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Subject: Wild Gambler + Morph vs Attack Card + Kicker rss

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Timmy Jacobsen
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Hi

I had a gaming session yesterday with my game group and we stumbled upon this problem.

I played an attack 20 and a x2 kicker. My opponent played a wild Gambler and a morph and we were not sure what was the right way for all of it to resolve.

The wild Gambler reads: "As a main player, before cards are revealed, you may call any number as a “spread”. If the encounter cards are different from each other by that number or more, add the “spread” to your card".

I understand it as that ONLY the encounter cards counts (in this case 20 vs 20) and do not count the kicker into the spread.

Is that right or is the kicker taken into consideration?
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Just a Bill
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I had never considered kickers or reinforcements to change the actual value of an attack card; historically I treated the kicker as multiplying with the card "on the way to" calculating the total. However, my 35-year-old habit is wrong, according to the Cosmic Dominion rulesheet:

CD Rulesheet wrote:
KICKER CARDS
...
Attack: If a player reveals an attack card, its value is multiplied by his or her kicker. For instance, a player with 12 ships on his or her side that has revealed an attack 10 and a kicker ×2 has a total of 32 ((2×10)+12). This takes effect after any self-modifying cards (such as morphs or intimidates) change their card types, but before other game effects.

This implies that the kicker is turning the Attack 20 into a literal Attack 40, and defines the following sequence:

1. cards are revealed
2. his morph duplicates your 20
3. kicker doubles your 20 to 40
4. card difference is 40-20 = 20

Note also that the CD rulesheet implies that once the kicker has been applied, it's done. If anything else then comes along to change the value of the attack card (Calculator, Graviton, Joker, whatever), the kicker is not reapplied because it could only happen "before other game effects." This would mean that things like Chosen, Phantasm, Wild Human, and several wild flares make kickers moot. (Still not sure if that sits well with me, but there it is in black and white.)
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Jack of Clubs
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Bill Martinson wrote:
I had never considered kickers or reinforcements to change the actual value of an attack card; historically I treated the kicker as multiplying with the card "on the way to" calculating the total. However, my 35-year-old habit is wrong, according to the Cosmic Dominion rulesheet:

CD Rulesheet wrote:
KICKER CARDS
...
Attack: If a player reveals an attack card, its value is multiplied by his or her kicker. For instance, a player with 12 ships on his or her side that has revealed an attack 10 and a kicker ×2 has a total of 32 ((2×10)+12). This takes effect after any self-modifying cards (such as morphs or intimidates) change their card types, but before other game effects.

This implies that the kicker is turning the Attack 20 into a literal Attack 40, and defines the following sequence:

1. cards are revealed
2. his morph duplicates your 20
3. kicker doubles your 20 to 40
4. card difference is 40-20 = 20

Note also that the CD rulesheet implies that once the kicker has been applied, it's done. If anything else then comes along to change the value of the attack card (Calculator, Graviton, Joker, whatever), the kicker is not reapplied because it could only happen "before other game effects." This would mean that things like Chosen, Phantasm, Wild Human, and several wild flares make kickers moot. (Still not sure if that sits well with me, but there it is in black and white.)

I don't see how that wording necessarily implies the card value is changed. It's value is 20. It is then multiplied by 2, giving the product 40. That doesn't mean 40 becomes the card's value. If it did, then shouldn't that card value be multiplied by 2, giving yet another value of 80? And so on?

"If a player reveals an attack card, its value is multiplied by his or her kicker." There's no "...becoming a new card value" in that sentence. And the very next sentence seems to clarify that you take this product and use it to calculate the total for the encounter - not to change the value of the card.

If it had been the Morph played with the Kicker and the 20 on the other side, then the Morph becomes a 20. Then the Kicker multiplies it by 2 to calculate the total. The card doesn't change value again.
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Just a Bill
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
It's value is 20. It is then multiplied by 2, giving the product 40. That doesn't mean 40 becomes the card's value.

If 40 doesn't become the card's value, then the kicker would not be happening "before other game effects" as required by the rules. Any subsequent effects would not know about the kicker if it doesn't actually modify the attack card's value. Thus the kicker would be either ignored, or applied more than once (neither of which would be appropriate).

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If it did, then shouldn't that card value be multiplied by 2, giving yet another value of 80? And so on?

No, the kicker is applied once and only once. It doesn't double and redouble and re-redouble an attack card any more than it doubles and redoubles and re-redoubles compensation or a failed deal penalty.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
"If a player reveals an attack card, its value is multiplied by his or her kicker." There's no "...becoming a new card value" in that sentence.

There doesn't have to be. Tripler doesn't say "becoming a new card value" either, but it clearly does change the card value.

Let's use an example that puts the timing questions into perspective. What happens in the following scenario, according to the Dominion rulesheet?

Tripler has 4 ships in the encounter and no allies.
He reveals an attack 08 and a kicker x2. What is his total?

According to the rules, I say it has to be 10. (08x2 = 16. 16/3 = 6. 6+4 = 10.)

Based on what you wrote about having a card somehow be both a 20 and a 40, I'm going to guess that you will say Tripler's total in this scenario is either 16 or 28 (but I don't know which because I don't know whether you will want to apply the kicker twice, ignore it altogether, or ignore the timing in the rulesheet).
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Let's use an example that puts the timing questions into perspective. What happens in the following scenario, according to the Dominion rulesheet?

Tripler has 4 ships in the encounter and no allies.
He reveals an attack 08 and a kicker x2. What is his total?

According to the rules, I say it has to be 10. (08x2 = 16. 16/3 = 6. 6+4 = 10.)

Based on what you wrote about having a card somehow be both a 20 and a 40, I'm going to guess that you will say Tripler's total in this scenario is either 16 or 28 (but I don't know which because I don't know whether you will want to apply the kicker twice, ignore it altogether, or ignore the timing in the rulesheet).

No. I would say that it would have been 08x3 = 24, x2 = 48, +4 = 52.

However, upon reading the rules again, and your explanation, I see that I was wrong.

I stand corrected. (But that's only because I'm wearing orthopedic shoes.)
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Craig B
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
It's value is 20. It is then multiplied by 2, giving the product 40. That doesn't mean 40 becomes the card's value.

If 40 doesn't become the card's value, then the kicker would not be happening "before other game effects" as required by the rules. Any subsequent effects would not know about the kicker if it doesn't actually modify the attack card's value. Thus the kicker would be either ignored, or applied more than once (neither of which would be appropriate).

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If it did, then shouldn't that card value be multiplied by 2, giving yet another value of 80? And so on?

No, the kicker is applied once and only once. It doesn't double and redouble and re-redouble an attack card any more than it doubles and redoubles and re-redoubles compensation or a failed deal penalty.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
"If a player reveals an attack card, its value is multiplied by his or her kicker." There's no "...becoming a new card value" in that sentence.

There doesn't have to be. Tripler doesn't say "becoming a new card value" either, but it clearly does change the card value.

Let's use an example that puts the timing questions into perspective. What happens in the following scenario, according to the Dominion rulesheet?

Tripler has 4 ships in the encounter and no allies.
He reveals an attack 08 and a kicker x2. What is his total?

According to the rules, I say it has to be 10. (08x2 = 16. 16/3 = 6. 6+4 = 10.)

Based on what you wrote about having a card somehow be both a 20 and a 40, I'm going to guess that you will say Tripler's total in this scenario is either 16 or 28 (but I don't know which because I don't know whether you will want to apply the kicker twice, ignore it altogether, or ignore the timing in the rulesheet).


I disagree on how you're calculating Tripler with a Kicker card. The alien power CAN break the "rules" of the game. Tripler's card specifically states it triples the Attack card. Not the attack value, or attack total or attack card after considering kickers.

It should be [(08x3 = 24 ) x 2] = 48 + 4 = 52.

I re-read the rules that came with Dominion and Incursion and see how you could consider the kicker as you've calculated it but any other effects or how it is worded does not to me mean Alien powers that do things to attack cards. Alien powers trump the rules as long as correct phasing is applied.
 
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Carsten M.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
I had never considered kickers or reinforcements to change the actual value of an attack card; historically I treated the kicker as multiplying with the card "on the way to" calculating the total. However, my 35-year-old habit is wrong, according to the Cosmic Dominion rulesheet:

I pointed this out a while ago and wondered who actually wrote the rules for CD since it is the fan expansion, but most of us played it differently all those years. We have two distinct possibilities here, I think:

1) Treat kickers like artifacts, they resolve in the order they were played (i.e. first with the exception of morph cards), they change the value of an attack card, or the compensation/penalty value of a negotiate card, and are discarded immediately afterwards.

2) Apply kickers as a separate step towards encounter resolution: final card value * kicker + ships + reinforcements.

Variant 2) seems cleaner and more Cosmic to me.
 
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Just a Bill
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yogibbear wrote:
Alien powers trump the rules

Not quite. It works out that way in most cases, but the actual "law of interpretation" here (really for any game that has loads of text all trying to work together) is that specific trumps general. Usually, rules are more general and aliens are more specific. But in the case of this kicker rule, the rule itself is more specific than (say) Tripler's power. Anything that says "before everything else" is obviously more specific than something that doesn't say that.

It has to be this way; otherwise a rule or FAQ could never "win" an interpretation scenario that it needs to win vs. a specific game component. Obviously we don't think all aliens override all FAQ texts, right? Well, they don't override all rulebook texts, either. Whether it's Cosmic or Magic the Gathering or any other game, really ... specific overrides general.

CosmicBerlin wrote:
I pointed this out a while ago and wondered who actually wrote the rules for CD.

Mainly I did. My memories were fuzzy, so I went back and researched how our iterations of rules writing went back and forth with FFG. I had forgotten most of this (and was very exhausted at the time ... it's a wonder I didn't make a lot more mistakes than I did), but it's all coming back to me now.

Initially, I wrote the rules to say this:
If you reveal an attack card (or something that becomes an attack card), when totals are calculated your card’s value multiplies with your kicker. For instance, if you have 12 ships on your side and reveal an attack 10 and a kicker x2, you have a total of 32 ((10x2)+12).


That, of course, was based on the way I had always interpreted Kickers. FFG edited some things and sent the rules back. They said some of the editing was "to remove most instances of 'you' to match our style better", and this resulted in some ambiguity about the timing. In replying back, I was about to ask them to restore the text I had written to remove the ambiguity ... but then thought it might be prudent to consult the Eon rules to make sure I wasn't making a mistake. Lo and behold, in the 1983 Complete Book of Cosmic Encounter (pretty much the most authoritative source of original intent possible, along with the first six issues of Encounter magazine), I was surprised to find this:
IF YOU PLAY A KICKER, then:
1. If you play an Attack card, you multiply the Kicker value times the Attack card. The product is the new Attack card value. This alteration occurs before any similar alterations take place, e.g. Equalizing by the Calculator or Mass Generation by Moon 16.


That made me realize I'd been doing it wrong all along. (Which was a damned bitter pill to swallow. I tried to turn in my Cosmic Rules Guru card, but since it was not officially issued there was no one to surrender it to.) I also then realized (or believed; I'd have to redo a bunch of math and research now to decide if I think I was right or not) that with the growing number of math-hacks in the game, things became significantly simpler when following the original kicker design. I also seem to recall at the time that other players were saying they had always played that the card value was indeed changed.

At this point (I think it was at this point; things got a bit timey-wimey) I confessed my ignorance to Jack and Jefferson, and I recall at least one of them confirming that they had always played by the correct Eon rule. So we updated the text to (basically) what you see today in the CD rulesheet. Eon's "before any similar alterations take place" was translated into FFG parlance as "before other game effects," as suggested by FFG components such as Loser, Void (FAQ update), Meteor Storm, and (ironically) Wild Tripler.

Now, we can certainly debate whether that's the best gameplay or not. But I can at least say with a fair amount of confidence (and a tiny bit of burgled authority) that it is the intended interpretation that Cosmic Dominion was trying to clarify. (Even if I didn't remember all this when I posted a few days ago. Let's blame the exhaustion of the holidays instead of my advancing age, shall we?)

Jack and Jefferson might have additional memories that could confirm, or refute, what I've said here. I welcome any correction.
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Craig B
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Thanks for the awesome reply. But wow now I'm really torn about implementing this how you say because now a whole bunch of Alien's shouldn't ever use x2, x3, x4 kickers..... I'm probably not going to play correctly then. I think you correctly answered the OPs question, but I still disagree on the kicker with Tripler and other examples. [which I know is crazy because you're saying you wrote the rules! blush] But to me my interpretation is more fun. ninja

I don't see any issue with Loser, Void or Wild Tripler being ignored by how I'm saying the Alien power of Tripler should be played as the flare Tripler is playing a card AFTER reveal (and also mathematically applying it before or after a kicker is irrelevant except whether or not it triggers, but its affect is not altered, whereas with the Tripler alien power the mathematical result is affected), whereas Tripler's power is already inherently there. I would say the argument would be about Tripler's Alien power and Mirror's alien power versus Kickers and not Loser or Void or Flare powers because they are all in the text quite clear about when and how they occur. As both Tripler's and Mirror's occur before the reveal, so they are inherently changing the Attack cards value before the Kicker is applied to it. Whereas playing the Tripler wild flare after reveal is playing it after the kicker has been applied. I know I'm probably not going to win this discussion, but I'm going to probably play my way because it's a) more fun for me b) more consistent with the rest of the games logic c) doesn't make whole sets of cards irrelevant to certain alien's. (Mirror, Tripler)
 
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Just a Bill
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yogibbear wrote:
But to me my interpretation is more fun. ninja

If it's more fun your way, then do it! I do care that official rules aren't misinterpreted, but I have no heartburn over anyone (myself included) playing something in a way that's not entirely "official" as long as they realize it and it's intentional.

yogibbear wrote:
I don't see any issue with Loser, Void or Wild Tripler being ignored

I wasn't saying there's an issue with those. I simply cited them as examples of the wording convention that was chosen for translating the Eon phrase.

yogibbear wrote:
As both Tripler's and Mirror's occur before the reveal

I think you might want to carefully re-read one of those alien sheets.

yogibbear wrote:
I'm going to probably play my way because it's ... b) more consistent with the rest of the games logic

Depends on how you understand the game's logic. ;-)

yogibbear wrote:
c) doesn't make whole sets of cards irrelevant to certain alien's. (Mirror, Tripler)

Irrelevant? Hardly. You are throwing away all the babies and bathwater without considering the math.

With Tripler, your method does produce significantly higher values for Kicker x2 modifying an Attack 06 through Attack 10, but all other cases are identical or only differ by 1 final point (due to when the rounding happens). For example, whenever Tripler has to reveal an attack greater than 10, the kicker is going to "work" no matter which method is used.

With Mirror, consider that there are 30 possible different attack values. More than half of them (17) are improved by a Kicker x2 when Mirror intends to use his power, even when the kicker is applied first.

Now granted, it's not as dramatic a benefit as the way you're arguing for and doesn't produce as much overkill (your way creates a variety of attack cards with values between 100 and 182), but the kicker of course still does what it does when a Negotiate is revealed. And the fact that some attack values are not helped a lot by the kicker gives Mirror a new misdirection ability, since many opponents will make certain assumptions about his card when he declares a kicker — assumptions which may not be true, to Mirror's advantage.

That psychological effect to me is far more interesting than the ability to use a kicker to produce an Attack 160. Overkill is fun once in a blue moon, but becomes boring pretty quickly. But bluffing your opponent into a surprise outcome never gets old.

Anyway, play it whichever way you like. But if you're going to condemn the rulebook version because of specific scenarios, maybe you want to do the math first to see if your absolute statements are supportable or not.
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Craig B
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OK, you've won me over.
 
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OK so Cosmic Eons, the alien "Bleeding Heart".

Card says As Any Player during Alliance can announce "Let there be peace", all attack cards value 10 or lower are now negotiate.

If you play a Kicker x2, and an Attack 6, the value is attack 12, so Bleeding Heart has no effect? Please say yes?!
 
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yogibbear wrote:
If you play a Kicker x2, and an Attack 6, the value is attack 12, so Bleeding Heart has no effect? Please say yes?!

Looks like yes. The general order is
1. self-modifying cards (morphs, intimidates, retreats, variable attacks)
2. kickers
3. everything else
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