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If two main players, before the launch phase, agree (or one of them proposes) on a Negotiate - Negotiate situation, where they will both give each other foreign colonies, and none of them had any intention of fooling the other one, what is, except for the Quash, another reasonable way to get away from this boring situation?

I'm asking this looking for the answer in both third and first person role.

I've fooled players two or three times, saying "Yes I will play a Negotiate and give you a colony in the deal" and playing a low Attack, and been labelled (for the duration of the game of course) a donkey's behind.

This happens too often and it annoys other players, as much as a shared victory would, but I just can't think of another way of breaking the pattern except for the "donkey's behind" strategy.

Could someone offer any suggestions please?

Cheers!
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Unless it's going to be for the victory, it doesn't really matter. Just let it go.

One rule we instituted is that players may not negotiate ahead of time (i.e. before they both play N and their 1-minute timer starts). They may suggest a negotiation and agree or refuse such a suggestion (in either case, non-binding), but they may not discuss terms of a hypothetical negotiation ahead of time.
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Asmor wrote:
Unless it's going to be for the victory, it doesn't really matter. Just let it go.

One rule we instituted is that players may not negotiate ahead of time (i.e. before they both play N and their 1-minute timer starts). They may suggest a negotiation and agree or refuse such a suggestion (in either case, non-binding), but they may not discuss terms of a hypothetical negotiation ahead of time.


Yes, that's exactly how we play it.
Still, it creates a vacuum.
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1) Pretend you have the Quash even if you don't. Scares the offense especially, since they can lose out on one (or both) of their turn's potential colonies if you're telling the truth

2) Point out to the offense that them giving someone a colony when they are the defense is extremely powerful, because they can still get 2 more on their turn. Depending on turn order you can sometimes make a very convincing (and honest) argument. No one likes to be on the short end of the stick. Taunt them. Play with their emotions.

3) Bribe them. Tell the defense you have the hand setup to win on your next turn and you wanted to take them with you, but if they outpace you on colonies you won't be able to invite them. That's just an example. What you can use as a bribe (whether its true or not) is game-situation specific

4) Plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the would-be diplomats. Like #1, this is more effective when used on the offensive player because they usually stand to lose more from a betrayal. Make up some reason why it makes sense for the defense to backstab, and suggest that there's a high chance that they will. Suggest from the discard pile's makeup and the hidden info in your hand that it's unlikely that both players have a negotiate, etc.

The only limit is your imagination! Well, not quite, but there are some ideas.
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indidkid wrote:
I've fooled players two or three times, saying "Yes I will play a Negotiate and give you a colony in the deal" and playing a low Attack, and been labelled (for the duration of the game of course) a donkey's behind.

Well, they're wrong. You are a shrewd player, playing to win, and playing fairly and by the rules. Negotiation doesn't officially start until the Resolution phase. Anything you say before then is not negotiation, it's just meaningless chatter. You are not a donkey's behind. The other guy is a sucker! Especially if you've fooled them more than once. They need to better understand the rules and strategy of the game: The rules are that any meaningless chatter outside of the actual Negotiation during Resolution phase is non-binding, and the strategy is that a low Attack beats a Negotiate card, and a winning defensive player normally gains nothing - therefore don't help another player when you don't have to. This is not a cooperative game.

Quote:
This happens too often and it annoys other players,

Apparently, it doesn't annoy them enough to try to win the game themselves.
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Alternatively, don't allow such table talk in the first place. I'm in the minority on this subject in this forum, but not having table talk avoids all these problems.

The no table talk rule: You cannot say or show what cards you have or will play nor what cards other players have unless a game component allows or forces you to do so.

Gerald Katz
 
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Table talk's a major portion of Cosmic Encounter, by design. I feel like you'd lose an awful lot by disallowing it.
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hadsil wrote:
Alternatively, don't allow such table talk in the first place. I'm in the minority on this subject in this forum, but not having table talk avoids all these problems.

Even though I've never played with such a house rule, the game usually turns out that way anyway, once the players are sufficiently experienced - and by "sufficiently experienced," I mean they've been backstabbed at least once, or seen someone else backstabbed once.

The whole "donkey's behind" thing is a classic case of projection. When you offer someone something for nothing, only a dishonest (and foolish) person will jump at that chance.

With experienced players, nobody ever even bothers trying to make this kind of table talk, even though we don't have a rule against it. Everyone already knows it's non-binding and meaningless.
 
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Cooperative victory is the path of least resistance in this game, due to the game mechanics, and so it will always be the easiest way to win. As such, self-interested players should simply always go for a cooperative victory. (This is particularly true with groups that have a persistent meta-game due to regularly playing with the same people over and over again.)

All it takes is one other person who will agree to go full cooperative with you to tilt the meta-game in your favor. You and that other player will always have a slightly higher chance of winning than all of the non-cooperators because you both occasionally get "free colonies" when you encounter each other, while everyone else has to fight and claw for every single colony they get.

But it would appear your group has already figured this out, so I don't really need to convince you.

To address your request for a strategic solution: there isn't one. Cooperation is the best strategy. The only "fix" is to tweak the game.

Many of the people on this forum, most of whom will no doubt be shaking their heads in disgust by this point in my post (if they even read this far), will try to tell you that the game is fine and that backstabbing all day every day makes everything fair and square; however, many of those same people then go on to support "Splitting the pot" variants or "Point tracking" variants that basically arbitrarily punish players for doing cooperative wins: such variants are only logically necessary if there is some sort of balance problem with cooperative wins, so those people are basically contradicting their own claims that the game is balanced and in no need of change.

You could use one of the aforementioned "Pot splitting" or "Points" variants, if you like. You could also simply ban cooperative victories, although that makes certain Alien Powers massively weaker and it removes some of the variety in the game.

If you'd like, you could try the variant my group has been experimenting with: Cosmic Pacts and Cosmic Coalitions. It's working quite well for us, but YMMV. If you do try it and you have any feedback you want to share, please feel free to post it in that Balanced Cosmic Project thread.

At the end of the day, the only fix is tweaking the game, however you may want to do that.

 
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Asmor wrote:
Table talk's a major portion of Cosmic Encounter, by design. I feel like you'd lose an awful lot by disallowing it.


Sorry if I'm going a little off topic here, but for us with the cheaper tickets (meaning, English is not a native) could I get a couple of examples of "Table talk" please?
I feel that I am misunderstanding the concept at worst, and missing some of the available options to be "Table talk-ed" about, at best.


The thing is, that when you play one game with the same group of people over and over again, the whole group just deepens the way of thinking that was introduced in the beginning, so without "foreign" players (veterans, with their own strategies and ideas) jumping in to broaden things and give some fresh ideas and creative views, you can get kinda stalled in evolving your skill for the game being played.

And our table talk could possibly get some extra dimensions.
 
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Table talk is anything related to the game which is not directly required to communicate the actual actions you're performing as you perform them.

This includes making suggestions for what other people could do, making threats and promises, explaining why you're doing something, pointing out possibilities, reminding people of things they might not have considered, claiming that you're capable (or incapable) of doing something, sharing (or lying about) privileged information to which you're privy, etc.
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dgorney wrote:
(This is particularly true with groups that have a persistent meta-game due to regularly playing with the same people over and over again.)


Ah, this is just the thing I was mentioning a moment ago. So, that is what "meta-game" actually means..


Anyway, the dis-balance of the game (that *wouldn't* need fixing) wouldn't at all surprise me. The game is extremely complex and it's almost infinitely impossible to balance it.
But what does "balance" mean in this context anyway. Equaling the chance for every player in every situation to win (an encounter, the whole game..)?

There's a cruel but wise sentence that the Joker (Heath) said:
"You know the thing about chaos, it's fair."

This
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/636234/the-new-players-guide...
is a fantastic thread about the whole thing.


But looking at this from the other side, totally Calvinball-ing the game..
http://i610.photobucket.com/albums/tt184/Hobbes217/Calvin%20...
..turns it into a meaningless heap of rules and debates.

The real "balance" here, IMHO, is keeping the rules just in the middle of balance and chaos. Giving players room to maneuver using the "balanced rules" *1) and yet giving other's space to wreck a led-proof strategy *2) "..with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets".

*1)(equally fair towards all players)

*2) (equally fair towards all *other* players who are sitting their way through a game with persistently awful cards, or wanting to end a hellish game)



Back to my point.. I am really happy to hear from players with diverse opinions, that for example advocates that the shared wins are okay. After five hours of an eight player game, I think almost everybody would okay that, especially if it's 3 AM and it's a work day tomorrow.

And here is my view of the balance finally, and that is striving to make the game "perfect" and yet never attaining that state, because it is being played by individuals with their own ideas, views and opinions, and not by programmed robots, with just another set of universal rules inside their heads.
 
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Asmor wrote:
Table talk is anything related to the game which is not directly required to communicate the actual actions you're performing as you perform them.

This includes making suggestions for what other people could do, making threats and promises, explaining why you're doing something, pointing out possibilities, reminding people of things they might not have considered, claiming that you're capable (or incapable) of doing something, sharing (or lying about) privileged information to which you're privy, etc.


Ah, thanx for such a delicate dissection.

So we definitely table-talk a lot..

Some of these things, some of the times, make perfect sense. And yet those same things, having the precise moment of the game slightly different with just one detail tipped of to one side, would be very unfair, unjust, or sometimes even rude.

Some players aren't such fantastic diplomats. They don't play the game to win their way through talk, and are more introverted than others. They rely on strategy and logic. And yet others are not so keen on memorizing played cars, and those that are in the Deck and possibly in other player's hands. They can't keep diagrams of branching possibilities in their heads and rely on talking someone into something, reading people's expressions, and using their charismatic attributes to maneuver the emotions of others and make them ally, respect a deal or voluntarily suffer a loss for honor's sake.

Alright, this can go on for hours. I think the point is clear, in regard to it's fuzziness.
 
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