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Subject: Power Of The Day -- Magnet rss

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Gerald Katz
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MAGNET Alliance/Novice/Optional

Attracts Or Repels Allies

You have the power of magnetism. As a main player or an ally in an encounter, after everyone has allied but before cards are selected, you may use this power to force any non-main player to ally with one side you specify or prevent him from allying altogether. The player you designate decides how many ships to ally with. If you prevent a player from allying on the side he was originally on, he removes his ships from the cone to return them to colonies and/or to the other side of the encounter if he wishes should you had forced him to ally on that side.

HISTORY: Originating on a highly ferrous planetoid, the Magnets thrived on the intense radiation generated at its poles. Soon, they achieved the ability to manipulate and reverse energy fields by group induction, and now they are attempting to magnetize the Universe.

FLARE

All
Wild: If you share a colony with other players, you may force all ships of all other players off the planet. Players return their ships to their other colonies or to the warp if none. Give this card to Magnet if in the game; otherwise, discard after use.

Alliance
Super: You may use your power for all non-main players.

Commentary: This is a combat power originally produced by Eon. This is a good power, popular during my Eon college days. Though Magnet is not a powerhouse, it does have a profound effect on the game. Alliances matter. Magnet/Crystal is a powerful combo but not quite super combo. Magnet can stop Parasite from allying despite its power.

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Ken H.
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hadsil wrote:
Wild: If you share a colony with other players, you may force all ships of all other players off the planet. Players return their ships to their other colonies or to the warp if none. Give this card to Magnet if in the game; otherwise, discard after use.


Hmm, I never noticed how similar that is to Cudgel's flare:

Cudgel Wild wrote:
When you gain a colony as the offense, you may send all ships on that planet belonging to other players to the warp. Ships that were allied with you on this encounter are not affected.



Quote:
This is a good power, popular during my Eon college days. Though Magnet is not a powerhouse, it does have a profound effect on the game. Alliances matter.


Maybe it depends on the group. When I played a lot during the Eon era, we thought this power was not even worth having. You can only affect one player, and when you try to force someone to ally with you, they are going to spitefully send you only one token. It's generally better to block a +4 ally from your opponent, but as we now know, +4 is "mostly harmless". In fact, I think we can say that the original Magnet is pretty close to a subset of Human.

However, the FFG set does need more powers that affect alliances. I've always said Magnet and Crystal should be combined into one power (attract/repel one player, AND dictate # of ships for all players, including the one you have attracted).

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Just a Bill
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Rubric wrote:
Hmm, I never noticed how similar that is to Cudgel's flare:

Hmm, that is pretty similar, but I think they are different enough. Magnet's version is stronger and more flexible, but you only get to use it once. Yours is more constrained but repeatable. Doesn't bother me to have both in the same game.

Rubric wrote:
In fact, I think we can say that the original Magnet is pretty close to a subset of Human.

That's an interesting way of looking at it, and I think you're right. I was never excited to draw Magnet.

Rubric wrote:
I've always said Magnet and Crystal should be combined into one power (attract/repel one player, AND dictate # of ships for all players, including the one you have attracted).

I'd rather see something new and more elegant. We don't need to try to save every classic power at all costs; some just aren't worth it until you're on the last expansion set and desperate for content.
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Mi Myma
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Rubric wrote:
Hmm, I never noticed how similar that is to Cudgel's flare:

Hmm, that is pretty similar, but I think they are different enough. Magnet's version is stronger and more flexible, but you only get to use it once. Yours is more constrained but repeatable. Doesn't bother me to have both in the same game.

Their are probably existing flares that are more similar to each other than these two. Cudgel's sends ship to the Warp and Magnet's sends them to other colonies. Cudgel's doesn't affect those who allied with you while Magnet's does.

Quote:
Rubric wrote:
In fact, I think we can say that the original Magnet is pretty close to a subset of Human.

That's an interesting way of looking at it, and I think you're right. I was never excited to draw Magnet.

I disagree. Someone who allied with 4 on the other side and is now allying on your side is at least a +5. It also has an impact on other players getting colonies or defensive rewards, which Human doesn't do at all. It can even disrupt attempts at a shared win. Yes, it's probably a bit weak, but the concept can be kept when it is fixed.

Quote:
Rubric wrote:
I've always said Magnet and Crystal should be combined into one power (attract/repel one player, AND dictate # of ships for all players, including the one you have attracted).

I'd rather see something new and more elegant. We don't need to try to save every classic power at all costs; some just aren't worth it until you're on the last expansion set and desperate for content.

Combining Crystal and Magnet would be way too powerful for one alien, IMO. Crystal is pretty powerful in games with a lot of players.

I'd suggest simply allowing the Magnet to magnetize two players instead of one. That might be all that's needed.

Another slightly more complicated fix might be to say that players forced to ally receive one less defensive reward or send one ship to other colonies before landing on the planet. Thus, they don't get quite everything they would have if they had allied voluntarily.
 
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Just a Bill
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Someone who allied with 4 on the other side and is now allying on your side is at least a +5.

On the other hand, someone who allied with 1 on the other side and brought only the minimum when you forced him to switch sides is only a +2. (I think that, in a nutshell, is why Magnet is such a boring power. Its potential tends to significantly exceed its actual practical value.)

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
It can even disrupt attempts at a shared win.

That doesn't sound like much of a selling point. "When you lose the game, you might only lose to n-1 opponents instead of n opponents."

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I'd suggest simply allowing the Magnet to magnetize two players instead of one. That might be all that's needed.

Maybe. I thought the idea of being able to specify how many ships the magnetized player must commit seemed like it might have some merit.
 
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Ken H.
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Combining Crystal and Magnet would be way too powerful for one alien, IMO. Crystal is pretty powerful in games with a lot of players.


I was trying to find a link to that poll Duke ran a while back. Can't find it for some reason. Anyway, I have the final rankings saved on my computer, and Crystal was ranked 72nd out of 75 aliens (only Lloyd, Worm and eon-rules Grudge were lower). The poll asked people to rate each alien's chance of winning in a four player game. So, yes, Crystal would have presumably been higher in a six player game, but for that purpose it was regarded as one of the weakest aliens ever printed. Magnet, conversely, was ranked at 57 (which I think is pretty generous).

Also, I'd point out that just because an alien has a lot of impact on a game doesn't mean it has good winning chances. Crystal, in a large game, is mainly just annoying.

Quote:
I'd suggest simply allowing the Magnet to magnetize two players instead of one. That might be all that's needed.


It might be good, but seems a little clunky for some reason.

Quote:
Another slightly more complicated fix might be to say that players forced to ally receive one less defensive reward or send one ship to other colonies before landing on the planet. Thus, they don't get quite everything they would have if they had allied voluntarily.


The good thing about Magnet is its elegance. Unfortunately, turning it into a power that somebody might actually want looks like it will ruin that nice aspect of it.


By the way, unrelated to the above, I seem to recall that a few months (or maybe years) ago, Peter Olotka made a ruling on Magnet that had most experienced players covering their ears and pretending they didn't hear it. I can't remember the exact ruling, or the context though.... Anybody remember this? I think he said that you can magnetize yourself in order to get 8 ships in the encounter, but I could be misremembering it.

Anyway, if that's the case, then it will obviously hopefully never be published because it subsumes Lunatic.


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Just a Bill
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Rubric wrote:
I was trying to find a link to that poll Duke ran a while back. Can't find it for some reason.

I've got it in the Cosmodex table of contents: Captain Cosmic's 2008 survey.

Rubric wrote:
Crystal, in a large game, is mainly just annoying.

Or even in a not-so-large game. Crystal's entire purpose is to yank control away from other players. It's not that fun to play because the benefit is often so nominal, nor is it fun to play against because of the annoyance factor.

Rubric wrote:
I think he said that you can magnetize yourself in order to get 8 ships in the encounter, but I could be misremembering it.

(1) Ick, and (2) I do seem to recall something like that, and (3) Ick again.

Maybe you were remembering this?

rjburns3 wrote:
Magnet – Strips away an ally’s choice of whom to ally with. It is very mild in practice, though. I don’t like the interpretation (even though designer Peter Olotka approves of it) that allows it to work on itself, giving it a Parasite ability; this makes Parasite a sub-set of Magnet.

FWIW, it's not quite a Parasite ability since you have to already be in the encounter before you can use your power. But I still agree that this questionable interpretation is undesirable.
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Gerald Katz
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The Wild Flare is from Mayfair.

Eon's version: As a main player, before cards are played, you may specify one card which cannot be played by your opponent unless he has no choice (example: Attack 20).

Commentary: Since it doesn't specify type of card or when it could be played, it's useful as insurance against a Cosmic Zap and prevent your opponent from playing a Flare you know he has.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Rubric wrote:
I was trying to find a link to that poll Duke ran a while back. Can't find it for some reason.

I've got it in the Cosmodex table of contents: Captain Cosmic's 2008 survey.


Ah, thanks.

Quote:

Maybe you were remembering this?

rjburns3 wrote:
Magnet – Strips away an ally’s choice of whom to ally with. It is very mild in practice, though. I don’t like the interpretation (even though designer Peter Olotka approves of it) that allows it to work on itself, giving it a Parasite ability; this makes Parasite a sub-set of Magnet.

FWIW, it's not quite a Parasite ability since you have to already be in the encounter before you can use your power. But I still agree that this questionable interpretation is undesirable.


Yeah, that must have been it. The Parasite ability would only be if you were invited on defense only, you would be able to "attract yourself" to the offensive side. I guess he didn't actually say you can exceed 4 ships in the hyperspace cone, though.

But the interpretation also allows you to "ooze out" of a challenge, like Amoeba.
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
It can even disrupt attempts at a shared win.

That doesn't sound like much of a selling point. "When you lose the game, you might only lose to n-1 opponents instead of n opponents."

Al and Bob each have 4 foreign colonies. It's Al's turn, he could try for a solo win, but he knows everyone will try to stop him, so he invites Bob to ally so they can share the win. Bob, whom everyone knows has a flare in his hand that could prevent Al's solo win, is no longer motivated to play it.

But Carl, the Magnet is in the game, and forces Bob to ally against Al. Now neither one wins. If Al or Bob try to share a win again, they'll have to invite Carl along.
 
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