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Subject: playing time for 7 or 8 players rss

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Stephen Eckman
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All of the expansions list an expected playing time of 60 minutes, but I've read that it varies wildly for 6 players (from 45 minutes to 3.5 hours).
If I have a group of 7 or 8 people who have never played the game before, how much time should I realistically set aside to teach and play the game? Is two hours sufficient in say 80% of the cases?
Thanks!
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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I think you should play a 4-colony game with that many new players.
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Stephen Eckman
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a1bert wrote:
I think you should play a 4-colony game with that many new players.

I think that makes sense. Will that most likely keep me under the 2 hour mark?
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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I have not actually paid much attention to the length of our games, but I guess it has been nearer 90 minutes with 5 players (at least the fun and eventful ones), and upto 2 hours with 6, but a game has never felt too long (as long as we have remembered how the compensation works).

You must remember, and make it clear, that allies always get more out of an encounter than the main players. So, invite allies only if you absolutely need to, or want to backstab them by purposefully losing an encounter. This is especially important with high player counts, otherwise someone can win before everyone else has gotten a turn. So, even if you invite, be careful who you invite...

Playing only upto 4 colonies (and with 4 home planets) lets you give the game a learning-game status. Winning is not (that) important in a learning game, getting to know the game and having fun is.
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Warren Denning
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Use a pre-selected bunch of aliens with easy, but diverse powers: Clone, Macron, Mutant, Oracle, Trader, Warrior, Mind, Chosen, Warrior, Vultch.

Or

Remove any alien whose power is "Main Player Only" or "Offense/Defense Only". There is a good chance with that many people, folks may not have a lot of opportunity to use their power otherwise.
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Aaron Chasteen
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For a beginners game, I would not use flare cards, techs or rewards deck etc. That will slow the game down a bit.
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Will Yum
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With that many new players, I would suggest only a four (or five) player game. Or play in teams of two each.

The basic rules are pretty simple. Maybe 20-30 minutes to explain the base concepts.

It gets confusing and more time consuming when players are trying to figure out how their power works and how the various powers and flare and cards interact with each other. And timing issues.

I'd suggest talking them through the phases for at least a couple of turns when you start the first game.

=====

Okay. Ignore all my stuff below. Just don't even bother trying to read it if you are a new player. soblue cry

I thought I was an overly picky person about how Cosmic is played and would have gotten everything correct off the top of my head. I guess not. Grrrrr.

I am shocked, shocked I say, to have misremembered the phases for Mobius Tubes and for Plague. gulp No excuse for the Mobius Tubes mistake. I think that the Plague timing was changed from the last edition and I was having a flashback to previous plays.

Carry on.

=====


"Okay, it is now Start Turn phase. Anyone want to play a Start Turn card would do it now. There are basically two - one would be Mobius Tubes and other is Plague. So probably not."

"Now it's Regroup phase. Yellow, you are the main player since it's your turn and so you would take a dead token/ship out of the Warp at this phase. It's mandatory. This is how you slowly revive your dead tokens/ships."

"Okay. Now Yellow you draw a Destiny card to see who you are attacking. Ah, you drew Blue. So Blue is the Defensive player and Yellow is the Offensive player. Yellow and Blue are the Main players."

"Yellow, pick 1-4 tokens to put into the Cone. I would take them from different planets so they stay sort of balanced. Okay, Yellow, which Blue planet do you want to attack? They are all the same now, so there's not really a difference."

"Okay, Yellow and only Yellow, you can ask for Allies from everyone except Blue. Your choice. Don't have to ask anyone you don't want. Wait, wait! You other guys don't act yet. Don't say anything, it's invitation time. We gotta let Blue have a chance to ask."

"Okay, Blue, now is your turn to ask if people want to help you. You don't have to ask everyone or even anyone. Wait guys! Don't ally yet. We have to give Blue a chance to ask first."

"Remember, if you help the Offensive Main player, that's Yellow, and you win you will get to land on the planet. If you ally with Blue, who is Defense, and you win you will get Rewards. Rewards are cards or dead tokens. Remember that you cannot normally draw cards so if you use up your good ones, you are stuck with the bad ones. And remember that if you don't ally with the Attacker/Offense you don't get to land on the planet. And if your side loses, your ships WILL DIE."

"And remember, Yellow and Blue, you don't want to give stuff to the other players if you don't need their help. So don't just ask everyone. Figure out what you might need."

"Hold on... hold on... we are supposed to ally in order. Clockwise from the Offensive player - that would be Yellow. And no, you can't put in ten ships. One to four. Remember that."

"Okay, now it's the Planning phase. Yellow and Blue, pick a single Encounter card to play. So it will be either a number card, a card that has a big N and is a Negotiate, or with a big M that says Morph."

"Just one card. One Encounter card. It will say Encounter at the top."

"Now it's the Reveal phase unless someone wants to do something. Sometimes people will play cards that mess with the Main Players' Encounter cards. Check to see if the card you want to play has an orange highlight for the phase we are in. It's Reveal now."

"No, Red, you don't play an Encounter card even though you allied. Only the two main players play a single Encounter card."

"Now we Reveal the two Encounter cards. And let's add up the totals. And if anyone involved in the Encounter, that would be the two main players, Yellow and Blue, and any allies, want to play a card that say Reveal phase at the bottom, speak up. Yeah, now is the time to play Reinforcement cards. They have a big plus sign and a number."

"Wait, Purple, don't play your Reinforcement card. Your side is winning by like six points. No need to add to your side, save it for later."

"Looks like Blue won. Your side has successfully kept Yellow and the other evil invaders from entering your system. So now all of those ships/tokens DIE. Into the Warp they go."

"Okay, we are Resolving it all now. So you allies for Blue get Rewards. So that would be cards."

"No, Blue, you don't get cards. You just get the pleasure of keeping your system pure and untainted by the Yellow tokens. Yeah, you just helped out all your allies Blue and gave them a bunch of cards."

"Okay, since you were the attacker, meaning Offensive player, and you lost Yellow, you CANNOT go again. So now play passes to the next player clockwise. We are back to the Start Turn phase."


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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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willyum wrote:
I'd suggest talking them through the phases for at least a couple of turns when you start the first game.

It really helps to call the phases for the whole game, and let people back up a phase when necessary, as long as it is not a reaction to someone elses action in the current phase.
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Just a Bill
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willyum wrote:
Okay, it is now Start Turn phase. Anyone want to play a Start Turn card would do it now. There are basically two - one would be Mobius Tubes and other is Plague.

Neither of those cards is a Start Turn effect; both are Regroup. Please don't teach people to play like this.

willyum wrote:
Now it's Regroup phase. Yellow, you are the main player since it's your turn

You mean to say yellow is the offense. There's no such thing as "the" main player; there are two main players, the offense and the defense.

willyum wrote:
and so you would take a dead token/ship out of the Warp at this phase. It's mandatory. This is how you slowly revive your dead tokens/ships."

Tokens and ships are two completely different game components, and tokens don't go to the warp (other than The Prometheus).

willyum wrote:
Okay. Now Yellow you draw a Destiny card to see who you are attacking.

Encountering. To see who you are encountering. It's very important for new players to understand that an encounter might be an attack, might be a negotiation, or might be something else. Referring to encounters as "attacks" is never really a good idea, and especially not when teaching newbies. It also gives a false impression of Cosmic Encounter being a battle game, which it is not.

willyum wrote:
So Blue is the Defensive player and Yellow is the Offensive player.

FFG terminology is the defense and the offense. It's less confusing to use those nouns when referring to the main players, since the adjectives you're using apply to allies as well (a defensive ally is a "defensive player," but he is not the defense). For new players it's pretty important to get this right from the beginning; otherwise they are learning bad habits that will lead them to misunderstand the cards they hold.

willyum wrote:
Yellow, pick 1-4 tokens to put into the Cone.

Pick 1-4 ships to put into the hyperspace gate.

willyum wrote:
Okay, Yellow, which Blue planet do you want to attack?

Encounter.

willyum wrote:
Remember that you cannot normally draw cards

That's misleading without context; of course you can "normally" draw cards according to the rules for hand refresh, and there's also compensation.

willyum wrote:
Yellow and Blue, pick a single Encounter card to play. So it will be either a number card

You mean like this purply one with a big 5 on it? ;-)

willyum wrote:
Okay, since you were the attacker

The offense is NOT the "attacker"; he's the offense.

I realize these comments may seem nitpicky, but one reason that new players show up in these forums confused is that they've been taught the game using sloppy terminology and things are blurred together in their mind (like mushing Start Turn and Regroup together).

I have to be an advocate for calling things what they are. If the new guy wants to go off on his own and call everything by the wrong name, more power to him. But let's not teach him bad terminology from day one.
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Jack Reda
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You can absolutely have an 8 player game, with 5 colonies to win, flares included, and have it come in under two hours. Sometimes well under two hours. You can have a 4 player game with 4 colony limit and no flares that lasts for three hours. More players doesn't not necessarily equate to a longer running time. Yes, you have more alliance acceptance and moving around of ships, but it is often negligible.

It will take the same amount of time to teach 8 people as it will to teach 2 people... unless you plan to do one-on-one instruction.

Give it a shot and dive in... Use green alert aliens and have a great time.
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Hugo L
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Bill Martinson wrote:
willyum wrote:
Okay. Now Yellow you draw a Destiny card to see who you are attacking.

Encountering. To see who you are encountering. It's very important for new players to understand that an encounter might be an attack, might be a negotiation, or might be something else. Referring to encounters as "attacks" is never really a good idea, and especially not when teaching newbies. It also gives a false impression of Cosmic Encounter being a battle game, which it is not.


I could not agree more on this one. It is the core idea of Cosmic Encounter : get the most of every encounters you make around the universe.

Should you fight fiercly this time or negociate a peace ? Maybe you could use this encounter as an excuse to betray your allies, or just bait you opponent to exhaust himself ?

Beginner tend to think they must win every encounters and thus find the game quite 'random'. Good players understand that you should win just ONE of them. The other encounters are merely commodities to prepare for that one battle.

IMO by using "encounter" instead of "attack" you will help them to be in the right mindset.
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