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Subject: Octophile — a companion for Angler? rss

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Just a Bill
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When I think about Angler, I always wonder if there are other simple children's games that could inspire alien powers. Here's one such attempt. It's not as elegant as Cedric Chin's contribution, but I think it works. (The Super is a bit fiddly because it's trying to support a bit of synergy with the base power.)


OCTOPHILE
GETS CRAZY WITH EIGHTS


You have the power of Crazy Eights. After encounter cards are selected but before they are revealed in any encounter, you may use this power to discard one card from your hand that matches the top card of any discard pile. Cards match if they have the same suit (card type), if they have the same rank (absolute value of numeric types such as attack, kicker, reinforcement, and rift), or if either one has a rank of 8. If you discard the last card from your hand in this manner, you may immediately establish a colony in the system of either main player (if you do not already have one in his or her system) or regain a home colony.

Like countless other sentients, the Octophiles naturally based their mathematics on the number of digits on their “hands.” Unlike other races, they let their reverence for games and the number 8 mutate into an irrational, worldwide belief system.

(As Any Player) (Optional) (Planning)

WILD: As a main player or ally, when one main player reveals an attack 08, you may change that card into a copy of the other main player’s encounter card.

(Main Player or Ally Only) (Reveal)

SUPER: When exactly one main player in any encounter reveals an attack 08, you may change that card into a copy of the other main player’s encounter card, or change its value to match the value of another card (of any numeric type) that is on the top of any discard pile.

(As Any Player) (Reveal)


Here's a reference list (current through Cosmic Conflict) of suits and ranks for those who want to ponder the probabilities:

Number of cards
Suit (cosmic + reward)
Attack 39 + 11 = 50
Negotiate 15 + 3 = 18
Morph 1 + 1 = 2
Reinforcement 6 + 4 = 10
Artifact 11 + 5 = 16
Flare 10-16 + 0 = 10-16
Kicker 0 + 4 = 4
Rift 0 + 4 = 4


Matchable ranks
[00] [x0]
[01] [-1]
[+2] [+2] [x2] [x2]
[+3] [+3] [+3] [x3] [r3]
[04] [04] [04] [04] [-4] [+4] [r4] [r4]
[05] [+5] [+5] [+5] [r5]
[06] [06] [06] [06] [06] [06] [06] [+6]
[07] [-7]
[08] [08] [08] [08] [08] [08] [08]
[10] [10] [10] [10] [10] [10] [10]
[12] [12]
[14] [14]
[20] [20]
[23] [23]


Unique ranks
[09] [11] [13] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [30] [40]


There's lots of opportunity for matching cards by suit and/or rank when the reward deck is in play. When it isn't in play, the hardest cards to match (other than the Morph) are probably the Reinforcements, since their suit is so short and their ranks don't have a tremendous amount of overlap with attack cards. However, this is not a problem since Reinforcements are among the easiest cards to get rid of all on their own. So even without the reward deck, it's still not that hard to get a couple of free colonies with this power.
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Homer Simpson
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It's a very interesting concept. Basically it's a power that lets you get rid of cards from your hand (good OR bad) and encourage you to try to loose the last card from your hand to get a colony. I would like to see it in an actual game to determine if it's a strong power or not.

One problem, though:
Bill Martinson wrote:
...either in the system of the player who discarded the card you just matched (if you do not already have one in that system) or in your own system.

The need to keep track of who discarded the top card anytime you want to use your power seems a little problematic, maybe even annoying. Why not let Octophile gain a colony in the system of one of the main players?
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Just a Bill
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homertve wrote:
The need to keep track of who discarded the top card anytime you want to use your power seems a little problematic, maybe even annoying. Why not let Octophile gain a colony in the system of one of the main players?

Hey, that's a good improvement.

You're right about the memory issue, although I wasn't too worried about it since it only matters when you're discarding your last card and going for a colony; in that case you will be tracking the discards like a hawk, and the other players should be able to corroborate your claim as to who discarded the card since it will be the one most recently discarded.

However, adding to this is the fact that Cosmic Encounter does not really define what order cards should get discarded in, and I can see the players jockeying to manipulate the discard sequence at the end of an encounter to make it hard for you to to do your matching. This will happen anyway, but it's even worse when two players discard, say, Reinforcement +3s on the same encounter and want to argue about whose is which.

Originally I had it letting you grab a colony anywhere, but I was concerned that would be a bit too easy and (perhaps more important) I wanted to require a bit of finesse on the Octophile's part as to how he times the loss of that last card. Your suggestion maintains this need for finesse while eliminating the memory requirement and making it irrelevant whose card was matched. It also improves overall readability.

Great idea! I've changed it.
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Roberta Yang
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In some cases, it can actually be ambiguous who discarded the top card anyhow. If I'm the Citadel and I play an Attack card under a planet in the Miser's system, and then the Changeling swaps powers with me, and then the Locust lands and eats the planet, and that Attack card is discarded (which isn't clear based on the Citadel's sheet but seems like a common patch for the leak to stop that Attack card from just floating in empty space for the rest of the game), then who discarded that Attack card? Me? The new Citadel? The Locust? Or perhaps even the Miser because it was their system it was discarded from? Or what if the Mirror Universe Hazard just flipped the deck and discard pile; is the Offense considered the one who put the new top card in the discard pile because they drew the Destiny that drew the Hazard that flipped the deck? And that's to say nothing of the top card being the wrong one entirely due to the Wild Filch grabbing cards from the discards; if it wasn't necessarily the last one discarded, how are we supposed to know whose Attack 06 is currently on top of the discard pile? The need for memory clearly isn't the only problem with that setup; sometimes, even with perfect memory, there just isn't a clearly-defined person who discarded the top card.

Something I'm not terribly keen on is that virtually all of the "matchable ranks" are just Attack cards matching Attack cards, and those already match due to being the same suit. Cut those out, and the list of matchable ranks becomes very small - and if you're not playing with the Reward Deck variant, it shrinks to a single pair of cards (Attack 05 with +5 Reinforcement)! Eep. With so little rank-matching, a good part of the Crazy Eights flavor is lost; it would be nice if there were something that could be done to make rank-matching a larger factor.
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Just a Bill
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salty53 wrote:
The need for memory clearly isn't the only problem with that setup; sometimes, even with perfect memory, there just isn't a clearly-defined person who discarded the top card.

Great observation. I knew there would be some "system-discarded" cards and figured the "or reclaim a home colony" part of the power would at least give the player something to do in those cases ... but I didn't consider the ambiguity of who is the actual discarder.

salty53 wrote:
if you're not playing with the Reward Deck variant, it shrinks to a single pair of cards (Attack 05 with +5 Reinforcement)! Eep. With so little rank-matching, a good part of the Crazy Eights flavor is lost; it would be nice if there were something that could be done to make rank-matching a larger factor.

I agree. For this reason, my first draft used a different definition and presentation of the "numeric card types" concept and included tech cards, so that the research costs could be matched as well. But it was fiddly and awkward — and really, treating techs as "numeric" cards was just a big ol' cheat (and a precedent I did not want to be responsible for setting), so I dropped it.
 
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Roberta Yang
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Perhaps have Attack cards not automatically match Attack cards of different ranks (other than Attack 08's since they match everything)? That way, matching numbers becomes a central issue again, and with the many copies of 04's, 06's, and 10's running around, it provides a fair space of cards to match. Of course, then that runs into the problem of whether this is starting to tread on The Claw's design space.
 
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