Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
22 Posts

Cosmic Encounter» Forums » Rules

Subject: Too many flare cards? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nick Meenachan
United States
Delray Beach
Florida
flag msg tools
KILLER QUEEN: BITES THE DUST!
badge
ShaRog Master Race
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Once upon a time, I posted in the General thread, asking everyone which of the expansions I should focus on getting since I didn't really want to spend the money on all of them.

Of course, I did not take into account my horrendous Acquisition Disorder, and a couple of months later, here I am with all four expansions.

Here's the problem. Even when I was just playing with two expansions, it seemed like the cosmic deck was severely flooded with flare cards. As in, most players always had 5-6 in hand at a time, depending on how many total cards they had.

Is that...normal when playing with everything from all of the expansions? Because it sure seemed like we were doing hand dumps way more often than when we were just playing with the base game.

So the real question is: should we not be playing with every flare card of every alien that is available?

The expansion rules don't seem to clarify this - or maybe I'm just a big dummy.

Bonus Question: are the "large group" cards from Alliance worth keeping in with less than seven players?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Franco
United States
Maplewood
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rule of thumb:

Play with the bigger of these two numbers: two flares per player, or ten flares.

The easy way to do two flares per player is to deal two to each player at the start of the game. They choose one to play as their alien, and shuffle both into the main deck. With fewer than five player, shuffle the difference of ten into the deck randomly.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
logopolys wrote:
Rule of thumb:

Play with the bigger of these two numbers: two flares per player, or ten flares.


That's more than a rule of thumb, that's the actual rule. Only 2 flares per player (minimum of 10) should be in the deck

TheKillShirt wrote:
So the real question is: should we not be playing with every flare card of every alien that is available?

The expansion rules don't seem to clarify this - or maybe I'm just a big dummy.


It's in the base game rulebook setup info. You were using too many flares all along
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Putrino
United States
Connecticut
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow... What is it 50+20+20+20+20!!! That's insane if I tried that once, I probably would have put the game on on fire pit!!! hope you play it correctly soon, it is in my top 5 for a reason.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Meenachan
United States
Delray Beach
Florida
flag msg tools
KILLER QUEEN: BITES THE DUST!
badge
ShaRog Master Race
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SirHandsome wrote:
It's in the base game rulebook setup info. You were using too many flares all along


And so I really was a big dummy all along. Too late to delete this thread and save some face?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Meenachan
United States
Delray Beach
Florida
flag msg tools
KILLER QUEEN: BITES THE DUST!
badge
ShaRog Master Race
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
BlueTegu wrote:
Wow... What is it 50+20+20+20+20!!! That's insane if I tried that once, I probably would have put the game on on fire pit!!! hope you play it correctly soon, it is in my top 5 for a reason.


Here's the funny thing: even playing that way, CE is in MY top five as well. I guess it's a sign of a good game when it can be played completely wrong and still be enjoyed by some people.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Meenachan
United States
Delray Beach
Florida
flag msg tools
KILLER QUEEN: BITES THE DUST!
badge
ShaRog Master Race
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
But hey, my other question was legit: should you bother with the "large group" cards from CA is you're playing with less than seven players? The rule sheet says to do so if you want more "randomness".
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mi Myma
United States
Fountain Valley
California
flag msg tools
Why is there no Word Games Forum or Subdomain?
badge
There should be a Word Games Subdomain, or at least a Word Games Forum!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Somewhere in one of those boxes, you should have a rulebook. Turn to page 6, where it says, "Setup". Read that. Pay particular attention to steps 4 and 5.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TheKillShirt wrote:
But hey, my other question was legit: should you bother with the "large group" cards from CA is you're playing with less than seven players? The rule sheet says to do so if you want more "randomness".


I leave them out personally, unless actually playing a large game. I'm quite accustomed to and familiar with the standard deck though, so that quite likely influences my feelings on it

Basically, the difference to consider, and why they would call it more "random", would be that planning some encounters might be a little harder with the large group cards in a small game, since there would now be multiples of certain key one-shot cards that can either change the way you play when you know they've already been used, or can create more swings. For instance Quash, the Attack 30, or Force Field.

Part of the subtly of Cosmic Encounter is that though it seems really random when you don't know the deck, once you do you can get a really realistic idea of whether a given attack card is likely to win an encounter, or what could possibly happen to you or how someone else could sneak a win. The standard deck actually becomes quite predictable for experienced players (aside from the Flares, which inject some unknown for just about everyone I think). If I know the Quash is out of the deck, going for a deal is less risky. If there are two (with the large group cards) it will probably remain risky till the end in most games. Once an attack 30 is in the discard, I know that playing my Attack 40 can maybe guarantee a solo win in a smaller game. With a second one out there, I just wouldn't know.

Stuff like the reinforcement +8 and second Attack 30 are also likely included to help overcome the greater-ship counts you'll face in large games.

I don't think including them in a small game is going to break the game or anything though. It just changes the deck. The standard deck is incredibly well built. It's tried and true and makes for great games. But it isn't the one-perfect-configuration that could work or anything like that. I mean you even somehow enjoyed the game with 100 flares shuffled in (I suspect you'll like it more now)! So I guess after all that my only point is do whatever you want? But if you care what I do, I do go by the standard (large group cards for 7-8 player only).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick Meenachan
United States
Delray Beach
Florida
flag msg tools
KILLER QUEEN: BITES THE DUST!
badge
ShaRog Master Race
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SirHandsome wrote:
So I guess after all that my only point is do whatever you want? But if you care what I do, I do go by the standard (large group cards for 7-8 player only).


You're clearly a pro at this game and you and I have a lot of similar tastes in other games, so I definitely care what you do! Thanks for the feedback.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The old Eon rulebook says, rather memorably for some of us old-timey nerds, "The Flare deck is not meant to be used all in one game of Cosmic Encounter (Cosmos forbid!)." However, the basic game structure of Cosmic Encounter is exceptionally resilient, and players have been yanking and twisting it in many directions for decades. This isn't the first time somebody has added dozens of flares into the game and discovered that, although not optimal, it was still actually playable.

Because of this, even with a smaller number of players, you can add or not add the Large Group deck and be fine either way, and in fact there is even a variant in Cosmic Incursion that suggests you can throw the reward-deck cards into the cosmic deck if you like.

It wouldn't bother me one bit, once in a blue moon, to toss in two or three dozen flares just for the heck of it, or to double all the artifacts by grabbing more from a different set, or to flood the deck with all available extra reinforcements for some additional post-reveal chaos. The game is largely self-correcting.

Think of it like serving up a dinner; maybe once in a while, for a change of pace, you put grilled chicken on the pizza, or you triple the bacon in the green beans. There's plenty of room to experiment.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mi Myma
United States
Fountain Valley
California
flag msg tools
Why is there no Word Games Forum or Subdomain?
badge
There should be a Word Games Subdomain, or at least a Word Games Forum!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If you want to increase the number of Flares in the game, there are a few ways you could do this without being too disruptive (the having to keep discarding hands because of no encounter cards, etc.)

1. Simply shuffle a few more Flares into the deck. Say 15 or 20, instead of 10. That should work reasonably well.

2. Shuffle some of even all (!) of the remaining Flares into the Reward Deck. This may be somewhat inconvenient, since they have different backs.

3. Change the rule for drawing a new hand: Shuffle the usually number of flares into the deck, but keep the rest of the flares available. When drawing a new hand (including at the start of the game), draw the usual 8 cards from the deck, and also draw X cards from the remaining Flare deck. X = 2, or 3, or maybe even more.

4. Some combination of the above.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
5. Treat the unused flare deck as a second reward deck, but with a limit of one per player per group of rewards received.

5a. Treat the unused flare deck as mutually exclusive with the actual reward deck: when collecting one or more rewards, if you take none of them from the reward deck, you may take one of them from the unused flare deck.

5b. Make it more expensive: When entitled to one or more rewards, you may draw one card from the unused flare deck in lieu of all other kinds of rewards.

(For simplicity, all flares still discard to the cosmic deck discard pile.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mi Myma
United States
Fountain Valley
California
flag msg tools
Why is there no Word Games Forum or Subdomain?
badge
There should be a Word Games Subdomain, or at least a Word Games Forum!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
5c. You may draw one card from the Flare deck instead of 2 cards from the Reward Deck.

EDIT: Just to be clear, I mean: For every two cards you're entitled to draw from the Reward Deck, you can draw one card from the unused flares instead.

For instance, if you earn four rewards, you could take them as 2 Flares; or as one Flare, 1 Reward card, and 1 ship from the warp.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryucoo
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Bringing a thread back from the dead here, but has anyone ever played CE with LESS flare cards?

Was at a new table the other day and the host said they felt like two flares per player being shuffled into the deck made the game a bit 'flarey'. A bit new to the game, they had only recently started to add flares at all and I think they had enjoyed the game being more focused on the encounter card showdown and alien powers. So we agreed to shuffle in just our alien power flares (and not the rejected alien power flares), so one flare per player.

I couldn't really spot if the game suffered at all, and actually enjoyed the game being a bit tighter and less swingy seeing fewer flares flying in all the time. I wondered what the more experienced folk thought.

We also played our first game (of three) without a reward deck. It was interesting that I didn't notice people allying with the defence any less - but what I did notice were people were drawing a new hand less. So I guess the game kinda corrects itself - maybe less flares and less rewards means your hand has more encounter cards, so less new hands being drawn (like when you have 3 or 4 cards in your hand that are only artefacts/flares etc. and have to ditch) but this meant your hand got kind of shitty faster, hence were wanting to draw more cards from the standard deck to improve your hand, thus still making lying with the defence an attractive proposition even without the reward deck...

Not sure if my observation agrees with the science but thought it was interesting enough to write overly long sentences about it.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Olotka
United States
Centerville
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
I never include flares at all when playing with new players. In fact I select everyones alien. That way the game starts in 10 minutes instead of 30 or 40 min. And is usually a success. Flares should come in after players know how to play.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Franco
United States
Maplewood
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pgocosmic wrote:
Flares should come in after players know how to play.

While acknowledging your role as the designer, I have never found this to be true.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jefferson Krogh
United States
San Leandro
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
logopolys wrote:
pgocosmic wrote:
Flares should come in after players know how to play.

While acknowledging your role as the designer, I have never found this to be true.


I have. Some new Cosmic players are not experienced enough with hobby boardgames for the flares to be comfortable the first time around. Others are.

When I teach, I watch the reactions of the new players as I go along. Aliens and flares are the very last things I talk about; if they're looking overwhelmed by the time I've talked about the aliens, then I leave the flares out.

Overall, about 90% of my teaching games end up including flares. That percentage is skewed because I tend to teach at gamer-heavy places such as game stores and conventions.

Almost forgot -- recently I have changed how I do alien selection in teaching games. Before, I did it by the book. Now, I just shuffle the green flares and deal one face-up to each player. Fetch the matching alien sheets and get started. (The number one thing new players get confused by is that the flare cards are NOT the powers, so during alien selection they get super confused.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
si Mon
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I agree with Jefferson, my experience is the same. Flare are way too much for a first play, and even several play for a lot of people. Gamers on this site are different but Cosmic is a very heavy game from a non gamer standard even if it has been coined a "party game for gamers".
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryucoo
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
This week I hosted a game with 2 new players (making up a 5 player game) and following on from my experience above (and the overwhelming feedback) we played with our alien power flares only (so 5 flares) rather than 2 per player.

Worked well, was easy to understand for the new guys and kept things interesting for the experienced players.

I actually think I preferred it this way. It confirmed to me that sometimes flares take over the game a bit. It's nice to see the core mechanics shine rather than have all these flares flying all over the place, spoiling the flow.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Olotka
United States
Centerville
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
One of the things about teaching new players (or about new players teaching themselves) is that if you go by the rule book, it is a long and winding road to get to actually getting an alien and actually starting play.

I think that before even sitting down to play, experienced players should create "new player combos". To start the game, shuffle and deal out those aliens! Let everyone check out their alien...then set up the game, deal cards and start. No flares! Flares were designed to be an expansion to the game, and should be used as such with new players. One thing that happens when you pull back all of the various side cases is that Cosmic suddenly begins to revert to its original form. Turns are faster. The game ends in less time and the aliens revert to their proper role in the hierarchy of "side cases".

Just a personal note about Cosmic Storm...if you are teaching children 5-9 or so, Cosmic Storm aliens are very appealing. Kids like satellites because they are cool. They like aliens that we might be a bit dodgy because they like the way they may look or because they are easy to play or because they like the name. Sometimes experts forget that its important that our audience for Cosmic needs to appeal beyond the expert gamers. Children are where our next group of experts will come from.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What makes Storm aliens specifically appealing to young children? I get that kids will be less critical and might get more enjoyment out of some of the aliens in Storm, but it doesn't seem like Storm aliens have any special emphasis. I can think of a few, but I could do the same for any other set.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.