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Subject: Mercenary and Ghoul... exact same power? rss

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Chris O
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Is it just me or are those two powers exactly the same except one triggers as main player only for the win (ghoul) and one triggers as main player or an ally for the win (mercenary), and while one gives you rewards for each ships that lost (ghoul) the other gives rewards for each ship you put in (mercenary).

I mean really, they are the exact same power. It's just "gain cards for winning."

This isn't like Anti-Matter, Loser, or Tripler. Though they are combat powers and someone might say they are all "low cards win", they are all very functionally different. Anti-Matter for one has little to do with the card played or manipulating it and simply is a subtraction instead of adding. Loser is unrelated to ships and cards at all except for his restriction and is outside of the combat zone itself into "whoever loses by ANY means", changing it to being more broad like zapping human to make him win so that he loses. Tripler is a straight up card modifier, like Calculator, etc.

The difference is even though I hate similar powers like Calculator and Tripler, at least they aren't EXACTLY the same except for a conditional difference. However, Ghoul and Mercenary ARE.

Ghoul is the expert Merc, and Merc is the novice Ghoul. I just don't see the need to ever play Merc if you are good enough to use Ghoul, just like how if you are a good Zombie then Observer is pointless.

Discuss.
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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I don't have any problem with it at all. They're different enough for me.
 
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David desJardins
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Maybe you're just too expert to lower yourself to the level of this expansion.
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Chris O
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Has little to do with "expertness" and more to do with variety among the limited amount of powers each expansion holds. Putting out two identical powers in a 20 power expansion isn't exactly the best use of space.
 
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Barney Bustoffson
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They really aren't identical though, no more than Virus and Anti-Matter are identical (strong aliens to help you win an encounter).

It's about a lot more than "each receives rewards when they win". Ghoul is about deterring players from attacking or allying against with a lot of ships. Not only do they lose, but they give him more cards.

Mercenary is about how much risk he's willing to take in order to gain more.

These are subtle, but important factors in these aliens. And really, the expansion with the reward deck was the exact right time to add them into the set. And when there have been 3 or 4 expansions, and we're up to over 100 aliens, it's going to be that much more moot.
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David desJardins
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Messianic wrote:
Has little to do with "expertness" and more to do with variety among the limited amount of powers each expansion holds. Putting out two identical powers in a 20 power expansion isn't exactly the best use of space.


I thought your assertion is that, at your own olympian level, the one dominates the other, although, for more plebeian players, they might seem more different.
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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Messianic wrote:
Has little to do with "expertness" and more to do with variety among the limited amount of powers each expansion holds. Putting out two identical powers in a 20 power expansion isn't exactly the best use of space.


I do disagree that they're identical. They're no more identical and Warrior and Sapient, or Zombie and Observer.

Tastes vary, though, so I understand why their similarity might displease you. For my tastes, Ghoul and Mercenary are different enough. No big deal that we disagree here.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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They're complimentary, like Parasite and Crystal (did those make FFGs?). So what that they are similar, they're definitely different enough to warrant different powers.

-shnar
 
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Warren Denning
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Quote:
Mercenary and Ghoul... exact same power?

Perhaps there is a subtle difference in wording you are skipping over.

Mercenary: "use this power to gain defender rewards as though you were a defensive ally".

Goul:"use this power...to gain defender rewards for each ship you send to the warp"

CI Rules: In this variant, defensive allies may draw from a special,slightly more powerful deck of cards when receiving defender
rewards. This variant makes use of the reward deck.

SO

Mercenary attacks with 4 ships and wins, sending 8 ships to the warp. It can receive 4 cards from REWARDS DECK or 4 ships and/or 4 card from Encounter Deck.

Goul attacks with 4 ships and wins, sending 8 ships to the warp. It can receive 8 ships and/or 8 cards from Encounter Deck, but nothing from Rewards deck as its not counted as a defensive ally.
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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There's only one version of defender awards, though -- that's what you get when you are a defensive ally. So Ghoul and Mercenary both can draw from the Rewards deck when their power activates.
 
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Warren Denning
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I think that is true if they both are a true defensive ally.

BUT incorrect if they are allowed to take defender awards outside of being an ally of the main player on defense.

If you are allowed to take rewards outside of being allied to the defensive main player (if you are the winning main player on offense) then it DOES matter if you are considered a "defending ally" or not.

The Goul is not, while the Mercenary is. Goul therefore does not get to draw from the new Reward Deck only the regular Encounter Deck when taking defender awards.

I interpet this is how the Reward Deck works. If you don't play with it, then the powers I guess are similar but cause you to calculate risk in a different manner.

 
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Jefferson Krogh
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Just read the rule for the Rewards deck in the expansion:

"When a player receives cards as defender rewards, he or she may draw some or all of the cards from the reward deck."

It doesn't say "only as a defensive ally." It's any time a player receives cards as rewards. You're adding conditions out of thin air, I'm afraid.
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Warren Denning
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I know the phrase you are reading but what about this part from under the title [straight from the pdf]:

Quote:
Reward Deck Variant
In this variant, defensive allies may draw from a special,
slightly more powerful deck of cards when receiving defender
rewards
. This variant makes use of the reward deck.


Why does it just not say "player" and why does the Mercenary say it may recieve defender rewards as a defensive ally?

I'll agree its not clear and should be cleared up in an FAQ, but I think the phrase "defensive ally" triggers drawing from the Reward Deck and not "defender rewards" which triggers ships/Encounter deck.

AND please don't think I am just trying to pest, cause I appreciate your responces.
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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Once again, I think you're reading too much into this. Even in the base game, there is only one way to gain rewards: by being a defensive ally. "Rewards" and "defender rewards" are the exact same thing. There are no "offender rewards." There's just rewards, and unless you have something that says otherwise (like an alien power), usually you only get them if you're a defensive ally.

If an alien says you can gain rewards in another fashion, it's no different than the kinds of rewards you can draw as a defensive ally. Rewards are rewards are rewards. "Defender rewards" = "rewards normally drawn by a defensive ally" = "rewards." It's all the same thing.

If you disagree and nerf Ghoul anyway, I promise not to kick down your door and confiscate your game. ninja
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Warren Denning
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Asked Warp about it and you're right. Dang.shake
 
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Jakob Silk
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Messianic wrote:
...just like how if you are a good Zombie then Observer is pointless.


I'm not sure how you consider 'Zombie' an expert alien to play. Observer allows you to secure willing allies incredibly easy (but with the fear of losing your own ships in the battle) while Zombie almost always finds itself isolated throughout the game (but with less fear of losing ships to encounters). In our games, Zombie rarely finds any allies. We're always skeptical that he'll simply throw the encounter and not suffer any losses.

If anything, Zombie supports a beginner better as the power is always active and allows them to continually make mistakes with next to no consequences and 'throw' encounters to shed poor/weak cards easily. I find Observer requires more of a metagame approach. Constantly reminding other players that, as allies, they can 'never die' and should send full support to join your cause (then Cosmic Zapping your own power and watching 12 'allied' ships go into the warp - bahahaha.)

Interesting seeing different perspectives on the same thing.

The Warp wrote:
OBSERVER
You have the power to Protect. As an ally, whenever you should lose ships to the warp, use this power to instead return them to any of your colonies and keep using them.

As a main player, when any of your allies should lose ships to the warp, use this power to instead allow your allies to return them to any of their colonies of their choice.


ZOMBIE
You have the power of Immortality. Whenever you should lose ships to the warp, use this power to instead return them to any of your colonies and keep using them.

In addition, you may free any player's ships from the warp (back to any colonies he or she has) as part of a deal.
 
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Chris Withem

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Innawerkz wrote:
Messianic wrote:
...just like how if you are a good Zombie then Observer is pointless.


I'm not sure how you consider 'Zombie' an expert alien to play. Observer allows you to secure willing allies incredibly easy (but with the fear of losing your own ships in the battle) while Zombie almost always finds itself isolated throughout the game (but with less fear of losing ships to encounters). In our games, Zombie rarely finds any allies. We're always skeptical that he'll simply throw the encounter and not suffer any losses.

If anything, Zombie supports a beginner better as the power is always active and allows them to continually make mistakes with next to no consequences and 'throw' encounters to shed poor/weak cards easily. I find Observer requires more of a metagame approach. Constantly reminding other players that, as allies, they can 'never die' and should send full support to join your cause (then Cosmic Zapping your own power and watching 12 'allied' ships go into the warp - bahahaha.)

Interesting seeing different perspectives on the same thing.

The Warp wrote:
OBSERVER
You have the power to Protect. As an ally, whenever you should lose ships to the warp, use this power to instead return them to any of your colonies and keep using them.

As a main player, when any of your allies should lose ships to the warp, use this power to instead allow your allies to return them to any of their colonies of their choice.


ZOMBIE
You have the power of Immortality. Whenever you should lose ships to the warp, use this power to instead return them to any of your colonies and keep using them.

In addition, you may free any player's ships from the warp (back to any colonies he or she has) as part of a deal.


The advantage Zombie and Observer share is that When Observer is an ally his OWN ships don't die in the same way that zombies ships wouldn't die as an ally. Both aliens can easily flock to defense in nearly every situation with little to no harm to their own ships. Their ships won't die and they easily add to the defender's total and hopefully those juicy juicy defender rewards.

Back on topic though, I too agree with the OP (original poster) Ghoul and Mercenary are far too similar for me to like them. I have played neither though a friend did get ghoul once. he suffers the same fate as all the other conditional powers (cudgel, barbarian, void, etc) If you don't win, you're playing without a power. In our games this is a very common occurrence drawing a hand full of low attack numbers, or far too many negotiates. Mercenary is a tad bit better in the fact that he works as an ally. Their only difference is Ghoul gets 1 reward per ship killed, where as mercenary gets 1 reward per ship he sent. Both aliens are VERY VERY dependent on winning for their ability to work, but Mercenary will do far better simply because he works as an ally (in the same way fungus works as an ally)
 
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Warren Denning
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Are you lameting the samenes of Goul and Merc or that fact that the power is active only on a win? It does seem though that if you win, you win big. I imagine the Goul can pull a nasty trick of crushing 3 to 4 player who gang up on it (with a 20+ card) and reaping a nice 10+ extra cards as a result.
 
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Jakob Silk
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NoobSauce wrote:
The advantage Zombie and Observer share is that When Observer is an ally his OWN ships don't die in the same way that zombies ships wouldn't die as an ally. Both aliens can easily flock to defense in nearly every situation with little to no harm to their own ships. Their ships won't die and they easily add to the defender's total and hopefully those juicy juicy defender rewards.


I realized their similarities which is why I focused on their differences. At quick glance they offer similar benefits. In practice they tend to play out differently and require a different 'style' to maximize their effectiveness. Obviously, I only have my own groups tactics to draw from.

Quote:
I have played neither though a friend did get ghoul once. he suffers the same fate as all the other conditional powers (cudgel, barbarian, void, etc) If you don't win, you're playing without a power. In our games this is a very common occurrence drawing a hand full of low attack numbers, or far too many negotiates.


Agree that you need good cards to use your power, but this is true for a number of aliens. I've seen or played:

- Clone with no card higher than 10.
- Hacker without Negotiates.
- Pacifist without Negotiates.
- Reserve with a handful of 8's & Negotiates
- etc.

I could argue that Trader or Loser holding only good (high) cards is essentially playing with no power. You get the idea. One of the things I love about CE is that you don't NEED the cards to win (although it certainly improves your chances).

Quote:
Back on topic though, I too agree with the OP (original poster) Ghoul and Mercenary are far too similar for me to like them. Mercenary is a tad bit better in the fact that he works as an ally. Their only difference is Ghoul gets 1 reward per ship killed, where as mercenary gets 1 reward per ship he sent. Both aliens are VERY VERY dependent on winning for their ability to work, but Mercenary will do far better simply because he works as an ally (in the same way fungus works as an ally)


I feel this is just enough of a difference to change the way each would play out (admittedly, we haven't played with either of them yet).

Attacking Ghoul would make me carefully consider inviting allies to help me if I wasn't feeling confident about winning the encounter. It would likely see me sending one ship to it's doom just to keep Ghoul from reaping too many rewards. Even if I did have allies, they may not commit as many ships as they normally would for fear of making the Ghoul stronger if we lost. This might result in Ghoul winning the odd encounter it shouldn't have. As an attacking Ghoul player, I might find myself prone to attacking planets with the most ships on it - where it is usually the opposite decision made.

Mercenary is similar, but slightly more flexible. The biggest difference I can see is that Mercenary is more in control of how many cards it has the chance of drawing (1 - 4) and also has more opportunities to draw cards (on every turn as an ally/main player). The name Mercenary is appropriate because I could see a Merc player offering his services to both Offense & Defense and simply relying on the sheer number of encounters he's involved in to eventually 'pay off'.

 
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Barney Bustoffson
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But as Jack has mentioned, there is more to a power like Ghoul than "only activates on a win". Since you are giving Ghoul more rewards for having more ships in the encounter if he wins, sometimes players hedge their bets and attack or ally with fewer than 4 ships. This has the effect of making it more likely Ghoul will win (and get to use his power)- and when players decide to go all in, they may be making Ghoul's day if it turns out their high numbers of ships weren't enough.
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Chris O
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Innawerkz my whole point is why use 2 spots on a 20 spot expansion to put 2 aliens that only differ by ONE difference in their function?

Would you be happy if they added a version of Healer that activated as an ally or main player but you had to heal ALL lost ships that encounter to get the one card? That's the "Merc" version of Healer. How about a Void where you can eradicate ships as an ally but only 1 ship per player? Are you going to consider that a unique and worthy power?

Taking one little part of a power and changing it does not a new power make. That's laziness.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Messianic wrote:
Innawerkz my whole point is why use 2 spots on a 20 spot expansion to put 2 aliens that only differ by ONE difference in their function?


Why not?

EON did that, notice the similar powers between say the Magnet and the Crystal. It's not that big of a deal, and having more powers is never a bad thing

-shnar
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Jakob Silk
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Messianic wrote:
Taking one little part of a power and changing it does not a new power make. That's laziness.


I guess we are just focusing on different parts of the same alien power. You seem to emphasize the similarities on the Timing & Mechanic. Correct me if I'm wrong: your main issue with Ghoul & Mercenary is that they share the ability to collect defender rewards as a main player that activates in an identical way (on a victorious encounter).

I am looking more at how the (slight) differences between them would affect gameplay. As I mentioned, I haven't played with either alien. However, looking at them and trying to determine how to use their abilites to their fullest indicates that they would play differently enough to merit their co-existence.

ATTACKING
As Ghoul:
- Foreign planets with the most ships on it would be targeted more often.
- The number of ships committed by Ghoul could change depending on the strength of the encounter card he is planning on using.
- Rather than saving his best Attack cards for gaining a foreign colony, Ghoul may reserve them for when he is the target of many ships/allies.
As Mercenary:
- The planet with the least number of defenders would be chosen.
- Almost a guarantee that Mercenary will commit four ships to any encounter he feels he has a chance to succeed in.

DEFENDING
As Ghoul:
- Ghoul would enjoy an 'unwritten' benefit as most attacking players would commit the bare minimum of ships to the encounter (hedging their bets - to quote Bustoffson).
As Mercenary:
- There is no added benefit defending as the Mercenary.

ALLY:
As Ghoul:
- There is no added benefit allying as the Ghoul.
As Mercenary:
- Would likely be involved in any encounter, at any time, with anyone. He may not commit 4 ships everytime, but just the sheer number of encounters involved would add up. (Mercenary with the Symbiote Flare would have nice synergy for this approach)

Looking at this, it would seem they are almost mirror opposites in their approach to trigger their power. Although I agree with you that FFG should try and have as large a variety of powers as possible, I feel that including Ghoul & Mercenary in Cosmic Incursion at the same time they introduce the Rewards Deck made the most sense.
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mar hawkman
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I gotta agree with Jakob. On PAPER they may seem very similar, but in practice they are very different.
 
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