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Subject: Question about Cosmic Zap (in the FAQ) rss

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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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The FAQ describes reads:
Quote:
Q: If you Cosmic Zap a player that is using his Super flare, does he discard the flare, or does he have to play the wild?

A: Neither. The flare remains in his hand, but he may use the wild flare while his power is zapped.
Now, the player who was using his Super flare just played the zapped flare card; how come he can "use the wild flare while his power is zapped" despite flare cards being allowed to be played only once per encounter (i.e., during the duration of the zap)?

I have not yet played the game, and I'm trying to get up to speed with the rules and FAQ. Any help would be much appreciated!
 
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Jefferson Krogh
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The Flare was not zapped. Cosmic Zap only zaps the alien power, temporarily making that player not be that alien.
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
The Flare was not zapped.
Good point.

I still don't understand the FAQ entry, so let me rephrase my question. If the player "was using his Super flare", doesn't it mean he played the flare card? in which case he is not allowed to play it again, so how can he "use the wild flare" while his power is zapped?

Maybe an example that illustrates the FAQ entry would be useful?
 
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Todd France
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I think the simplest interpretation is that the Cosmic Zap is pre-emptive, causing the Super Flare to be an illegal play, thus returning the card to the player's hand. The disparity between Super and Wild Flares is such that it's not always desirable or possible to play a Wild Flare at the same time as a Super, so a ruling that the Wild would be played instead would only lead to 10 more pages of FAQ.

Hope you have a good time with it!
 
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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pseudotheist wrote:
I think the simplest interpretation is that the Cosmic Zap is pre-emptive, causing the Super Flare to be an illegal play, thus returning the card to the player's hand.
So, the sequence of play would be something like:
- Player A plays Super Flare
- Player B zaps A
- The Flare becomes illegal and returns in A's hand as if it had not been played.
Right? And this would not violate the "1 flare per encounter" rule because it is as if the Super Flare had not been played because Player A had lost his alien power (kind of like the stack in Magic: the Gathering). Is this correct?
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Jefferson Krogh
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When you play the Flare, one of the two things listed on the card will take place -- either the Wild Effect or the Super Effect. You're not technically playing a "Super Flare" or a "Wild Flare." You're just playing a Flare card.

When you resolve the Flare, you just follow the instructions. If you are NOT the alien on the Flare, the Wild effect happens. If you ARE the alien on the Flare, the Super effect happens. You don't get to choose.

So, when someone responds to a Flare with a Cosmic Zap, all that happens is that the Wild Flare effect must be used. That's because the player is temporarily not any alien, so he can't use the Super effect even if it matches his alien card.

Broken down into steps:

Without Cosmic Zap:

1) The Alien (call him "Dude") plays the Dude Flare card.
2) The Flare asks, "Are you The Dude?"
3) The Dude says "Yes, I am!"
4) The Flare says, "Use the Super effect, Dude!"
5) The Dude uses the Super Flare effect.

With Cosmic Zap:

1) The Alien (call him "Dude") plays the Dude Flare card.
2) One of the other players uses Cosmic Zap on the Dude.
3) The Dude is no longer the Dude for the moment.
4) The Flare asks, "Are you The Dude?"
5) The Alien Formerly Known As The Dude says "Not right now, man."
6) The Flare says, "Use the Wild effect, then."
7) The Alien Formerly Known As The Dude uses the Wild Flare effect (if he can -- if not, the Flare is played with no effect, and goes back into the Dude's hand.)
8) At the end of the encounter, the Dude resumes being the Dude.
9) The Dude abides.

Hope that helps!

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Todd France
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
...Hope that helps!

Except it doesn't jibe with the FAQ entry...
 
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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Kobold Curry Chef wrote:

With Cosmic Zap:

1) The Alien (call him "Dude") plays the Dude Flare card.
2) One of the other players uses Cosmic Zap on the Dude.
3) The Dude is no longer the Dude for the moment.
4) The Flare asks, "Are you The Dude?"
5) The Alien Formerly Known As The Dude says "Not right now, man."
6) The Flare says, "Use the Wild effect, then."
7) The Alien Formerly Known As The Dude uses the Wild Flare effect (if he can -- if not, the Flare is played with no effect, and goes back into the Dude's hand.)
8) At the end of the encounter, the Dude resumes being the Dude.
9) The Dude abides.
Thank you for detailing this. I'm feeling like I'm understanding the FAQ more and more, thanks to you both.

However, Todd's answer makes me wonder whether the card played in step (1) above simply doesn't return to Dude's hand, so that he can play it later during the encounter (or maybe it does not make sense to play the flare later, given the existing flare powers?). In fact, "The flare remains in his hand, but he may use the wild flare while his power is zapped" part makes me think that it is as though the flare had never been played (playing it in step (1) was "illegal", as Todd said).

In other words, I understood Todd's answer as replacing steps (6)-(9) above with "(6') Playing the Super flare in step (1) is actually illegal, let's pretend it was never played."
 
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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Apparently, the question I was asking is actually still open: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/497563/better-review-of-.... I'm really disappointed by FFG; this is the first FFG game I bought, and I'm not impressed by all the "details" and holes that are left open (both in the release, and in the electronic FAQ).
 
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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You're not the only one, if that makes you feel any better. Cosmic has always had its share of rules questions, but unfortunately the FFG edition has introduced a slew of new (and unnecessary) questions by virtue of some pretty sloppy writing/editing and puzzling redesign decisions. Unfortunately the FAQ is slow to be updated and introduces almost as many questions as it answers, but the player base is trying to straighten things out as best we can. Keep reading the forums here and you'll get the hang of it. I'm sorry the ugly underbelly is tainting your initial experience, but the game truly is worth it, I can just about promise you that. I'm probably the biggest complainer around, and yet I still love this game.
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Jeff Finazzo
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Cosmic has had holes in the rules for the past 30 years. There are just too many combinations of cards/powers for the FAQ to cover all the possible scenarios. All you can really do is make the best possible call and keep the game going.
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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Frantic Ferret wrote:
All you can really do is make the best possible call and keep the game going.

Heck no, that's not "all you can really do". Certainly that's important, but what you can also do is put some careful analysis and research into new components, rules, and (especially) FAQs you publish to make sure you are not compounding the problem. (That was actually my point.) You seem to be saying "oh, well, it's going to suck no matter what" as if there is no possibility for improvement. I reject that premise, sir!

If we all sigh and say "oh, well", we're sending a message to the publisher that slapdash is good enough for us. I'd rather send the message that they've done a fabulous job on components, creativity, packaging, and innovation, but their text and rules writing (especially that embarrassing FAQ) is significantly lacking and is, in some ways, doing more harm than good. This is one area that clearly needs improvement in future releases.

I agree that some conflicts and problems are unavoidable ... but some are totally avoidable. We've already learned some of these lessons years ago; we shouldn't be treated to repeats of the same mistakes.

Don't we all want the game to be easier to understand — and play, and teach — rather than harder?
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Mi Myma
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What I have done is printed up my own list of rules clarifications, which I keep in the box. When a rules question arises, then I can look up my previously thought-out answer. No one can accuse me of bias, since the clarifications were already written in advance.

And if a new situation arises, I can add it to the list.

Of course, the list I made was for the Mayfair edition, so might not cover some of the questions in the FFG edition.
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
What I have done is printed up my own list of rules clarifications, which I keep in the box.

Same here, but because of my CDO* I'm taking the additional step of actually reprinting the individual components that have errors, clarifications, etc. So far I've done about three dozen alien sheets and flares. All my cards and alien sheets are sleeved so the backs all look the same (I just slip the slightly-smaller reprint paper in front of the actual card or sheet), and when I'm done I'll have a set in which practically all of the (legitimate) FAQ issues are answered right on the cards. I'm also implementing additional sentences on a few aliens that eliminate the Do Not Use With restrictions. It's taking a lot of work (and ink) but I'm very happy with the results.

* CDO is just like OCD but with the letters in proper alphabetical order.
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Aos Dabbagh
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Any chance one of you could post your rules online for the rest of us to print? :-)
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Just a Bill
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I'm workin' on it. For some months now I've been preparing a sort of "Cosmic Encounter encyclopedia" that I hope to post soon for comments. It will be an alphabetic listing of all the aliens and flares, along with many other cards and game concepts. Each entry will present the relevant FAQ entries (clarifying and correcting as necessary); discuss and provide resolutions for problems in the cards, rules, and FAQ; and offer a few suggestions for resolving "Do Not Use With" restrictions and other awkward game situations. It will also try to identify the author of each alien power, and sprinkle in a few anecdotes here and there on CE history.

Alien sheet and card texts will also be included. Each entry (where appropriate) with conclude with a "normalized" form of the text that incorporates errata, clarifications, and corrections using minimal rewriting, and in such a way that the text would still fit on the card without font reduction (for those of us who actually reprint our components).

It's a huge undertaking, and no one person could ever hope to get it all right ... so I'm hoping the player community will help me find my remaining errors and debate through any questionable assumptions/suggestions I've made. Ideally we can work together to develop it into something that most of us can agree would be a useful reference.
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Eric O. LEBIGOT
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Bill Martinson wrote:
For some months now I've been preparing a sort of "Cosmic Encounter encyclopedia" that I hope to post soon for comments.
(…)
Ideally we can work together to develop it into something that most of us can agree would be a useful reference.
I applaud! thumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
 
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Big Head Zach
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Perhaps this could interface with The Warp somehow?
 
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Just a Bill
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bhz1 wrote:
Perhaps this could interface with The Warp somehow?

Hmm ... I'm intending this as a document, not an interactive web application, but I could probably include a hyperlink under each alien entry that goes to the Amazing Power Thingy and pulls up the relevant alien by name. I'll think about that.
 
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Mi Myma
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Fuzzbox wrote:
Any chance one of you could post your rules online for the rest of us to print? :-)

Unfortunately, my computer recently experienced a bad event, and I no longer have that file electronically, but I hope to recover it soon. And like I said, it was for the Mayfair Edition, so when I can, I'll post it under that game entry. (Again let me voice my complaint that there shouldn't be separate entries for FFG and other editions. yukthumbsdown)
 
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Jack Reda
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Bill Martinson wrote:
bhz1 wrote:
Perhaps this could interface with The Warp somehow?

Hmm ... I'm intending this as a document, not an interactive web application, but I could probably include a hyperlink under each alien entry that goes to the Amazing Power Thingy and pulls up the relevant alien by name. I'll think about that.


If Bill generates a PDF or something periodically, I will be more than happy to have it on The Warp, under its very own link.
 
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Just a Bill
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The Warp wrote:
If Bill generates a PDF or something periodically, I will be more than happy to have it on The Warp, under its very own link.

Hardly a week goes by in which I don't update the Cosmodex; it still feels too fluid to be a PDF to me. I guess we could give it a try. Anybody have a recommendation for a good PDF maker that is free, doesn't add watermarks, and doesn't screw up the formatting (I haven't found one that meets all of those criteria).

Also probably has to be a generic "printer driver" kind of PDF maker since I render the document in WordPerfect 8. (Laugh if you will; I also have Office 10 and I can tell you that to this very day MS Word still cannot accomplish the magic that even older versions of WordPerfect than mine can.) I am virtually certain that trying to import my rendered document to Word or an Adobe app would corrupt the formatting.
 
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Barney Bustoffson
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You can try CutePDF... I have used it with no problems, and no watermarks.
 
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Magnus Esko
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According to the card Cosmic Zap you "cancel one use of any alien's power". This is further explained in the rules on page 12 "This can only happen when the power is used as described on its alien sheet". The rules goes on in this style. I interpret it to mean that you lose the "use ability" but it does not affect flare cards in any way, unless the flare requires you to use your power. However, according to page 13 you play your own flare as wild if you have your power zapped until you later regain your power. So unless you use your power, your flare cannot be zapped, however once zapped you play your flare as wild until the end of the encounter.
 
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Just a Bill
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Magnus, everything you said is true. However, it has been "ruled" (by FFG, Eon, Mayfair, or player consensus, I can't remember which) that playing a Super Flare is always considered to be using the underlying power. Thus, a Super Flare can always have the rug pulled out from under it by Cosmic Zapping the power. (Some people call this "Cosmic Zapping the flare", but of course that is incorrect.)

Like you, I had thought that some Super Flares required the use of the power and some did not, but it turns out that this distinction does not exist — which is probably a good thing, because some Super Flares would have been ambiguous, or at least debatable.
 
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