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Subject: How much "chatter" is allowed in the game? rss

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David
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So, Cosmic is one of my favorite games ever and much of that comes from the amount of social interaction the game brings but a few recent plays have produced some curious debates and questions...

The most recent time this came up was when my girlfriend and I were both trailing in the scoring and she drew the encounter card to attack me. I said "listen, I'm willing to negotiate if you are and we can both trade a colony and catch up to the others". She squinted at me (suspecting betrayal), we played our cards (face down), I held my breath, revealed. Both Negotiates! We swapped colonies as planned. HOWEVER, one player (a veteran) was irked by this and said, technically your not suppose to reveal your hand like that, and you're not suppose to prearrange deals." I didn't actually reveal my hand, and we both didn't know the other was going to play a negotiate or that the we would even agree on the those terms once the clock started ticking. But I couldn't help but question if I was bending the rules.

Before that, a situation came up where a player drew a wild card and was aiming for some revenge against The Warrior. I suggested not to attack them since win or lose, the Warrior would only get stronger, thus benefit from the encounter no matter what... I then suggested using the wild to attack me and we could do a colony/colony negotiate. He declined and attacked someone else, but The Warrior still accused me of trying to hijack his encounter AND the other players turn. Some similar accusations flew again during alliances, when I tried to convince the other players to ally on the same side I did. By the end of the game, the Warrior and I had made peace, but it got me thinking about whether I was overstepping my bounds.

I want to be clear that I'm never trying to forcefully dictate the decisions of other players. And, as far as I know, I'm not breaking anything mechanically in the game, but I do start to wonder if I've been going too far in treating the game as more of a social platform (ala The Resistance) than strategic one (ala Chess).

So my question is, how much chatter is acceptable in this game? When it was introduced to me, it was talked up as being a game of constant negotiation and engagement where you were always trying to convince and connive your way through the chaos. But maybe I've been wrong this whole time? Is EVERYTHING suppose to be silent and secret? Are you NEVER suppose to sway players to your side, suggest a deal or alliance, and just let have everyone quietly place their ships, choose their sides and play their cards without EVER TALKING ABOUT IT!? How much outside talk is allowed?

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Chris
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Both of the examples you gave are the best parts of cosmic encounter. The game is all about alliances, negotiation and even an occasional backstab.
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Rusty
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Everything you did is exactly how I would've played it too. (Unless it's two other players who successfully execute the "do you have a Negotiate? OK, let's both Negotiate and each get a colony" maneuver without any backstabbery or post-reveal "I'm altering the deal... pray I don't alter it any further" excitement, in which case I moan about how bogus it is to play that way.)
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Rafael Maia
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That sounds really crazy to me... the examples you gave are exactly what make this game brilliant! There's barely a game without the chatter, negotiation, backstabbing, swaying others, wheeling and dealing... The more of it, the better the game is.
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Just a Bill
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Without some trash talk, pleading, threats, etc. the game would not be as fun. And the rules specifically state that you can say whatever you want about your hand, as long as you don't actually show your cards.
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The only thing you could be said to have done in a gray area was discuss terms of a negotiation before the clock started running. Really, though, as you have represented your game, you're fine.

Your "Warrior" friend needs to understand that all the chatter he found fault with in the game actually is the game.

If he doesn't want a game with chaos, negotiation and table talk, he shouldn't play the game that is most known for that ever. This is why the game is fun. If you take this out, you have an empty shell. Really, if he can't accept chaos, negotiation and table talk in a game, this is not the game to play if he is in attendance.

Every once in while there are funny Geeklists here that list games that can be destroyed by having the core of their identity house ruled away. This example would be a clear entry on those lists if your Warrior friend had his way. I can't imagine how he can be a veteran of playing this game - having apparently chosen to play it many times - and have played it on the terms you describe him having.
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I think I understand what you mean, I was also faced with the same problems, I think I too would want to know how much of the deal can we actually make outside of the actual "time limit" in Negotiation, like are we actually allowed to negotiate beforehand, thus ignoring the time limit, and when both played Negotiate, they don't even need the time limit, cause they already pre-discussed, or are we only allowed to say things like let's negotiate okay? But what do we negotiate only be done when we actually both played negotiate?

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xiongie wrote:
I too would want to know how much of the deal can we actually make outside of the actual "time limit" in Negotiation, like are we actually allowed to negotiate beforehand, thus ignoring the time limit

Say whatever you want; none of it matters until the encounter cards are flipped and the timer starts running.

With that in mind, though--even though the rules don't forbid chit-chatting about stuff which is purely theoretical until the cards are flipped, if you spend too long doing this, at some point it turns into delaying the game for everyone else, which is poor form. (But it sounds like the time spent is not what the original poster's friends were objecting to.)
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It's Cosmic Encounter, not Cosmic Hold-Hands-And-Be-Friends.

It sounds like most of your group are getting the game, Warrior needs to step up, pre-arrange a negotiation with you and then play an attack card.

Sometimes prearranging negotiations can be a little annoying, especially if everything always goes to plan, but if that becomes the norm use it to screw with people and things will change very quickly.
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Robin Brown
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You can SAY anything you like about your hand and your intentions (even the truth if you feel like it). You can also ASK anything your like about other players hands and intentions. They may of course LIE in repsonse. (Or tell the truth if they like).

You may not REVEAL any cards to any other player outside of standard game play revelaing.

You may PROMISE anything you like baout your future intentions and behaviour. Such promises are never legally binding.

This is the game. Don't like it, don't play Cosmic.
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Just a Bill
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xiongie wrote:
I think I understand what you mean, I was also faced with the same problems, I think I too would want to know how much of the deal can we actually make outside of the actual "time limit" in Negotiation, like are we actually allowed to negotiate beforehand, thus ignoring the time limit, and when both played Negotiate, they don't even need the time limit, cause they already pre-discussed, or are we only allowed to say things like let's negotiate okay? But what do we negotiate only be done when we actually both played negotiate?

I think players need to have some sense of balance between freedom and sportsmanship. I have no problem with the main players agreeing in advance to both play negotiates, and even to suggest or outright say that they both want a colony. As everyone has said, maybe somebody is lying, and that's all good. (If somebody is lying, it's great!)

Where it gets icky is when they spend 5 minutes before cards are even played working out a more complex deal in which they cryptically talk about their hands as they work through possible scenarios. In this case, I think the other players are justified in saying that this level of detail is outside the spirit of the game. Not strictly illegal; but perhaps bad form. I suppose each group has to determine this for themselves, but I personally would not go into any specifics that far in advance other than "hey, if you've got a green card then let's both get a colony out of this dance."
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David
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Awesome! I was starting to feeling a little crazy, but it sounds like everyone here likes to play the game the way I like to play it.

I do agree about keeping the pre-negotiation and table talk to a reasonable duration and not drag out the game. I find this to even be the case with a game like Resistance, a game that is all about talking, still at some point you just need to throw your cards down and move the game along.

Cosmic is a really weird game though where explaining THE RULES doesn't really explain THE GAME. I'm never really sure how its going to go over with new players. The Warrior who kept barking was a new player, btw, and he actually ended up loving the game. We've played some other games since, and it turns out he just likes the trash talk (my kind of player). Meanwhile, my other friend (who tried to cut down the table talk) honestly just confused me especially since it was his copy of the game we were playing. I *think* he actually prefers to play it as a strategic-puzzle game and not a social-negotiation game. Its both really, but with so little control between your next turn, you really have to work the metagame to get anything out it. Love it!

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Quote:
How much "chatter" is allowed in the game?

ALL OF IT
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I enjoy Cosmic Encounter a lot, but I was also wondering how does this game work if played with a couple who like to work together and win together. Is the game un-fun with constant colluding? I know some couples pretend to work together and then backstab and then never work together ever again, but I think this couple word try to go for a shared victory.

What do you guys think? Would it feel to much like them vs. all?
 
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David
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Horror Leader wrote:
I enjoy Cosmic Encounter a lot, but I was also wondering how does this game work if played with a couple who like to work together and win together. Is the game un-fun with constant colluding? I know some couples pretend to work together and then backstab and then never work together ever again, but I think this couple word try to go for a shared victory.

What do you guys think? Would it feel to much like them vs. all?


I can only speak for myself, but I find it really difficult to maintain those alliances over the whole game, but overall I find it more fun when people start off "choosing sides". For instance, I sided with my girlfriend (who has only played twice) in the beginning of the last game we played. This built up a nice amount of trust toward the middle of the game, but then she started to get a ahead, and I had to turn against her if I had hoped to win. This made the cut deeper than if I had just allied with whoever, and really opened the floodgates for the trash talking. Eventually we had to reconcile, and managed to score a 3-way win with one of the other players. This actually only came about through chance though. I had a plan for a negotiated joint win with one of the other players but my opportunity fizzled, so I tacked on to my GF's encounter instead. I would have left her in the cosmo's had the opportunity arisen. ha!
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Where it gets icky is when they spend 5 minutes before cards are even played working out a more complex deal in which they cryptically talk about their hands as they work through possible scenarios. In this case, I think the other players are justified in saying that this level of detail is outside the spirit of the game. Not strictly illegal; but perhaps bad form. I suppose each group has to determine this for themselves, but I personally would not go into any specifics that far in advance other than "hey, if you've got a green card then let's both get a colony out of this dance."

I find that often if players are spending that much time "pre-dealing" it's more likely that one or both of them are lying. Remember that table-talk works both ways - or rather, all N! ways. The rest of the players are under no obligation to just sit there and listen as these guys pre-negotiate their theoretical deal. That's when they should be saying anything they can to stop it.

"Really? You're going to let him have a colony *and* cards? Don't you see how that can put him in an unstoppable position?"
"Why do you think he's being so generous? Obviously, he's setting you up for the surprise Attack card."
"Remember, if you fail to make a deal, that's the end of his turn - he gets no second encounter. So he has more to lose than you if the deal fails. You should ask for more that you're giving him."
etc.

And of course, if they really are intending such a deal, that's the perfect time to play your Quash card.
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
And of course, if they really are intending such a deal, that's the perfect time to play your Quash card.

A well-timed Quash is such a beautiful thing...and an even more dangerous weapon once Mesmer rejoins the fray...
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I find that often if players are spending that much time "pre-dealing" it's more likely that one or both of them are lying.

Oh, how I wish that were true in my house. There's not always enough backstabbing around here.

Webhead123 wrote:
A well-timed Quash is such a beautiful thing...and an even more dangerous weapon once Mesmer rejoins the fray...

Ah, it's going to be glorious to have Mesmer again. The flexibility is great, but the decisions can often be deliciously difficult. Quash now ... or save it to Zap the Parasite ... or am I desperately going to need a Finder, or ...?
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I find that often if players are spending that much time "pre-dealing" it's more likely that one or both of them are lying.

Oh, how I wish that were true in my house. There's not always enough backstabbing around here.

Webhead123 wrote:
A well-timed Quash is such a beautiful thing...and an even more dangerous weapon once Mesmer rejoins the fray...

Ah, it's going to be glorious to have Mesmer again. The flexibility is great, but the decisions can often be deliciously difficult. Quash now ... or save it to Zap the Parasite ... or am I desperately going to need a Finder, or ...?
who is the mesmer?
 
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ninja poodle wrote:
who is the mesmer?

Volume III: M through R.
 
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ninja poodle wrote:
who is the mesmer?

Nobody knows for sure, my best guess is Peter Parker though.
 
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Long time no hear from me, here. Anyway . . .

The way I play is you cannot say or show what cards you have in your hand unless some game effect permits or forces you. Similarly, you cannot say what card you will play nor ask another player to play a certain card unless some game effect permits or forces you. If you want to see someone's hand, play Mind or the Finder. If you want to say what card your opponent will play, play Visionary or Seeker if you ask the right question. Want to know what your opponent played, play Oracle.

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malletman wrote:
You can SAY anything you like about your hand and your intentions (even the truth if you feel like it). You can also ASK anything your like about other players hands and intentions. They may of course LIE in repsonse. (Or tell the truth if they like).

You may not REVEAL any cards to any other player outside of standard game play revelaing.

You may PROMISE anything you like baout your future intentions and behaviour. Such promises are never legally binding.

This is the game. Don't like it, don't play Cosmic.


I did reveal a card in the passion of gameplay today, didn't realize that it was illegal to simply show a card...
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
xiongie wrote:
I think I understand what you mean, I was also faced with the same problems, I think I too would want to know how much of the deal can we actually make outside of the actual "time limit" in Negotiation, like are we actually allowed to negotiate beforehand, thus ignoring the time limit, and when both played Negotiate, they don't even need the time limit, cause they already pre-discussed, or are we only allowed to say things like let's negotiate okay? But what do we negotiate only be done when we actually both played negotiate?

I think players need to have some sense of balance between freedom and sportsmanship. I have no problem with the main players agreeing in advance to both play negotiates, and even to suggest or outright say that they both want a colony. As everyone has said, maybe somebody is lying, and that's all good. (If somebody is lying, it's great!)

Where it gets icky is when they spend 5 minutes before cards are even played working out a more complex deal in which they cryptically talk about their hands as they work through possible scenarios. In this case, I think the other players are justified in saying that this level of detail is outside the spirit of the game. Not strictly illegal; but perhaps bad form. I suppose each group has to determine this for themselves, but I personally would not go into any specifics that far in advance other than "hey, if you've got a green card then let's both get a colony out of this dance."



Like Bill said!!

I just want to add that five minutes trying to persuade other players of who should ally with who or why you should let me ally with you, or what's going to happen if you follow X line of action can be a bit game fun-draining if it happens each Encounter too. Certainly, this kind of game talk is fun and a major part of the game. When it goes on **too long and too often**, though, it can either become A) boring in many player games for those not doing it or B) unpleasant if only one or two "Alpha Players" are doing too much of it.


 
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yeah, most groups I've been in had a sort of house rule where the potential allies would tell someone to shut up and get on with it if they drug out begging for allies.
 
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