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Subject: Negotiate (Epic Oratory) & (Weak Bargain) & revised (Crooked Deal) rss

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Darth Thulhu?
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This is a proposal for the design of one single card, to reside in the cosmic deck, intended to be for the Negotiate card group what the Attack 40 is for the Attack card group: namely, the biggest, baddest, most fabulous card for that group imaginable. The one everyone covets, the one Clone relentlessly clones, the one Hacker extracts, the one Angler fishes for, the one that is almost always pure upside, and so forth.

Style and resonance led me to the name of "(Epic Oratory)". This has the same number of words and letters as (Crooked Deal), but in opposite count-order. The name conveys the theme of one of those patented Star Fleet stirring soliloquies on justice and peace and strength, the ones that completely overwhelm opposed negotiators or which talk a ship out of the jaws of death itself while winning some larger victory.

This Negotiate still "loses" to an Attack, but will likely make the "winner" rue their pyrrhic victory. Against another Negotiate, it allows for the ultimate in hardball deals.

Enough preamble! The card:
------------------------

Negotiate
(Epic Oratory)


Opposed by Attack
Loses, but evacuates all ships on this side to other colonies, and collects compensation equal to ships evacuated + 3.

Opposed by Negotiate
Players have one minute to make a deal. You are permitted to gain up to two colonies in this deal. If no deal is made, you lose no ships to the warp from that failure, regardless of other effects. Your opponent loses three more ships to the warp than normal.

------------------------

Design Analysis and Justification

The Opposed by Negotiate text is a little wordy to ensure zero ship loss even with the possibility of an opposed (Crooked Deal) or a Morphed (Epic Oratory) vs. (Epic Oratory). The "no ships lost regardless" clause of one's own (Epic Oratory) overrides the "three more than normal" clause of an opponent's (Epic Oratory), for example. Such a double-epic deal negotiation would have neither side risking any ships but both sides able to acquire up to two colonies.

The Opposed by Attack evacuation text saves all your ships and all ships allied with you, and ensures that with enough allies on side, (Epic Oratory) can strip an opponent's hand clean if they attack, even if you are defending an empty planet, because it counts all evacuated ships on your side, not just your own. The evacuation-then-compensation phrasing ensures that even FFG Zombie can clean house on compensation, or that one lucky player can boldly take compensation from even the Void.

The very high compensation and opponent ship-loss baseline also make this Negotiate truly intimidating with a Kicker. Even a weak battle-line with two ships total can strip 10 cards from the opponent with a Kicker x2. Whether with a Kicker or a lot of allied ships, this Negotiate can stop a player on their first Offensive encounter in their tracks by stripping their entire hand, and the prevention of ship-loss through evacuation makes getting a Rift in such a deluge of compensation less problematic.

Recommended distribution would be to have one single (Epic Oratory) in the cosmic deck, replacing a normal Negotiate.

Any constructive feedback would be appreciated.
-----------------------------------------------

Editing to add the evolving card designs here as the thread continues below.

Negotiate
(Epic Oratory)


N!

  Opposed by Attack
  Loses, but lets any or all losing ships escape
  to other colonies. Collects compensation
  equal to your lost ships + all escaped ships.

  Opposed by Negotiate
  Players have one minute to make a deal. 
  Your own limit on colony gains is raised 
  to two for this deal. If no deal is made, 
  you lose no ships to the warp (regardless 
  of other game effects) and you choose 
  which ships your opponent must lose.


Negotiate
(Weak Bargain)


N-

  Opposed by Attack
  Loses, but collects compensation
  equal to ships lost - 1.

  Opposed by Negotiate
  Players have one minute to make
  a deal. If no deal is made, you lose
  one ship more than usual and your
  opponent loses one ship fewer than
  usual (i.e. you lose four ships and
  your opponent loses two).


Negotiate
(Crooked Deal)


N+

  Opposed by Attack
  Loses, but collects compensation
  equal to ships lost + 1.

  Opposed by Negotiate
  Players have one minute to make
  a deal. If no deal is made, you lose
  one ship fewer than usual and your
  opponent loses one ship more than
  usual (i.e. you lose two ships and
  your opponent loses four).
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Just a Bill
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Excellent! I love the concept of a (lone) counterpart to the Attack 40, and as always I appreciate your attention to detail and pursuit of resonance.

Mr. Chairman, the delegate from southeastern Virginia requests the honor of scribing the official document.

I made a first draft of the layout, and the text is a bit long for the template. There are a couple of opportunities for wording economy, and I would recommend the following tweaks:

* To avoid the implication that the Epic Orator gets to decide where everyone's ships go, I suggest "lets all losing ships evacuate to other colonies". (This also adds an interesting decision point, in that an ally can theoretically choose not to evacuate if he wants to reduce your compensation.)

* Due to the exceptionalism of collecting compensation based on other players' ships, emphasizing "all ships evacuated" can aid clarity.

* To avoid the risk of "you" being interpreted as plural, I suggest "you (only) may gain up to two colonies".

Here's what the fit would look like:



Hmm, now that I re-read it, I'm wondering if this implies that the opponent cannot gain any colonies.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Bill Martinson wrote:
Mr. Chairman, the delegate from southeastern Virginia requests the honor of scribing the official document.

The Chair recognizes the delegate from southeastern Virginia, grants his request, and thanks him for his dedicated service.

Bill Martinson wrote:
* To avoid the implication that the Epic Orator gets to decide where everyone's ships go, I suggest "lets all losing ships evacuate to other colonies". (This also adds an interesting decision point, in that an ally can theoretically choose not to evacuate if he wants to reduce your compensation.)

That's an awesome added choice, and does clear up the potential confusion. Also makes the whole "evacuation step" more fraught all around, with both main players lobbying potential evacuees.

Bill Martinson wrote:
* Due to the exceptionalism of collecting compensation based on other players' ships, emphasizing "all ships evacuated" can aid clarity.

Clarity is good.

Bill Martinson wrote:
* To avoid the risk of "you" being interpreted as plural, I suggest "you (only) may gain up to two colonies".

[...]

Hmm, now that I re-read it, I'm wondering if this implies that the opponent cannot gain any colonies.

To alleviate confusion while keeping roughly the same amount of space, how about "you (only) may gain one extra colony" in this deal? Implies the opponent can still get the normal single colony in the deal.

(Part of why I like the card so much is the idea of negotiating for both a foreign and a re-established home colony, or even two home colonies if already in the lead, while threatening the opponent with severe ship loss to encourage agreement.)
 
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
The compensation collected feels like it may as well say "You take your opponent's entire hand". All your ships plus all your allied ships plus three? How often will that figure not exceed the opponent's hand size? (Or someone else's hand if you're the Hacker. I suppose the Ethic could claim the overflow in the form of cards from the deck...)

Also, this + Kicker x3 is just too much ship loss for the victim.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Darth Thulhu wrote:
To alleviate confusion while keeping roughly the same amount of space, how about "you (only) may gain one extra colony" in this deal? Implies the opponent can still get the normal single colony in the deal.

My concern there would be that it could be interpreted as you carry out a normal deal, then (if successful) add one colony to the terms.

Here's another possibility that fits in the space: "Your own limit on colony gains is raised to two for this deal."

Darth Thulhu wrote:
(Part of why I like the card so much is the idea of negotiating for both a foreign and a re-established home colony, or even two home colonies if already in the lead, while threatening the opponent with severe ship loss to encourage agreement.)

Yeah, that is pretty neat. The obvious first reaction is "cool, two victory points!" but I think a wise player would be a bit more judicious in his proposals (unless he's trailing by a lot, of course). Like many things in Cosmic, it's a balance to see what you can accomplish without setting off panic alarms and making yourself a target (until it's too late).

salty53 wrote:
The compensation collected feels like it may as well say "You take your opponent's entire hand". ... Also, this + Kicker x3 is just too much ship loss for the victim.

I had those same concerns, but ran out of time to process them from gut feelings into actual issues before I had to leave this morning. You make good points and I've tried a variety of experiments that fit in the available space. On the mega-compensation front, the only thing I found that fit and seemed reasonable was this:

Opposed by Attack
Loses and collects double compensation.
Any losing ships may evacuate to other
colonies; you receive one reward for each.

In this model, for each of your own ships you choose to either send it to the warp and earn double compensation, or save it and collect a reward instead. For each allied ship, its owner chooses to send it to the warp and deny you a reward, or save it and let you collect a reward. (Both are mix-and-match.) I'm just not entirely sure if most players would understand that when you save a ship you are forgoing its compensation in favor of the reward.

Regarding the kicker-enhanced 12-ship hit from a failed deal, another possibility is to leave the numbers alone and allow Bully-style targeting:

Opposed by Negotiate
Players have one minute to make a deal.
Your own limit on colony gains is raised
to two for this deal. If no deal is made,
you lose no ships to the warp (regardless
of other game effects) and you choose
which ships your opponent must lose.

In fact, I suppose that approach could be taken with both outcomes, leading to a nice conceptual consistency: Epic Oratory's effect-concept would be (1) losing ships are saved and (2) you get to hand-pick whichever penalty applies to the opponent. Mini-Bully vs. attack and mini-Hacker vs. negotiate.

The thematic understanding here would be that the epic oration doesn't increase the numeric value of the legal penalties, but rather makes those penalties deeper and more pointed in their application. (And it's a bigger, scarier effect: cherry-picking three or four cards from your hand is generally stronger than taking the whole thing.)

Grist for the mill.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
salty53 wrote:
The compensation collected feels like it may as well say "You take your opponent's entire hand". All your ships plus all your allied ships plus three? How often will that figure not exceed the opponent's hand size? (Or someone else's hand if you're the Hacker. I suppose the Ethic could claim the overflow in the form of cards from the deck...)

Thanks for the feedback. This is definitely a process of "design shoots for the moon and then development restrains it to reality" while checking and fixing any brokenness.

On the (evacuees + 3) front for compensation, the intent was definitely to make hand-loss or hand-savaging a real possibility when facing this card, regardless of how many artifacts one may have accrued. There are too many impenetrable shield-my-hand, rich-get-richer outcomes to powers that can reliably conjure up enough cards to have some Zaps, in my opinion. Once they've drawn enough cards, they can then reliably ward off any given Finder or Hand Zap or flare with Card Zap. Likewise, such big hands reliably get a Cosmic Zap to bat away a power making an effort to mangle their strong hand.

(In M:tG terms, they become Control-Permission games, and there is little more frustrating for everyone else than to suffer impotently under a fully-locked rich-get-richer Control regime.)

Given all that, I definitely wanted Epic Oratory to be a bluffable option (put down a Kicker and say that they will really regret it if they don't Negotiate), and a non-blockable that by odds would be in another player's hand, an option that couldn't be easily neutralized by an already-rich hand. The design intent is to make it a singular scary-big threat that can honestly make someone with twenty-odd cards consider negotiating rather than risking a compensation bonanza when the board is aligned against them and their dozen attack cards.

All that said, I can see that both the +3 and the evacuees-measurement at once might be broken in practice.

The +3 helps out more when solo, or acting as defense on a weak or empty Homeworld. The evacuees-measurement, by contrast, makes the preceding alliance phase crucial, and gives the gusto when one player has seriously started to scare everyone else. If I had to choose only one, I'd prefer the evacuees measurement, which keeps the importance of interaction when gathering allies and the tension and choice for those allies to "evacuate and increase the Orator's compensation, or go down with the Fleet and minimize his or her compensation."

salty53 wrote:
Also, this + Kicker x3 is just too much ship loss for the victim.

Oh, pshaw. It's only a measly 18 ships ... Ok, yeah, maybe too much.

Need to give that some thought. Especially Bill's proposed fixes.

Thanks again for the feedback.
 
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Bill Martinson wrote:
My concern there would be that it could be interpreted as you carry out a normal deal, then (if successful) add one colony to the terms.

Here's another possibility that fits in the space: "Your own limit on colony gains is raised to two for this deal."

That might work better. Thanks for continuing to beaver away at the issue. The chance for an extra colony on a deal is part of what makes this an eye-opener. Ideally, it should have some real wow-factor regardless of whether it is grabbing compensation, going for a deal, or slamming the opponent on a failed deal.

salty53 wrote:
The compensation collected feels like it may as well say "You take your opponent's entire hand". ... Also, this + Kicker x3 is just too much ship loss for the victim.

Bill Martinson wrote:
I had those same concerns, but ran out of time to process them from gut feelings into actual issues before I had to leave this morning. You make good points and I've tried a variety of experiments that fit in the available space. On the mega-compensation front, the only thing I found that fit and seemed reasonable was this:

Opposed by Attack
Loses and collects double compensation.
Any losing ships may evacuate to other
colonies; you receive one reward for each.

The design intent is absolutely for a chance at high compensation, not for yet another excuse to raid the rewards deck. The "40" of Negotiates should be able to net the ultimate in compensation. It is meant to be a potential spanner against rich-get-richer hand-building powers.

This card would be one of the only uncounterable things to give real pause to mega-hand powers (when everyone is lined up against them, anyway). This and a kicker have to be endured or negotiated with. They can't be blithely zapped, nor avoided by targeting a planet with zero or one defender. Double compensation just would not cut it, when 0 x2 is still zero and 1 x2 is a measly 2 from a dozen or more. The goal of the Ultimate Negotiate, I believe, should be to threaten a serious compensation hand-thrashing if the opponent doesn't also negotiate in the face of it.

To reduce complexity and sheer power-without-willing-allies, I can see removing the +3. That means that a scary leader who draws this can't aggressively strip weaker people when unable to lure allies, while giving anyone else who draws this a chance to lead an alliance of the weak in opposition.

Bill Martinson wrote:
Regarding the kicker-enhanced 12-ship hit from a failed deal, another possibility is to leave the numbers alone and allow Bully-style targeting:

Opposed by Negotiate
Players have one minute to make a deal.
Your own limit on colony gains is raised
to two for this deal. If no deal is made,
you lose no ships to the warp (regardless
of other game effects) and you choose
which ships your opponent must lose.

That's pretty sweet, and parallels the dropping of the +3 from the "Opposed by Attack" side of the card.

It keeps the terror alive when Kicked, also. Facing a risk of 6 or 9 ships lost, as chosen by one's opponent, is very focusing. The only real defense is to Morph one's own Epic Oratory to protect oneself ... which still uses a Morph to possibly net a "failed encounter" result.

Bill Martinson wrote:
In fact, I suppose that approach could be taken with both outcomes, leading to a nice conceptual consistency: Epic Oratory's effect-concept would be (1) losing ships are saved and (2) you get to hand-pick whichever penalty applies to the opponent. Mini-Bully vs. attack and mini-Hacker vs. negotiate.

Shouldn't mini-Bully apply vs. Negotiate? Maybe I'm misreading.

I will admit to being partial to the mini-Barbarian compensation-measured-by-evacuees rather than a Hacker-esque handsifting. The focus of the card would be to assemble a committed coalition of the willing, and everyone involved would have to measure their commitment to tearing down one monster against the risk of building up another.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
So, given my rationales and reasoning above, and considering the thoughtful feedback, the card text at this point would be adjusted to be:

  Opposed by Attack
  Loses, but lets losing ships evacuate to
  other colonies, and collects compensation
  equal to the number of ships evacuated.

  Opposed by Negotiate
  Players have one minute to make a deal. 
  Your own limit on colony gains is raised 
  to two for this deal. If no deal is made, 
  you lose no ships to the warp (regardless 
  of other game effects) and you choose 
  which ships your opponent must lose.

Potential for double-colony (even if just home colonies) on a deal, potential to threaten a mini-Bully colony-loss on a failed deal, and potential to arrange an alliance to enable an inverse mini-Barbarian compensation hit on a loss.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Darth Thulhu wrote:
Shouldn't mini-Bully apply vs. Negotiate? Maybe I'm misreading.

Yeah, sorry, got my wires crossed.

Anyway, your new version looks pretty good, although I do have two clarity issues on the Opposed by Attack section:

1. I'm not sure if it's clear that evacuation is completely optional and mix-and-match for every player.

2. More importantly, I don't think it's clear whether this compensation based on evacuees augments or replaces the normal rule for determining compensation. In other words, if the Orator does not evacuate all of his ships, does he still collect full comp? (One might think this question moot since he should always want to evacuate, but there are reasons he may want some or all of his ships to go to the warp, or he could have no colonies to return to.)

There's not a lot of wiggle room when you only have three lines to work with, but perhaps the following (which requires some fairly aggressive tracking/kerning on line three) can help?

Opposed by Attack
Loses, but lets any/all losing ships evacuate
to other colonies. Collects compensation
equal to your ships lost + all ships evacuated.

The tracking can be relaxed if you don't mind substituting "for" in pace of "equal to".

EDIT: I just realized the tracking can be reduced to a normal increment, and "any/all" can be expanded to "any or all", if you don't mind changing your story from evacuation to escape.

Loses, but lets any or all losing ships escape
to other colonies. Collects compensation
equal to your lost ships + all escaped ships.

When trying to fine-tune word wraps, it's funny sometimes what subtle changes can have such significant impacts. This reminds me of the years I spent tuning three-line CCG card texts ... sometimes it felt like trying to fix the mizzen-mast on a ship in a bottle.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Overall, I think this card is too "gimme". There's no downside at all, since you don't lose the losing ships. Even the Attack 40 has a downside - you still might have to give compensation, and you're still subject to losing (e.g., Attack 23 and Kicker x2).

And if you're going to add the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 40, then you should also include the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 00.

May I suggest my idea which I first posted here. My working name for them is Negotiate (Advantage) and Negotiate (Disadvantage).

Negotiate (Advantage):

Opposed by Attack
Loses, but collects
compensation equal to ships
lost x1½ (rounding up).

Opposed by Negotiate
Players have one minute to
make a deal. If no deal is
made, you lose one ship.

Negotiate (Disadvantage):

Opposed by Attack
Loses, but collects
compensation equal to ships
lost x½ (rounding down).

Opposed by Negotiate
Players have one minute to
make a deal. If no deal is
made, you lose five ships.

One that that bugs me about the existing Negotiate (Crooked Deal) cards, and many of the other proposed new variant cards, is that they have the same symbol on them. An Attack 13 has a '13' on it, and an Attack 14 has a '14' on it, but all the Negotiates have the same 'N'.

Back when Negotiates were called Compromises (with a C in the corner), I labeled my variant cards C+ and C-. Now that it's 'N', I would label them N+ and N-. There was an opportunity for a good visual pun with the crooked deal cards: put the N in italics or at a slightly crooked angle, or perhaps even tweak the font so that the N is actually bent. This wouldn't merely be for humor's sake, but also so that the true value of the card would be instantly recognizable. When you see a 14, you know immediately what it is, but when you see an N, you then have to read the fine print to know what it is.

And IMO, any variant Morph cards should also have distinctive symbols, even if it's something as simple as M* or M! or M or M.

EDIT:

I assume this Epic Oratory card is still subject to Quash, Emotion Control, Ionic Gas, etc.

I assume it still becomes an Attack 00 if played against Warhawk, or a M if played by Warhawk.

I assume it simply wins without doing anything special if played in a Loser-Upset encounter.
 
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Overall, I think this card is too "gimme". There's no downside at all, since you don't lose the losing ships. Even the Attack 40 has a downside - you still might have to give compensation, and you're still subject to losing (e.g., Attack 23 and Kicker x2).

I don't think he was trying to (nor has to) make it have the exact same characteristics as the 40 ... his stated goal was simply to give it the same kind of "wow factor" as the 40; to make it the undisputed king of the green cards.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
And if you're going to add the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 40, then you should also include the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 00.

I disagree. Making a counterpart to an almost-always-fantastic card, and making a counterpart to an almost-always-crappy card, have profoundly differing degrees of "should" in my book.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
collects compensation equal to ships
lost x1½ (rounding up).

It will come as no surprise to you that some of us are immediately turned off by the fraction. (And not for lack of being able to do simple arithmetic.)

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If no deal is made, you lose one ship.

If this card is intended to be better than a normal negotiate, why does it let the opponent off the hook and incentivize him to torpedo the deal?

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Negotiate (Disadvantage):

I would not be excited about adding this to my deck. It's on a whole different level of "bad" compared to the attack 00 because of the increased penalties, and also doesn't have the saving grace of "well against Loser or Anti-Matter...."

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
One that that bugs me about the existing Negotiate (Crooked Deal) cards, and many of the other proposed new variant cards, is that they have the same symbol on them.

Agree with that. FFG had an opportunity to do some good, responsible "pip design" and completely missed the boat, in multiple ways. For one example, the Morph's red/green division should have been diagonal through the pips, and the left side should have been red instead of green so it would be unmistakably different from a Negotiate in a fan of cards. So many missed opportunities ... one of these decades, a clever publisher is going to put cute little alien thumbnails in the corners of the flares.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I would label them N+ and N- ... any variant Morph cards should also have distinctive symbols, even if it's something as simple as M* or M! or M or M.

That's all well and good, but the problem is the seriously limited number of presentations with good mnemonic value. I guess whoever gets out there with his high/low variant uses up the plus and minus signs first, and then everyone fights over whatever symbols are left? ;-) Anyway, I support the idea, but the publisher would have to very carefully plan out their variants and make sure they were matching things up for the best, most understandable use. Not FFG's forte at all.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I assume this Epic Oratory card is still subject to Quash, Emotion Control, Ionic Gas, etc. ... still becomes an Attack 00 if played against Warhawk, or a M if played by Warhawk ... simply wins without doing anything special if played in a Loser-Upset encounter.

Yes, yup, and yuh-huh.
 
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If no deal is made, you lose one ship.

If this card is intended to be better than a normal negotiate, why does it let the opponent off the hook and incentivize him to torpedo the deal?

Huh? How does it let the opponent off the hook? He still loses three ships if he torpedoes the deal.

Quote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
And if you're going to add the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 40, then you should also include the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 00.

I disagree.  Making a counterpart to an almost-always-fantastic card, and making a counterpart to an almost-always-crappy card, have profoundly differing degrees of "should" in my book.
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Negotiate (Disadvantage):

I would not be excited about adding this to my deck. It's on a whole different level of "bad" compared to the attack 00 because of the increased penalties, and also doesn't have the saving grace of "well against Loser or Anti-Matter...."

Good cards are only good because there are bad cards to compare them to. Adding more "good" cards might feel exciting, but it doesn't make the game better. It just inflates the definition of "good card". Card inflation applies to N's as well as attacks.

Adding more cards at the high end without balancing cards at the low end is a profound "shouldn't", IMO.

And there is at least one good use of the N-, to take less compensation. Sometimes that's useful.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
How does it let the opponent off the hook? He still loses three ships if he torpedoes the deal.

Each official negotiate card gives the total outcome, declaring exactly what the losses are for each player. Since yours is just a declarative "you lose one ship," I thought that was the entire outcome. Maybe FFG's relative approach of "you lose two ships fewer than usual" could be helpful here.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Adding more cards at the high end without balancing cards at the low end is a profound "shouldn't", IMO.

Adding one high-end negotiate isn't going to unbalance anything.

There's no law that says high-low parity has to be forced into every nook and cranny. Following that logic, we might look at Mobius Tubes and Warp Break and conclude that there has to be a "bad" version of this concept that lets everyone out of the warp except you, and then force you to play the card when it enters your hand. That's the kind of vibe I get from a negotiate card that is basically a Crooked Deal that works against me. I don't see how it makes the game better, and I definitely can't find any logic showing that it "needs" to exist as some kind of balancer.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
How And there is at least one good use of the N-, to take less compensation. Sometimes that's useful.

Sure, there are lots of times I want no compensation ... but not at the risk of losing 25% of my entire fleet to the warp. That just feels like a poison card.
 
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
How does it let the opponent off the hook? He still loses three ships if he torpedoes the deal.

Each official negotiate card gives the total outcome, declaring exactly what the losses are for each player. Since yours is just a declarative "you lose one ship," I thought that was the entire outcome. Maybe FFG's relative approach of "you lose two ships fewer than usual" could be helpful here.

Well, the other Negotiate card still says three.

Quote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
How And there is at least one good use of the N-, to take less compensation. Sometimes that's useful.

Sure, there are lots of times I want no compensation ... but not at the risk of losing 25% of my entire fleet to the warp. That just feels like a poison card.

Well, it's really only 20%, since you're already losing at least 1 ship anyway. That chance of losing four more ships comes with a chance of not losing any, and maybe even actually gaining something. How much can your opponent really get out of you if he loses 3 ships while you lose 5?

If the 5 and 1 are too extreme, it could always be 4 and 2 instead. None of this is written in stone.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory)
Thanks for all the feedback.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
if you're going to add the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 40, then you should also include the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 00.

Many would argue that the regular Negotiate is already the Negotiate equivalent of the Attack 00

More seriously, an inversed (Crooked Deal) or three replacing normal Negotiates wouldn't hurt, as an expansion of the idea of tinkering with the Negotiates. Perhaps replace 1 in 5 total cosmic deck Negotiates, so there would be three in the normal cosmic deck, four with the Cosmic Alliance deck booster, and one more "bad" negotiate for every 5 total Negotiates added thereafter.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I assume this Epic Oratory card is still subject to Quash, Emotion Control, Ionic Gas, etc.

Yeah. I would argue that Emotion Control doesn't change it (or a (Crooked Deal) or an inverse (Crooked Deal)), because it is already a Negotiate. But it can absolutely be Quashed on a deal, or Ionicked on a compensation bonanza.

That's why I have no qualms about this one card being a solitary "all-upside" Negotiate, and don't perceive it as a gimme at all: being a Negotiate in the first place is plenty of inherent downside and vulnerability. Against an enemy with a trash hand and an Attack -07, you still lose and you still get a pile of dreck. Yeah, you can save your ships, but you still lose where an Attack -01 might not.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I assume it still becomes an Attack 00 if played against Warhawk, or a M if played by Warhawk.

I assume it simply wins without doing anything special if played in a Loser-Upset encounter.

And is a straight-forward auto-win enabler for Pacifist, and so on, yeah. Just like a (Crooked Deal) Negotiate.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
If the 5 and 1 are too extreme, it could always be 4 and 2 instead. None of this is written in stone.

I think such a "bad" Negotiate works most simply and elegantly as an inverted (Crooked Deal): you lose one extra ship and they lose one less, on compensation you gain one less card than you would normally. Keeps the pattern simple and easy to remember in relation to the (Crooked Deal), which is good because the (Epic Oratory) uses up an awful lot of Complexity Units by comparison.

Also, this way, the 5 to 1 ratio is still possible, though unlikely, if a "bad" Negotiate faces a (Crooked Deal).

To keep with the invented-in-this-thread naming pattern of one word of 4 letters and one word of 7, I offer the name "(Weak Bargain)"

If we were thoughtfully redoing the card symbology, which is a very good idea, a (Weak Bargain) would be an "N-"; a (Crooked Deal) an "N+", and the (Epic Oratory) an "N*"... these would work best, I believe, if they were symbols on the right side of the N rather than superscripts. They would feel properly like a unit set of a minus, plus, and product symbol (rather than a mixed-set of a superscript-minus, superscript-plus, and variable-exponent symbol), and they could easily re-use the existing negative-Attack minus, Reinforcement plus, and Kicker product sign.

The cards at present would be:

Negotiate
(Epic Oratory)


Nx

  Opposed by Attack
  Loses, but lets any or all losing ships escape
  to other colonies. Collects compensation
  equal to your lost ships + all escaped ships.

  Opposed by Negotiate
  Players have one minute to make a deal. 
  Your own limit on colony gains is raised 
  to two for this deal. If no deal is made, 
  you lose no ships to the warp (regardless 
  of other game effects) and you choose 
  which ships your opponent must lose.


Negotiate
(Weak Bargain)


N-

  Opposed by Attack
  Loses, but collects compensation
  equal to ships lost - 1.

  Opposed by Negotiate
  Players have one minute to make
  a deal. If no deal is made, you lose
  one more ship than usual and your
  opponent loses one less ship than
  usual (i.e. you lose four ships
  and your opponent loses two).


Negotiate
(Crooked Deal)


N+

  Opposed by Attack
  Loses, but collects compensation
  equal to ships lost + 1.

  Opposed by Negotiate
  Players have one minute to make
  a deal. If no deal is made, you lose
  one less ship than usual and your
  opponent loses one more ship than
  usual (i.e. you lose two ships and
  your opponent loses four).


Thanks again for your feedback, sir.
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory) & Negotiate (Weak Bargain)
Darth Thulhu wrote:
I would argue that Emotion Control doesn't change it (or a (Crooked Deal) or an inverse (Crooked Deal))

Whoops, I sorta glossed over Emotion Control with my one-word answer. You are correct that it cannot affect any negotiate cards; its text specifically limits it to targeting attack cards.

(Which makes me realize something: the fact that different negotiates have different flavors of deal-making suggests that the final sentence on EC is, in fact, reminder text and not prescriptive, possibly answering the Warhawk debate.) Anyway...

Darth Thulhu wrote:
The cards at present would be:

This is going in a pretty good direction. Can we fold in these grammar improvements?

Negotiate (Weak Bargain)

Opposed by Negotiate
Players have one minute to make
a deal. If no deal is made, you lose
one ship more than usual and your
opponent loses one ship fewer than
usual (i.e. you lose four ships
and your opponent loses two).

Negotiate (Crooked Deal)

Opposed by Negotiate
Players have one minute to make
a deal. If no deal is made, you lose
one ship fewer than usual and your
opponent loses one ship more than
usual (i.e. you lose two ships and
your opponent loses four).

I can understand if one ship more doesn't feel as "natural" as one more ship, so I'm not really adamant about the word order, but pretty-please-with-sugar-on-it can we use fewer with these count nouns? ;-)
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Re: Negotiate (Epic Oratory) & Negotiate (Weak Bargain)
I don't think Nx works well for a symbol. It ought to be something more superlative, like

N!

or an N with a star (not an asterisk, but a star). Just because we on an internet forum are limited in our character set, doesn't mean the graphic designers and printers of actual game components need to be.

Bill Martinson wrote:
Darth Thulhu wrote:
I would argue that Emotion Control doesn't change it (or a (Crooked Deal) or an inverse (Crooked Deal))

Whoops, I sorta glossed over Emotion Control with my one-word answer. You are correct that it cannot affect any negotiate cards; its text specifically limits it to targeting attack cards.

Yes, of course. I didn't mean to imply that the EC would actually change the card itself, only the outcome - from crapload of compensation to a very crooked deal situation.

Quote:
I can understand if one ship more doesn't feel as "natural" as one more ship,

AFAIK, "one more ship" is not grammatically incorrect.

Quote:
but pretty-please-with-sugar-on-it can we use fewer with these count nouns? ;-)

Agreed!
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
I don't think Nx works well for a symbol. It ought to be something more superlative, like

N!

If we go with this, you will have to put up with me pointing that (Epic Oratory) is inherently bangin' ...

Bill Martinson wrote:
I can understand if one ship more doesn't feel as "natural" as one more ship, but pretty-please-with-sugar-on-it can we use fewer with these count nouns? ;-)

I had been resisting any effort to revise or contradict the (Crooked Deal), so I was using it as a template for the (Weak Bargain) ... but since the argument behind the "N+" nomenclature is strong and we'd have to be revising the (Crooked Deal) anyway, we might as well tighten up a few loose bolts while we're under the hood.

I don't have the peeve about "fewer" myself, and the < symbol has helped "less than usual" win out in colloquial speech even when counting, but I don't have any attachment to "less" either, other than not needlessly revising an existing card. "Fewer" keeps Cosmic true to its roots as a vocabulary builder, so I'll adjust the evolving card designs in the original post accordingly.

 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
N!

Can't help but read that as "N factorial". I guess in a four-player game it's worth 24.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
AFAIK, "one more ship" is not grammatically incorrect.

Right, I'm not saying it's incorrect. I just find it less preferable due to splitting the more ... than and fewer ... than constructs. Interleaving the two phrases one ship and fewer than into "one fewer ship than" is probably not technically wrong, but it is a bit awkward.

Darth Thulhu wrote:
"Fewer" keeps Cosmic true to its roots as a vocabulary builder

Aw, man ... that's eloquently stated, but now you're making me homesick for edict and suasion.
 
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I like this idea for being something not touched upon before. I'm all for new powers, but it's nice to see a new concept.
 
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hadsil wrote:
I like this idea for being something not touched upon before. I'm all for new powers, but it's nice to see a new concept.

Then please help slake my unquenchable thirst for thumbs! I cannot get enough thumbs!

... which makes my posting here rather than in Chit-Chat somewhat counterproductive, obviously.

More seriously, I was prompted to do this after seeing Bill's Defend-Protect-Reflect cards and the Ship Zap in the Cosmorium. Adding new concepts to the cosmic deck obviously has to be done judiciously or it can wreck the entire game, but the flipside of that risk is that even a small change or new concept can be significant because it becomes a potential factor in every game. One single Ship Zap in the cosmic deck makes most people immediately stop lazily allying with one ship, for example, which makes inviting allies as offense more attractive, which shifts the whole tenor of the game slightly. (It also proved, to me, that the Macron just needs to be revised into something else, because it getting constantly and extremely hosed by single ship loss effects is closing off good design space.)

All that said, a single high-end negotiate that is always around should likewise enliven things and shift the play dynamic. I hope it provides a tool less useful to the already-rich than to the plucky underdogs.

Bill Martinson wrote:
... now you're making me homesick for edict and suasion

Suasion was clearly typo'd in the FFG edition. Completely worth correcting that auto-correct error with a fixed sheet.

I can live with the change-loss of edict, because it was never quite clear what an Edict card actually was, to me. The Artifact name-change and the Flares-are-Precursor-Relics fluff may be a bit pedestrian, but they are also simple, resonant, and not confusing.

I wouldn't mind seeing something nostalgic in the cosmic deck making use of the word edict, though. If they never print Mesmer, perhaps a one-shot multi-artifact.
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Darth Thulhu wrote:
One single Ship Zap in the cosmic deck makes most people immediately stop lazily allying with one ship, for example, which makes inviting allies as offense more attractive, which shifts the whole tenor of the game slightly.

Exactly. It also makes you want to leave two ships on each foreign colony, which tightens down general ship availability, which pushes the ship-or-card reward decision a bit more toward center (and gives a relative little boost to ship-conservators like Zombie, Horde, and Symbiote).

Darth Thulhu wrote:
(It also proved, to me, that the Macron just needs to be revised into something else, because it getting constantly and extremely hosed by single ship loss effects is closing off good design space.)

Not just Macron, but also the handful of other aliens whose names keep coming up in various issue discussions: Genius, Masochist, Pygmy, Symbiote, etc. (This trampling of design space is one major reason why I generally dislike alternate-win and can't-be-lost alien concepts: they are not forward-looking.)

Darth Thulhu wrote:
Suasion was clearly typo'd in the FFG edition. Completely worth correcting that auto-correct error with a fixed sheet.

It's unlikely this change was made by software. Microsoft applications have suasion in the dictionary, and Photoshop (where I tend to believe FFG does their layouts) doesn't do grammar correction. Regardless, I've never seen a grammar-checker that would make such a large change; adding three characters to the beginning of a word would be quite a precedent.

I'm confident that somebody at FFG looked at the word, didn't know what it meant or thought it looked funny, and "fixed" it. I've seen this very thing happen plenty of times, when something gets edited by people who have no business editing things.

Darth Thulhu wrote:
it was never quite clear what an Edict card actually was, to me. The Artifact name-change and the Flares-are-Precursor-Relics fluff may be a bit pedestrian, but they are also simple, resonant, and not confusing.

Interesting ... I actually see Edict as resonant and Artifact as not. An edict is a decree or command, and thus makes sense with all existing and future card concepts: I command you to evacuate the warp / stop using your power / lay down arms and negotiate / whatever. But an artifact is a physical object of pure technology (according to FFG's storyline); it makes sense with some of the effects, but not with others.

For example, I can command the use of a Force Field, and the Force Field can be generated by an artifact; works fine either way. But a Plague is not a tech object; it's either an event or an organism. Or what about Space Junk: the junk is what you pick up from the discard pile, so what "artifact" forced you to pick it up? (I guess the cards should have been renamed Self-Sustaining Plague Canister and Junk Detector and Power-Absorbing Capacitor and ...?)

Perhaps this is part of the reason FFG hasn't printed cards like Rebirth, Sanity, and Victory Boon? Those seem like some of the least resonant of all when trying to interpret them as tech objects.

The same kind of general-to-specific narrowing has happened with tokens becoming ships: now things like Ameoba, Anti-Matter, Macron, Virus, Rebirth, and others don't make story sense. Forcing open-ended tokens (generic "units" of the alien race or consciousness, in whatever form makes sense for that alien) into the very specific interpretation of spacecraft has weakened the storytelling, especially with the aliens who don't actually use spacecraft.

Even worse is that "pods" nonsense in the online game. How in the cosmos do you "launch a negotiate pod"? What's in it ... chocolates and a friendship bracelet? When nice, generic encounter cards get turned into tangible objects loaded into ordnance tubes, how the heck does Clone or Mutant make sense any more?

I miss the days when the game was more open-ended and left room for our imaginations to tell us stories that made sense, instead of trying to label everything as some object from a movie.

End of rant. Oh wait, except for this:

Darth Thulhu wrote:
If they never print Mesmer

Bite your tongue, sir!
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Darth Thulhu wrote:
(It also proved, to me, that the Macron just needs to be revised into something else, because it getting constantly and extremely hosed by single ship loss effects is closing off good design space.)

Not just Macron, but also the handful of other aliens whose names keep coming up in various issue discussions: Genius, Masochist, Pygmy, Symbiote, etc. (This trampling of design space is one major reason why I generally dislike alternate-win and can't-be-lost alien concepts: they are not forward-looking.)

I can make peace with some of the can't-be-stolen powers like Symbiote or Horde, but the alt-wins drive me nuts. They are frequently useless, and even decent ones like Tick-Tock get horrible things like Wild Sorcerer wrecking their player's day.

Yeah. If a schizoid deck rather than a classic Schizoid is what is to be done, I'd like the other alt-wins integrated into it and removed from being powers, with far more schizoid cards each including the relevant "Do Not Use With" details. One single, zany alt-win power with options all over the place. Comes up infrequently, but isn't likely to end up being a non-Power.

Bill Martinson wrote:
Darth Thulhu wrote:
Suasion was clearly typo'd in the FFG edition. Completely worth correcting that auto-correct error with a fixed sheet.

It's unlikely this change was made by software. Microsoft applications have suasion in the dictionary, and Photoshop (where I tend to believe FFG does their layouts) doesn't do grammar correction.

Sorry, that was desert-bleached, bone-dry sarcasm on my part. "Clearly" it was just a typo, because "clearly" no reasonable person would ever do that, and therefore there is no reason not to self-print a "typo-free" version of the sheet that would "clearly" be what FFG actually intended all along.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Bill Martinson wrote:
Darth Thulhu wrote:
it was never quite clear what an Edict card actually was, to me. The Artifact name-change and the Flares-are-Precursor-Relics fluff may be a bit pedestrian, but they are also simple, resonant, and not confusing.

Interesting ... I actually see Edict as resonant and Artifact as not. An edict is a decree or command, and thus makes sense with all existing and future card concepts: I command you to evacuate the warp / stop using your power / lay down arms and negotiate / whatever. But an artifact is a physical object of pure technology (according to FFG's storyline); it makes sense with some of the effects, but not with others.

Where that falls apart for me (and several people I taught the game to), is that I still don't get what allows some people to use those decrees or commands, discard them so the Vulch picks them up, and not reuse them at will.

Why does an edict let someone command someone or shut down a power, but then go away immediately thereafter? Aren't real edicts usually permanent laws enforced from that point onward? Why and how would you ever get such a one-shot command from someone in compensation? It just never gelled for me.

By contrast, artifacts as tangible things may be a bit pedestrian, and sometimes a bit of a thematic stretch (Space Junk needs to be Flotsam Detector or the like), but they don't leave me scratching my head about how they even work. How to you issue a command that causes a one-shot Plague? That Vulch then picks up? By contrast, I can completely buy some singular vat or vial filled with some nasty uber-bio-weapon, named after the stuff it carries, being used once and then scavenged by a resourceful scrounger.

Bill Martinson wrote:
The same kind of general-to-specific narrowing has happened with tokens becoming ships: now things like Ameoba, Anti-Matter, Macron, Virus, Rebirth, and others don't make story sense.

I haven't had any insurmountable problems there.

The Amoeboid ships are also capable of ooze-flowing through Creepy Space, the Anti-Matter ones are also made of anti-matter, the Macron is just a huge transport shell for the lone Macron inside, the Virus fill their ships near to bursting before just exploding all over the battlefield, the Zombies fly inside necromanticized unliving-space-creatures.

On this front, I think that restriction breeds creativity. What does this race's ship fleet really look like? What does that generic ship unit mean? I'm used to space-war games having one ship marker represent an entire flotilla, so I have no problem with the generic saucer-markers representing all kinds of different things for different species. What does a Mite fleet look like in comparison to a Macron fleet?

Works for me

Bill Martinson wrote:
Even worse is that "pods" nonsense in the online game. How in the cosmos do you "launch a negotiate pod"? What's in it ... chocolates and a friendship bracelet?

No argument there ... though I wouldn't mind getting a pod full of chocolates and friendship bracelets. I'd probably feel bad about nuking people who sent me one of those, and let them pick up some spare bioweapons after the dust settled. (Never played the online game, so never had to bothered by those thematic choices.)

Bill Martinson wrote:
Darth Thulhu wrote:
If they never print Mesmer

Bite your tongue, sir!

They might just go there! There's too many classics left and only one expansion to put them in. (Olotka says oldbies won't be in the fan expansion.)

If they do commit such an enormous oversight, I'd be willing to adapt an alien called the Edict, who has the power to command artifacts be reshaped into other artifacts, because she is just that amazing of an engineer.
 
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Darth Thulhu wrote:
Where that falls apart for me (and several people I taught the game to), is that I still don't get what allows some people to use those decrees or commands...

Okay, I get that. But isn't looking for thematic justifications on the randomness of the deck always going to be a blind alley? If we need a storyline for what allows one alien to issue an edict that the other aliens can't issue right now, then don't we also need a rationale for why one alien can mount a massive attack, another can put up a feeble attack at best, while a third can only negotiate even though he doesn't want to?

I will grant your point on Vulch seemingly working better with the tangible-object story. On the other hand, Mesmer argues back the other way: I can't use hypnosis to make my toaster brew coffee, but I can certainly mesmerize you to think General Order 7 was really General Order 12. I can make a case for Vulch stealing the credentials, resources or whatever he needs to repeat an order ... but trying to make Mesmer brainwash electronic devices is a larger stretch.

Anyway, this is all moot. It is what it is, nobody got hurt, and the game still rocks on ice. But where the heck are my suction discs?

Darth Thulhu wrote:
There's too many classics left and only one expansion to put them in. (Olotka says oldbies won't be in the fan expansion.)

And when the dust has settled, I think we're going to look back on all the boring fillers like Locust and General and Winner and wish they had put the effort into giving us more of the classics.

On the other hand, it may be a blessing in disguise that they haven't attempted some of the more complex ones. Given the number of conversions that have been botched in one way or another — which seems to have reached a new high in Alliance — I have to assume that most of the remaining classics would be similarly mishandled. In the end we may actually be better off working those powers ourselves here as a community and calling on Photoshop.
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Okay, back on topic.

I appreciate the desire to have each Negotiate have its own pip representation, and wish it was possible myself. But I think we aren't being forward-looking enough. If there are only ever going to be three or five special negotiates, then plus/minus/something/something/something might be fine. But that's closing off design space.

Suppose (and this is just an example) FFG or the player community comes up with an interesting variant where you pull 5 Negotiates out of the deck and replace them with 5 others drawn at random from a pool of 15 or 20 different ones, each with its own effect. (I think there was a thread about this, actually.) Anyway, we aren't vetting this specific idea, just using it as an example in the general design space.

In this case are we going to go through all the available punctuation marks and try to assign one to each effect? That would ultimately be subjective, and frankly ugly.

So let's talk about why we want something different in the pip. Isn't the main benefit to prevent a player from accidentally playing a special negotiate while thinking it is a regular one? If so, don't they just need a signal that says "hey! you should read the text on this one"?

In which case, it might be that a reasonable compromise is to choose one symbol, or font treatment, or color difference, or whatever, and apply it to all special negotiates. Seems like that would be entirely doable, and in an elegant way.

I really don't want to see carets and percent signs and hashes on negotiate cards.
 
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