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Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Incursion» Forums » Rules

Subject: Ever-lasting Symbiote flare rss

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Chris Withem

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Symbiote Wild Flare wrote:

You may retrieve a ship from the warp during every regroup phase, not just your own.


Obviously this has been house-ruled probably in every game. The word every in the flare dictates a game-lasting effect for just 1 reveal. In much the same way there are debates about how long flares persist, this is another to join the fray. I would presume the intention of this flare is to reveal every regroup phase to regroup a ship with the offense. Implications on what this could change during an encounter are huge. The fact that I may not even have to be holding the flare and still be able to regroup every phase makes me that much more powerful (when taken into a very literal translation).

Being a M:tG player words like "every" and "whenever" are very conditional and very strict on those conditions. I tend to nitpick games based heavily on card text when they make boo-boos like these and don't errata them, or just let the individual players house-rule them for metaplay.

Other flares up for debate discussion as to how long they last include Clone, Mind and Remora and probably a few others i cannot think of right now.

I was just curious to how the community rules this flare. My group obviously rules that the player must reveal it every regroup phase, both to use his flare for the turn and give it a chance to be zapped. Interestingly enough, this is the only alien power that cannot zap himself to use his wild.
 
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Brett Porter
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The Limiter is that you can only play 1 flare card per encounter. So use of this flare would be giving up any other flare you could play for that encounter. I think the only exception to this is the filch classic flare(my favorite).
 
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Stephen Stewart
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gokiburijin wrote:
The Limiter is that you can only play 1 flare card per encounter. So use of this flare would be giving up any other flare you could play for that encounter. I think the only exception to this is the filch classic flare(my favorite).



Right...you'd still have to PLAY the flare...which in turn could be FLAREzapped...
 
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Chris Withem

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That is the argument. you only need to play it once. Why else would it say "every" regroup phase rather then "this" regroup phase? I could just be reading too much into it though. This flare was just very poorly worded in my honest opinion.
 
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Warren Denning
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NoobSauce wrote:
That is the argument. you only need to play it once. Why else would it say "every" regroup phase rather then "this" regroup phase? I could just be reading too much into it though. This flare was just very poorly worded in my honest opinion.


I would say you can play the flare, and retreive a ship once every regroup phase of each player at the table including yourself. Then pick back up the flare.

If someone Flare zaps it then you stop at whatever regroup phase you are on, samething if you run out of Encounter cards and have to redraw.

I think there are mistakes and its easy to get hung up, I know I did with the Merc including "as a defensive ally".
 
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Jakob Silk
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At my place, we usually allow a player to leave semi-permanent (used every turn) flares like this on the table (similar to M:TG). We find this is just more convenient to the player and speeds up gameplay slightly instead of him always having to flash the card out and repeat what he/she is doing. Obviously we can still zap the card whenever he goes to use it.
 
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Chris Withem

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I guess i'm reading too into it. fellow posters aren't seeing my argument.

With the word "every" in the flare, it suggests that i don't have to reveal it every regroup phase. i reveal it once at the beginning of the game and its done. i now regroup every phase and have don't have to play that flare for my turn.
 
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Barney Bustoffson
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You do have to play it every turn. It isn't a game long effect, and you can't also play another flare if you have used it.
 
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Chris Withem

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Bustoffson wrote:
You do have to play it every turn. It isn't a game long effect, and you can't also play another flare if you have used it.


i figured that was its intention. the wording is just "confusing" coming from a M:tG background.
 
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Andy Leber
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NoobSauce wrote:
I guess i'm reading too into it. fellow posters aren't seeing my argument.

With the word "every" in the flare, it suggests that i don't have to reveal it every regroup phase. i reveal it once at the beginning of the game and its done. i now regroup every phase and have don't have to play that flare for my turn.


I know what you mean. It should say something like "you can retrive a ship from the warp during another players regroup phase" or something of the like.

I guess the main reason the literal translation doesn't register with some people, is because there are no flares in the deck that activate a continuing power.... But it could have been worded a little better, for sure.
 
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Brian
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NoobSauce wrote:
I guess i'm reading too into it. fellow posters aren't seeing my argument.

With the word "every" in the flare, it suggests that i don't have to reveal it every regroup phase. i reveal it once at the beginning of the game and its done. i now regroup every phase and have don't have to play that flare for my turn.


Is that what the text on the actual card says? Or are you quoting the text summarized in one of the posts? I'm seeing your argument at least. And I agree that if that is how the card is worded it was a very poor choice of words. I think the way it's supposed to work is fairly obvious though. You can play during any other regroup phase to get a ship.

 
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Chris Withem

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serdudds wrote:
NoobSauce wrote:
I guess i'm reading too into it. fellow posters aren't seeing my argument.

With the word "every" in the flare, it suggests that i don't have to reveal it every regroup phase. i reveal it once at the beginning of the game and its done. i now regroup every phase and have don't have to play that flare for my turn.


Is that what the text on the actual card says? Or are you quoting the text summarized in one of the posts? I'm seeing your argument at least. And I agree that if that is how the card is worded it was a very poor choice of words. I think the way it's supposed to work is fairly obvious though. You can play during any other regroup phase to get a ship.



i copy-pasted from the warp actually, but it is the same wording as the flare (just checked). It is indeed a very poor choice of words.
 
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Just a Bill
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It probably should have said "You may retrieve a ship from the warp during other players' regroup phases, not just your own."

For the record, I get what you're saying. Although I don't interpret "every" to mean "for the rest of the game", I can see where others might.

In fairness to FFG, they did clean up a lot of old wording in this edition, and thank goodness somebody finally got smart enough to write Plague so it targets one card of each type, but on the other hand this edition also introduces plenty of new questionable and inconsistent wording. My favorite example, just for the sheer marvel of its 100% completeness, is probably the fact that there are now six different Wild Flares that tell you to give the flare to its owner after use, and they found six different ways to say it!
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Andy Leber
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Bill Martinson wrote:
It probably should have said "You may retrieve a ship from the warp during other players' regroup phases, not just your own."


See, I still read that to mean you could potentially do it repeatedly. Of course, I've never felt that was the case, because that's not how flares work, obviously.

But even something as slightly different as: "You may retrieve a ship from the warp during another players regroup phase"

I guess it was the pluralization of "phases" that made it wrong to me.
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Just a Bill
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Holmes108 wrote:
But even something as slightly different as: "You may retrieve a ship from the warp during another players regroup phase"

Yeah, that's better. I wasn't peeling off enough of the nonstandard language, was I?
 
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Lyn Fox
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Bill Martinson wrote:
In fairness to FFG, they did clean up a lot of old wording in this edition, and thank goodness somebody finally got smart enough to write Plague so it targets one card of each type, but on the other hand this edition also introduces plenty of new questionable and inconsistent wording. My favorite example, just for the sheer marvel of its 100% completeness, is probably the fact that there are now six different Wild Flares that tell you to give the flare to its owner after use, and they found six different ways to say it!

While the FFG version has wording leagues better than other versions, and they seemed to have done a great job with alien powers, they is still a lot of ambiguity on the wording of many of the flares. I do wish they'd make the wording more precise. I think having exact wording is very important to games with such huge game changing effects.

I don't have Cosmic Incursion yet, so I'm just going off what was posted here. I think if they really wanted this to be a permanent effect, they should have said so explicitly:
"For the rest of the game..."

My guess is that's not intended. And assuming I'm understanding it correctly, it could be worded simply:
"Retrieve a ship from the warp." They have the timing bar which could say: Any Player Except Offense [Regroup]
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Just a Bill
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foxx wrote:
it could be worded simply:
"Retrieve a ship from the warp." They have the timing bar which could say: Any Player Except Offense [Regroup]

Actually the timing convention for that would be "Not Offense" (cf. Dictator, Wild Dictator, Disease, Wild Symbiote).

But this brings up a pet peeve I had about Mayfair: they put general statements in the text and then relied upon the timing symbols to constrict things, and in some cases it was very confusing until you realized you had to synthesize the graphical icon into a word phrase and mentally insert it into the text. Things got really messy when in Encounter magazine they started errata-ing every power under the sun to use the "infinity" symbol because of all the weird effects that let normal things happen at abnormal times.

It always astounded me when people would praise the Mayfair timing icons, because it seemed to me they did more harm than good and required tons of errata that many players were never even aware of. Thankfully, FFG's treatment of timing indicators is much better.

Anyway, I always prefer to have text clearly say what it does, letting any graphical indicators simply reinforce or clarify or summarize rather than define. Much safer, and easier to read, too.
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Andy Leber
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I definitely agree Bill... I expect it to be a reference, but that's all. The body should still clarify all pertinent information.

I think there are a couple of flares in there that could have done a better job of this too, although I don't have examples handy.
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Actually the timing convention for that would be "Not Offense" (cf. Dictator, Wild Dictator, Disease, Wild Symbiote).
I did quickly look though the flare deck for examples of formatting, but must have missed the 3 out of 50 cards that use the "Not __" formatting. (Wild Dictator, Super Mind, and Wild Fodder. Disease and Symbiote are not in the base game, so those examples are not readily available to me.)

I could see wording it so that you are not relying on the timing bar, but then it'd be the same, just with timing stuff added. Like:

"Retrieve a ship from the warp. Play this only during another player's regroup phase." or "During another player's regroup phase, you may retrieve a ship from the warp."

My point is that the wording should be exact and specific, and the FFG flares fail horribly there. They did do a great job with alien powers and stuff like that. But I get the feeling the flares didn't get much proof reading. Particularly since some of them also contain typos like saying "challenge" instead of "encounter".
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Just a Bill
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foxx wrote:
I did quickly look though the flare deck for examples of formatting, but must have missed the 3 out of 50 cards that use the "Not __" formatting. (Wild Dictator, Super Mind, and Wild Fodder. Disease and Symbiote are not in the base game, so those examples are not readily available to me.)

For sake of completeness, there's also Parasite in the base game, and Wild Seeker and Wild Sniveler (which you haven't seen yet).

foxx wrote:
My point is that the wording should be exact and specific, and the FFG flares fail horribly there. They did do a great job with alien powers and stuff like that. But I get the feeling the flares didn't get much proof reading. Particularly since some of them also contain typos like saying "challenge" instead of "encounter".

Agreed on all counts! Further evidence that the flares would have benefitted from a final editing pass:

Wild Anti-Matter adds unnecessary articles in one of the most common wording conventions: "As the main player or an ally".

Super Dictator says OFFENSE instead of OFFENSE ONLY.

Super Filch has the same effect on both versions, but the base version says Resolution while the Classic version (incorrectly) says Reveal.

Super Loser says Reveal, but every other after-selected-but-before-revealed effect I could find on powers, flares, and techs says Planning.

Wild Macron says MAIN PLAYER OR ALLY ONLY, but also says "after you reveal an attack card". Depending on the design intent, either the prerequisite bar needs to say MAIN PLAYER ONLY or the text needs to say "after your side reveals an attack card".

Super Macron says Launch, but should say Launch/Alliance since it also works as an ally. (I don't believe there were any "slashed" timing indicators on flares in the base set, but Incursion does give us Alliance/Planning on Super Seeker.)

Super Observer's preprequisite bar is backwards: ALLY OR MAIN PLAYER ONLY instead of MAIN PLAYER OR ALLY ONLY.

Super Oracle says "you may end an encounter after your opponent reveals his or her card" and also specifies Reveal, which is impossible since Oracle's base power forces the opponent to "reveal" (actually, play face up) his card during Planning. I believe the timing indicator should have been Planning and the text should have said "you may end an encounter after your opponent plays his or her card faceup". (Yes, I realize there is no such word as "faceup", but I'm forcing myself to be consistent with the rest of the game.)

Wild Philanthropist says "at the start of a encounter", probably a casualty of a global challenge-to-encounter search-and-replace.

I haven't had a chance to study the Incursion flares in detail yet, but they appear on first blush to have had better proofing. So far all I've noticed (other than minor alternate-spelling nitpicks) are these two:

Wild Fungus says "discard" rather than the original Eon word "lose", which introduces a leak into the gameplay. (This might actually be an overproofing issue.)

Super Seeker says "a 'yes' or 'no' question", which actually means "a 'yes' question or a 'no' question". The two innermost quotation marks should have been killed.

For those wondering what the hell is the matter with me, I was once a technical editor and a CCG/TCG wording-convention guru, so I can't help but catalog these things. I'm keeping a detailed database of the issues, no matter how minor, and gradually updating my own set to what I feel were the intended wordings.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
For those wondering what the hell is the matter with me


If you are wrong, I don't want to be right.

My personal aggravation is their Arkham-Horror-esque textarrhea where they refuse to have standard ways of writing an effect they use all the time. You have already pointed out the absurd number of variants on the idea of "after using this Wild, give it to the (Power). If (Power) is not playing, discard it."

The flare in this thread introduces another: the inability to smoothly write 'Retrieve one ship from the warp' with possible modifiers for timing. Incursion also adds bloat where they can't decide whether or not to use 'defensive rewards' or just the prior, more elegant and flexible 'rewards'.

It's still a long way from full Arkham word-stew, but it's started drifting in that direction.
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Chris Withem

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I say put bill in charge of Editing. Problem Solved. Though he might get carried away and thus need bigger cards.....
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NoobSauce wrote:
I say put bill in charge of Editing. Problem Solved. Though he might get carried away and thus need bigger cards.....

Actually, better wording would often lead to less text, not more.
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Chris Withem

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foxx wrote:
NoobSauce wrote:
I say put bill in charge of Editing. Problem Solved. Though he might get carried away and thus need bigger cards.....

Actually, better wording would often lead to less text, not more.


see it was a joke, because Bill's posts are always very long-winded and very well thought out with all his buttons in a row....
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Just a Bill
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Darth Thulhu wrote:
My personal aggravation is their Arkham-Horror-esque textarrhea

Great word, and very appropos.

Darth Thulhu wrote:
Incursion also adds bloat where they can't decide whether or not to use 'defensive rewards' or just the prior, more elegant and flexible 'rewards'.

Darth already knows this, but I'll spell it out for those tuning in late: It's not just wording bloat, but FAQ bloat too. Someday a mechanic or card or alien power will reintroduce the reverse-cone mechanism, and then players will wonder if offensive allies get "rewards" (on some cards) but not "defensive rewards" (on others). Several months or a year after that, the FAQ will finally expand to clumsily answer the question.

Is anybody thinking ahead? We've had three decades to see these things coming. You'd think they would want to avoid the cumulative effect of all these (entirely avoidable) bad wordings growing like rust or barnacles throughout an otherwise fantastic product. Unfortunately it appears that the publisher thinks their job is done when the product ships. The combination of wording sloppiness, lack of response to gameplay questions, and poor quality of the FAQ all leave us to crowd-source the answers for ourselves.

Maybe I've been looking at this game all wrong. Maybe the publisher is really just the delivery agent for plastic spaceships and alien artwork, and the player community is the steward of the gameplay: adjudicating ruling questions, protecting the game engine, and breeding new ideas. Weird, but I guess it works. (Has to work, I suppose, as long as the publisher abdicates their role as gameplay steward.)

foxx wrote:
Actually, better wording would often lead to less text, not more.

True dat. There is a great quotation of Blaise Pascal (though often attributed to Twain, Churchill, Franklin, etc.) in his Lettres provinciales that translates to English as "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." Editing is a process of refinement but also of reduction.

NoobSauce wrote:
see it was a joke, because Bill's posts are always very long-winded....

Guilty as charged. But I'm not such a blowhard in game text. ;-)

By the way, Googling the above label led me to am interesting rogue's gallery of forum-participant caricatures called Flame Warriors. Fans of Cosmic might enjoy reading the Flame Warriors' "alien powers".
 
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