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Subject: order of discarding and the "top of the discard pile" rss

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Ido Abelman
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The cards "space junk" and "wild cyborg" refer to the card in top of the discard pile, allowing you to retrieve or play it.
Space junk says that if multiple cards are discarded in the same time you can retrieve any of them. The language seem to imply you need to use SJ right after the discard event, but that would mean there is no definition for "the top card" later (or it's defined arbitrarily by the order players happen to throw them into the discard). I always play that if multiple cards are discarded they are all "on top" for SJ until another card is discarded - I believe that's correct but surprized the cosmodex entry says nothing about it. It also can create some memory issues, esp. when the game is left for a while. How do you play it?
Wild cyborg has no clarification about simultanous discards so I assumed it works like SJ. Do you play it like this too? It seems pretty strong but that's not an indication in cosmic. It lead to an interesting game in my group where the Cavalry could repeatedly use the 14 as his "ally card" until covered with an artifact. He later tried to do the same with the 30 only to be card zapped. It wasn't OP but it was stronger than most flare/power combos.
The last question I am least sure about is when exactly are reinforcement cards discarded? The rulebook says nothing - actually it doesn't even explicitly say they are discarded at all! (As opposed to artifacts.)
The cosmodex says nothing as well. First thought would be that they are discarded on play like artifacts. But we tend to keep them in play as reminders and discard them with the encounter cards at the resolution phase. It also makes sense because only when the winner is determined the reinforcements actually "resolve". And if we do play reinforcements like artifacts we get weird cases where SJ/cyborg wild allow the same reinforcement to be played twice in the same encounter.
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Asbjørn Lie Parmer
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This interests me a lot too. I believe that what has been done in the Cosmic PBF games here on BGG is that cards are discarded in the order determined by the timing rule (offense first, then defense, then allies' cards on top). This would mean that the top card ought to be perfectly determined, as long as the last player to discard refrained from playing any reinforcements, kickers or similar in the encounter. But like you I agree that this area of the rules is very fuzzy, and I would very much like a clarification.

FFG are not likely to give us one, so we will have to make it up ourselves. I think that letting all new discards count as "the top card" is an OK solution, but it does irritate me that a proper definition is lacking. Maybe one should allow the defensive player the honor of choosing the order of discards? That would sort of work thematically, at any rate.
 
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I don't really have an answer for you, but in general, it has always been the rule that cards that go to the discard pile simultaneously are all considered to be on top - at least at that moment.

At any time other than when cards are discarded, the top card is the actual top card. And there has never been any formal rule about what order cards are discarded in.

Does there need to be such a rule? Maybe. One thing I've been thinking of lately (not just with regard to discarding cards), is that there should be an additional encounter phase, called "Clean Up", after Resolution, when cards are discarded and other things happen, most of which don't directly affect players.

One initial thought:

In the simplest case of both main players playing encounter cards, and no other cards being played in the encounter, you can use the Timing Rule: If both players want to discard first (to have the other player's card on top), the Offense gets to discard first. If both players want to discard second (to have their own card on top), the Offense must again go first. If the Defense wants to discard first, and the Offense is OK with that, then they can do that.

I'll have to think some more about the more complicated cases of Kickers, Reinforcements, Artifacts, discarded Flares, etc.

A general question is: When are cards discarded?

Artifacts and Flares that are to be discarded are discarded immediately after they are resolved. And if multiple such cards are played, they are discarded in the order in which they are resolved. This much seems pretty clear from the rules. And the same is true for Rifts, whether they are "played" or "detonated".

*** However, this may not be a fully satisfactory answer in the case of a Cosmic Zap. IIRC, all other Artifacts resolve immediately and then they're done. But a Cosmic Zap lasts for the rest of the current encounter. So when should a Cosmic Zap be discarded? Does it depend on the timing of the power that it zaps? Or should it always be discarded at the very end of the encounter? It seems to me that it should always be discarded at the end of the encounter, regardless of the timing applicability of the power. And the same could be true of any new future Artifacts that are published, such as Sanity.

What if an Artifact or Flare is Card Zapped? Which is discarded first? I propose that the Card Zap be discarded second - on top - covering up the card it zapped.

This just leaves the question of Kickers and Reinforcements. I propose that Kickers be discarded together with the encounter card they modified, consecutive in the discard pile. Which should be on top? It could be the choice of the player, or a standard rule. If a standard rule is used, I'd propose that the Kicker be underneath the card it kicked.

I guess I would also propose that Reinforcements be discarded last, according to the Timing Rule if players are in conflict about the order. And that a player who played multiple Reinforcements can discard them in any order he chooses, regardless of the order he played them, but still subject to the Timing Rule.

What about powers like Cavalry and Reserve (and Deuce)? Since these powers play additional encounter cards, and not actual reinforcements, it seems to me that they should be discarded along with the other encounter cards (using the Timing Rule when necessary), before any actual Reinforcements.

I know. It's a lot of regulation for something that will matter very rarely. Of course, Space Junk is in every game where the Reward Deck is used, even if there are no powers or flares that do anything with the discard pile.
 
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Pasi Ojala
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
At any time other than when cards are discarded, the top card is the actual top card.


This. thumbsup

If a power triggers during the phase that multiple cards are discarded, you have to react. Perhaps you have slow down the player discarding so you can react to the right card. If a power triggers during a later phase, then the top card is the top card.

 
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K
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are people overlooking the FAQ entry?:

"Q: What order do cards go into the discard pile?
Normally this doesn't matter, but the Fido flare was
in the game, and it calls on forcing a player to draw
the top card of the discard pile... several times the two
encounter cards hitting the pile were very different (the
40 and a Negotiate went in one time).

A: The defense’s card goes on top."


This isn't complete enough, and certainly doesn't cover all the cases talked about, but seems like above posts might actually not be aware that this FAQ entry exists, unless I'm misunderstanding

Personally I dislike the idea of maintaining discard pile in specific order for the benefit of 1% of effects in the game
 
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SirHandsome wrote:
are people overlooking the FAQ entry?:

I don't put any credence in what the FAQ says. It has so many errors, it cannot be relied upon. I call it the FQA - Frequently Questionable Answers.

If there's an actual "rule" in the FAQ that is either different from, or not included in the rulebook, then it shouldn't be in the FAQ at all, but in the Errata.
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Shane Brewer
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I like your thinking Phil.
 
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