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Cosmic Encounter: Cosmic Conflict» Forums » Variants

Subject: Saboteur Variant Suggestion rss

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Adam McLean
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Having had Saboteur in a game now several times (although I haven't personally played with him) ... it has been commented on several times that it is too easy just to avoid the trap/decoy tokens.

I was wondering what people would think if, instead of placing 1 token at a planet ... to place a token between 2 planets. Essentially allowing for each token to affect either planet next to it.

In this way, with the 1 trap and 2 decoys per player, Saboteur could have every planet in the game with a token next to it. That threat was always there with the original Terrorist since his info was hidden ... and it would give more importance to keeping track of where Saboteur chooses to land his own ships.


I think it might be a little too much, but he's losing favor in the group and I'd like to keep him as a viable option ... so what do you think?
 
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Daniel Gorney
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Alternatively, the Saboteur player can simply fully Trap several systems, thus ensuring that eventually tokens will start being triggered. After that, he can funnel them off of his alien sheet to hot-spot planets where they can have an impact.
 
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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I haven't played it yet, but it seems to me that this power has plenty of value (at least when playing Theory Encounter):

* You could take 5 of your 3n tokens and place them next to your home planets to make players hesitant to use their good cards when encountering you.

* When repositioning your tokens, place them next to planets that other players would like to reinforce (such as a foreign colony that currently has only one ship) to make them afraid to reinforce those colonies.

* Place tokens next to planets with coexisting colonies of multiple players. One of those players just might add a ship to his colony in order to knock everyone off that planet.

* After trading colony-for-colony in a deal, you'll share a colony with the opponent. Swap a trap token to that planet and then add one of your ships to your colony there. You lose a home colony but he loses a foreign colony.

* Constantly bluff, trash-talk, and misdirect. Exchange the positions of two decoys to make people think you just put a live one under one of those planets (and try to make them guess which one it is).

It's weaker than Terrorist in that people can see what subset of planets might be booby-trapped, but it's also stronger than Terrorist because you can slip a bomb right in underneath existing colonies without waiting for all of your bombs to be sprung.
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Adam McLean
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Thanks, some good ideas ... maybe I'll play him myself next time using these suggestions and see if I can generate some more interest in Saboteur.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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Bill Martinson wrote:

* When repositioning your tokens, place them next to planets that other players would like to reinforce (such as a foreign colony that currently has only one ship) to make them afraid to reinforce those colonies...

* When trading colony-for-colony, allow the other player to join you on a planet where you have a token. Then add one of your ships to your colony there. You lose a home colony but he loses a foreign colony.


You play differently than we do. We trigger bombs when we establish a colony via a deal, but not when reinforcing an existing colony (unless it's reinforced by attacking a planet where you already have a colony).

It's not very clear what is meant by 'landing'. I'm surprised you didn't include this in your unofficial errata summary (unless maybe I missed it).

 
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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crimhead wrote:
You play differently than we do. We trigger bombs when we establish a colony via a deal, but not when reinforcing an existing colony (unless it's reinforced by attacking a planet where you already have a colony).

Wow, seems like that would really cripple Saboteur.

crimhead wrote:
It's not very clear what is meant by 'landing'. I'm surprised you didn't include this in your unofficial errata summary (unless maybe I missed it).

No, you didn't miss anything. That CE terminology has been around for decades and it never occurred to me that "landing on a planet" could mean anything other than putting a ship on that planet that had been somewhere else just a moment before. (Even thinking about it now, I'm not sure what other verb one would use for this except "land".)
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Luke O'Hearn
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Bill Martinson wrote:

No, you didn't miss anything. That CE terminology has been around for decades and it never occurred to me that "landing on a planet" could mean anything other than putting a ship on that planet that had been somewhere else just a moment before.

In that case shouldn't a colony gained through a deal constitute landing?

Bill Martinson wrote:
(Even thinking about it now, I'm not sure what other verb one would use for this except "land".)

How about 'placed'? Things normally only land if they are in flight. Returning from the warp to play is kind of abstract, and seems more like a rematerialisation than a proper landing. Returning from technology research is even more abstract. You normally look under rocks for ambiguity in this game, I'm rather urprised that you'd take 'landing' for granted.

As for crippling Saboteur, I rather think your interpretation would break saboteur. killing off colonies is deadly in CE. How many colonies does Saboteur need to destroy per game before the power is good enough?

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Just a Bill
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crimhead wrote:
In that case shouldn't a colony gained through a deal constitute landing?

Yeah. it does. Sorry, I see now that the way I wrote that trade example was misleading. The scenario I had in mind was making the trade, moving a trap there later, and then triggering it by adding a ship. Saboteur doesn't strictly need to already have a token there; it just makes it faster to swap in a trap if he doesn't already have a live one on his alien sheet. The more likely scenario is probably offering a planet where there is no token at all, since the opponent would otherwise be suspicious. Sorry about the confusion.

crimhead wrote:
You normally look under rocks for ambiguity in this game, I'm rather urprised that you'd take 'landing' for granted.

Like I said, the term has been around since forever and it always seemed intuitive to me. Looking at the original Terrorist again, I see that it uses "enter the planet" and "land there" synonymously, so I guess it was self-defining. Perhaps I need to add a land entry to the Cosmodex.

crimhead wrote:
As for crippling Saboteur, I rather think your interpretation would break saboteur. killing off colonies is deadly in CE. How many colonies does Saboteur need to destroy per game before the power is good enough?

How many does Filth need to destroy? How many does Shadow?

Saboteur only has one live token per player; nobody forces the opponents to add ships to planets with tokens; and swapping tokens around does take some time. I don't see it as broken, but if somebody has evidence to the contrary, I'm all ears.

Regardless, Terrorist clearly worked whenever tokens/ships were added to the planet for any reason ... so unless there's some evidence that FFG wanted to change this, Saboteur works the same way.
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Luke O'Hearn
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Bill Martinson wrote:

How many does Filth need to destroy? How many does Shadow?


I'd like to know those averages. Against Shadow often players can manage to load their colonies with multiple ships and lose few if any foreign colonies. I think Filth is a bit of a powerhouse - not the standard by which to judge other aliens.

Bill Martinson wrote:
Regardless, Terrorist clearly worked whenever tokens/ships were added to the planet for any reason ... so unless there's some evidence that FFG wanted to change this, Saboteur works the same way.


That's a pretty strong case. I concede.

Thanks for making things clear.

Bill Martinson wrote:
[q="crimhead"]Perhaps I need to add a land entry to the Cosmodex.


Wouldn't hurt. 'Land' is a thematic term, not mechanic, and theme is uncertain in CE.




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Jefferson Krogh
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Finally saw Saboteur "in action" last night, and boy, is it a tricky alien to play effectively. If I weren't so braindead from that 7-player extravaganza, I'd be able to post coherent questions. Maybe I should start a new thread on Saboteur strategy later.
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