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Subject: Time for another expansion? rss

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Brett Petersen
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I hear that here is still a few things sitting out there (e.g. moons etc.) that could still be released. Is it time or is FF's Cosmic Encounters a finished game?
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Jordan S.
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There have been mumblings by the original designers that another expansion is in the works. Details on it are scarce, though. Most reports refer to it with the tentative title "Cosmic Grail".

If you ask me, even if they never published anything else for FFG's edition, there's enough to play for decades without exhausting everything. That said, I would be surprised if that ended up being the case.
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Jefferson Krogh
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thatach wrote:
I hear that here is still a few things sitting out there (e.g. moons etc.) that could still be released. Is it time or is FF's Cosmic Encounters a finished game?


Definitely not finished. From CosmicCon last year, we know that Peter Olotka and Bill Eberle are designing expansion #6. They had a public playtest at a convention in New England earlier this year.

Beyond that, things are unclear, but I'd be surprised if FFG stops publishing expansions as long as the game keeps selling so well.
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Mi Myma
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Or is it simply time to have this discussion again? Well, we haven't in a while, so why not?

Moons were never all that great - but they probably could be made to work well enough with a little tweaking. The problem is, having a moon encounter has a very high opportunity cost and relatively low reward if you win. If there are to be moons with bad effects, then you're not only giving up the chance to gain a foreign colony and get 20% closer to victory, but you're also risking significant harm to yourself.

Lucre was never particularly good at all, and it would take quite a bit of work to make it worth adding to the game. FFG has specifically said they won't be adding lucre to the game. Of course, there's no reason why they can't change their minds if they want. And they have taken a few of the old Lucre powers and released them in a de-lucre-ized form: Ethic, Butler, Extortionist. No, not the Pirate - the new Pirate is not a de-lucre-ized version of the old Pirate, it is a completely new alien.

There are three main underlying problems with Lucre, all of which need to be solved if FFG is going to even consider publishing a lucre expansion:

1) Probably the biggest problem - it adds more complication to the game without adding that much more fun.

2) The Lucre Equalization Problem - players can use lucre to compensate for the things their power doesn't do. The obvious example would be if Lucre can be used to buy cards or ships from the warp, then Zombie and Mutant lose their respective uniqueness. Zombie spends his lucre on cards and Mutant spends his on ships - and now to completely different aliens now play almost exactly the same. If this problem can be solved, it might be a big step toward solving the first problem.

3) The specific powers that deal with lucre have to be decent powers, which has always been a problem. Pretty much all of the original Eon lucre powers weren't good at all. And while the Mayfair version greatly improves some of them, they also introduced a few new ones which were bad (Gnome, Entrepreneur).

Comets and the Reverse Cone have been incorporated into the Hazards, And very nicely done! I wouldn't mind seeing a few new Hazards or Special Destiny cards in a future expansion. I remember the original Hazards variant as it was posted on the internet somewhere (Jack Reda's Warp?) in the early '90s, and it was incredibly stupid. FFG's version is quite good.

Technology was something that was promised in a Mayfair expansion, but never happened. Now that it's here in FFG, it's not too bad, but not great, IMO. I wouldn't mind seeing some new Tech cards in a future expansion - and possibly even some new Tech-related rules variants, so they come into play more often. As with Moons, giving up an encounter to gain a Tech is a very high opportunity cost for what might not be that much gain - but at least none of the Techs hurt you.

Aliens These are the previously published aliens by Eon and Mayfair that have not yet been published by FFG:

Anomaly - Mayfair. bad, but possibly fixable
(Assassin) - Eon - renamed to Shadow
Assessor - Eon, made slightly better, but Lucre-based, by Mayfair
Aura - Eon
Berserker - Mayfair
Boomerang - Eon (essentially replaced by Invader)
Busybody - Mayfair
Connoisseur - Mayfair, too powerful, but fixable
Crystal - Eon (the FFG Crystal is a completely different alien)
Delegator - Eon, possibly replaced by the Usurper?
Demon - Eon
Dragon - Eon - a Lucre power so closely tied to lucre that it may be impossible to de-lucre-ize it.
Entrepreneur - Mayfair, a very weak Lucre power, fixable with lucre, but de-lucre-izing it might just turn it into Merchant or something like that.
Force - Eon, poorly-defined Lucre power
Ghost - Mayfair, essentially replaced by Wormhole
Gnome - Mayfair, weak lucre power, possibly not un-lucre-izable.
Grief - Mayfair, replaced by Reborn
Hurtz - Eon, Lucre power
Insect - Eon, meta-power, might cause a few rules problems, but maybe those could be ironed out.
Lloyd - Eon, Lucre power, if de-lucre-ized, might be too similar to Healer.
Magnet - Eon
Negator - Eon
Obverse - Mayfair
Pavlov - Mayfair
Pirate - Eon, Lucre power, perhaps too inextricably linked to lucre.
Prolong - Mayfair
Queue - Mayfair
Serpent - Mayfair
Silencer - Eon, possibly the most annoying power ever.
Subversive - Mayfair
(Terrorist) - Eon - Renamed to Saboteur
Vampire - Mayfair
Witch - Eon, poorly-defined
Wrack - Eon
Wraith - Mayfair, similar to Sloth
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Shane Brewer
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So Phil, what would you put into the next expansion?

For me, I think the game has some very strong variants that have only been minimally developed. I would love to see more tech, more stations, more capital ships, more hazards. What else?

I doubt if you would want to do an alien-free expansion, so, I guess 20 more aliens.

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Mi Myma
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There is a variant on The Warp called "Prisoners" that I always thought looked interesting, but I've never tried it.

OH! And Alternate Planetary Systems! I forgot that one! The Pygmy already gives a bit of a taste of that idea. It's basically other possible arrangements of planets in the individual systems - each one being different and giving some special ability, maybe equivalent to about half of an alien power. Some worked better than others, but there are enough different ones that have been invented that we could find sufficient good ones.

We've had some good discussions here about reviving the planetary systems (also known as "Reverse Hexes" from when the planets were printed one one big hexagon, instead of five separate planets).

And I also came up with a few variants myself:

Cultural Limitations - Minor weaknesses
Sunspots
Penalty Deck - A Weird Idea (for the Fan Expansion?)
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Just a Bill
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thatach wrote:
or is FF's Cosmic Encounters a finished game?

Not at all. Jefferson is spot on, and the next expansion is currently in active development. I've only seen a tiny peek, but there are definitely some more fun and original alien designs in our future. I heard from a highly placed source (White House? CIA? can't remember) that both the original designers and FFG are pleased with where things are headed.

(Time to see if Julian Assange can get me asylum now.)
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Daniel E
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Is there any news on another german expansion?
 
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Future Wolfie
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I remember hearing somewhere, before the Fan-designed expansion came out, that Fantasy Flight had 5 expansions planned. The Fan expansion (Cosmic Dominion) became an extra expansion.

Obviously the next expansion seems to confirmed from posts above, but it might be a longer period of time before anything new comes out after that. Who knows what could happen?
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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grummzaire wrote:
I remember hearing somewhere, before the Fan-designed expansion came out, that Fantasy Flight had 5 expansions planned. The Fan expansion (Cosmic Dominion) became an extra expansion.


Close, but not quite! The original contract between FFG and Eon allowed FFG to print 5 expansions. Cosmic Dominion was the fifth of those. It wasn't an "extra," it was just weird because they let us fans design it.

That did not preclude additional contracts being signed, and one can infer from all the talk about a sixth expansion that this indeed happened. If Peter Olotka is able to tell us what the current contract is, I'm sure he will, but he's probably too busy working on expansion set #6.

Quote:
Obviously the next expansion seems to confirmed from posts above, but it might be a longer period of time before anything new comes out after that. Who knows what could happen?


Well, nothing is confirmed until FFG confirms it, but as of CosmicCon last year, it was their intention to do another one. I suppose there's a chance they could pass on whatever Peter & Bill are working on, but that would be a surprise to me.
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Personally I would love to see an expansion intended for people that have all the other expansions. The fan expansion already addressed the Defender Rewards deck at least, but new tech cards, hazard cards, space stations, etc would make those decks easier to shuffle by filling them out and add more variety to the game. Also throw in a 10th player color, the usual introduction of new aliens, and maybe some new destiny card varieties to fill out that deck as well(perhaps one off effects that happen, and then you draw a new destiny card to see who you encounter). I hate shuffling tiny stacks of cards.
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Just a Bill
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I'm not worried about the game coming to an end. More than once I've heard that Peter & Bill are happy with how things are going, FFG is happy with how things are going, the players are happy ... there's literally no reason for them to stop publishing expansions.

I was also happy to hear that the "expansion of expansions" (XoX) idea gained some traction as well. This is not to say that anyone's officially working on it, but at CosmicCon the powers that be seemed comfortable with the idea of doing such a thing at some point. So I would not be surprised to see something like that materialize in the next few years.

The main concern that's been raised in the past was that a general marketing weakness of an XoX concept is its dependency on prior expansions. Thus far, every expansion has been fully usable without any other expansions. I've made the counter-argument that because this game is so exceptionally malleable, Cosmic Encounter is uniquely suited to make such a thing work without introducing a hard dependency. Let's imagine that a small number of cards are printed for each mechanic, and you the customer do not have any of the earlier expansion sets, and see if these cards still have value for you. To really test the theory, we'll assume that the number is very small, like say only 4 to 8 cards for each mechanic:
Techs — No problem, of course; techs are in the base game.

Rewards — Shuffle them into the cosmic deck and enjoy repeatedly. Or, play with that tiny little separate reward deck and experience a new sense of urgency as everyone tries to get the rewards first, with the resulting new twist on alliance dynamics. Or, shuffle them and add one at random to each player's starting hand, then let them enter circulation normally as they become discarded to the regular discard pile.

Hazards — Use the mini hazard deck normally, and just let it be an early-game thing that runs out. Or, deal each player one hazard card at game setup and let them play it during any encounter in which they are a main player. Or, make these hazards particularly dicey, with perhaps higher than average risk to the offense, and when playing with only the mini deck draw a hazard only on a Wild destiny. Thus, the offense's benefit in choosing the defense is offset by the rare, extra-crispy Hazard thrown on that encounter. This makes hazards a rare yet very impactful event in the mini form ... and in the full mixed-together version, every time a hazard warning comes up the offense gets to worry for a moment whether it will be one of the strength-10 Diablo's Fire Hot Wings hazards that comes up.

Space stations — Even if there were only 4 new ones, they would still function normally in a 3- or 4-player game. Or, have a variant where each player can build one space station but to do so you give up your entire turn, or pay some other cost.


So, rather than being a problem, I would see tiny numbers of expansion-mechanic cards as an opportunity to play some new little variants, in addition to expanding the mechanics they belong to for all the folks who do have the earlier expansions. It's all in how you design them, and the brilliant framework of Cosmic offers plenty of options for those designs. (And really, I'd think there would probably be a bit more than the trivial number of cards I suggest here, which makes all the "play it normally" options even more viable.)

From a marketing perspective, I'd think they could also position this as kind of a "sampler platter." A player who's just getting started can try all the various side-mechanics to see which expansions he wants to buy first. Nobody should expect a "full variant" experience, just as you don't expect to get a full belly from any one sample at Costco.

(The one that would be a bit sketchy would be new Schizoid cards, although I doubt anybody would feel the product was weak just because it had 4 new Schizoid cards that you couldn't use until you had Cosmic Alliance.)

Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble on so much, but that was the basic case I made, and it got some traction as far as being perceived as viable. So I have hope that more cards for some of these things are a definite possibility, and they don't even have to be done as a "second full deck" like we did in Dominion.
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Jefferson Krogh
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FFG has some experience already with an "expansion of expansions" from their Miskatonic Horror box for Arkham Horror. (Wow, that was four years ago already.) From what I remember, that was well-received at the time. However, they clearly planned that to be the last Arkham Horror expansion. If FFG does give us an "XoX" for Cosmic, I hope they change that aspect of it.

Anyway, if FFG left it up to us, we could easily fill another five expansions. (If we keep saying that, the odds increase that they'll call our bluff, right?)
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Love the take on it.

But you are wrong Bill about Costco samples. Fulfillment comes from sampling every single sample in the store - not just a single one.
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eelektrik wrote:
Also throw in a 10th player color,

There's an interesting idea - add a 10th player color - but NOT a 9th!

Among the "classic" game elements I'd like to see revived for FFG's edition, I'd say the Alternate Planetary Systems would be the best for whole new mechanics. Among the earlier edition aliens, I'd suggest these:

Busybody
Crystal - possibly combine this with Magnet
Demon
Magnet - possibly combine this with Crystal
Negator
Pavlov
Queue
Serpent
Subversive
Vampire - possibly with a little beefing up.
Wrack

Looking at that list, I notice that these are all powers that can really mess with other players' plans. They practically form their own theme, just as CA had a lot of aliens that dealt with alliances. This expansion could be called "Cosmic Treachery" or "Cosmic Trouble" or "Cosmic Manipulation" or "Cosmic Machinations". I'd propose calling it "Cosmic Intrigue" if CI hadn't already been taken.

Some other classic aliens could be revived with some modifications:

Aura - Always was a neat concept - if there was a way to make it work better and not be so annoying.
Connoisseur - I heard Mayfair wanted to replace this with a power called "Exponent" with the Power of 10 (has a 10-card hand). Of course that was back when the default hand size was only 7. Now that it's 8, this new power should probably go up to 12 - call it the "Dozen". The basic idea is that it gets a 12-card hand, and can draw a new hand when it's down to 4 or fewer.
Insect - A theoretically "pithy" power - copying its opponent's power. They'd just need to hammer out any rules conflicts that would arise.
Witch - If they pin down more precisely what it can and can't do with its curses.
 
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Brett Petersen
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Well thank you everyone for the great discussion. I am impressed with the thought that has been done about this topic and the passion of the CE fans. I like some of the ideas that an expansion would not really need to be more than a few more tech, hazards, rewards, and space stations to be exciting. I agree.

I also heard mentioned on the Facebook page for this post today that an expansion with a deluxe storage box would be awesome.

I am happy that there are so many great ideas out there.

Now for the next question: Will there be a CosmicCon in 2015 or 2016?
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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thatach wrote:

Now for the next question: Will there be a CosmicCon in 2015 or 2016?


Definitely not in 2015, doubtful for any year afterwards.

Last year's gathering was really an event tied to Cosmic Dominion. It was put together mostly by Peter & Bill from Future Pastimes, with lots of support from FFG, as a thank you to the fans who made Cosmic Dominion possible and successful.

Another con would need to be organized by someone else, I gather. I haven't heard about anybody stepping up to do that, which is not surprising. These things take a lot of work, and a considerable amount of money. So whichever one of you guys wins the lottery first, make it happen!
 
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
thatach wrote:

Now for the next question: Will there be a CosmicCon in 2015 or 2016?


Definitely not in 2015, doubtful for any year afterwards.

Last year's gathering was really an event tied to Cosmic Dominion. It was put together mostly by Peter & Bill from Future Pastimes, with lots of support from FFG, as a thank you to the fans who made Cosmic Dominion possible and successful.

Another con would need to be organized by someone else, I gather. I haven't heard about anybody stepping up to do that, which is not surprising. These things take a lot of work, and a considerable amount of money. So whichever one of you guys wins the lottery first, make it happen!


Actually. Many think that the lack of a future CosmicCon is due to some information that Jack Reda has on Olatka and Eberle. Word on the street is that Jack's plan is to never allow for another world championship event so that he retains the crown indefinitely.
 
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Oh, and another thing!

A few more classic bits of CE from previous editions that haven't been done yet by FFG: Artifacts (used to be called "Edicts"):

Sanity - No player may play flares or artifacts, except to cancel this one, for the duration of this encounter.
Keeper - When you have to draw a new hand, keep all your non-encounter cards (except this one) and draw eight new cards. [I like this one because it prevents interesting cards from "going to waste".]
Timegash - Have an encounter now, as if starting your turn. Afterwards, play resumes from where it left off.
Warp Break - Free all of one player's ships from the warp. (A Mobius Tubes that only affects one player - presumably the player who played it.)
Destiny Zap - Cancel the Destiny card revealed and draw again.
Flare Zap & Edict Zap - In earlier editions, there were two separate Artifacts (Edicts) - one that canceled Flares and one that canceled Edicts (Artifacts), instead of the Card Zap, that we have now that can be used for either one.
Stellar Gas & Cosmic Gas - In earlier editions, there were two separate Edicts - one that canceled compensation, and one that canceled rewards, instead of Ionic Gas, that cancels both.
Kicker Zap - take a guess what this one did.
Un Zap - cancel any Edict (Artifact) with the word "Zap" in it.

With the Omni-Zap, we probably don't need any of the above Zap-types. And with Rifts, we probably don't need Warp Break. However, Sanity and Keeper might be good additions to the game.
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Oh, man, we had a few discussions about what artifacts to put in Cosmic Dominion.

Yeah, the Omni Zap is meant to replace the plethora of other zaps that haven't been published yet. Nothing irritated me more about the Mayfair edition than getting a starting hand of 1 compromise, 2 flares, 1 attack, and 3 silly zaps.

I fought hard for Timegash, because there are very few ways to screw with the turn order. It didn't quite make it in Cosmic Dominion, but it just has to go in sometime. (In fact, I should just hurry up and add it to my own Rewards deck.)

Sanity feels more like a Hazard to me; I guess Cosmic Nebula is supposed to be its replacement. It's still a good artifact, though.

Keeper needs to come back, I agree.

We did put Solar Wind in there.
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DrBrewhaha wrote:
Actually. Many think that the lack of a future CosmicCon is due to some information that Jack Reda has on Olatka and Eberle. Word on the street is that Jack's plan is to never allow for another world championship event so that he retains the crown indefinitely.


He's just lucky because all the Plagues in that tournament got used on me. Someone added like six to the deck, and they all came up in the first game, and they all got used on me... cry
 
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
Oh, man, we had a few discussions about what artifacts to put in Cosmic Dominion.

Indeed we did. Each of us wanted some that just wouldn't fit. I would love to see Timegash and Keeper make their appearance in a future set. The XoX concept could easily include them in a new group of reward cards or Large Group cards, and there are other ways to bring more artifacts into the game that have only just begun to be explored.

Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
Someone added like six [Plagues] to the deck, and they all came up in the first game, and they all got used on me... cry

Oh, that would be me. Now you know why I was so willing to help with the table setup work. I'm just miffed that all those extra Attack -07s I tried to spike Jack with never showed up. I think he was pocketing them, the dirty cheat.
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And then there was the idea of individual planet characteristics:

Need 10 planet suggestions

And "Stars", whose thread I can't seem to find now.
 
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I really, really, really hope they revisit space stations at some point.

Sometimes I feel I am the only one who likes that variant but I adore the fact that they can be offered up as part of deals and act as a second win condition.
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And more things to do with the special ship markers.

And...

And...

And...
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