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Subject: Cosmic Encounter Family Fun... but at whose expense? ; ) rss

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Sean
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Lawrenceville
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We played Cosmic Encounter (AH version) last night for the first time and afterwords I was thinking, "Wow, that was a lot of fun, but did we play it right?". I was Zombie and my sister was Macron. We were forced into an alliance mainly because my mom (Oracle) and son (Clone) started an alliance on the first turn that proved to be unbreakable in spite of our diligent efforts to separate them.

My sister and I were hosed from the start because my son was dealt the 'attack 30' card, which was the only card he used for the whole game (which he ended up winning). Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed that the only way we could get that card out of his hand was for my sister to play a negotiate card to his attack card and claim compensation. Being the Macron, though, she would never be able to claim more than one of his cards, so the odds were pretty slim. Of course, my mom insisted that I never receive compensation from playing a negotiate card since I never lost ships, and I had to agree.

As it turned out, my sister never even drew a negotiate card, so in a last ditch effort I abandoned my third home planet so I could lose my power. I think that strategy may have worked if I had tried it earlier but it just seemed too risky earlier in the game. Even though I really enjoyed the challenge of finding a way to beat the Clone, I still have to wonder if we were missing something.

In spite of our frustration with this apparent "brokenness", I have to admit that we had a blast. I've never seen my mom get so worked up playing a boardgame. My sister and I laughed our butts off when I suggested to my mom that we both play a negotiate card when I attacked her on the very first turn. She was livid when I turned over my attack card (she had forgotten about her Oracle powers). My intention was to get everyone into the back-stabbing spirit of the game, which it did, to my disadvantage.

The confrontational atmosphere was so thick after Cosmic Encounter that it carried over into the next game we played; Bohnanza. Grammie wasn't laughing so much anymore, though. The final score of that game: sister - 21, me - 19, Grammie - 13, son - 10. Hah! Revenge!
 
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Terry Reine
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Pickerington
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Re: Cosmic Encounter Family Fun... but at whose expense? ;
I am glad you enjoyed the game it has been one of my favorites for a long time. Another solution to you dilema was to play a cosmic Zap ofter your son played the 30 removing his power and forcing him to discard it as normal. For a temporary cure you also could have used the emotion control if you had it and refused to negotiate. This would cost you nothing, your sister only 1 token but he would have lost his tokens and the rest of his turn giving you time to find other solutions. The powers were never created with balance in mind the balance in the game comes from everyone trying to stop the one in the lead.
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Joe Grundy
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Alliances are generally very temporary, since sooner or later you have to attack each other.

It's been so long since I had a game with the Zombie in, I'm not actually sure right now if they still get consolation even though their tokens reanimate. Normally if that were the case I would expect to see that kind of detail written in the alien power description.

I believe from reading a couple of other threads here that Mayfair say Zombie takes consolation while the online Cosmic game (by the original designers) says Zombie doesn't take consolation. Of course, the original designers may have changed their mind, and I like the Mayfair edition that we play.

The Avalon Hill edition appears closer to Mayfair than Eon in its balance and specs. I'm betting they'd say you do take consolation. But like all these things you can play house rules at home however works best for you guys.

The particular combo of powers you all had makes the Clone stronger, because yes when the Clone gets the high attack cards you need either an alien power that pretty much doesn't care (Deuce, Empath, Laser, Sorcerer, ...) or a Hand Zap edict, or Compromise and take consolation, or the Finder edict to call it out of their hand, or Cosmic Zap just when they're about to retrieve the card. (Actually there's a range of options to deal with it. But the powers you had killed the most common ones. Normally the Oracle would have done the deed for y'all ... there's not usually an "ongoing" alliance in Cosmic, as I said.)
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Joe Grundy
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Link to BGG info on Zombie consolation:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/26767#26767
 
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Steve Bachman
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slickdog wrote:
We played Cosmic Encounter (AH version) last night for the first time and afterwords I was thinking, "Wow, that was a lot of fun, but did we play it right?". I was Zombie and my sister was Macron. We were forced into an alliance mainly because my mom (Oracle) and son (Clone) started an alliance on the first turn that proved to be unbreakable in spite of our diligent efforts to separate them.

My sister and I were hosed from the start because my son was dealt the 'attack 30' card, which was the only card he used for the whole game (which he ended up winning). Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed that the only way we could get that card out of his hand was for my sister to play a negotiate card to his attack card and claim compensation. Being the Macron, though, she would never be able to claim more than one of his cards, so the odds were pretty slim. Of course, my mom insisted that I never receive compensation from playing a negotiate card since I never lost ships, and I had to agree.

As it turned out, my sister never even drew a negotiate card, so in a last ditch effort I abandoned my third home planet so I could lose my power. I think that strategy may have worked if I had tried it earlier but it just seemed too risky earlier in the game. Even though I really enjoyed the challenge of finding a way to beat the Clone, I still have to wonder if we were missing something.
Well, I've never played the AH version, but I am pretty sure that it includes a Cosmic Zap edict (or artifact as they are called in AH) which would stop the Clone from keeping the 30. If that fails, the next method I would look to use is to set up the Plague edict by playing Compromises (i.e. Negotiates) to whittle the Clone hand down to having the 30 as the only Attack card left. The downside of Zombie is the lack of compensation, so the Macron should look to play Compromises during defense against the Clone (assuming the base has 3 or more defensive tokens on it) even if the Macron could beat the 30 in such a situation. Check the timing on compensation, but I believe that the 30 is not exposed to compensation as the Clone power acts after compensation. That's the way it is online at least, and I thought that was the case in my Mayfair set as well.

Sometimes, a power is so strong in a game situation that the other players have to work together to equalize it. The Oracle getting into an alliance with such a strong position as the Clone had was a mistake, but it also makes the game end quicker so that you can start anew with a new mix of powers.
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Sean
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Thanks for the tips.

I was surprised at how quickly the warp started filling up with ships. My mom and son had such weak positions, only one or two ships on each planet. I just wasn't able to take advantage. This game reminds me a lot of Diplomacy.
 
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