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Cosmic Encounter» Forums » Variants

Subject: INSPECTOR -- Rejects Unwanted Cards rss

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SpaghettiToastBook
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INSPECTOR
Rejects Unwanted Cards
You have the power of Quality. Whenever you would add cards to your hand (including when starting hands are dealt), you may use this power to discard some or all of those cards.

(As Any Player) (Optional) (All Phases)

Wild: As a main player, before allies are invited, you may discard your lowest attack card. (Main Player Only) (Alliance)

Super: When using your power, you may give some or all of the cards you would discard to other players. (As Any Player) (Any Phase)
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Jack Reda
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Something we discovered playing a similar alien was that as the defense, you could draw a new hand, reject everything, and then draw another hand, and reject it all, repeating this process until you got the exact card or cards you were looking for.
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Yeah, infinite cycling is never healthy for any game.

I also don't think an alien that never has to hold any bad cards is a good idea. Limited, paced ways to get rid of duds is fine; Pacifist and Reserve are great examples. But this is kind of like being Aristocrat every time you need to draw a new hand.

If I were to attempt to play this alien optimally, I would keep my hand devoid of encounter cards at almost all times. I would only ever keep at most one or maybe two, and only if they're spectacular. But often it would be zero. Then, whenever it's my turn or I'm the defense, I get a fresh draw and dump every new encounter card that is not really good. If none of them are really good, I immediately dump them all and try again. And again. And eventually reshuffle the discard pile and try again. And again.

This power would let me guarantee that every time I draw a new hand — which would be quite often — I get the best attack card from among the entire deck and the discard pile. If I don't already know what that best card is, then I cycle through the whole thing just to learn what it is, then cycle through again if necessary to retrieve it.

This of course would annoy the crap out of everyone else at the table. But it sure seems like optimal play if your goals are to win encounters and always have a negotiate when you want it.

It would be much less annoying to just let the Inspector look through the deck and the discard pile every time he's a main player and take one encounter card of his choice. And that would still be very annoying. (So obviously don't do that; it's just a comparative illustration.)

Card-dumpers need some kind of limitation, like serious limits on how fast they can dump, penalties for dumping, exchanges or replacements that can't be dumped, etc.
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SpaghettiToastBook
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The cycling potential was an oversight. The intent was for Inspector to keep a small hand and to have the drawback of being constant target for compensation and other card theft.

I suppose a simple way to stop the cycling issue is the following:

INSPECTOR
Rejects Unwanted Cards
You have the power of Quality. Whenever you would add cards to your hand (including when starting hands are dealt), you may use this power to discard some or all of those cards. If you are drawing a new hand (including your starting hand), you must keep at least one encounter card.

If that's too good or not interesting enough, this might work:

INSPECTOR
Rejects Unwanted Cards
You have the power of Quality. Whenever you would add cards to your hand (including when starting hands are dealt), use this power to discard half of those cards (rounded up). If you are drawing a new hand (including your starting hand), you must keep at least one encounter card.

I'm not sure if the starting hand clarifications in the second sentences are necessary.
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Adam McLean
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I had thought about something similar but never got around to giving it any traction ... it was similar to your Inspector, in that you could discard any or all cards you wanted ... but if you were ever caught without an encounter card as the Offense or Defense, you automatically lost the encounter. I felt it needed some sort of clause that muted the power a bit, just couldn't flesh it all out. So you could take your chances, but I think the hand cycling thing became an issue in discussions so it never went anywhere.

Never did play test it or fiddle with any of the language, but this just reminded me of it. Sorry, I contribute much to the thread otherwise.
 
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Jack of Clubs
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SpaghettiToastBook wrote:

INSPECTOR
Rejects Unwanted Cards
You have the power of Quality. Whenever you would add cards to your hand (including when starting hands are dealt), use this power to discard half of those cards (rounded up). If you are drawing a new hand (including your starting hand), you must keep at least one encounter card.

I'm not sure if the starting hand clarifications in the second sentences are necessary.

This version is similar to Mayfair's Connoisseur - whenever it drew cards (but not from another player), it would draw twice as many as usual, and discard half of them. This was generally too powerful. But your version, where you only get half as many cards as usual, but they're always the best ones, might be a good improvement. It might be the right power level. You might change this to rounding down instead of up, that way, you always get at least one card when you should be getting cards. What if you gain one card, and it's a good one? By the round-up rule, you have to discard it even if you don't want to.

There was another alien in the works in the Mayfair days, that was to be included in the next expansion (that never came out), call Exponent - with the power of ten. Its new hand size was 10 cards (this was back when the base hand size was 7). When it got down to 3 or fewer, it could discard them and draw a new hand of 10, or it could keep them and draw back up to 10, to it could keep playing without drawing if possible. Thus, you still have the bad cards in your hand, but you never have to play the three worst ones, if you don't want to.

Now that the base hand size is 8, I'd recommend changing the Exponent to the Dozen - with the power of twelve. You can discard and draw another 12 when you're down to 4 or fewer.
 
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
in the [Mayfair] expansion (that never came out), call Exponent

Ug ... what a classic example of poor theming. If someday there's ever a published alien whose theme is exponentiation, I sure hope it does something much more authentic and story-rich than "collecting 10 things" but never even multiplying anything.

Your Dozens concept is an improvement, but I'd still feel like there was a disconnect with the usual Cosmic "vibe." Could there be a theme that recognizes that the alien is not a dozen itself but is all about grouping or expanding or gathering things in 12s? Shipper? Packer? Wholesaler with the power of Case Purchasing? Zodiac? I don't know. My ideas here all pretty much suck. I just think good designs deserve good themes and good names. "This alien adds cards together ... let's call it the Plus." Yuk with a side of fried gak on an ick-stick.
 
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I completely agree. "Exponent" is a horrible name for something that's meant to specifically imply the number 10 - after all, any number can be an exponent.

And my proposal of "Dozen" is really just a placeholder name, one which is specifically the number 12, but yes, it really doesn't have much personality or theme as the name of an alien race. I haven't thought of any alternate that I liked, so I stuck with "Dozen".

Then again, it fits with already existing number aliens like Deuce and Ace.

What else could it be called? Something to do with eggs? Tribes of Israel? Troy ounces? Days of Christmas? How 'bout "Dodecahedron"? Speaking of aliens, I remember the old Schoolhouse Rock short called "Little Twelve-Toes", about the 12 multiplication table, wherein an alien species has six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, and uses base-12 for doing math.

EDIT: OTOH, the power name need not have anything to do with a specific number at all, 10 or 12 or anything [ but instead could simply be something that implies abundance, or a greater than usual supply of something. Something that implies wealth, or a surplus. We could even reuse the name Connoisseur, since this version is a more appropriate power level - It uses the best of its cards and discards the rest. Connoisseur may be just the right word to imply a bit of wealth and at the same time rejecting some of the supply as not good enough.
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Y'know, I would totally accept TWELVETOES. It's Cosmically whimsical, and the nostalgia factor is a bonus.

'Course I'm biased 'cause that was one of my favorite SR songs.
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