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Subject: The Variant Review's 2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant rss

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Sky Zero
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Welcome to 2 player Cosmic Encounter! Below are the rules to finally get in a game of Cosmic Encounter when there's only two of you. I think you'll see once you give this variant a try that it's intuitive, simple and integrates well into the Cosmic Encounter system. In fact, this is a great way to introduce and teach the game to friends allowing for more controlled and focused gameplay (unless you play with freewheeling flares!). Side note: Please see bottom list of suggested "Hostile" Alien Races because not all Aliens work well in this role. Give it a try with 2 and even 3 human players, it works equally as good with both! This variant has been play-tested with the base card set, proven to work AND even proven to win when it wants to!


2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
First and foremeost, randomly select a Hostile Race from the recommended list at the bottom. Whoever owns the game will be responsible for the Hostile Race upkeep.

Second, all Cosmic Encounter rules remain the same...NO CHANGES! Players can ally when attacking, defend each other and do their best to beat down the hostile race sharing in victory if that's all they can muster!

Third, the hostile race holds NO CARDS...EVER

Finally, the hostile race never accepts requests to ally during another player's turn. But, it will gladly accept allies when attacking others or when defending its home planets. (Read rules below for exception when you have 4 foreign colonies)

Shuffle each color's destiny cards into the destiny deck, including the hostile race. Play the game as normal, going around the table drawing destiny cards attacking one another, including the hostile race. Here's how the Hostile Race operates:


When The Hostile Race Attacks
First, draw a destiny card to determine who the hostile race is attacking. Drawing a destiny card of the same color as the hostile race triggers a re-draw. If a WILD is drawn, then the owner of the game is attacked.

Next, the hostile race always attacks the planet with the lowest defense that it has yet to colonize and it always attacks with 4 ships. If the hostile race is reduced to 5 or fewer ships during the course of the game, it always attacks with 1 ship. Ships are pulled from its planets from left to right one by one and then replenished from right to left one by one. Before ships are removed from its own planet's defenses during an attack, it will first pull the surplus ships from foreign colonies established in previous victories.

Second, players are always welcome to ally with the hostile race during its attacks unless that player has established 4 foreign colonies. Sorry, the hostile race likes to win.

When attacking, the hostile race simply draws a card from the top of the deck until it draws an encounter card. The first encounter card drawn (be it an attack or negotiate), is the hostile race's played encounter card against the other player for that turn.

If the hostile race happens to draw reinforcement cards prior to drawing an "Attack" card, then the reinforcement total is added to the attack total.

Negotiates ALWAYS resolve in both the human player and the hostile race trading 1 foreign colony on each other's planet (unless an alien power or card played override it).

After the encounter is resolved, discard all cards drawn by the hostile race to the discard pile.

Important Hostile Race Attack Note: If you do not have an encounter card to play, you must draw up to 8 new cards before randomly drawing for the hostile race encounter card.

When the Hostile Race Defends
Players are always welcome to help defend the hostile race from opposing alien attacks.

When defending, the same card draw rules apply as just described above. Simply draw from the deck until you draw the first encounter card. If it's an attack card, add any drawn reinforcements to the attack total and determine the winner.

Negotiates automatically result in the defending hostile race and attacking player trading 1 foreign colony (unless an alien race or card played override it).


Special things to note
If the hostile race is required to provide compensation to any other player, that compensation is received from the face down deck everyone draws from.

Also remember to always treat the hostile race like any other player. A good example of this is to look at the flare card labeled "Asks Yes or No". If you read the card it states that you must tell the opposing player to share its encounter card with you before you determine whether or not you want to ally. You can still play this card and you simply draw the cards from the deck one by one until you see the encounter card that will be played by the hostile race. Do this without letting the other player(s) see and then determine whether or not you want to ally. To put it simply, use the rule of thumb and play it how it makes sense.

One other item to consider is when playing 2 and 3 player Cosmic Encounter with the "Hostile Race" variant, you may want to consider putting 25 flares in the deck instead of the standard 10. This injects a bit more of the 4 and 5 player chaos you experience with larger groups.


Suggested Hostile Race Aliens
Base Game:
Tripler
Void
Warpish
Masochist
Virus
Human
Remora
Pacifist
Spiff
Tick Tock
Zombie

Expansion 1:
Ghoul
Guerilla
Locust
Symbiote

Expansion 2:
Warhawk
Sadist
Glutton




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Mil Myman
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
skyzero wrote:
Finally, the hostile race never accepts requests to ally during another player's turn.

Even from Grudge?
Even to prevent another player from winning?
Even for a chance to win itself?

Quote:
First, the hostile race always attacks with 4 ships.

Even vs Anti-Matter or Loser?

Quote:
Second, players are always welcome to ally with the hostile race during its attacks unless that player has established 4 foreign colonies.

Even the Genius with 19 cards?
Even Masochist with 19 ships in the warp?
Even Lunatic?

Quote:
When attacking, the hostile race simply draws a card from the top of the deck until it draws an encounter card. The first encounter card drawn (be it an attack or negotiate), is the hostile race's played encounter card against the other player for that turn.

What if the Loser calls "upset"? Are Negotiates still allowable?

Quote:
If a hostile race happens to draw reinforcement cards prior to drawing an "Attack" card then the reinforcement total is added to the attack total.

Even vs Anti-Matter or Loser?
Even in a Meteor Swarm?

Quote:
Negotiates ALWAYS resolve in both the human player and the hostile race trading 1 foreign colony on each other's planet.

Even if this gives one side the win, and not the other?
Even if one side is Filth, and even if this means one or both would lose their power?
Even if one side is Poison?
Even if one side played a Crooked Deal?

Quote:
When Defending
Players are always welcome to help defend the hostile race from opposing alien attacks.

Even Genius with 19 cards?
Even Lunatic?

Quote:
When defending, the same card draw rules apply as just described above. .... If it's an attack, add any previously drawn reinforcements to its total to calculate totals and detemine the winner.

Even vs Spiff?

Quote:
Recommended Hostile Race Aliens
Base Game:
Remora

Expansion 1:
Ghoul

Expansion 2:
Glutton

If the Hostile Race never has cards, what does it do with the cards these races grant it?

How does the Hostile Race respond to the Sniveler's whining? Is it simply ignored for things like this, such as Galactic Council?

How do you determine which planet the Hostile Race attacks? How do you determine what the Hostile Race does when it draws it's own color in Destiny? How do you determine what the Hostile Race does when it draws a Wild Destiny?
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Clarified the attacking of planets and that play testing has been done with base game card set ONLY (no techs, hazards, rewards). The WILD destiny card triggers an attack on the game owner. Sorry, had those in my notes I've been taking while play testing and forgot to add them to the post. Edited and noted.

As for the rest, it's the rule of thumb. For every rule in Cosmic Encounter, there's a rule that breaks that rule. By all means, play them as is. In fact, You don't have to use any alien race for the hostile race if you don't want to. It can be The Invisible Race with no special powers. That eliminates most questionable situations all-together. But in the end, even a simple race like "Human" adds some personality to the hostile race. Bottom line is if it doesn't work for you, then just don't use it. That goes for your own race selection as well. If you pull a race that REQUIRES human interaction to be fun or of use, it may be best to make a different selection. I'm simply providing a bot that allows one-on-one gameplay to teach (and let the teacher have a bit of fun) or the ability to sneak in a game or two of Cosmic Encounter with your friends, even if there's only two of you.

BTW, in play testing tonight, here's our results....

Hostile Race Pacifist: Human Win
Hostile Race Zombie: Human Win
Hostile Race Tick Tock: Human Win
Hostile Race Symbiotic: WE GOT CRUSHED, to the victor goes the Hostile Race


Best of all, the play-testing was heavy on fun and light on testing


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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
"Finally"? There have been two-player variants out there for a long time.

"ULTIMATE"? You're doing a lot of boasting considering your system has quite a few leaks and doesn't do much to address the primary problem with two-player Cosmic.

"Great way to teach"? I don't think so. Teaching a mutated system in which humans can never invite allies in a normal encounter, reinforcements are played before cards are revealed, many aliens break, both humans are the Parasite vs. the dummy, etc. is not something I would recommend at all. Players need to learn the basics of correct gameplay first, and then only after they have the basics down should you even consider wacky variants. People have a hard enough time grasping the simple rules of Cosmic Encounter as it is.

I appreciate your enthusiasm, and your proposal, if not new, it as least interesting ... but it seems to remove a lot of typical game dynamics while also leaving lots of questions unanswered (Phil's list is a good start). You probably also need a list of alien powers that the humans should not choose.

The thing that jumps out at me the most is your rule that "the hostile race never accepts requests to ally during another player's turn". This means a significant number of encounters will not have allies, and the human player will never have allies when facing each other (the "real" encounters). Lack of alliances is the primary drawback in two-player Cosmic Encounter, so I'm not crazy about a system that only allows alliances in limited encounters (and, at that, only the encounters that matter the least, due to the unlikelihood of the dummy player winning). Every time human 1 encounters human 2, it is a straight-up two-player game as if the dummy player did not even exist. I guess I just don't see the point of that.

Sorry to crap on your cracker, but when you stand up on the roof and declare that you've invented the ULTIMATE!!! be-all end-all (but you really haven't), you're pretty much demanding a quick splash of reality.
____________________

If you want to play a good, solid two-player game that doesn't change things much at all, doesn't mis-teach the game, and doesn't require long "in" and "out" lists of aliens and other components, try this:

Each physical player simply plays as two different virtual players, each with its own alien, system, ships, hand, etc. Your two virtual players may ally with each other, but may not encounter each other. If you are taking your Blue turn and flip Green destiny (when Green is your "other" alien), just treat it as flipping your own color. For a shorter game, you win when either of your aliens wins; for a longer one, you have to get both to a victory state.

Works like a charm.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Bill Martinson wrote:
"Finally"? There have been two-player variants out there for a long time.

"ULTIMATE"? You're doing a lot of boasting considering your system has quite a few leaks and doesn't do much to address the primary problem with two-player Cosmic.

"Great way to teach"? I don't think so. Teaching a mutated system in which humans can never invite allies in a normal encounter, reinforcements are played before cards are revealed, many aliens break, both humans are the Parasite vs. the dummy, etc. is not something I would recommend at all. Players need to learn the basics of correct gameplay first, and then only after they have the basics down should you even consider wacky variants. People have a hard enough time grasping the simple rules of Cosmic Encounter as it is.

I appreciate your enthusiasm, and your proposal, if not new, it as least interesting ... but it seems to remove a lot of typical game dynamics while also leaving lots of questions unanswered (Phil's list is a good start). You probably also need a list of alien powers that the humans should not choose.

The thing that jumps out at me the most is your rule that "the hostile race never accepts requests to ally during another player's turn". This means a significant number of encounters will not have allies, and the human player will never have allies when facing each other (the "real" encounters). Lack of alliances is the primary drawback in two-player Cosmic Encounter, so I'm not crazy about a system that only allows alliances in limited encounters (and, at that, only the encounters that matter the least, due to the unlikelihood of the dummy player winning). Every time human 1 encounters human 2, it is a straight-up two-player game as if the dummy player did not even exist. I guess I just don't see the point of that.

Sorry to crap on your cracker, but when you stand up on the roof and declare that you've invented the ULTIMATE!!! be-all end-all (but you really haven't), you're pretty much demanding a quick splash of reality.
____________________

If you want to play a good, solid two-player game that doesn't change things much at all, doesn't mis-teach the game, and doesn't require long "in" and "out" lists of aliens and other components, try this:

Each physical player simply plays as two different virtual players, each with its own alien, system, ships, hand, etc. Your two virtual players may ally with each other, but may not encounter each other. If you are taking your Blue turn and flip Green destiny (when Green is your "other" alien), just treat it as flipping your own color. For a shorter game, you win when either of your aliens wins; for a longer one, you have to get both to a victory state.

Works like a charm.


Points taken and mostly agreed. I tagged it "THE ULTIMATE" for fun and because I find Cosmic Encounter to be The Ultimate game! I envisioned this deep voice from space bellowing..THEEEEEEE ULTIMATE!!!!

With regards to the rule changes, there really isn't much of a change. It's just that the hostile race is scripted in its moves. I've never liked having to control multiples of anything, which is why I find this a much easier method of teaching and to play one on one then trying to control multiple races, space ships, multiple sets of hands, etc... Just a different perspective.

Also with regards to the races. I really wanted to provide a core set of scripted actions for folks to experiment with in a one on one setting. I don't intend or even want to validate the 1000's of combos to quantify viability. Which is why I recommended using the rule of thumb, as most do when playing Cosmic Encounter. In the spirit of Cosmic Encounter, every rule is made to be broken by another rule, so use the core hostile race mechanic, try out other alien races and begin breaking
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
skyzero wrote:
I tagged it "THE ULTIMATE" for fun and because I find Cosmic Encounter to be The Ultimate game! I envisioned this deep voice from space bellowing..THEEEE ULTIMATE!!!!

Well then, that changes everything. This is indeeeeeed the ultimate variant ever invented!!! Carry on.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Bill Martinson wrote:
skyzero wrote:
I tagged it "THE ULTIMATE" for fun and because I find Cosmic Encounter to be The Ultimate game! I envisioned this deep voice from space bellowing..THEEEE ULTIMATE!!!!

Well then, that changes everything. This is indeeeeeed the ultimate variant ever invented!!! Carry on.


I'm not sure how sarcastic you're actually being here. I hope it's not nearly as sarcastic as it sounds, because ouch.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Dont pay any attention to me ... just being silly and going with the over the top wrestling annoucer theme. Probably shouldn't even be posting right now until the meds wear off.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Just making sure! cool

I like the idea of a "robot" player. I tried the "two-headed" two-player thing once, and it was too much work. Phil points out correctly that the robot player needs a little more to the AI than presented here, but it's a fine start.

Having played a couple hundred games of CE against the bots at CE Online, I'm used to the concept that some bots will have holes in their AI. Learning those holes and how to manipulate them is actually rather interesting, and I suspect that would be the case in a system like this.

EDIT: Do human players ever get compensation from the robot player? If so, I assume it's drawn from the deck, since the robot has no hand.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Kobold Curry Chef wrote:
Just making sure! cool

I like the idea of a "robot" player. I tried the "two-headed" two-player thing once, and it was too much work. Phil points out correctly that the robot player needs a little more to the AI than presented here, but it's a fine start.

Having played a couple hundred games of CE against the bots at CE Online, I'm used to the concept that some bots will have holes in their AI. Learning those holes and how to manipulate them is actually rather interesting, and I suspect that would be the case in a system like this.

EDIT: Do human players ever get compensation from the robot player? If so, I assume it's drawn from the deck, since the robot has no hand.


Compensation is drawn from the deck, just as you thought! I'll add that point of clarification in the original post.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Has anyone here tried the two-player rules published by Mayfair in their MCE? It used a set up for a six-player game, with four "dummy" players. The two human players would make the decisions for the dummy players based on some rules I'm not going to look up now. But who cares. My question is: Has anyone played Mayfair's two-player rules?

Bill Martinson wrote:
If you want to play a good, solid two-player game that doesn't change things much at all, doesn't mis-teach the game, and doesn't require long "in" and "out" lists of aliens and other components, try this:

Each physical player simply plays as two different virtual players, each with its own alien, system, ships, hand, etc. Your two virtual players may ally with each other, but may not encounter each other. If you are taking your Blue turn and flip Green destiny (when Green is your "other" alien), just treat it as flipping your own color. For a shorter game, you win when either of your aliens wins; for a longer one, you have to get both to a victory state.

Works like a charm.

I agree mostly. I use this kind of method for many games where we'd like more players - let each player play two whole separate positions (or in some cases, even three!). I've done this with Agricola, Blokus, Age of Renaissance, RoboRally, Tsuro, and probably several others that I can't think of off hand. And there are a number of others I haven't played this way that I'd like to try.

Oddly enough, I've never played CE this way, but I'd like to. My suggestions would be:

* Go ahead and let a player's two colors encounter each other. Why not? It gives an interesting challenge to the other player(s) if they happen to be Parasite or Prophet or perhaps some other power capable of influencing or having a stake in the outcome.
* You have to win with *both* colors in order to win the game. And I would suggest that they have to both satisfy the win conditions at the same time. If you're Blue and Green, and Blue has 5 foreign colonies, you have to wait for Green to get to 5 foreign colonies also. But if Blue has lost one of its foreign colonies in the mean time, you still haven't won.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
* Go ahead and let a player's two colors encounter each other. Why not? It gives an interesting challenge to the other player(s) if they happen to be Parasite or Prophet or perhaps some other power capable of influencing or having a stake in the outcome.

I disallow this because colony-for-colony trades are just too cheesy. Imagine if one of your powers is Empath or Mesmer or Vulch or anything else that makes it easy to produce deal situations with yourself. Even with "average" aliens, the game can easily go to whichever player is lucky enough to draw more pairs of green cards in his two aliens' hands.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
* Go ahead and let a player's two colors encounter each other. Why not? It gives an interesting challenge to the other player(s) if they happen to be Parasite or Prophet or perhaps some other power capable of influencing or having a stake in the outcome.

I disallow this because colony-for-colony trades are just too cheesy.

Well, they still have to draw the right color in Destiny, and both players have to have a Negotiate in their hands. If you don't allow the two systems own by one player to make deals with each other, then deals will likely never get made at all in a two-player game.

Quote:
Imagine if one of your powers is Empath or Mesmer or Vulch or anything else that makes it easy to produce deal situations with yourself.

Imagine if one of your opponent's powers is Sniveler or Saboteur or Prophet or Tick-Tock, or anything else that makes deal situations with yourself less desirable. Including Vulch (or Mesmer), which can quash your self-deals.

Quote:
Even with "average" aliens, the game can easily go to whichever player is lucky enough to draw more pairs of green cards in his two aliens' hands.

That luck already exists in the game. The game could just as easily go to whichever player draws the most high Attack cards in only one of his two hands (since he can ally with himself).
 
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
I still prefer my variant over any multi-race, multi-planet two player variant. Playing that way just loses the spirit of playing Cosmic Encounter. You play a race, screw your opponent or destroy the robot...that's CE.

Anyways, I'd like to hear if anyone has tried this and get their thoughts or even ideas for improvement. Let's make THE ULTIMATE ROBOT VARIANT!!!! meeple I think if folks give it a try, you'll see we've got a great start.
 
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Bill Martinson wrote:

"Great way to teach"? I don't think so. Teaching a mutated system in which humans can never invite allies in a normal encounter, reinforcements are played before cards are revealed, many aliens break, both humans are the Parasite vs. the dummy, etc.


Wait a minute, who said anything about changing human player interaction? If you see my original post I clearly said:

Second, all Cosmic Encounter rules remain the same...NO CHANGES!

By all means, invite the other human player(s) to join in your attacks, defense, etc... This is Cosmic Encounter after all and the last thing you BOTH want to do is lose to the hostile race! In fact, I bet you'll find you still get a great sense of satisfaction sharing in a victory against a difficult hostile race. I've gone and updated my original post so it's clear that all human players should play Cosmic Encounter as intended....create alliances, break promises and piss off your friend(s) on your way to victory!

As far as reinforcement go, the hostile race simply plays whatever reinforcements it draws during the encounter. If the scripted event is bothersome, simply play "only" the encounter card that is drawn. For me, I like the added challenge the reinforcement additions create.


 
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Well, they still have to draw the right color in Destiny,

I don't believe you've thought through the math here: There are only four players and you control two of them. In the average situation, each of your virtual players would be required/allowed to encounter your other virtual player on a whopping 53% of all your encounters.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
and both players have to have a Negotiate in their hands.

This is not actually the case, as I will address below, but for the moment let's assume it's true. This is also pretty easy when approximately every fifth card in the deck is a negotiate. And the whole thing feeds itself:

Start of game, you have sixteen cards between your two hands; on average that's 3 Negotiates. Say you have 1 in one hand and 2 in the other. Each hand plays one, you deal. The deal is colony-for-colony, plus whichever alien is most likely to have the first chance at hand refresh gives all of its cards to the other alien. Now you have one hand that's about to get eight new cards and another hand that is waiting with a negotiate.

This is not difficult at all, and as I said before effects like Empath and Emotion Control just make it that much easier.

Now, what if only your defensive hand has a negotiate, or neither of them does? This is also great for you, because whenever you can't deal with yourself (barring unusual circumstances) you're going to let your own offense defeat your own defense every single time, resulting in a colony. (Whenever possible, which will be most of the time.) Over and over. When your defense can lose with a negotiate, so much the better, since you can now pick and choose which cards you give to your offense hand as compensation, and you can also control the number since you got to choose which planet you attacked yourself on.

In these (highly frequent) contexts, the whole thing boils down to two players racing each other to see who can pass their cards and ships back and forth between their own two virtual players the fastest. The statistically significant advantage goes to the player who happpens to draw the right destiny cards — far moreso than in the normal game.

All of this cheesy and hermitic losing to yourself, compensating yourself, and making deals with yourself to mathematize your way to five colonies may be an interesting solitaire logic puzzle, but it would not be Cosmic Encounter. If somebody finds this fun, they should just turn it into a solitaire version and not subject another human being to the tedium.

Surely you can see how boring and predictable all of that would be.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If you don't allow the two systems own by one player to make deals with each other, then deals will likely never get made at all in a two-player game.

Yes, that's entirely possible. But allowing the self-deal doesn't "fix" this "problem". The whole reason deals are desirable is because they force player interaction. Hairy-palmed self-deals are useless in that regard.

So yeah, it is unfortunate that the humans in a two-player game don't have a lot of incentive to negotiate with each other. I get that. But allowing them to fake-deal with themselves (and throw encounters to themselves with even more alacrity) doesn't help this at all. Allowing all of that bad gameplay just so we can pretend we're somehow preserving the deal mechanic is kind of silly.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Well, they still have to draw the right color in Destiny,

I don't believe you've thought through the math here: There are only four players and you control two of them. In the average situation, each of your virtual players would be required/allowed to encounter your other virtual player on a whopping 53% of all your encounters.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
and both players have to have a Negotiate in their hands.

This is not actually the case, as I will address below, but for the moment let's assume it's true. This is also pretty easy when approximately every fifth card in the deck is a negotiate. And the whole thing feeds itself:

Start of game, you have sixteen cards between your two hands; on average that's 3 Negotiates. Say you have 1 in one hand and 2 in the other. Each hand plays one, you deal. The deal is colony-for-colony, plus whichever alien is most likely to have the first chance at hand refresh gives all of its cards to the other alien. Now you have one hand that's about to get eight new cards and another hand that is waiting with a negotiate.

This is not difficult at all, and as I said before effects like Empath and Emotion Control just make it that much easier.

Now, what if only your defensive hand has a negotiate, or neither of them does? This is also great for you, because whenever you can't deal with yourself (barring unusual circumstances) you're going to let your own offense defeat your own defense every single time, resulting in a colony. (Whenever possible, which will be most of the time.) Over and over. When your defense can lose with a negotiate, so much the better, since you can now pick and choose which cards you give to your offense hand as compensation, and you can also control the number since you got to choose which planet you attacked yourself on.

In these (highly frequent) contexts, the whole thing boils down to two players racing each other to see who can pass their cards and ships back and forth between their own two virtual players the fastest. The statistically significant advantage goes to the player who happpens to draw the right destiny cards — far moreso than in the normal game.

All of this cheesy and hermitic losing to yourself, compensating yourself, and making deals with yourself to mathematize your way to five colonies may be an interesting solitaire logic puzzle, but it would not be Cosmic Encounter. If somebody finds this fun, they should just turn it into a solitaire version and not subject another human being to the tedium.

Surely you can see how boring and predictable all of that would be.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If you don't allow the two systems own by one player to make deals with each other, then deals will likely never get made at all in a two-player game.

Yes, that's entirely possible. But allowing the self-deal doesn't "fix" this "problem". The whole reason deals are desirable is because they force player interaction. Hairy-palmed self-deals are useless in that regard.

So yeah, it is unfortunate that the humans in a two-player game don't have a lot of incentive to negotiate with each other. I get that. But allowing them to fake-deal with themselves (and throw encounters to themselves with even more alacrity) doesn't help this at all. Allowing all of that bad gameplay just so we can pretend we're somehow preserving the deal mechanic is kind of silly.


Whoa Whoa Whoa.....this is the "we want to play against a bot and not pretend to control multiple planets and races 2-player thread". Start your own two player variant post!

Infused with sarcasm

On a serious note, using a scripted (and challenging) bot allows you to play the game BY THE RULES against another human, while competing against known variables. Given the choice between playing as multiple planets and races versus a scripted bot....I'm picking the bot. Bring it on!
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Well, they still have to draw the right color in Destiny,

I don't believe you've thought through the math here: There are only four players and you control two of them. In the average situation, each of your virtual players would be required/allowed to encounter your other virtual player on a whopping 53% of all your encounters.

Where do you get that figure? Four colors in Destiny. You're playing Blue and Green. It's Blue's turn, in order encounter Green, you need to draw Green in Destiny. That's 25% not counting the wilds and the specials. The Specials are also going to designate Green about a third of the time. So out of 17 Destiny cards, 5 can be used to encounter your other color, and the 3 can a third of the time, for a total of 6 out of 17 = 35%. If you your other color already has a colony in your system, then your own color could be used to encounter yourself, which will be a bad idea a lot of the time if your opponent has one or more colonies there too, especially if he's closer to winning than you. But assuming Green already has a colony in Blue's system, and that Blue will always chose to encounter that colony if he draws Blue, then that's 9 out of 17 - there's your 53%, but that doesn't kick in until each of your colors already has a colony in the other color system.

Fine. You're right that that's too high a chance. There's an easy fix:

* Don't use the Wild Destiny cards or the Special Destiny Cards in this kind of game. This drops the chance to 25% (or 50% after trading colonies with yourself).
* And probably a good idea to add this as well: If you draw your own color, you can't encounter your other color in your system. That keeps it at 25% always.

Quote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
and both players have to have a Negotiate in their hands.

This is not actually the case, ...

It is actually the case, unless one of your powers is the Empath, or one of your hands holds Emotion Control. But so what? Each power gives some advantage. This is Empath's advantage.

Quote:
This is not difficult at all, and as I said before effects like Empath and Emotion Control just make it that much easier.

And effects like Quash, Prophet, Warhawk, Filth, Saboteur, and Tick-Tock make it that much harder.

Like I said before, I haven't tried playing CE this way, but if these things are a problem, there are easy fixes, in addition to the two I mentioned above, you could use any of these:

* Remove the Emotion Control Artifact from the deck prior to play (or just discard it and replace it when drawn).
* Don't use Empath in this type of game.
* Forbid the granting of colonies when a player makes a deal between his two colors.

Or for a more "bot" -style game, say that while each player controls two colors, only one counts as his actual color. If the other one wins, the player doesn't win. In this version, if you encounter yourself, the other player temporarily takes control of your second color. And let's say that if the two second colors get into a deal situation, they automatically grant a colony-for-colony deal.

Hmmm... now I'm thinking this last idea might be much better than the previous one.

And BTW, either of these versions could be used for a three-player game as well, or even a four-player game with the eighth-player components in Cosmic Alliance (or with improvised components).
 
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
The multi-planet multi-race still seems to complicated with too many Cosmic Encounter changing rules. I still like my bot...it just attacks and attacks and attacks without changing anything. Teaching someone to play with multiple planets and removing certain destiny cards and having special rules around who you can and can't attack is more like a new game, rather than a variant.
 
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Conversations here tend to meander a little bit, so don't be upset. We like to take the original idea and explore it in great detail in several directions.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
skyzero wrote:
I still like my bot...it just attacks and attacks and attacks without changing anything.

No, of course it doesn't change anything. Except:

* There's a player who never allies.
* There's a player you can always ally with.
* He plays cards randomly from the deck, and never has to deal with hand management.
* He gives compensation from the deck.
* Presumably, he immediately discards all cards he receives in compensation.
* There's only a small set of powers that he can play.
* He only makes one kind of deal, and the other player has no choice but to accept it.
* Wild Destiny is not actually wild for him. (And what happens if the owner of the game isn't playing?)
* He can never play Flares or Artifacts. Nor does he ever have any.
* He always plays all the Reinforcements he gets every encounter, even when it's contrary to his interest.
* He gets no cards even if he has a power that gives him cards.

Other than that, no changes are made.

As opposed to my proposal, which makes lots and lots of rules changes:

* Don't use the Special Destiny Cards (which is the same as Eon's edition always was, even after all the expansions; and also Mayfair's edition before their expansion).
* Don't use the Wild Destiny Cards (which also never existed in Eon's edition).
* One color can't encounter the other color of the same player in its own system.
(* Maybe don't use the Empath.)
(* Maybe don't use the Emotion Control Artifact.)
(* Maybe don't allow granting colonies when the two colors of one player make a deal. And if you use this rule change, you might not even need any of the rest.)

-----

And I note that so far, no one has come forth with an admission of having played Mayfair's two-player version.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
I guess my system must be the most confusing of all with its two massively incomprehensible rule changes:

* You play two systems.
* Your two systems don't encounter each other.

Please forgive me.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
I have tried playing that way. Managing two separate hands, two separate aliens, etc., is far more confusing for me that the OP's proposal. I hope you can understand that. If you can't, then please express it with a minimum of sarcasm this time. Thanks.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
That sarcasm was actually for Phil, not the OP. Don't worry, he's a big boy and he's used to from me.

Can you send me a list of what I am and am not allowed to say? I'm fine managing two systems in Cosmic Encounter, but managing multiple other people's rules about my writing, when they are not written down, is what's hard for me.
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Re: THE ULTIMATE.......2 Player "Hostile Race" Variant
Even controlling two systems doesn't seem to solve the problem of alliances being absent. Sure, alliances technically exist, but only in the form of allying with yourself, which is a fake alliance in the same way that making a deal with yourself is a fake deal. That's not an alliance, that's a second Launch phase. It might be slightly better than nothing in the sense that now effects like Cavalry, Parasite, Grudge, etc have a chance to activate, but the game mechanic itself is a joke.

The fundamental problem is that alliances require there to be three parties with different interests - two opposed to each other and a third who could help one or the other for a price. That's something that just plain won't exist in two-player Cosmic Encounter. In fact, the entire diplomatic, opponent-management aspect of Cosmic Encounter is just gone in any two-player game.

That's why I like my solution best: when you only have two players, go play Dominion instead and wait until you have more people to play Cosmic Encounter. This solution also wins in terms of simplicity, since by my count it only makes one change from the usual rules:

* You are playing Dominion instead of Cosmic Encounter.
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