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Subject: Playtesting some fan-designed (and revised Eon) aliens rss

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Homer Simpson
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So, we were playing five games with some of the fan and revised Eon aliens discussed in the variant forum (and two of my own homebrews). Here's the report, and what my friends had to say about these powers:

Game one:

Host - Myself
Bride - Tom
Angler - Alex
Spearhead - Rotem
Moth - Rami

It was quite a crazy game. I started the game with Wild Bandit on my sheet, played it, but it gave me nothing. I discarded a flare (can't remember which) and got the The Claw and the Kamikaze flares (and kept the Masochist flare). I got to four foreign colonies pretty quickly and I lost one of my two Attack 12's in compensation to Spearhead, so on my second encounter I was very happy to get him again as my next destiny. He invited everyone and I tried to play the Wild Kamikaze, but someone played a Card Zap on that. I still had the secret weapon (Wild The Claw) on my sheet and was hoping he would play that Attack 12 he took from me. I revealed the second copy of the Attack 12 only to see his Attack 08 as his encounter card. I would have won the game right there and then if he would have played that A12! It was frustrating, but Cosmic.

More flares I recieved during the game: Oracle, Magician, Animal - At one point I was considering to play it and arrange a Cosmic Quake. I decided against it for some reason.

Meanwhile, Bride got married to Angler, and Angler had to invite his Bride for a joint win, so Spearhead played a Force Field kicking the Bride out of the encounter. I was the defense at that point, so he played his Wild Sorcerer (one of the original ten flares of this game) on me. Now he's the Host and I'm the Angler. It led to a funny moment, when Spearhead played a Space Junk on an Attack 14, and since I invited everybody to stop the new Host from winning the game, he tried to use his old power to fish the 14 out of Spearhead's hand. He couldn't, because I was the Angler now. Without his Bride, the new Host couldn't win against the three of us.

More flares he recieved during the game: Miser, Mimic, Sloth, Patriot and Butler. I don't think he played any of them.

So now Spearhead has three foreign colonies, and the Attack 14, and he used his power to skip the Alliance phase and tried to gain two foreign colonies. Only he forgot that when you play a Kicker X3 with that A14 and win against the Attack 40, you gain only one colony (the poor guy) for playing a non-encounter card during that encounter. He also knew he had to play that Kicker, because the new Host was fishing the Attack 40 with his Wild Angler (So now I have the Super Angler, which didn't help me at all, btw).

Wild Host was played earlier, and inserted into players' hands three more flares, one of them was the key point to the game: It was Moth's turn, he had four foreign colonies and he decided to take me for a joint win. Little did he know that his opponent, Alex, the new Host, has in hand the Saboteur Flare. He played it, declaring one of Moth's foreign colonies as hostage. Now, if he wins the encounter, I win alone. So Moth, having no Negotiates in his hand, played the lowest attack card he had - Attack 10 - in order to lose the encounter. We had eight ships on offense and eight ships on defense. Host's highest attack card was Attack 09 (and he ended up playing the Attack 08). Nobody had any reinforcements, so I won the game alone (as Angler).

Host and Angler were the two most interesting powers of this game (by my friends reactions). They said that Moth is a little weak, although it's a nice concept. There are rare cases that A. he's not a main player, B. he's not an ally, and C. the total is greater than 42. If there were other powers involved in this game (such as Warrior, Warpish, Industrialist or Virus) he could have been very powerful. They also said that Bride is crazy and cool, and led to some interesting conflicts ("I need to lose this encounter, because I have three foreign colonies, but my Bride has four, and if I win as the offense, she'll win alone"), which leads to more Neg-vs.-Neg situations, which ironically made Bride a little weak. So the bottom line is that she wasn't able to use her power in a way that could have given her the victory. Spearhead had some bad cards in his hand throughout the whole game, but it's a good power both as a concept and as a threat to the other players (although he didn't gain any extra colonies from his power).

There seem to have a concensus that Host is fun and a must in this expansion and Angler is a must too. Bride and Spearhead are both nice, and they won't mind seeing them in the expansion, whereas Moth (as is), isn't a good power. It has a cool concept, but it's too much random (is the Virus playing?) and passive (I'll stay at home and hope to see A12 vs. A15 and some descent reinforcements, and ships. Lots and lots of ships). Maybe it should work as an ally too (but then it loses Moth's theme of getting "magnetized into such encounters").

Game two:

Rube - Myself
Noble - Tom
Engineer - Alex
Dancer - Rotem

Noble is one of my homebrews. Here's what it does:

Game Setup: Put 32 tokens on this sheet. When you get your initial hand you draw the cards from the Reward deck instead of the Cosmic Deck.

Whenever you have a Cosmic Deck back card in your hand, discard it and take a card from the Reward deck. When you need to draw a new hand you draw the cards only from the Reward deck. Each time any player (including you) plays a Reward deck back card use this power to discard a token from this sheet. If you discard your last token you win the game. You may still win the game via the normal method.

The game: I almost gained my fifth colony within the first 15 minutes of the game, with a Morph against Attack 40 and the Super Rube on my second turn. A well timed Cosmic Zap stopped me and we continued the game.

Noble was discarding tokens left and right, playing Reinforcements and Rifts like crazy, Hand Zapping himself, Space Junking a random card to draw a card from the Reward deck and so on. He said it was really cool to play it.

Then came Dancer. He danced his way pretty quickly to four foreign colonies (with other players not able or not willing to match his "steps") and he drew a Wild destiny for his next encounter as the offense. I had six cards, while we knew Engineer is going to get a new hand. I thought it was pretty stupid to attack him and not me (six cards has more chances for him than eight fresh ones) but as it turned out, Dancer's three cards were Attack cards whereas Engineer's new hand had only two. Dancer won the game alone.

There was an issue with Dancer's wording. The "Discard all cards used in the dance" refers to all three cards he selected even if his opponent was unable to match the first revealed card? We ruled out that the "used" refers only to the revealed card, but I think it should include all three cards, even if he didn't reveal them.

Thoughts: Engineer is a cool power. Noble is powerful, but the game was too short and Tom didn't had enough time to enjoy it. Dancer is a little crazy (and the "use" should include the non-revealed cards as well). He can ditch some lousy cards and gives his opponent the opportunity to do the same. Tom thought that all of those four aliens are much better than the last five (except Angler and Host), but Rotem said that he thinks that Rube is too powerful and he doesn't want to see it in the expansion.

Game three:

Pirate - Myself - 2 FC (Foreign Colonies)
Aura (version 2)- Tom - 2 FC
Armorer - Alex - 3 FC
Laser - Rotem - 5 FC

Another short game with a very strong Laser (the "If after blinding your opponent he or she has no encounter cards, you immediately win the encounter." happened too many times in this game), so we all thought he's too powerful. Armorer was suffering with the opposite problem - we all thought he was too weak. There's not enough reinforcements in the Cosmic deck to begin with, and if he do has one and wants the second one, he has to give the old one to someone. Very weak. Super Armorer is weak too.

At the beginning of the game we didn't think properly about Aura's ability to take a lot of cards to his hand if he doesn't get invited. We understood that very quickly so he got a lot of invitations from that point on, which made him a combination of Animal and Parasite. We didn't think it was worth publishing it because of its similarity to those aliens.

I was stupid and forgot to use my power at all, so I decided to give him another try in the next game...

Game four:

Pirate - Myself
Lloyd- Tom
Ninja - Alex
Explorer - Rotem

It was very interesting to play the Pirate (now when I actually remembered to use its power...) especially in comparison to Lloyd's power which was a blast. Pirate gain rewards but only three at a time (when I tried to use my super I got Card Zapped) and only as Offense or Offensive ally. Lloyd was enjoying some enthusiastic players wanting to insure their Cosmic Zaps, Card Zaps, Attack 30(s) and what not. He gained lots and lots of rewards. Maybe Pirate needs to work also as the defense (although I understand it loses the theme of the Pirate).

Ninja is my second homebrews we tried. Here's his description:

As a main player, after encounter cards are selected but before they are revealed, you may use this power to discard up to three cards from your hand. If both players reveal attack cards, you may adjust your total: For each card you discarded, if it's an Attack card add half its value to your total (rounded down), if it's a Negotiate subtract 5 from your total, if it's any other card add 5 to your total.

Explorer had almost constant +10 at the second half of this game, and it was nice, but the end game was very interesting:

I joined forces with Lloyd. I "bought" an insurance to almost anything in exchange to his promise to take me for a joint win. In addition, I insured some of my rewards and it was almost like playing Team Cosmic (where my partner was Lloyd). It was an unbreakable bond and we were both on 4 FC's, he indeed invite me to the offense, I played the Finder to see the defense's hand, he insured my Finder and instantly took another reward. I told him what the defense had in his hand, insured my ships and gave him another reward. It was a very simple win for the both of us and it made us think that maybe Lloyd needs a restriction such as let him trade his tokens for rewards only on the regroup phase or something. Also, we thought that Super Lloyd is too powerful.

Alex said that the Pirate is almost boring in this setting. He liked playing Ninja and he thought it's a cool power. Both him and Rotem said "No!" to Lloyd because it was too much. Rotem also said that Explorer was useless against those rivals even with that +10.

Game five:

Recluse - Myself - 5 FC
Hertz- Tom - 4 FC
Insect - Alex - 3 FC
Bride - Rami - 4 FC
Tourist - Kfir - 3 FC

Before the game even started, when we were reading the powers out loud so we all get a grasp about what they do, Kfir said about the Insect: "Hey, it sounds exactly how Mouth should have worked!"

I had a great time playing Recluse . Each encounter I found a different way of announcing that I had a suspicious card in my hand, made everybody laugh. It's like Cryo on steroids, because it can do it every encounter, and can choose which cards to discard and which to take back to his hand. I was saving my artifacts and flares, got rid of low attack cards, draw new hands like crazy and take back my "good" cards. It was awesome.

Hertz was not working very well for Tom, especially comparing to how Lloyd worked for him. Insect did some cool stunts, Tourist was very cute and chaotic, Kfir liked the sending postcards part, and he only had one chance of getting a foreign colony throughout the game (by his power), which he missed due to sending his last "postcard" home couple of encounters earlier. Rami, who didn't see Bride in action in the first game of the evening, said she was nice but not great.

At the end, I was leasing four ships from Hertz as a defensive ally, which gave me eight rewards. Three of those rewards were Cosmic Zap, Kicker X3 and Attack 16, and it gave me my fifth colony. I end up forgetting to zap Hertz's power when he leased all those ships to my opponent and his allies, but I won that battle anyway. All in all, they thought that Recluse is a great power and it wasn't too powerful (and I won thanks to those eight rewards and not because of my power).



I asked everyone to grade each of those 20 aliens. They each got a grade from 5 to 1:

5 - Awesome power! We must see it in the fan expansion!
4 - Nice power! Should include it if they have a free slot for it.
3 - Okay power. I don't mind if I see it or not.
2 - Meh. I rather not see it, unless there was no choice but to include it.
1 - Stupid power! Never allow it to get published!

Here are the results:

Host - 4.6
Recluse - 4.5
Ninja - 4.5
Angler - 4.3
Pirate - 4
Tourist - 4
Noble - 3.6
Lloyd - 3.4 (three 5's, two 1's)
Spearhead - 3.3
Explorer - 3.3
Bride - 3.25
Engineer - 3
Insect - 2.75
Rube - 2.7
Dancer - 2
Aura - 2
Hertz - 2
Laser - 1.7
Moth - 1.6
Armorer - 1.3
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Roberta Yang
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Moth is one of those effects that might potentially be interesting to play around, but it certainly isn't interesting to play as. It seems like it would be better suited to be a non-player effect like a Hazard - yeah, there's already Meteor Storm, but some sort of longer-term threat along the lines of the Entropy Beast would also work.
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Chris O
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salty53 wrote:
Moth is one of those effects that might potentially be interesting to play around, but it certainly isn't interesting to play as. It seems like it would be better suited to be a non-player effect like a Hazard - yeah, there's already Meteor Storm, but some sort of longer-term threat along the lines of the Entropy Beast would also work.


That's the problem I have with people editing other's and then publishing their edits as if it was their original power.

Moth was never to be "idle", my power clearly stated that his power can be used when INVOLVED in an encounter so that you could throw in reinforcements to tip the scale.

Jack needs to stop editing people's powers without their permission, even if his one play test group doesn't like them, I know how MY power is meant to be. Same with other people. All it is doing is screwing up people's good idea and getting them trashed.


Next time you guys play as Moth play him the way I CREATED him. The total is 40 not 42, and the power is used as ANY player.
 
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Homer Simpson
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Sorry, Chris. That wasn't my intention. I just took the powers Jack posted.

Sorry again.
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Chris O
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homertve wrote:
Sorry, Chris. That wasn't my intention. I just took the powers Jack posted.

Sorry again.


Don't be sorry, you didn't do anything wrong.

It's this whole process in general of one person posting everyone's powers in a way they were not posted on Facebook that has me irritated, and Jack in particular. I don't like one person having complete sway over everyone's aliens.
 
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Kevin B
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Messianic wrote:
It's this whole process in general of one person posting everyone's powers in a way they were not posted on Facebook that has me irritated, and Jack in particular. I don't like one person having complete sway over everyone's aliens.


Hang on. Are you saying that submitted powers are being changed without permission of the creator?

I can understand if powers are being edited and tweaked by committee but that just doesn't sound right. shake
 
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Jack Reda
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All I can say is we tried it out with the original wording and it didn't work. Moth got a colony every time it was involved. So, after a couple of times, no one invited Moth anymore. It stopped working as an alien. It was suggested that maybe it would be better as an alien that wasn't involved (and more thematic that way as well). This worked better, and instead of dumping it altogether, I posted the more successful version. The one playtest I have done with the revised Moth went a lot better. We also did an analysis of how often encounters got to a total of 40. It was a pretty decent number of times. If Moth is going to get more than 3 free colonies in a game, it is probably too powerful. Boosting the requirement much higher, however, indicated that Moth would be lucky to get 2 free colonies through power use. 45 seemed to be too high. 42, as it happens, was a pretty balanced number, and also amusing to most of the people I have discussed it with.

The other issue is that any version of Moth is going to have a lot of variation in power depending on the number of other players and what aliens are in the game. In a 3 player game with Loser and Anti-Matter, Moth will be hopeless, even with a 40 and being used as a main player or ally. In a 6 player game with Warpish, Warrior, Virus, it will be extremely powerful, even with the 42 and not being involved.

There has been a very high number of aliens submitted for consideration in this fan expansion, not just those you see here on BGG, or even on Facebook, and more appear all the time. Frankly, a lot of them are pretty terrible. Anything posted, in my view, is fair game. Credit will be given where it's due, but ideas will need to evolve in a lot of cases.
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