Just a Bill
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Norfolk
Virginia
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HANDLER
FORCES ENCOUNTER CARD SNITCHING


You have the power of Informants. As a main player or ally, after encounter cards are selected but before they are revealed, you may use this power. Choose one player on the other side to peek at that side's encounter card and state what it is (lying if he or she likes). This "informant" then chooses whether or not to return all of his or her ships in the encounter to other colonies (continuing with zero ships if a main player, or abandoning the encounter if an ally). The main player on your side then takes his or her encounter card into his or her hand and selects a new encounter card to play, or secretly replays the same card. After encounter cards are revealed, if the informant lied you may choose one of his or her ships from any colony or the hyperspace gate and send it to the warp.
(Main Player or Ally Only) (Optional) (Planning)

[history TBD]

WILD: You may force the offense, at the start of his or her encounter, to name any one card and accuse a third player you choose. If the named card is in the accused's hand, the accused shows the card and the offense and you each receive one reward. If it is not, the accused shows his or her entire hand to the offense (only) and the offense loses two ships to the warp.
(Not Offense) (Regroup)

SUPER: When your informant has lied, you may send all of his or her ships from one colony or the hyperspace gate to the warp, instead of just one ship.
(Main Player or Ally Only) (Reveal)


The way this design ended up, it reminds me of pieces of Serpent, Oracle, and a bit of a backwards Gambler. I hope it's unique enough to stand on its own, since I like the player interaction and the impact on everyone's decisions. There's a good bit of psych game and second-guessing to be done here on both sides of the encounter.

I wish there were a more exciting name than Handler, but "Agent" doesn't seem right for this since an alien with that name should do more interesting super-spy kinds of things.
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Adrian Walker
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What about Tendril? Invoke the fact that it has eyes and ears everywhere.
 
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Roberta Yang
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I'd have to try it out to see how strong it is in practice, but both being an attractive ally and encouraging other players to keep multiple ships on their colonies should already be enough to keep it playable.

I can see what you're going for with the theme here, but it's an awfully busy power. You have several different interlocking effects, and while they do end up fitting together (unlike Tyrant), it takes a couple of reads to fully parse, and there isn't really a good mental shorthand for how it works (unlike Gambler).
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Just a Bill
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salty53 wrote:
it's an awfully busy power

Yeah, I've been trying to find ways to streamline it, but if I take out any of the principal mechanisms I feel like it won't do the job it's supposed to do.

A bit of streamlining can be had by limiting the coercion to just opposing allies, and maybe a paragraph break between the two distinct events can help alleviate the reading fatigue. Until I get a chance to actually play it, I can't tell whether shielding the opposing main player from snitching on himself nerfs it too much, but it would certainly be a thematic improvement.
You have the power of Informants. As a main player or ally, after encounter cards are selected but before they are revealed, you may use this power to choose one opposing ally. That ally must peek at his or her side's encounter card, state the card's name (lying if he or she likes), and choose whether or not to abandon the encounter (returning his or her involved ships to other colonies). The main player on your side then takes your side's encounter card into his or her hand and selects a new one to play, or secretly replays the same card.

After encounter cards are revealed, if your chosen informant lied you may choose one of his or her ships on any colony or the hyperspace gate and send it to the warp.
 
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Jack McNamee
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I think this is a great power. Why not call it "Spymaster"? Doesn't seem like the name's been used before, from a quick google.

The mechanic where the main player places a card down, then takes it back into their hand, then plays the same card or another card, is clunky. It's effectively just "Play after you've heard the informant" with more work. Is it necessary because of a mechanical or timing conflict? Otherwise I think you could change it:

----

SPYMASTER

You have the power of Informers. As a main player or ally, before encounter cards are selected, you may use this power to choose an opposing ally. The opposing main player must show their encounter card to that ally, then play it. That ally must state the card's name (lying if they choose), and may also abandon the encounter (returning their involved ships to other colonies). The main player on your side only selects and plays their encounter card after this choice.

After encounter cards are revealed, if your chosen informant lied, you may choose one of his or her ships on any colony or the hyperspace gate and send it to the warp.

----

This has precedence in Oracle ("Only after you have seen your opponents card do you select and play your card."). Also gets rid of 17 words. Changed "He or She" to "They" for consistency (because you use "Lying if They like"). FFG doesn't seem to have a convention (Oracle uses "He", sorceror is "He or she").

Here's a potential variation:

----

SPYMASTER

You have the power of Informers. As a main player or ally, before encounter cards are selected, you may use this power to force the opposing main player to show their encounter card to their allies, then play it. Any ally may choose to state the card's name, then draw a card and flee the encounter (returning their involved ships to other colonies). If multiple allies break, only the first may flee. The main player on your side only selects and plays their encounter card after this choice.

----

I think this would be pretty funny, with this moment where the main player is glaring at his allies as they're considering caving in. Not sure if it's any good in practice. Maybe the spymaster shows everyone a specific card from their hand as a bribe for fleeing the encounter.
 
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Just a Bill
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Fandango wrote:
This has precedence in Oracle ("Only after you have seen your opponents card do you select and play your card.")

The problem is, that's a trick that can be done only once or it creates conflicts. For example, if this alien and Oracle face each other, it's an irresolvable conflict.

A more "compatible" way to do it would be to have the opposing ally peek at her main player's facedown card "after encounter cards are selected but before they are revealed" and disclose/lie about it, then let the main player on your side return his own card to his hand and select his encounter card again (choosing the same or a different card). Accomplishes the same thing, but without breaking up the normally atomic nature of both players selecting their cards.

I'm all for brevity, but not when it results in an effect that doesn't smoothly mesh into the game engine.
 
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