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Subject: IMHO the best approach to the rules rss

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Joel Tamburo
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To me, a lot of the rules questions we see here are happening because veteran CE players typically have multiple editions (Eon, Mayfair, Hasborg/AH,FFG). They also have decades of rulings made in games. What has happened is the whole thing has become very Byzantine, with overlapping rules and rulings and is creating confusion.

I humbly submit that perhaps the best way to go forward is, when using the FFG version, to only use the FFG rules (base game, FAQ and CI). If we hit a question, solve it out of those documents only, and do not reference the other editions. That should yield a more consistent understanding for the game.

Additionally, we need to keep in mind the FFG game has several new Aliens (CI has even more) that we built specifically with the current FFG rules in mind. Bringing in Eon / Mayfair / Hasborg rules introduces situations that were likely not captured in playtesting.

To be clear, I am NOT dissing the older versions (except the utter crap that was the Hasborg edition). I'm simply submitting that this approach should make the whole clarification process cleaner.
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Gerald Katz
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That defeats the purpose of Cosmic Encounter.

arrrh goo
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Just a Bill
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It's not that simple. Gameplay problems pop up for a variety of reasons: unforeseen combinations, poorly written components, gaps in the rules, subtle differences vs. prior editions. and on and on. To solve these problems we must first — always first — read the texts in question very carefully. That often resolves the problem, but when it does not then we have to look at other factors: apparent design intent, gameplay balance, consistency of interpretation, prior precedent, impact on play experience, and so on in order to make reasonable judgments.

The FFG edition is based in large part on the AH rules engine, and also in large part on Eon gameplay. To throw away all of those evidences is to discard important tools we need to solve these puzzles.

Now, if you're saying we need to avoid falling into "well in version X, I really liked how alien Y could do Z and I think we should change it back", then I agree with you. Preferences are irrelevant, and past history is a guide, not proof.

But if you're saying we should not examine Eon/AH gameplay to help fill in the gaps in the FFG rulebook (for example), I don't see how that helps us. Instead of having solid evidence and years of actual gameplay to guide discussions, we would be left with preference-based arguments about how to interpret the ambiguous and missing material.

By the same token, if there's a question with an alien that can't be resolved from the card and rules, and that alien debuted in the Mayfair set, it is reasonable (responsible, actually) to consult the Mayfair version of the text as well as to consider the Mayfair gameplay context in trying to resolve that problem.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I have to say, we pretty much do play the FFG way, even though I occasionally say, "That's different from how it used to be." Even our "house-rules" are sanctioned in the FFG book (i.e. Free Wheeling Flares). I think the only house-rule we use that's /not/ in the FFG rules is allowing Cosmic Zaps at any time during a challenge, not just when the power is used.

IMHO, FFG produced a really good version of CE and there's not a whole lot of reason to use the other rulesets (except, as Bill pointed out, to resolve conflicts in rules/powers/etc).

-shnar
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Joel Tamburo
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Bill, the problem with keeping the old rulesets in view is that it produces rules issues that if sticking to the current set either are not there or can be solved right out of the text. We've seen a couple right here on BGG recently, where the core issue was players projecting their older game experience forward into the FFG game.
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Mi Myma
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I may be the only one, but I care far more about the quality than the authority of the rules I play with. I don't care which is "official" or "current" or "original". I care which is best - makes the most sense, is the most balanced, the fairest.

For this reason, I prefer Mayfair's Lucre rules to Eon's. And I prefer than the Zombie can get compensation when losing with a Negotiate. Just for two examples.

I think part of the reason for the "confusion" with older rulesets is not confusion, but preference. In those cases where the older rules are just flat out better, why not use them? There's no FFGCE-police going around to enforce the currently-in-print rules.

Joelist wrote:
To be clear, I am NOT dissing the older versions (except the utter crap that was the Hasborg edition). I'm simply submitting that this approach should make the whole clarification process cleaner.

Well, maybe not intentionally, but you kind of are dissing the older versions. The "utter crap" Hasborg edition has the exact same rules as the original Eon edition - the only things that were different were the physical components and some of the terminology.
 
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Gerald Katz
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Tee Hee

I think Bill, Phil, and I are the Triangle of Cosmic Encounter play. Bill is a stickler for the letter of the law. What's written in the rules is stone. Phil is a stickler for fairness. No one player should be screwed over nor allowed an extra advantage. I'm a stickler for the random chaos I find inherent to Cosmic Encounter. Just put stuff together and see what happens.

We could have a Cosmic Square. The fourth corner is the generic player. He's not particularly passionate about anything. He's mindful of the other three corners, but he just wants to play.

kiss
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Nah, that's the "center" of the triangle

I for one play by Katz Rule of Law when playing Cosmic Encounter! Chaos for all!!!

-shnar
 
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shnar wrote:
... allowing Cosmic Zaps at any time during a challenge, not just when the power is used....
-shnar


I vote for chaos, if any of the three decade experienced players would hear my newbie voice! In time, I hope I'll find a team that would support experimenting with such extra complex house rules..

I have to ask how long it took you guys to start messing with the core mechanics, and not just obeying the rules?
 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
... And I prefer than the Zombie can get compensation when losing with a Negotiate. Just for two examples....


Cool house rule (FFG-only player speaking here..)

I think there should be an interactive reminder of some sort, to bring up which house rules to go over after selecting powers and before beginning play.. Has someone made something like this yet?
 
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Gerald Katz
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shnar wrote:
I have to say, we pretty much do play the FFG way, even though I occasionally say, "That's different from how it used to be." Even our "house-rules" are sanctioned in the FFG book (i.e. Free Wheeling Flares). I think the only house-rule we use that's /not/ in the FFG rules is allowing Cosmic Zaps at any time during a challenge, not just when the power is used.

IMHO, FFG produced a really good version of CE and there's not a whole lot of reason to use the other rulesets (except, as Bill pointed out, to resolve conflicts in rules/powers/etc).

-shnar


During my Eon college days we did play you could Zap a power any time you wanted. Mayfair clarified/reverified a Zap could only be played when the power is used, not pre-emptively such as Zapping Anti-Matter on his turn when your color is flipped and you need to get a new hand, like I did in college. I got used to it, and it would be difficult to go back to the house rule. When I play with Matt Stone's set, you can only Zap when the power is used.

Mayfair also clarified to me that in college we were playing the game wrong. We didn't have the rules so were taught orally. When you flipped destiny, we played you could attack any player who had a base in that system. We understood Will could attack any system other than what destiny showed, but it was such an insignificant difference to us no one played Will when given the choice. Players were still willing to attack home bases either because the defender had no tokens on a planet or you eventually wanted to make the player lose his power. I had a feeling something was wrong when I Silenced the offensive player. He pointed the cone towards a planet in my system where others had a base as well. Since he was silenced he couldn't say who he was attacking. We went with me as defender since it was my system. Ever since then I had a feeling were playing in error, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was. Once I read the Mayfair rulebook, the first time I was able to read any rules for Cosmic Encounter, I finally understood what the error was and why Will was a power.

I met Matt Stone at a convention in college, before Mayfair. We played his set. It's possible this subject was broached the first time I or a friend (that same one I silenced) tried to attack someone's foreign base, but I don't recall the conversation if it did happen.

 
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Gerald Katz
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shnar wrote:
Nah, that's the "center" of the triangle

-shnar


Touche
 
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Gerald Katz
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indidkid wrote:
shnar wrote:
... allowing Cosmic Zaps at any time during a challenge, not just when the power is used....
-shnar


I vote for chaos, if any of the three decade experienced players would hear my newbie voice! In time, I hope I'll find a team that would support experimenting with such extra complex house rules..

I have to ask how long it took you guys to start messing with the core mechanics, and not just obeying the rules?


In college the set already had a home-made Edict (Mega Zap - cuase a player to lose his power card and get a new one), Attack Cards, (0 and 100), and we played with multi-powers. I probably created my first power, Glue, a few months after learning the game. I already mentioned in another posting how I "invented" the game in high school , so it was no real stretch for me. It was my first summer break that I started to make new powers, edicts, and attacks cards in earnest. Pulsars were a year later, when I first called them Immunity cards. (Special thanks to Tony Minkoff, where ever you are, who helped me fine tune the original batch. I still remember your name, after over 20 years )


 
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Just a Bill
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hadsil wrote:
Bill is a stickler for the letter of the law. What's written in the rules is stone.

Let's clarify this a bit. Bill is a stickler for consistent gameplay. Bill wants a common set of rules that all players can use to arrive at consistent rulings, so that when we go play at each others' homes we don't waste half the evening arguing about how the game is supposed to be played. I am a stickler for the rules when the rules are clear, workable, and reasonable. When the rules are unclear, I clarify them. When the rules are unworkable, I rework them. When the rules are unreasonable, I rewrite them.

Bad rules should be changed into good rules, and then good rules should be followed consistently.

This will come as a surprise to many, but I actually like chaos in my games of Cosmic. But that chaos — at least the good chaos — comes from the astoundingly irrepeatable variety built into the game engine. It shouldn't come from a sprawling list of 200+ individual "rulings" we've had to amass over the years, different in every house, each one chosen based on some particular argument won by one side or other other during a particular game three and a half years ago. That's bad chaos.

We don't need a megaFAQ with 200 rulings. We need a well-designed rules platform with 20 carefully written guiding principles that help us answer the individual questions in a consistent — and more importantly, quick — manner.

hadsil wrote:
During my Eon college days we did play you could Zap a power any time you wanted. Mayfair clarified/reverified a Zap could only be played when the power is used, not pre-emptively

Uh, no they didn't. From day one, Eon's Cosmic Zap always said "STOP POWER OF ANY ONE PLAYER JUST AS HE ATTEMPTS TO USE IT." What about that needed to be clarified/reverified?
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Joel Tamburo
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Bill, it sounds like we want the same thing. Consistency.

I proposed using the FFG rules as the baseline for a couple of reasons:

1) They are in print. New Cosmic players are most likely going to be using them as opposed to the older, out of print (and unlikely to come back in print) versions.

2) Of the rulesets they are the most consistent.

3) Many of the newer aliens were designed and playtested using them.

To quote Bill:

Quote:
This will come as a surprise to many, but I actually like chaos in my games of Cosmic. But that chaos — at least the good chaos — comes from the astoundingly irrepeatable variety built into the game engine. It shouldn't come from a sprawling list of 200+ individual "rulings" we've had to amass over the years, different in every house, each one chosen based on some particular argument won by one side or other other during a particular game three and a half years ago. That's bad chaos.


This is correct, and I concur with it. And to me the best way to get to a good place is to use the most current and certainly the most consistent (albeit imperfect) ruleset as a baseline and (more or less) wipe the "rulings" slate clean.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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hadsil wrote:
,,,We didn't have the rules so were taught orally.


Us too! Our uncle one state away taught us, so when we finally got our own copy we never really read the rules and just played as taught. It wasn't until we got I think expansion 9 that had the consolidated rulebook that we actually read through it and found we were playing a few things wrong (like the order of buying cards with lucre), but by then we were set in our ways.

I love the chaotic feel of zapping at any time and free-wheeling flares. I know I can play the "proper" way, but it's just not as fun for me

-shnar
 
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To me, this is all kind of like saying "There's a hole in this bedspread", to which your wife replies "No there isn't, you idiot," to which you respond by taking a chef's knife to the bed as if to stave off a zombie horde and saying "YES THERE IS YOU DUMB BROAD, right THERE and THERE and THERE and THERE and..."

I mean... if you poke at anything long enough you'll find holes in it.

Just stop poking.
 
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Greg Filpus
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Joelist wrote:
This is correct, and I concur with it. And to me the best way to get to a good place is to use the most current and certainly the most consistent (albeit imperfect) ruleset as a baseline and (more or less) wipe the "rulings" slate clean.


We might just want to do an unofficial v2 of the FAQ and rules, pretty much resolving everything that's been going around the forum. Just take Bill's threads and edit accordingly (perhaps with the contention about compensation and optional effect timing leading to suggested variants), and we'd have a pretty solid ruleset.
 
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Just a Bill
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GregF wrote:
We might just want to do an unofficial v2 of the FAQ and rules, pretty much resolving everything that's been going around the forum. Just take Bill's threads and edit accordingly (perhaps with the contention about compensation and optional effect timing leading to suggested variants), and we'd have a pretty solid ruleset.

That's what I've been trying to accomplish. The Cosmodex is pretty much v2 of the FAQ (plus additional issues not addressed in the FAQ). My current project is a corrected set of the FFG rules that will get added in the first "reserved blank spot" as Appendix A.

Every word of all of this is open for debate, and my hope is that people will challenge my conclusions so we can arrive at the best possible consensus resolutions.

NateStraight wrote:
I mean... if you poke at anything long enough you'll find holes in it.

I guess the corollary to this must be that if you don't want to see the holes, you have to criticize those who do see them and are working to mend them. Thanks for the help.
 
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GregF wrote:
We might just want to do an unofficial v2 of the FAQ and rules, pretty much resolving everything that's been going around the forum. Just take Bill's threads and edit accordingly (perhaps with the contention about compensation and optional effect timing leading to suggested variants), and we'd have a pretty solid ruleset.


My two thumbs up for the idea! If somebody really does that, I'd love to read it!
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
That's what I've been trying to accomplish. The Cosmodex is pretty much v2 of the FAQ (plus additional issues not addressed in the FAQ). My current project is a corrected set of the FFG rules that will get added in the first "reserved blank spot" as Appendix A.


HEY! laugh
Please post a link to Cosmodex. I get nothing related to CE out of google..
 
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Lacombe
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Bill Martinson wrote:
NateStraight wrote:
I mean... if you poke at anything long enough you'll find holes in it.

I guess the corollary to this must be that if you don't want to see the holes, you have to criticize those who do see them and are working to mend them. Thanks for the help.


As a general rule, "criticize" to me is a word with positive, rather than negative, connotations.

As another general rule, I basically have stayed out of all of y'all's insane rule-poking threads in here precisely because I appreciate the effort behind the attempt even if I think it is misguided and fruitless and often self-perpetuating.

I only spoke up in here because the thread's topic was "the best approach to the rules", which I think to be the opposite of every other approach I've seen [regardless of which edition it starts from] in these forums, so figured I'd share.

I'm not trying to help in y'alls quest for the holy grail CE rulebook; that's why I don't post in y'alls threads.

And, to extend my bedsheet metaphor, another way to "not see the holes" is to see them differently.

Nobody looks at a lace bedskirt or a crochet quilt and says "GAH! THE HOLES! PATCH THEM! PATCH THEM!"

 
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