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Subject: I can't convince my group to like this game!! rss

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Pouyan A.
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So...I ABSOLUTELY LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Cosmic Encounter. I fell in love with it before even playing it. I watched some of the Dice Tower videos on it and immediately knew this was my game.

I have the base game, with Cosmic Incursion, Dominion and Eons expansion sets.

We currently have a good gaming group of 5 (sometimes 6) and I introduced them to this game last month. (This was also my first time actually playing the game too LOL)

So it ended up being four of us. For the first game, I didn't use any of the expansions, didn't use technology variant, and I removed the flares from the game. After I explained the rules, I passed out two alien cards to each player and chose one of the aliens as our alien power.

The aliens were Pacifist (me), Vulch, Reserve, and Mind. It turned out okay. Mind and Reserve teamed up in the beginning and got to 4 colonies pretty quickly. I made my way into 4 by using my Pacifist power a lot. It was VERY FUN for me. The ending was pretty epic though: It was Reserve's turn and he drew the destiny to attack Mind. They both agreed to negotiate and get a shared victory so neither invited anybody. Mind played a negotiate but Reserve played an Attack 06 and the game was over!!

So my group's feedback was that this game was okay but would be better with the expansion and once they get used to it more, they might like it better. They weren't overly impressed and didn't seem too keen to play it again.

Fast forward to couple of days ago. I convinced them to play Cosmic Encounter again. Yet again, it was just the four of us again. THIS TIME, we played with the flares and I included the Rewards deck from both Incursion and Dominion. I spent some time explaining the different types of cards in the Rewards deck and the fact that if you side with the defense as an ally and win, you can draw from this deck for your reward.

Then I passed out three flare cards to each player and we chose one of the aliens. We still didn't use any aliens from the expansion packs, and we didn't do tech variant still. The aliens chosen were Chosen, Mind, Tick-Tock (me), and Virus.

This session was a big disappointment. There was a lot of confusion around the reward deck and the different types of cards. I don't think they understood that the reward deck had much more powerful cards that they could use, since I noticed not too many accepted the defensive ally invitations. And the guy playing with the Virus eventually won with 5 colonies. I had 2 colonies with three tokens left on my Tick-Tock sheet (so close!!). The others finished stuck at 1 colony.

I know this game is amazing, but I really need to have an epic session the next time (hopefully) my group agrees to play this; otherwise, I fear that I will never play this game again (or for a while, until my daughter grows up HAHA). And I hope to have our whole group of 6 there that time, because I KNOW this is much more fun with at least 5-6 people. The invitation of allies with 4 people is just too bland in my opinion. Not much creativity can be had there.

Any additional suggestions from you guys to help me spread the love of this game to my game group?
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Shawn Garbett
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calidoggg wrote:
Any additional suggestions from you guys to help me spread the love of this game to my game group?


Have you invited all the other players to ally, then played a negotiate yet? The sudden loss of forces will leave all those players hating you and looking for revenge. Sure, your trust will be shot, but people hate having things taken away. It also cues everyone in on a key strategic dimension of the game. They then usually engage and the mind games begin. Of course, this could backfire if it's a mostly Euro-loving group and they find such moves distasteful.
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Pouyan A.
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CyberGarp wrote:
calidoggg wrote:
Any additional suggestions from you guys to help me spread the love of this game to my game group?


Have you invited all the other players to ally, then played a negotiate yet? The sudden loss of forces will leave all those players hating you and looking for revenge. Sure, your trust will be shot, but people hate having things taken away. It also cues everyone in on a key strategic dimension of the game. They then usually engage and the mind games begin. Of course, this could backfire if it's a mostly Euro-loving group and they find such moves distasteful.


Yup, I've done that for sure. But it's never happened yet where all the allies join my side vs the other. It's been 2 on 2 so far. I played the negotiate and the guy was mad but not too mad because he only contributed one ship.

I really am hopeful that once we add our 5th or 6th player, the group will see the light. The only downside to that is that's another new player we have to re-explain the rules to.
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Just a Bill
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You allowed yellow-alert aliens (Mind) on your very first game, and red-alert (Virus) on your second. You should not be throwing advanced aliens at your players when they have not even learned the game's basic strategies yet.

If this was due to a failure to read and understand the rulebook, read it again (twice).

If this was due to thinking that your group is way too advanced to do what the rules say, rethink that.

Even if neither of the stuck-at-one-colony players said outwardly that the game is too unbalanced, there's a good chance the presence of Virus contributed to a negative impression of the game (subliminally or not).

If you want your group to learn to love this game, don't let your enthusiasm lead you to skip steps. Keep the aliens SIMPLE while everyone is learning when to invite allies and accept invitations, how to spend rewards, when to backstab, the value of the negotiate card ...

Walk before you run, unless you want everyone to fall down and never play the game again.
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Me too! cry

I would advise using the Rewards deck from Incursion only. Don't introduce all the other cards types until they're used to the ones from the first Reward deck.

Don't bother with Tech until later. Nor Space Stations, nor the Alliance rules, nor Hazards.
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Pouyan A.
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Yeah I might have to remove the Dominion Reward deck cards for the next session, and just use the Incursion deck.

I will also heed Bill's advice and only use green-alert aliens for our next few sessions and I HOPE that will get people to appreciate the strategy and backstabbing greatness of this game.

With that in mind, should I break out the Incursion and Dominion green aliens along with the base green ones? Should yield the same result right?
This way, if somebody does pick an expansion alien, I can point out the amazing variety of the aliens and get them to appreciate all the different powers.
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I'd also have two aliens per player. If there are any n00bs, then it's face-down, non-random. Two aliens also increases the chances a player will be able to use at least one power outside of being a main player.

Five or six players leads to the groupthink trap of offensive allies, not that this doesn't happen with four players. You could cheat by giving each player a power that could draw from the Rewards deck, then telling them about the "own the deck" strategy.

Myself, I think it's easier to get players to catch on to the "got a Negotiation card?" tactic. Many newbies will think it's a weak card, but it's not to hard for them to catch on when you and the defender just got a base and they didn't!
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Just a Bill
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Sam and Max wrote:
I'd also have two aliens per player.

I strongly recommend not doing this with new players. They already have a LOT of things to learn, and having double aliens will likely distract them from paying attention to other game dynamics and getting their sea legs.

calidoggg wrote:
should I break out the Incursion and Dominion green aliens along with the base green ones? Should yield the same result right?

In general, yes, but I might be a little choosy with the specific aliens. Here would be my recommendations for suitability to a new-player selection pool:

Base Game

BarbarianDestroys Opponent’s Hand — Good.
ChosenTakes New Encounter Card — Okay.
CloneKeeps Own Encounter Card — Excellent. Classic.
CudgelOpponent Loses More Ships — Good.
FilchTakes Opponent’s Used Card — Excellent. Classic.
HackerChooses Compensation — Good.
LoserWinner Loses and Loser Wins — Excellent. Classic.
MacronEach Ship is Worth 4 — Okay. (But warn the player he should try to reinforce his one-ship colonies quickly.)
MiserGets Second Hand — Good. Classic.
MutantMaintains 8-Card Hand — Excellent.
ObserverAllies Do Not Go to Warp — Good.
OracleForesees Opponent’s Card — Excellent. Classic.
PacifistWins with Negotiate Card — Excellent. Classic.
ParasiteJoins Alliance at Will — Excellent. Classic.
ReserveCan Use Attacks as Reinforcements — Excellent.
SorcererCan Switch Played Cards — Excellent. Classic.
SpiffReceives Colony as Loser — Good, but not always easy to use. Can look a bit stronger than it really is.
TraderTrades Hands with Opponent — Good. A love it/hate it alien. Getting your whole hand yanked can be an NPE for some.
VacuumTakes Other Ships to Warp — Okay.
VulchCollects Discarded Artifacts — Good.
WarriorAdds Experience Points — Good.
WillNot Controlled by Destiny — Excellent. Classic. (Point out the ability to target other players' foreign colonies.)
ZombieNever Goes to Warp — Tolerable. Zombie is not nearly as strong as it seems. Observer is better. You probably don't want both in the same game.

Cosmic Incursion

EthicGets Compensation for Attack — Excellent. Classic.
FuryAvenges Lost Ships — Good.
GuerrillaWinners Lose All But 1 Ship — Good.
MercenaryAlways Rewarded for Winning — Good.
SymbioteHas Twice as Many Ships — Okay. (Not exciting, but it works.)

Cosmic Dominion

GreenhornMakes Convenient Mistakes(EDIT) Funny, and a great power, but save this one until everyone has their sea legs. As Johann points out below, Greenhorn is dependent upon understanding the value of breaking all these rules.
LaserBlinds Opponent to Part of Hand — Gauge your audience. It's a good power, but can feel frustrating for some to play against.
LizardMetamorphoses After Winning — I might skip this one with newbies due to the overhead and the alternate win that is not really designed to be the goal of the power. (It was more just an answer to "what happens if I run out of ships?") I wouldn't want a new player to get disgusted and think "Well that crap wasn't even remotely doable!" If you use it, explain this aspect to the player.
MirageChanges Number of Ships Involved — Good.
PickpocketLifts Cards from Other Players — Good. Better with more players.
WhirligigMixes Two Hands — I'd skip this, as it's a more complex cousin to Trader. Or swap it for Trader, but I wouldn't include both in such a small selection pool; having both in the same game would work against your stated goal of demonstrating variety.
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Pouyan A.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Sam and Max wrote:
I'd also have two aliens per player.

I strongly recommend not doing this with new players. They already have a LOT of things to learn, and having double aliens will likely distract them from paying attention to other game dynamics and getting their sea legs.

calidoggg wrote:
should I break out the Incursion and Dominion green aliens along with the base green ones? Should yield the same result right?

In general, yes, but I might be a little choosy with the specific aliens. Here would be my recommendations for suitability to a new-player selection pool:

Base Game

BarbarianDestroys Opponent’s Hand — Good.
ChosenTakes New Encounter Card — Okay.
CloneKeeps Own Encounter Card — Excellent. Classic.
CudgelOpponent Loses More Ships — Good.
FilchTakes Opponent’s Used Card — Excellent. Classic.
HackerChooses Compensation — Good.
LoserWinner Loses and Loser Wins — Excellent. Classic.
MacronEach Ship is Worth 4 — Okay. (But warn the player he should try to reinforce his one-ship colonies quickly.)
MiserGets Second Hand — Good. Classic.
MutantMaintains 8-Card Hand — Excellent.
ObserverAllies Do Not Go to Warp — Good.
OracleForesees Opponent’s Card — Excellent. Classic.
PacifistWins with Negotiate Card — Excellent. Classic.
ParasiteJoins Alliance at Will — Excellent. Classic.
ReserveCan Use Attacks as Reinforcements — Excellent.
SorcererCan Switch Played Cards — Excellent. Classic.
SpiffReceives Colony as Loser — Good, but not always easy to use. Can look a bit stronger than it really is.
TraderTrades Hands with Opponent — Good. A love it/hate it alien. Getting your whole hand yanked can be an NPE for some.
VacuumTakes Other Ships to Warp — Okay.
VulchCollects Discarded Artifacts — Good.
WarriorAdds Experience Points — Good.
WillNot Controlled by Destiny — Excellent. Classic. (Point out the ability to target other players' foreign colonies.)
ZombieNever Goes to Warp — Tolerable. Zombie is not nearly as strong as it seems. Observer is better. You probably don't want both in the same game.

Cosmic Incursion

EthicGets Compensation for Attack — Excellent. Classic.
FuryAvenges Lost Ships — Good.
GuerrillaWinners Lose All But 1 Ship — Good.
MercenaryAlways Rewarded for Winning — Good.
SymbioteHas Twice as Many Ships — Okay. (Not exciting, but it works.)

Cosmic Dominion

GreenhornMakes Convenient Mistakes — Excellent. Funny.
LaserBlinds Opponent to Part of Hand — Gauge your audience. It's a good power, but can feel frustrating for some to play against.
LizardMetamorphoses After Winning — I might skip this one with newbies due to the overhead and the alternate win that is not really designed to be the goal of the power. (It was more just an answer to "what happens if I run out of ships?") I wouldn't want a new player to get disgusted and think "Well that crap wasn't even remotely doable!" If you use it, explain this aspect to the player.
MirageChanges Number of Ships Involved — Good.
PickpocketLifts Cards from Other Players — Good. Better with more players.
WhirligigMixes Two Hands — I'd skip this, as it's a more complex cousin to Trader. Or swap it for Trader, but I wouldn't include both in such a small selection pool; having both in the same game would work against your stated goal of demonstrating variety.


Thank you!! I'll keep this list handy during our next session!! Will hopefully report back a successful next session
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Johann Gambolputty
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Cosmic Dominion

GreenhornMakes Convenient Mistakes — Excellent. Funny.

I've had two different cases where people have played Greenhorn as their first alien, and neither had a great time. It's a terrific and funny power for experienced players (and is the favorite alien of one person in our group), but it was underwhelming for both first-timers.

There's a lot to keep track of and try to learn when first starting to play Cosmic, and the ability to make a lot of beginner mistakes isn't the easiest way to learn the rules. It also has a lot to keep track of, and some of it's abilities don't appear particularly advantageous right away. I'd go as far as to say that I think it should have been a yellow alert.

Lizard as well, it's such a large chunk of text and a difficult alt-win condition, I'd also consider it to be more of a yellow alert alien than green.

Pickpocket is a great one though, the amount of fun you can have when slowly draining a player of their hand is one of the great joys of Cosmic.
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Just a Bill
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t20a1h5u23 wrote:
Greenhorn ... was underwhelming for both first-timers.

Yeah, good points; thank you. Not sure what I was thinking. I've corrected my "inconvenient mistake" above.
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Gabriel N
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I remember that our first plays we included all the aliens from base set + Incursion + Dominion, with flares and rewards. My group (4 players, all new to the game) loved the game and its now one of our favorites. I remember that our second time playing the game we ended up all playing with Dominion red-alert aliens, and it was an extremely fun game... So, I guess it depends on your group, we are all gamers and can handle some complexity. Anyway, I think it will be safer to use just green aliens and avoid variants when introducing the game to new players.

I'm still somewhat new to the game, and, in order to get to know more all the aliens, I think we will be playing with aliens set by set: A game just with base game aliens, then a game with just Incursion aliens, then a game with Conflict aliens, etc. Will see what happens.
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Look, Cosmic is brilliant, but it's not for everyone. The implication that there's a setup (right aliens, right rulesets, whatever) that won't alienate some people is flat-out wrong. If they don't like it, maybe they just don't like it.
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Gyges wrote:
Look, Cosmic is brilliant, but it's not for everyone. The implication that there's a setup (right aliens, right rulesets, whatever) that won't alienate some people is flat-out wrong. If they don't like it, maybe they just don't like it.


Yeah... Though each session can be so different, and the experience can be so volatile, that I'd say that more so than most games, there is realistic wiggle room for "I didn't get it at first but now I do." You can get lucky and have that first awesome game on your first time, but I've seen cases where it did take a few plays or command of a certain alien for someone to go from not really caring for the game to thinking it's awesome.

But I think obsessing over the configuration probably isn't necessary. If one can't enjoy the game because of something like the Virus, then the game probably really isn't for them.
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Just a Bill
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Trying to reasonably choose options to give a first-time experience its best chance for success is just common sense. To handwave this away as "obsessing" is an oversimplification that does the OP a disservice.

If I want my wife to have the best chance to enjoy watching Stranger Things, and I recommend that she avoid seeing the trailer or reading anything about it online, and choose a time to watch it when she will have minimal distractions, that's just common sense. And common courtesy. I learned a long time ago that "either she'll like it or she won't" is too simplistic; context matters.

Maybe it's all 100% black-and-white for some of you, and that's great. But not everyone is the same. Tailoring the experience for success serves the second group while doing nothing to harm the first. How is this not a wise approach?

Of course there are people who might have a lousy first-time play if Virus dominates the table and makes the game seem flagrantly unbalanced, but who otherwise could come to love Cosmic Encounter if they give it another chance. Why are you so quick to toss them off the boat?
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Pouyan A.
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I actually agree with all of you. More on Bill's side of the argument though.

My group is definitely a gamer group. We are playing through a Risk Legacy campaign, we also play Merchants & Marauders A LOT. We love Star Wars Rebellion (although 1 vs 1 is definitely best in that game), in addition to the classics Carcassonne, and Puerto Rico. So I don't think that's an issue.

I know in my heart that this group will love Cosmic Encounter, and I think I need to bring it in doses for them to truly appreciate the intricacies of this game. One of the things my group doesn't do, I GUESS, is the diplomacy aspect of it. All the games I mentioned above don't really have too much diplomacy built into them (Risk Legacy a little bit, and M&M a little bit as well) or it's not a main aspect of the game. That's one theory of mine of why it hasn't caught on yet. Also, the games have not been too memorable (except for that last dupe in the first game).

I do disagree with Bill that the game fell flat because of Virus in the second game. I actually was very close to winning as Tick-Tock with three tokens left. I think it was more the players who had Chosen and Mind. The guy with Mind kept forgetting to use his power (this is more in line with Bill's point about a more complex power) and Chosen's power is kinda meh in my opinion.

The last encounter was between Virus and Chosen. Obviously nobody accepted Virus's invitation while we all went with Chosen. Unfortunately, Virus just flat out won because we didn't have enough points on the cards and we didn't have the flares or the artifacts to do anything. That's just bad luck I think. Also, both of these sessions ended in less than an hour; to me, that's a disappointment because not enough negotiation/backstabbing/diplomacy was happening in my opinion, even for a 4-player game.

However, I flat out agree that you need to tailor the teaching of each game to the audience and/or the group. Every group is different; furthermore, every group coupled with every game will be different. You have to be able to gauge your audience and adjust how you present the game. I believe I didn't do a great job of that during the first two sessions. I truly believe having a good 10-15 green aliens only with the limited Incursion reward deck will help them out. I might even just pick out 6 aliens and have them choose one of them, so that I can at least guarantee some level of predictability with the powers.
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Pouyan A.
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Having looked at the narrowed-down aliens Bill sent me, I've further narrowed it down to 10. Since 10 is the minimum number of flares allowed in the game, these are the 10 I plan to give access for choices:

Clone (I've seen this played with a lot of success, especially if you have the high Attack cards)
Filch (the classic Flare is just so amazing!!)
Loser (my favorite)
Pacifist
Reserve (pretty powerful as a defensive ally)
Pickpocket (looks so cool!)
Will (pretty simple, yet effective if you want to be avoided)
Parasite (Love this one)
Sorcerer (simple and powerful. I can imagine this being fun coupled with the Loser)
Ethic

I was thinking of Mutant and Oracle too, but for Mutant it requires the power to be used before allies are invited and with our previous experience (Mind) this might rub somebody the wrong way if that is chosen. With Oracle, it's a very simple (and powerful) power but I think the rule of putting cards facedown is a core fundamental rule and I don't want this session to mess with that.

Thoughts?
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Just a Bill
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Looks like a very nice list to me. Aside from being well suited to new players, there's not a single alien on there that I wouldn't be happy and excited to play, repeatedly. (And I started playing this game in 1982.)
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Gyges wrote:
Look, Cosmic is brilliant, but it's not for everyone. The implication that there's a setup (right aliens, right rulesets, whatever) that won't alienate some people is flat-out wrong. If they don't like it, maybe they just don't like it.


HA! Alienate...I see what you did there. laugh
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Pouyan A.
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Update: played this last night with Loser, Filch,Sorcerer (me) and Oracle. And the group actually liked it!!!

Came down to the wire where I had four ships and the Loser also had 4. It was her encounter and she was attacking Oracle. Oracle saw her card and it was an Attack 20 so Oracle played a card (which was an attack 6) facedown. I used my super Sorcerer flare to switch the cards...HOWEVER, Loser card-zapped me!! And the Loser got her 5th ship! Such an epic ending.

I'm hoping this good experience will bring this great game to our table more and more often!!
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Sam and Max wrote:
I'd also have two aliens per player.

I strongly recommend not doing this with new players. They already have a LOT of things to learn, and having double aliens will likely distract them from paying attention to other game dynamics and getting their sea legs.


Late reply, but here's the explanation, from my Personal Comment:

Here's how I teach Cosmic Encounter, including suggested power selection:

Do a sample turn. Start with the simplest elements, and add complexity. Deal each player a standard hand and powers. Tell players to ignore Edicts, Reinforcements, Flares, Powers, etc. for now.

Flip the Destiny deck and go through a challenge, including allies. Then go through the following sample combats:

a. Each player plays an Attack card.

b. Each player plays a Negotiate card and attempt to make a deal. Mention that "base for a base" is a very good deal, as well as trading cards.

c. One player plays an Attack, the other a Negotiate. Explain Compensation. Mention that Compensation is a very good way to obtain Flares, which are reusable, and covered later.

d. Explain how Reinforcements work, as well as Edicts. Then redo the challenge, allowing everyone to play Reinforcements and Edicts.

e. Explain timing. By now, players should have a rough idea how the phases would work. Then introduce Flares and Powers. Redo the challenge, with all the game components.

I should mention that, with powers, I prefer to deal each player two green powers face-down. At any time, a player may use his power by revealing it at the appropriate time. I find that one-power games can be incredibly dull, since some players may use their power rarely in the game (especially those which occur only when the player wins as a main player). Revealing powers allows players to introduce new rules (and that's what the powers are -- new rules players have to understand) to the game at *their* pace. Dealing each player a power face-up requires new players not only to digest the base game rules, but also *every* player's power.

***

In no particular order...

* One way to get past "power overload" is to play hidden powers. You are dealt your power and keep it face down until you decide to use it. This allows new players time to digest the basic rules of the game before powers come into play. (Personally, I recommend each player receives *two* hidden powers, so that players get to play with their powers more often during the game!) Likewise, you can shuffle the Flares (and maybe Edicts) into the deck *after* initial hands are dealt.

* As for the science fiction theme, it's about on the level of Race for the Galaxy. Myself, I think the science fiction theme works fine.

* Regarding diplomacy and negotiation, I think anyone who's played games involving simple negotiation (even Steve Jackson "take that" Games, where players end up taking down whoever's leading) will easily understand the negotiation necessary for Cosmic Encounter. Remember that, when making a deal, the "base for a base" agreement is one of *the* best moves to make early and mid-game, since you each now have gained one more base than the players not in the deal.

* A tip to avoid bad hands: In Cosmic Encounter, having a hand of many cards is rarely a disadvantage. So, if you have a poor hand, make a deal with your opponent that includes giving away *all* your cards. This will allow you to draw a new hand which hopefully is better. Alternately, ally defensively and draw cards so you don't end up in this situation. With flares, I actually find I rarely have a bad hand, since, even though I may lose a challenge, at least I can use a flare to my advantage.

***

I pretty much *like* the "do not reveal until played" variant, but, with n00bs, it's "deal two and keep them secret until revealed". I also suggest shuffling in the flares *after* dealing the initial hand.

* N00bs have enough to learn from the game besides the powers. Requiring them to digest the power *before* the rules is equivalent to learning the advanced rules of the game before playing the basic one.

* Some powers are outright boring when played alone (eg. "Usable only as an attacking player"). Even a "when a main player" powers might not be used more than a few times in a game (eg. Clone player with no advantageous Attack cards).

* Vets get to play an advanced game of CE, rather than the less fun "one power each" version. Let's get off the baby food and have something more substantial!

* Even when playing the standard game, n00bs miss out how their powers work. The game is *very* forgiving it a player mis-plays their power, since it's the player interaction, not the powers, which are the most important part of the game.

* Not revealing your power at the right time can confuse veteran opponents. If you accidentally discard your Attack 30, your opponent will conclude you're not the Clone. Then, when you draw an Attack 20, you use it twice to gain your last bases.

* The key part of the game is knowing when to invite allies. This strategy, not the powers, is how you win the game.

*****

Some random hand manipulation suggestions...

* If you have a crappy hand, play a Negotiate against someone who (you guess) has a good hand. If you take Consolation, hope to get some good cards. If you make a deal *offer to give away ALL your cards*. You get a new hand of (hopefully) better cards, and your opponent gets more cards to "protect" his good cards from Consolation.

* Ally with the defense, especially if the expansion set Rewards deck is in play. In the short term, it can be painful, especially if the other (n00bs) do nothing but ally with the offense. If more than one person catches onto this strategy, one of them will win the game.

* Ally with the offense! If the other players don't catch on that allying is better than being the offensive player, that's they're problem! (N00bs!N000000bs!) If you can win the game without needing to play cards from your hand, you've just won the game!

* Bluff. This trick only works once. Play like you have a really good card in your hand. I can never pull this off.

* Die a painful death. Sputter, play a weak Attack card, and essentially do nothing during your turn. Lose planets. In practice, however, most players don't lose their powers. In a one-power game, you don't even *use* your power all that often, so losing your power is overrated -- especially if players keep inviting others when they're the offensive player!

* Play with flares. The more you play a flare, the more others will want it. Even if the flare isn't all THAT good. I've noticed that one flare can make a crappy hand into a useful one. Once you get a good flare, do your best to get more cards to prevent losing it from Consolation. Alternately, make it more likely that your opponent will get the flare with Consolation, so you can draw a new hand -- which hopefully will have another flare.
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Michael Steven Schultz
United States
Swarthmore
Pennsylvania
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I actually just introduced three new players to the game last night. They were pretty game savvy and picked up the mechanics quickly. It was a four person game (the fifth person decided to do dishes instead).

I also stick to green powers only for new players. I make an exception for the Philanthropist as it's my favorite power, and if a newbie gets it, s/he will instantly see the value of throwing out bad cards.

I do use the initial Rewards deck but always think maybe that should be left off for the first game. I do use flares, as they add some of the surprising elements that make the game fun. I use two flares per player (the one matching their power and one other). I also use the strategy of having them pick two flares, and choose the better powerOne, to start the game.

We wound up having the mercenary and vacuum in the same game, so there were a lot of ships in the warp. By the end of the game almost all the ships in the game were warped.

We had the Clone in the game, and he had the 40, and was prepared to play it over and over. Another player had the Wild Clone flare, plus the Plague artifact -- so she was able to plague him over and over until he had to give up the 40. It was silly, and satisfying. (And yes, that made most of his ships go to the warp as well).

One of the new players was savvy enough to Quash me when I try to Emotion Control towards the end.

So, yes, if you try Green powers only and keep it simple, you are more likely to have a successful intro to the game.
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Don Clarke
United Kingdom
Nantwich
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Have a look at the first edition rules and components, including aliens. Play the next game with only those, or as close to them as you can get with whatever edition you have. First edition is the core of what makes the game great. If they don't like it then, they never will and there's no point adding the later whistles and bells.

Obviously, if a first edition mechanic has been tweaked by the edition you are using, and the later edition mechanic is clearly superior without any appreciable rules overhead, use the later rule.

EXTREME VARIANT OF BACK TO BASICS SHOCK THERAPY
Play first edition rules without aliens. By the end of the game they will be fully conversant with the core rules before they attempt to break them with aliens and flares and whatnot. Or if you can't stomach the thought of that, maybe just play the first two rounds dry before introducing 1st ed. alien cards. Should have the same effect.


Having said all that, I must also say it sounds like you're fighting a losing battle to me. Let us know if they ever see the light

 
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