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Cosmic Encounter» Forums » General

Subject: Need to cut 30 Races. Recommendations ? rss

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Steve Williams
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I use the Broken Token organizer for Cosmic Encounter, which works great and should accommodate the new Cosmic Eons cards and tokens, but is maxed out for race capacity with all current expansions. Cosmic Eons will add 30 races to the game, and even if some of the new races in it are bad I'd rather give them their time in the sun than other races that have had their chance for years.

I like Cosmic Encounter, but not enough to dedicate the mind space necessary to read and evaluate what ~200 races do, so I'm looking to the geek community for answers. I'm hoping for anecdotal gripes and sob stories, but any reasoned logic is welcome.

I've looked at some similar existing threads, but the newest one is still 2 years old, and doesn't quite meet my desired approach. I'm looking primarily for weak races to cut. I do not care if a race is powerful, "mean", or complicated. Races that dramatically slow the game down or have a huge amount of upkeep will be considered if there aren't enough weak races to cut.

Edit: The races I ended up cutting after everyone's input and manually reviewing the the suggested candidates:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Arcade
Brute
Bulwark
Coordinator
Cudgel
Daredevil
Dervish
Genius
Grumpus
Hacker
Horde
Locust
Mouth
Neighbor
Patriot
Pygmy
Reincarnator
Roach
Sadist
Scavenger
Sloth
Sneak
Sting
Swindler
Sycophant
Tide
Tyrant
Void
Whirligig
Worm
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Jefferson Krogh
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Just put the extra aliens in the expansion box, and don't worry about it. It's not very much at add to the bag when you go out, and it saves you a lot of hassle dealing with this.

Weakness is relative, and opinions vary all over the place. Don't sweat it.
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Sean Franco
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If you could touch the alien sand and hear the cries of strange birds and watch them wheel in another sky, would that satisfy you?
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Cut all of Cosmic Storm.
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Roberta Yang
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Masochist, Genius: The most ineffectual alt-win aliens.

Sloth, Grumpus: Actually worse than not having a power.

Zombie: If you use the FFG no compensation ruling, it's awful. Otherwise keep it.

Bulwark: Most of the zombie clones are pretty middling in power, but this one's just obviously bad.

Macron: Gets hard countered by a ton of aliens, gets fewer rewards than everyone else, and doesn't have all that much to recommend it compared to any other Zombie clone.

Void: A very cool, classic, cosmic power that is totally ineffectual at ever doing what it's intended to do.

Pygmy: Should have been a special system. Instead, it's half an alien.

Cudgel: Like the Void, a "punisher" power that isn't actually that punishing and isn't actually that good at doling out its not-actually-that-punishing punishments.

Gambler: Is literally just Cudgel wearing a fake mustache.

Reincarnator: Should be able to start the game with a power. As it stands it's much worse than just having a power normally. Pentaform and Chrysalis cover similar ground much better.

Changeling: It's hard to evaluate whether this is a "weak" race. It's hard to see why this exists at all.

Tide: Unlike in most other games, in Cosmic Encounter letting your opponents discard cards nonrandomly doesn't hurt them, it helps them. This power was clearly designed by someone who has never actually played Cosmic Encounter.

Locust: It's Locust.
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Roberta Yang
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Alternatively,
logopolys wrote:
Cut all of Cosmic Storm.
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Mil Myman
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Locust
Grumpus
Sloth
Neighbor
Zombie
Macron
Genius
Masochist
Horde
Roach
Porcupine
Dervish
Swindler
Sting
Calculator
Tide
Void

Citadel?
Saboteur?
Chrysalis?
Kamikaze?
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
Just put the extra aliens in the expansion box, and don't worry about it. It's not very much at add to the bag when you go out, and it saves you a lot of hassle dealing with this.

Weakness is relative, and opinions vary all over the place. Don't sweat it.


I think there are definitely weak aliens, but I sort of agree with this; at any rate, cutting the 30 "weakest" aliens might be cutting a little too deep.

There are some true duds in the Cosmic Encounter Universe that I think near all experienced players would agree are weak. But i don't think there are nearly 30 clear duds. There are some aliens that would probably land in a list of "30 weakest" (like, say, Filch or Warrior) that are also rather iconic and I wouldn't want to ditch them.

Some iconic or fun aliens aren't weak to the point of being offensive to the game. But 30 is a lot of aliens so sticking to that guideline, you're going to have to ditch some OK or even really neat ones.

Consensus may be hard too. Like, I totally disagree with several of the aliens listed in the thread already. Some examples of aliens I think are actually strong that have been named:

Kamikaze (insane hand size and can time when it grows its hand too. No way this is a bottom 30 alien. No way.)

Gambler (This alien is good at setting up deals and has a few other tricks. Don't think it's bottom 30.

Swindler
is a horrid design, but it's not weak.

Don't have time to go through and make a detailed list of my own, but if I wanted to cut the very weakest aliens I'd start with the following 3 categories:

Alt-Win Condition Aliens: Most of these powers don't work with experienced players unless you play Hidden Powers variant. The worst are Masochist and Genius. Ace, Arcade, and Sadist are pretty bad too. Tick-Tock is maybe the best one, don't think it's bottom 30.

Aliens that basically just give you extra ships: Horde, Roach, Symbiote. You should probably extend this to powers that don't do anything but protect your ships (Bulwark, Zombie) or are focused on defending your colonies. Some powers overvalued ship-count and they are universally on the weaker side.

Do-Nothing Aliens: Locust, Grumpus, Sloth. These aliens actually don't really do anything at all. Then there are aliens that do something to the overall game, but not really beneficial for the owner so are easy to label as weak. (Pygmy is a great example)

If you really want to remove strictly the weakest, then some other nominations off the top of my head that I'm confident would be bottom 30 in power level:

Grudge, Macron, Anti-Matter, Ethic, Warrior, Cudgel, Sting, Tide, Daredevil, Vox, Lunatic, Filch, Clone, Neighbor, Reincarnator, Remora (if playing with Special Rewards)

So putting that together, my list of nominations is:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Masochist
Genius
Ace
Arcade
Sadist
Horde
Roach
Symbiote
Bulwark
Zombie
Grudge
Macron
Anti-Matter
Ethic
Warrior
Cudgel
Sting
Tide
Reincarnator
Daredevil
Vox
Lunatic
Filch
Neighbor
Remora


Actually, looks like that's already 25 aliens and I didn't try that hard. So maybe coming up with 30 weak ones isn't too hard afterall.
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Sean Franco
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SirHandsome wrote:
If you really want to remove strictly the weakest, then some other nominations off the top of my head that I'm confident would be bottom 30 in power level:

Grudge, Macron, Anti-Matter, Ethic, Warrior, Cudgel, Sting, Tide, Daredevil, Vox, Lunatic, Filch, Clone, Neighbor, Remora (if playing with Special Rewards)

Remora is one of the strictly strongest aliens. Warrior, Filch, and Clone are pretty damn strong too.
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logopolys wrote:

Remora is one of the strictly strongest aliens. Warrior, Filch, and Clone are pretty damn strong too.


Remora I put in there with a condition -- that you're using the Special Rewards deck. It doesn't get to use its power that often with the Special Rewards deck if players don't want it to. Especially the super-strong Dominion Rewards deck. In these cases it will pale in comparison to many other card-draw powers. I can see it being argued not to be in bottom 30, but not seeing Remora as one of the strictly stronger aliens at all. When I hear that I think of guys like Loser, Judge, Machine, Industrialist, Sorcerer, etc.

Warrior is neat but kinda weak. It has to lose/win some combination of 2-4 main player encounters just to be a worse version of the Human. Human is only decent. Therefore, at some point well into the game, Warrior may become a sub-decent alien. If the game continues long enough it becomes pretty good, but not game-breaking enough to make up for its slow start. It'd be a lot better in 3 player or something though. OK in 4 player. Struggles in 5. I guess that's another reason such a list would be hard -- depending on if you play small games or larger games usually the lists are going to look different.

Filch is OK, as I said it's not an offensively weak power but if you try to pick 30 weakest aliens it might end up there anyway. Not adamant about this one.

Clone is an iconic power that I don't want to insult. It's also the power I was using when I secured my first Cosmic Encounter win ever (that was a fun game, Jefferson!) After thinking about Clone more I think you're right about this one actually. I don't think this is a bottom 30 power. There are some games where the power isn't helpful because you'd rather empty your hand but there are enough good cards that it can usually be at least decent (and obv very good if it draws one of the top cards)
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Johann Gambolputty
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Keeping in mind that it's likely I won't want to include every new alien from Eons into my set, here's a list of 25 powers I regularly cull from my games. Most of them are on here because they're either more annoying than fun, too weak to be fun, or because they drag out the length of the game.

Animal
Arcade
Brute
Bulwark
Coordinator
Dervish
General
Grumpus
Horde
Judge
Lizard
Muckraker
Pirate
Quartermaster
Roach
Sadist
Sapient
Spiff
Squee
Swindler
Sycophant
Vox
Whirligig
Wormhole
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Steve Williams
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Thanks for the solid input. So far, here's the standings for the 37 races that have multiple recommendations:

Consensus/Repeats
Bulwark 5
Grumpus 5
Roach 5
Tide 5
Arcade 4
Dervish 4
Neighbor 4
Sloth 4
Swindler 4
Vox 4
Brute 3
Coordinator 3
Genius 3
Horde 3
Macron 3
Porcupine 3
Squee 3
Sycophant 3
Wormhole 3
Zombie 3
Converter 2
Cudgel 2
Locust 2
Masochist 2
Mouth 2
Outlaw 2
Patriot 2
Phantasm 2
Reincarnator 2
Sadist 2
Scavenger 2
Sneak 2
Sting 2
Tyrant 2
Void 2
Worm 2
Pygmy 2

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If you include Ethic in the list of 30 weakest, why not Hacker?

Fido is another one that people sometimes talk about as being weak.
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Chris O
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Personal opinion:

Everything from Cosmic Storm minus Outlaw, Porcupine, Sneak, Scavenger, Swindler, Worm. So there's 19 aliens right there.

Others:

- Pygmy
- Observer
- Masochist
- Locust
- Macron
- Zombie
- Amoeba
- Daredevil
- Fido
- General
- Genius
- Lightning
- Plant
- Reincarnator
- Symbiote
- Whirligig

If current revealed aliens for Cosmic Eons were part of this I'd throw Evil Twin into the trash immediately.
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mar hawkman
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What I would do is rotate the exclusion list. Also I would exclude aliens that get used most often.
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Just a Bill
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salty53 wrote:
Alternatively,
logopolys wrote:
Cut all of Cosmic Storm.

Well, there are at least a few pretty decent aliens in Storm. Such as

Messianic wrote:
Outlaw, Porcupine, Sneak, Scavenger, Swindler, Worm.

Swindler notwithstanding (not my cup of tea), I agree with most of Chris' list. In addition, I've come to the place where I generally prefer Wormhole over Observer and Phantasm over Chosen. (I also have a bit of an irrational affinity for Vox, or rather my own "repaired" version of it, but that's neither here nor there.)

None of these are actually in my play set other than the Worm I converted a few years ago, but if they were, those are the ones I would generally leave in.

I agree, though, that the rest are basically forgettable.
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Nick Watt
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After my game last night, I would be happy to NEVER play with the Xenophile or the Shadow EVER again.

The Shadow's power seems fairly harmless until you realize that any foreign colonies with only one ship on them are just as subject to the power as your home system with 3-4 ships on it. (We had the Cudgel in the game too which may have amplified the number of 1 ship foreign colonies.) The player playing the Shadow was constantly able to remove ships from foreign colonies and it meant the game went on probably twice as long as it would have normally. (He eventually won.)

I got landed with the Xenophile. The power sounds good and all, so long as you do not have opposition that think - at all - because all they had to do was purposefully lose against me each encounter they had with me and WHAM my power was useless. I only ever had 1 foreign ship on my planet and that was when it was too late to do anything.
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Rob Burns
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Hi Nick,

Those aliens worked exactly as they should have.

Shadow is an excellent alien. In your game, Shadow's opponents needed to protect their foreign colonies better. Yes, his presence means ship placement is now stressful. That's no secret - it just has to be accounted for is all.

Xenophile also worked as he should. Think about it - if you were Defense, and your opponents lost to you on purpose, guess what? They didn't get foreign colonies. They blew a chance to get the only victory point that matters in Cosmic. Why weren't you playing Negotiates when they came to attack you? Worst case scenario, you get into a deal situation.

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Nick Watt
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rjburns3 wrote:
Hi Nick,

Those aliens worked exactly as they should have.

Shadow is an excellent alien. In your game, Shadow's opponents needed to protect their foreign colonies better. Yes, his presence means ship placement is now stressful. That's no secret - it just has to be accounted for is all.

Xenophile also worked as he should. Think about it - if you were Defense, and your opponents lost to you on purpose, guess what? They didn't get foreign colonies. They blew a chance to get the only victory point that matters in Cosmic. Why weren't you playing Negotiates when they came to attack you? Worst case scenario, you get into a deal situation.



Tactic wise most of it can probably be explained by a late night playing Paperback and Bohnanza followed by an early morning courtesy of my beloved children ^.^ If I ever get the Xenophile in play again, I will work it differently.

The Shadow and the Cudgel combined to make keeping more than one ship on a colony pretty hard.

My experience is probably tarred also by the fact that, having won most of the prior games of CE with this group, I was the main target of pretty much everything
 
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I personally cut 20 of the aliens from Cosmic Storm (everything except Outlaw, Porcupine, Scavenger, Sneak and Worm). Even those that I keep are only "average" offerings but at least they're interesting enough in their own ways.

Other than that, I've personally removed Trickster, as I don't think his ability to reduce an encounter to a "coin-toss" is terribly fun for anyone involved.

Locust is...well, Locust. He's a non-power hiding behind a cool name and interesting concept.

Most of the alt-win aliens aren't terribly great under most circumstances either, and although I love the pure wackiness of Schiziod, the fact of the matter is that his inclusion in a game will tend to sap the enthusiasm of anyone that isn't a dedicated, seasoned Cosmic-phile.

Muckraker is an interesting idea wrapped up in some byzantine power-text. Just attempting to read his power is enough to frustrate some players that I've seen.

I still struggle with Cryo. I'm not sure if I like him or not. For now, I've kept him in.

At one point, I removed Changeling from the deck but I've since added him back in.
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Thank you to the OP for posting this question! I'm in the same boat (preparing to get Cosmic Eons and won't have room in the main box using the Broken Token organizer for all the Alien cards). I don't play often enough to carry around a satellite box with the left-out Aliens, nor to make an intelligent decision on which 30 Aliens to cut...so thank you to the OP and to everyone who post here with advice!
 
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Looks like Tom Vasel has just done the same thing. He talks about it in his Cosmic Eons Review:
"But there's aliens from pretty much every set that I won't play with. In fact, because I keep everything in one box, this expansion provided me with a problem: how'm I gonna fit everything in the box when it just barely fit in?"

"So I'm actually retiring ... 20 aliens, I believe, so that all the aliens can fit in the box, and I took all the aliens out of different sets. I just picked which ones I didn't like (and Cosmic Storm incidentally had, by far, the most aliens removed)."

"But other than that everything fits in. So, ehh, there's like 195 aliens — I'm not gonna miss 20 or so."


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Quote:
"So I'm actually retiring ... 20 aliens, I believe, so that all the aliens can fit in the box, and I took all the aliens out of different sets. I just picked which ones I didn't like (and Cosmic Storm incidentally had, by far, the most aliens removed)."


So I guess Tom's opinion of Storm has changed since his inital glowing review, huh? That's fine - I would have expected it to change with familiarity - but it probably means he didn't take the time to think through what some of the aliens he liked actually did (or didn't do).
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Andy Mesa
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If you remove the insert for the alien sheets, everything fits fine. That insert was never terribly useful anyway.

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Just a Bill
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Don't leave rubber bands on any paper game components in games that don't get regularly played. Over time they will break down or dry out, and can leave residue or even pull up the paper when you remove them.
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Steve Williams
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For closure, here are the 30 races I decided to cut:

Arcade
Brute
Bulwark
Coordinator
Cudgel
Daredevil
Dervish
Genius
Grumpus
Hacker
Horde
Locust
Mouth
Neighbor
Patriot
Pygmy
Reincarnator
Roach
Sadist
Scavenger
Sloth
Sneak
Sting
Swindler
Sycophant
Tide
Tyrant
Void
Whirligig
Worm

[Masochist was not cut because I'm unfairly biased towards them, due to the name and having won with them once]
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