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Cosmic Encounter» Forums » Variants

Subject: Simple Paranoia-driven Variant: The Orb of Destruction rss

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Odour Boy
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Just thought of a variant that's very easy to implement. All it takes is one card added to the Cosmic deck: The Orb of Destruction.

Before cards are dealt, shuffle the orb into the top half of the cosmic deck. Or, to intensify the paranoia, shuffle it into the entire deck.

Whomever has the orb at the end of the game may play it to become the sole winner, regardless of all other win conditions.

At any point in the game, any player with at least one foreign colony may accuse another player of possessing the orb. If the accused player does possess the orb in any way (including having it stashed away through effects like the Miser's power, or the Voyager flare), he must reveal it, abandon a foreign colony (if possible), and remove the orb from the game. If the accused does not have the orb, he reveals all of his cards to the accuser, then the accuser must abandon a foreign colony. Each player may make an accusation only once per game.

If the orb is ever discarded, shuffle it into the top 10 cards of the cosmic deck instead. (Shuffle the discard pile into the deck first, if the deck has fewer than 10 cards)
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Roberta Yang
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No.
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Roberta Yang
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To elaborate: if you have the orb, play completely normally. Sometimes you randomly win the game. Fun! Other times, someone randomly takes the orb from you in compensation. You immediately accuse them and they lose a colony. Fun! If you don't draw the orb, and someone else does, make sure you don't win the game, because then you lose, and make sure you don't take the orb from them, because then you lose a colony, and make sure you don't show up to the game table, because then you lose. Fun!
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Odour Boy
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salty53 wrote:
if you have the orb, play completely normally. Sometimes you randomly win the game. Fun! Other times, someone randomly takes the orb from you in compensation. You immediately accuse them and they lose a colony. Fun! If you don't draw the orb, and someone else does, make sure you don't win the game, because then you lose, and make sure you don't take the orb from them, because then you lose a colony, and make sure you don't show up to the game table, because then you lose. Fun!


With all due respect, you seem like you may not be taking into account the mind games that (should) go on within a game of Cosmic Encounter. Random is rarely random. If you don't have the orb, you find out who has it, work together to accuse people, or trick others into thinking you have it. Will Billy risk taking your 40 in compensation, if he has reason to believe he might grab an orb instead? Is sally sure enough that you have the orb, to risk her colony in an accusation attempt? Should you keep that hand zap handy, in case you run out of options? How sure are you that the orb is still in the deck, should you risk a win attempt? Why is Frank helping you win so easily? If you get the orb, should you tuck it away, or try to get rid of it as soon as possible? Just 'playing normally' sounds to me like a good way to lose this game.

If none of this sounds interesting to you at all, however, you're more than welcome not to try it.
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Odour Boy
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I'll grant you this: On the surface, it sounds really dumb. I mean, a 'win' card? Seriously?

But what it is, is essentially a bomb that must be disarmed by the end of the game - a bomb that not everyone wants disarmed, that players may uncooperatively delight in knocking each other over the head with, and that may in fact not even be there.

I made a power that used the same elements of deduction - it masqueraded as the player's 'discarded' power, while it's flare had to be used to unmask it, lest it win the game. It added quite a bit of intensity, it was just mildly tricky to implement, so I made this as an alternative.
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Hugo L
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Just a general observation: With Cosmic Encounter, the usual way to introduce rule change is simply to create a new Alien power. This is the way the game has been designed. Your rule alteration could definitively be implemented as such and it would be more elegant this way IMO.
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Jefferson Krogh
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Haiku wrote:
Just a general observation: With Cosmic Encounter, the usual way to introduce rule change is simply to create a new Alien power. This is the way the game has been designed. Your rule alteration could definitively be implemented as such and it would be more elegant this way IMO.


But with all things Cosmic, this is a "rule" meant to be broken. Otherwise we wouldn't have the plethora of official and unofficial variants such as Technology, Hazards, Special Ships, Cosmic Stars, Moons, Lucre, etc. etc. etc.
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Hugo L
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
But with all things Cosmic, this is a "rule" meant to be broken. Otherwise we wouldn't have the plethora of official and unofficial variants such as Technology, Hazards, Special Ships, Cosmic Stars, Moons, Lucre, etc. etc. etc.


Your are perfectly right. I note that it would have been cumbersome to introduce those rules using Alien power and thus variants seems the proper way to implement them.

But reading the OP proposal, I definitivly see it as an Alien power with the added benefit of being zappable, which is a great fail-safe against "broken" power.

God, I like this game, great and robust design, really.
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Odour Boy
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Haiku wrote:
Your are perfectly right. I note that it would have been cumbersome to introduce those rules using Alien power and thus variants seems the proper way to implement them.

But reading the OP proposal, I definitivly see it as an Alien power with the added benefit of being zappable, which is a great fail-safe against "broken" power.


Yeah, as mentioned above, I first made this as a power. (It was one of a number of movie alien themed powers.)



I'm still not 100% happy with it, as it's A) too complicated, B) hard to implement - a player basically has to see it in action before they might successfully get it on the table without accidentally giving their identity away, and C) It's basically an extra power, rather than a different power.

Having said all that, It was still a lot of fun the few times I've tested it.
 
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Jack Reda
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This is the sort of thing that could easily have been a Hazard... when it comes up, you shuffle the Orb into the deck. There could also be a Hazard that purges cards like this from play.
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Jefferson Krogh
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It could also easily be an artifact that can only be played at the end of the game, with the caveat that when it is discarded, it must be removed from the game.

So, seeking simplicity, I might try this:

***********************************

The Doomsday Orb (artifact)

When another player wins the game, play this artifact. You alone win the game.

If another player asks you if you have this card in your hand, you must say "yes." If this card is ever discarded, remove it from the game.

***********************************

All the rest is unnecessary, to my mind. You can either add this as an artifact in the cosmic deck, or the reward deck, or have it added by some other event like a Hazard or whatever.

I don't think I would make this a regular variant in my games, simply because it seems like it might overshadow everything else that was going on. As an occasional thing, it might be fun.

 
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Odour Boy
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:

If another player asks you if you have this card in your hand, you must say "yes." If this card is ever discarded, remove it from the game.

I think there has to be some limit/detriment to asking, otherwise players will just ask every time someone picks up a card.
Kobold Curry Chef wrote:

I don't think I would make this a regular variant in my games, simply because it seems like it might overshadow everything else that was going on. As an occasional thing, it might be fun.

I agree. Definitely a once in a while thing. Jack Reda's idea of making it a Hazard is good, I think. (Not that I ever use the hazard deck, if I can help it. ) That would ensure it only pops up now and again. It's certainly no more game-ruining than many of the hazards.

I'm looking at you, Entropy beast. yuk
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Fernando
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What about making 3 Hazard Cards that give the offensive player a part of the Orb of Destruction... (maybe depends on the amount of players?) Lets say 3 as an example.

Whenever a player draws a card from the destiny deck and it has a hazard, the player draws a hazard card as usual. This card might just be "A shard of the orb has been discovered by this turn's player" or something like that. That player gets to grab one of the Orb cards that have the regular art on their back and put it in their hand.

Now he could have a second victory option, he could try to collect all the required "shards" to win... either through negotiation or compensations.

This way it would still be somewhat random, not too hard for it to happen and not too easy to collect them all as once they are "spawned" into the game, people can steal them or exchange them around and other players might not notice because their art on the back correspond to normal deck cards or defender rewards cards...

In a 4 player game the destiny deck should have 21 destiny cards (16 from the players 3 special and 2 wilds), out of those 4 are or hazards as im not sure if the special ones can have hazards. Its around a 20% chance of drawing a card with hazards and then they are only 3 Orb shards inside the pool of hazards (not sure how many they are). Chances are pretty low to get them all spawned but who knows... maybe they do, maybe they don't...

could be interesting
 
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Just a Bill
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Seichi31 wrote:
In a 4 player game the destiny deck should have 17 destiny cards (12 from the players 3 special and 2 wilds), out of those 4 are or hazards as im not sure if the special ones can have hazards. Its around a 24% chance of drawing a card with hazards

Fixed.
 
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Fernando
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Thanks for the correction bill! thought they were 4 cards per color o.O This is a clear sign that I should be playing more and working less
 
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Just a Bill
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
The Doomsday Orb (artifact)

When another player wins the game, play this artifact. You alone win the game.

If another player asks you if you have this card in your hand, you must say "yes." If this card is ever discarded, remove it from the game.

Although I'm generally intrigued by the idea of aliens hunting down some kind of "ultimate weapon" and the tension that creates, there are a couple of things about this implementation that I'd suggest thinking about:

1. Assuming there's at least one player at the table who understands and wants to mitigate the risk, every time anyone acquires new cards from any deck, pile, etc. that could have contained the Orb, somebody will immediately ask "do you have The Doomsday Orb?" At my table this would happen continually. It would be less tedious if the card forced you to announce when you acquire it, which would have the same effect without the annoyance of the constant question. (Either way, though, without a strong storyline explanation it seems like a patch.)

2. As long as Mesmer holds any other artifact, he can always play the Orb at the end of the game (and he gets to answer "no" to the tedious question). This kind of makes it mandatory to hoard Zaps for this likelihood. It reminds me how I disliked the old maxim "always save a zap for Schizoid," but it's worse with Mesmer because (a) the situation is much more likely to occur, and (b) Mesmer has more Card Zaps than any other alien, so he can probably out-zap your zaps. It's possible the mere existence of this card could change Mesmer's whole strategy to "forget about foreign colonies; just retain home colonies, hoard all artifacts, and wait for the clock to run out."
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