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Subject: Homebrew: Hipster - Colonizes Planets Before They're Cool rss

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Odour Boy
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I fully expected this one to be either too powerful, or too week, but after playing it tonight, it seemed to balance fairly nicely. I'm relieved, because I love the theme!

HIPSTER
Colonizes Planets Before They're Cool

You have the power of Trendsetting. When sending ships to ally in defense, you may use this power to send the ships to establish a colony on the defending planet, becoming bystanders instead. (Adjust the score track only at the end of the encounter)[Edit: (If this would result in your winning the game, you must retain the winning condition until the end of the encounter.)]

Your bystanding ships always count towards the defending side's total attack power, and allow you to play cards in the encounter as if you were an ally. [Edit: as if they, and you, were allied in defense.]

If at any point one of your colonies shares a planet with more than half of the other players, that planet becomes 'too mainstream,' and you must immediately abandon the colony, sending your ships to your other colonies. (You may share a colony with one other player at most in a 3 or 4 player game, two players in a 5 or 6 player game, and three in a 7 or 8 player game.)

History: Hipsters are prone to colonizing some of the more niche, lesser known, independent planets. You probably haven’t heard of them.

Defensive Ally Only / Optional / Alliance
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Greg Purcell
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Master Turtler
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Looks like fun!

However, if you've tested it and found it balanced, you may want to go back to the drawing board. This is Cosmic Encounter, after all.whistle
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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The bit about adjusting the scoring track later doesn't actually mean anything. You win when you have five colonies, not when your colony marker is at the "5" spot. Also, some players don't even use the markers since they are just a convenience. I'd suggest finding another way to accomplish the delay you want.

Allowing the Hipster to play cards as if he were an ally will lead to leaks and ambiguities with cards whose result needs him to actually be an ally, that refer to his "main player," etc. Can of worms potential here. If you primarily mean he can play reinforcements, it's probably cleaner to just say so.
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Roberta Yang
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Why, as defense, would I invite this alien as an ally? It's no more effective as an ally than any other alien, but it gets a much larger reward for being an ally than anyone else.

Offensive allies get the same benefit, but as offense that will be true of anyone you invite, so if you want an ally you have no choice but to invite someone who will get a colony with you. But as defense, that's not the case. You could invite this alien and give up a free colony to them, or you could just... invite literally anyone else and not do that.

Ally-only powers need to avoid being too selfish, or they risk locking themselves out of alliances altogether.
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Odour Boy
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Bill Martinson wrote:
The bit about adjusting the scoring track later doesn't actually mean anything. You win when you have five colonies, not when your colony marker is at the "5" spot. Also, some players don't even use the markers since they are just a convenience. I'd suggest finding another way to accomplish the delay you want.


Perhaps something like, "If this would result in your winning the game, you must retain the winning condition until the end of the encounter." It's less pithy, but gets the job done.


Bill Martinson wrote:

Allowing the Hipster to play cards as if he were an ally will lead to leaks and ambiguities with cards whose result needs him to actually be an ally, that refer to his "main player," etc. Can of worms potential here. If you primarily mean he can play reinforcements, it's probably cleaner to just say so.


I do worry about that. I should probably have said "as if they, and you, were allied in defense." That should hopefully take care of most, if not all leaks. I think it's important to be able to play flares and artifacts, otherwise playing the hipster would be too boring.
 
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Odour Boy
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salty53 wrote:
Why, as defense, would I invite this alien as an ally? It's no more effective as an ally than any other alien, but it gets a much larger reward for being an ally than anyone else.

Since Hipster risks no ships in defense, it's almost a guaranteed +4, with the promise of further defense in the future, as planets with Hipster are more likely to be attacked. (He, alone, could add up to +8 or even more, in subsequent encounters, as he could add actual ally ships in addition to his previously established bystanders.)

Additionally, one can feel secure in the knowledge that once Hipster gets close to four colonies, no one is going to risk inviting him, and he's going to have a tough time gaining a colony as offense, or as an offensive ally. Not to mention, even a simple negotiation from two other players can potentially rob hipster of the colony he was so easily gifted.
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Just a Bill
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Odour Boy wrote:
Perhaps something like, "If this would result in your winning the game, you must retain the winning condition until the end of the encounter." It's less pithy, but gets the job done.

I guess I'm wondering why you would even need this. Who's going to invite him if it would make him win the game? And if they have a reason to do so, then why not let them?

Odour Boy wrote:
I should probably have said "as if they, and you, were allied in defense." That should hopefully take care of most, if not all leaks.

Limiting it to defense doesn't solve it for me; you and I may not be thinking about the same kinds of cards.
Wild Daredevil, Wild Macron — Do you want the bystander ships to be considered "ships in the encounter"? Normally these terms are mutually exclusive.

Wild Roach — Did you gain a colony as a winning ally, or are you just someone who gained and colony and also was a winning ally?

Wild Sloth — Does this let you become a bona fide ally even though you were really only a pretend ally?

Wild Wormhole — Are you actually "committing ships to the encounter"? If so, do the extra ships literally join the encounter as allies, making you now a true ally, or do they also become bystanders?

Lunar Cannon, Plasma Thrusters, Xenon Lasers — Is using a tech already in play "playing a card"?

Cosmic Energy Generator — Is using a station "playing a card"?

Force Field — Can this kick Hipster out of his semi-ally state? What if he used something like Wild Sloth or Wild Wormhole?

Solar Wind — Does this have any effect on a bystander Hipster? What if he used something like Wild Sloth or Wild Wormhole?


I don't actually want answers to any of those questions. I just want the answers to be perfectly clear from your game text. (Otherwise this wouldn't pass the clarity test for me.)

Odour Boy wrote:
Since Hipster risks no ships in defense, it's almost a guaranteed +4

Why wouldn't it be more like a guaranteed +1 or +2, since that's all that's needed to hold the colony?
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Roberta Yang
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Odour Boy wrote:
Since Hipster risks no ships in defense, it's almost a guaranteed +4, with the promise of further defense in the future, as planets with Hipster are more likely to be attacked. (He, alone, could add up to +8 or even more, in subsequent encounters, as he could add actual ally ships in addition to his previously established bystanders.)

Your theory is that the Hipster will stack up eight ships on your planet out of the goodness of its heart, and then opponents who don't have a sure win will still choose to encounter the planet where you have a free +8 and not one of your four other planets?

I do not share your theory.

Odour Boy wrote:
Additionally, one can feel secure in the knowledge that once Hipster gets close to four colonies, no one is going to risk inviting him, and he's going to have a tough time gaining a colony as offense, or as an offensive ally.

You could say the same of literally any alien that isn't a pure combat power. That's no reason to rocket them to 4 colonies for free.
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Odour Boy
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Bill Martinson wrote:

I guess I'm wondering why you would even need this. Who's going to invite him if it would make him win the game? And if they have a reason to do so, then why not let them?

Right, the original wording was intended to reduce the tediousness and confusion of moving the score track multiple times mid-encounter, as well as allowing for some fancy footwork near the endgame (say, a promise of a three-way win via negotiation, using Hipster as a threat of mutually assured destruction.) Crazy things like this could not happen if Hipster just won instantly. The fix inadvertently lost the former intention. Perhaps something like, "The colony does not count towards your total number of foreign colonies until the end of the encounter." or "tally your total number of foreign colonies at the end of the encounter."

Your right, it's not essential. The original wording's intention was clear, if inaccurate, but so far the fixes seem like they might cause extra confusion. Hmmm...

Bill Martinson wrote:

Limiting it to defense doesn't solve it for me; ... I just want the answers to be perfectly clear from your game text. (Otherwise this wouldn't pass the clarity test for me.)

Some good sticking points, thanks. I'll have to mull this over and make one last attempt at allowing at least some cards, and effects to be used, perhaps by delaying the use of the power to later in the encounter. Then making hipster closer to a being a full bystander, with simple, clear exceptions. It's no fun having a power limit almost everything you can do, so hopefully I can make it work.

Bill Martinson wrote:

Why wouldn't it be more like a guaranteed +1 or +2, since that's all that's needed to hold the colony?

Hipster has a strong incentive to help defend as much as possible (since an offensive win would likely mean he'd abandon the colony) and no detriment in doing so. Anything less than +4 would be odd, barring some other factor.
 
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Odour Boy
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salty53 wrote:

Your theory is that the Hipster will stack up eight ships on your planet out of the goodness of its heart, and then opponents who don't have a sure win will still choose to encounter the planet where you have a free +8 and not one of your four other planets?

As previously explained, +4 is almost guaranteed, barring other factors. A potential +8 on subsequent encounters would not be out of the goodness of Hipster's heart. If Hipster already has a colony on the targeted planet (while granted, the colony may be less than +4 at this point), Hipster has incentive to A) ensure others stay off of the planet, and B) gain defender rewards from not using it's power a second time, winning as a defensive ally.

Planets with a Hipster foreign colony are more attractive to land on, if one thinks it can be done. Keeping Hipster low, allows one a greater opportunity to exploit Hipster for one's self when the time comes. There is an incentive there, and it's relatively self-balancing, I was happy to find.

salty53 wrote:

You could say the same of literally any alien that isn't a pure combat power. That's no reason to rocket them to 4 colonies for free.

Hipster has a tougher time gaining/keeping his foreign colonies the traditional way than most other aliens.

I don't know what else to tell you. I had the same worries as you do. I did only play test it once, but the 6 player game ended with most players at 4, as per usual. After an unfortunate twist, the Hipster player and I lost in defense. Hipster neither rocketed away with the game, nor fell too far behind.
 
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