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Subject: The Leech - An Exploitative "Toady" variant rss

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Chris O
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About a month ago I took Toady and turned the lingo into FFG and edited the power quite a bit to put it less in a subservient manner and more in favor of the Toady player himself. It was noted that the original theme and flavor of the alien was destroyed in this process. Also it wasn't as one-sided as I would like. With this in mind, I made it even more one-sided, and decided to give it a different name and history to not "ruin" Today.



[_] LEECH Creates One-Sided Alliances [_]


You have the power to Exploit. At the start of any of your turns you may use this power to declare another player as your "host" until you declare a different player to be so. You may only have one host at a time.

If your host is destined to encounter you they must draw destiny again, and they may never voluntarily ally against you. If you are destined to encounter your host, they are unable to ask for allies, and as a main player not against your host you may force your host to ally with you with up to 4 ships, and they receive no rewards if you win.

Whenever you are a main player, before cards are played, your host must show you their hand, and you may take an encounter card of your choice from the hand. Whenever your host is a main player, before cards are played, you may give them an encounter card from your hand.

If your host is to win the game, you win instead.


The Leeches are widely regarded as the literal scum of the universe who are out only to drain and suck dry those unsuspecting beings who cross their paths. To their credit, they are incredibly resourceful and are able to avoid powerful predators by means of becoming uncomfortably close to them, but is this shrewd and downright parasitic behavior enough to secure cosmic mastery?


Offense Only Optional
Start Turn Regroup Destiny Launch Alliance Planning Reveal Resolution

Wild: As a main player, if your losing the encounter results in another player winning the game, you share the win.
Main Player Only Resolution

Super: You may now choose have two "hosts".
As Any Player Start Turn



The 411:

So basically you can target a player whom you deem a threat, or who is winning, or who you think may have a good hand, and exploit the junk out of them. Got a Virus going on the rampage? Exploit him and he can't fight against you, and if he wins you win instead! Got a Genius hoarding a big hand? Get some goods off him! Got a Macron in the game? Grab 4 ships from him on defense and be unassailable. The great thing is you can switch hosts at will when it comes back around to your turn.

I can see my friends I play with here at school saying "I hate you dude, you are such a leech." As I reply "It's cool bro, I'll only drain you till you stop being useful, which will be in like 3 turns. I'll switch to somebody else once I set you back. "
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Gerald Katz
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I don't like the ability to look through the host's hand and take a card of your choice. That reminds me of Mayfair Doppelganger which I hate with a passion. It's adding insult to injury. I don't mind the forced alliance, even declaring number of ships (needs a clarification for Macron and Crystal for those who like to use official pre-Fantasy Flight powers as well), but the host should get normal rewards for it. Denying rewards is adding more insult to injury. You can really ruin someone's fun of the game.
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Adam McLean
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It does seem very strong, and it does pillage another player (or more, depending on how many times the player turns go around the table).

It kind of gives me an idea for a power that infects other players, however ... although, at the moment, I don't know how I'd implement it. Maybe if a player, or players, gain a foreign colony on one of your planets, you infect them in some way. I haven't checked to see if this already exists, just thought of it now, but that is the line of thinking Leech gave me.
 
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Chris O
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Yes this is a very strong power but it can only effect ONE player for a cycle of players' turns, and depending on the destiny draws and amount of players, might barely effect them at all. Since you can only switch hosts at "Start Turn" you can;t just switch at will.

Keep in mind that strategically this strong power is self-balancing in that you don't want to stick with the same host forever, because as you exploit them they become less and less useful to you.

This power is at once a deterrent against a particularly scary alien power in your game, and an offensive aid using their cards and ships against their will.
 
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Mil Myman
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I think you put the may use in the wrong place. As written, a Zap doesn't stop any of the damage the power can do; it just stops it from changing victims.

But that's not the main problem. This power would be no fun to play against.
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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:
This power would be no fun to play against.

Yeah, my reaction was "holy crap, how many different ways can I screw somebody over with this power?"

* as offense, you can't encounter me
* you can't ally against me
* as defense, you can't have allies
* as non-main player, you must ally with me and send 4 (you might lose some foreign colonies)
* as my forced ally, you receive no rewards
* you must disclose your hand to me
* I steal your best encounter cards
* I force you to take my crap
* if you win the game, I steal it from you

I think you left out "and that player must do all your homework while you make out with his girlfriend."

Seriously, though, this is just way too many individual effects. And not very leech-like. This is more like Overlord or Slaver or [expletive deleted].

I don't agree that it is "self-balancing" nor do I subscribe to your idea that I will be forced to switch victims. Whether I switch or not will be highly situational, and the fact that I finally switch away to somebody else after robbing Phil of every good card he has and littering his hand with my own crap surely will not feel like balance from his perspective.

It would be like saying the wife-beating husband is "self-balancing" because when his wife is so old and battered that he doesn't want to sleep with her any more he ditches her to find a younger victim.
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Chris O
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
This power would be no fun to play against.

Yeah, my reaction was "holy crap, how many different ways can I screw somebody over with this power?"

* as offense, you can't encounter me
* you can't ally against me
* as defense, you can't have allies
* as non-main player, you must ally with me and send 4 (you might lose some foreign colonies)
* as my forced ally, you receive no rewards
* you must disclose your hand to me
* I steal your best encounter cards
* I force you to take my crap
* if you win the game, I steal it from you

I think you left out "and that player must do all your homework while you make out with his girlfriend."

Seriously, though, this is just way too many individual effects. And not very leech-like. This is more like Overlord or Slaver or [expletive deleted].

I don't agree that it is "self-balancing" nor do I subscribe to your idea that I will be forced to switch victims. Whether I switch or not will be highly situational, and the fact that I finally switch away to somebody else after robbing Phil of every good card he has and littering his hand with my own crap surely will not feel like balance from his perspective.

It would be like saying the wife-beating husband is "self-balancing" because when his wife is so old and battered that he doesn't want to sleep with her any more he ditches her to find a younger victim.


OK then.

Leech is meant to be parasitic in behavior and it MUST have some "Screw your host over power", but clearly you guys feel it goes way too far.

So here's the question, what is it that needs to be taken out, that would make it less "abusive" but still make it a potent and in theme power?
 
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Just a Bill
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Messianic wrote:
what is it that needs to be taken out, that would make it less "abusive" but still make it a potent and in theme power?

Good question. As food for thought, here's the Leech that I wrote a few months ago:

LEECH
SIPHONS OFF OPPONENTS’ CARDS

You have the power to Bleed Away. Once per encounter, after another player adds one or more new cards to his or her hand (including drawing a new hand), you may use this power. Take cards at random from that player’s hand, up to the number of ships you have on colonies in his or her system. Add none, some, or all of these cards to your hand and discard the rest.

One of the countless parasitic species scattered across myriad worlds, the Leeches began as thoughtless bloodsuckers. Unlike their cousins, however, they absorb fragments of DNA from the creatures they drain. Over millennia, this led to rudimentary flight capability; and as increased mobility brought more frequent contact with sentient targets, so developed self-awareness ... and ambition. The Leeches now take to the heavens in search of unlimited fresh, juicy hosts.
 
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Chris O
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I guess I phrased it wrong.

What I mean by what needs to be taken out is this:

The basic nature of the power isn't changing, it's intentionally supposed to be a very negative "Toady" variant that leeches off another player making them a forced helper.

I guess I am asked what SPECIFIC "abusive things" do you think need to be removed, such as seeing their hand and taking a card, or perhaps removing it from being a forced 4 ships to a forced 4 ships up until it starts removing colonies.

For example this would be a toned down version:

You have the power to Exploit. At the start of any of your turns you may use this power to declare another player as your "host" until you declare a different player to be so. You may only have one host at a time.

If your host is destined to encounter you they must draw destiny again, and they may never voluntarily ally against you. If you are destined to encounter your host, they are unable to ask for allies, and as a main player not against your host you may force your host to ally with you with up to 4 ships, but cannot force them to lose any colonies as a result.

Whenever you are a main player, before cards are played, you may take a random card from your opponents hand to discard or add to your own hand. Whenever your host is a main player, before cards are played, you may give them any card from your hand.

If your host is to win the game, you also win.


What has been toned down:

- Cannot force colony loss.
- They will get rewards for helping you now.
- You take a random card instead of looking at their hand and grabbing it.
- You no longer take the win from another player, but instead share the win.

Just as examples.
 
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Mil Myman
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Any power that lets you continuously pick on one other player is going to be a problem. Particularly if you get to choose your victim and have no particular incentive to ever change. If you win the game when your victim wins, it's as if you're playing two positions - you have twice the odds of winning the game as anyone else.

Anything beyond the double-win opportunity is too much power. How about this:

Game Setup: Before initial hands are dealt, secretly choose one other player to be your host. Write it down secretly.

You have the power of [whatever you want to call it]. If your host wins the game, use this power to reveal your host's identity and share the win, regardless of whatever colonies you may have. You can still win via the normal method.

That's it.

And the Super Flare can be the ability to change hosts, and then discard the flare.
 
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Jack Reda
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Chris, try it out and see how it plays- but give the alien to another person to play with, so you can gauge how much it affects the game for yourself.
 
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Gerald Katz
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Messianic wrote:

So here's the question, what is it that needs to be taken out, that would make it less "abusive" but still make it a potent and in theme power?


Play Toady.


 
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Chris O
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hadsil wrote:
Messianic wrote:

So here's the question, what is it that needs to be taken out, that would make it less "abusive" but still make it a potent and in theme power?


Play Toady.




I hate Toady as it is written. Taking a blind shot at a player to be your lord and then banking your entire game from start to finish on that person is horribly designed.

This is an intentionally parasitic variant of Toady, I am just trying to find a balanced representation.
 
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Just a Bill
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Messianic wrote:
I hate Toady as it is written.

Then don't play it.

Messianic wrote:
Taking a blind shot at a player to be your lord and then banking your entire game from start to finish on that person is horribly designed.

That's an opinion, and (in my estimation) an overly aggressive and narrow one. Toady is not horribly designed; you just don't like what it does.

"Horribly designed" powers are ambiguous, full of leaks, abusive, useless, obnoxious to play against, etc. Toady is none of these things. It's actually one of the few alternate-win powers that works well without creating interaction issues.

Normally I'm not crazy about stuff like this, and to he honest I thought Toady was kinda stupid the first time I read it. But that was my own ignorance and first-impression thinking to blame, not the power.

I now like it well enough to include it in my own play set. It's reasonably leak-proof and highly unique, even among Cosmic Encounter homebrews. Nothing else does anything remotely like this. I don't know that I would play it very often, but it seems like a worthy addition that causes players to think about their approach in a new way.

Messianic wrote:
This is an intentionally parasitic variant of Toady

Consider this. If you are making a new version of Toady, you are forcing us to choose between yours and the original. Forced into that decision, Gerald and I would choose the original, and I daresay so would Phil, Jack, and many others. So if you want to get any traction with your design, I would advise you to pick a differnt name and theme to avoid that problem.

No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to revise Old Toady out of existence.

Holy crap, I'm defending a homebrew published in Mayfair's magazine, and revised and championed by Gerald. What have I come to? But there you have it.
 
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Chris O
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But I'm not trying to remake the old Toady and force it out of existence.

I am only referencing Toady because of the similarity of the main mechanic of having a (semi) permanent relationship with a particular player.

If other people like the original Toady that is well and fine, and I see no reason why they can't coexist.
 
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Gerald Katz
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Bill Martinson wrote:


Holy crap, I'm defending a homebrew published in Mayfair's magazine, and revised and championed by Gerald. What have I come to? But there you have it.


We both like the game too much to let our (many) differences of opinion to get in the way of the fun.
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