflect 19 probably means putting back in an Attack in the high teens, not putting in something completely new. So I see the Reflects as one way to increase gameplay freshness without disrupting the encounter/non-encounter card mix.

They aren't revolutionary (and aren't intended to be); they are incremental, like Crooked Deals.

The Warp wrote:
Kickers: -3, -2, -1, 3, 4
Attack cards: -10, -5, -1

That feels like too many negatives to me. I know some people like the idea of being able to use a negative kicker with a negative attack to turn them into a positive, but I don't think that's going to happen often enough to justify the card slots. And even when it does, it's mathematically interesting but boring gameplay. So you multiplied an attack -09 times a kicker x-1 to get a total of +09, or an attack -05 times a kicker x-02 for a total of +10 ... seems pretty boring.

The Warp wrote:
On the other hand, if we either approached it as the Red Alert Reward Deck, or simply didn't feel like that newbie constraint was terribly critical, I would actually prefer to see something like this:

Rift (Fissure): 1, 2, 6
Kickers: x-2, x3, xNumber of your ships in the encounter
Attack cards: -10, -1
Negotiate: 3 cards like Epic Oratory, Weak Bargain, Pardons (allies go home)
Artifacts: Ship Zap, Card Zap, Cosmic Zap, Solar Wind
Wild Zap (can zap Power use, Ship, Artifact, Flare, Reinforcement, Kicker, Rift)
Beefed up Rebirth, Victory Boon, or Time Gash)
Reflect: 39, 29, 19, 09, -09
Reinforcement: +1, +5, +Number of Ships on either side
Hazard Attacks: 02, 03, 04, 12, 21 (digits are reversed when a hazard icon appears on destiny- so the 03 becomes a 30).

That seems better, but we may want to be judicious with how much newness we cram into the phone booth. If the rulesheet needs six or eight paragraphs to explain all the different rules for a 32-card side deck, and practically every card you draw from it has a special rule, then it can start to feel like work. I'm not sure where that line should be drawn; I just think we should all keep it in mind. We're designing this for ourselves, but also for players who are more casual and less committed to the game than we are.
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I say pish posh on whether the rules sheet has to be longer. It's there as a reference if for some reason you can't figure out what the card does by reading the card. I didn't even need to look at the rules for Rifts, Crooked Negotiates, or Kickers (and sure, I have been playing a long time). But the card does a decent job of explaining its function.

I love the idea of the red alert deck. I can see the little red alert lantern in the rules with some nice flavor text of "these rewards will seriously amp up the cosmic intensity".

I like Reflects, Hazard Attacks, lots of Flares. I love this idea of Fissures. The new Negotiate ideas are bitchin. This is the fan expansion afterall, so let it be a loveletter to the fans. Cosmic Fallout!

 
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I like the old Repeater edict, which Bill (I think) has re-characterized as Cosmic Echo. Basically it functions as a copy of the last artifact played. I’d go for a more sci-fi name, like "Dark Matter" or something, but Echo at least anchors the mechanics.

I also had an idea for a variation on this concept of a wild artifact:

Occam’s Whetstone: Name an Artifact. For the remainder of the encounter, all artifacts are the one you named.

There was also a home brew Punt edict allowing you to discard your hand (or did Mayfair actually publish it?). Again, I’d make it more sci-fi, and possibly add a drawback, such as losing 2 ships or something. The name could be Escape Pod or Ram Jet, etc.

Some other Artifact ideas:

Event Horizon: For the remainder of this encounter, all players may use the alien power of other players, but may NOT use their own. A player who has lost his own power may not use any powers, but his power may still be used by others.

Other possibilities for the same idea: Draw a random alien, without setup text. All players have that alien and not their own for the rest of this encounter.
Or, Name an alien that is in the current game. All players have that alien and not their own for the rest of this encounter.
And if none of those abilities, then "Event Horizon" should be used for something else because it is the coolest phrase in all of astrophysics. Maybe use it for the Repeater instead of Cosmic Echo.

Pythagorean Blunder (or better word implying opportunistic mistake?): Play after destiny is drawn. The indicated system is ignored, and instead the attacker may treat is as being the system to the left OR to the right of the one drawn.

Comment: This is obviously a re-imagining of the most basic of geometry principles. If Pythagoras was wrong, then the universe doesn’t actually work right, and the Hyperspace Gate won’t lead where it was supposed to go.

And just for fun (nobody will like this):

Certainty Principle: Choose a card from your hand and place it back in the box. On your first turn of the next game, add that card to your hand.


Finally, some variable encounter cards would be nice. Many have been suggested over the years. I’ve lost track of who suggested what, but here are some ideas:

Attack W: The value equals the number of ships in the warp.
Attack C: The value equals the number of all foreign colonies (not just yours). Or maybe foreign colonies x2 to make it stronger.
Attack H: Based on some multiple of cards in hand. Or better yet, cards in your opponent’s hand.
Attack D: This card matches an encounter card randomly pulled from the discard pile. (Needs a fix for when there aren’t any. Also, probably shouldn’t be called "Attack", since you might pull a Negotiate).
Attach T: The value equals the hour of day (possibly military time allowing it to reach 24), or maybe the number of minutes after the hour.

These could be given cool names like "Morph" instead of letters. Variable-value Kickers would be cool too. I’m not much interested in negative Kickers, though. No more than 1, if that.

I like the Hazard Attacks, but would rather have them show two distinct values, rather than just reversing the digits. That would let you actually change the card type as well. Examples:
Attack 15 with Negotiate Hazard,
Reinforcement +5 with Attack 0 hazard,
Mobius Tubes with Cosmic Zap Hazard, etc.

Speaking of which, is there any chance of expanding the Hazard deck too?

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Ian Toltz
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Asmor wrote:
[Reflects are] nice in concept, but in play they end up being very, very similar to morph.

Having played them in many games, I have to disagree. There is a mechanical similarity certainly, but the decision space for choosing to play one is different. A morph is an equalizer: if you think your ships + reinforcements will be higher, it's a winning card. A reflect, on the other hand, is generally a winning card by itself since most of the values are much higher than average; but it's a winning card that degrades to a Negotiate if your opponent reveals one, meaning you might have to give him a colony to get one yourself, whereas with an Attack of the same value you were likely to have just won outright.


Interesting, I never thought of them like that... Our group tends to play the reflects (and morphs) as 'insured' negotiates, i.e. for when you want to negotiate but you don't quite trust your enemy to keep his word.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I think an artifact that forced players in a Negotiate deal to do a deal other than "base for base" would be interesting. Or perhaps an artifact that made a Negotiate deal auto-fail (causing 3 to the warp)?

-shnar
 
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Just a Bill
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shnar wrote:
Or perhaps an artifact that made a Negotiate deal auto-fail (causing 3 to the warp)?

You mean like Quash?
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Sure

-shnar
 
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Do we really need Rift 1 and Rift 2? What I like about Rifts is that they are a real threat to your fleet. A Rift 1 (or even three with the total of one Rift 4) is almost a no brainer whether to target a reward deck back card or not.
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Just a Bill
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homertve wrote:
Do we really need Rift 1 and Rift 2? What I like about Rifts is that they are a real threat to your fleet. A Rift 1 (or even three with the total of one Rift 4) is almost a no brainer whether to target a reward deck back card or not.

I'm talking about the neo-Rifts or Fissures Jack suggested. Something like this:
RIFT/FISSURE 1
Play at the start of any encounter to take one card at random from any player's hand or any one card from the discard pile.

If another player takes this [rift/fissure] from you, afterwards you look at his or her hand and discard any one other card from it, along with this [rift/fissure].


I think this is pretty good. Imagine those blue ones changed to twos and it becomes super-good.
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I like those neo-Rifts very much. I was with Homer in not being impressed by the Rift 1's.
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Yeah, I agree. The neo-Rifts (1 and 2) are great cards to draw (and a great danger to be afraid of. Just think of Brute).
 
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