Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
28 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Cosmic Encounter» Forums » Rules

Subject: Qs - The Claw (or Locust) v. Pygmy; The Claw v. Poison rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
oliver !
msg tools
I've been wondering if there are circumstances under which planets retain their properties (that of the host alien) after they are stolen by The Claw. Since I might be over-thinking this, I'd love to hear others' thoughts about the following questions.

1. If The Claw steals one of Pygmy's planets (or if Locust devours one of Pygmy's planets), does the planet still count as only half of foreign colony for The Claw (or others establishing a colony there in The Claw's system) or Locust?

Pygmy's text states "Each of your home worlds counts as only half of a foreign colony for all other players (rounding down)." That text is broad (as it isn't limited to those establishing colonies in Pygmy's system) and it makes sense to me for The Claw and Locust to be effected by Pygmy's limitation to same degree as those establishing colonies on Pygmy's planets. However, Pygmy's effect is limited to "home worlds" (are they still Pygmy's "home worlds" after they have been stolen or devoured?) and the Locust and The Claw sheets state that each planet devoured or stolen counts as foreign colony towards the win. Does Pygmy trump?

2. If The Claw steals one of Pygmy's planets, does that planet retain a limitation of four ships maximum?

Thematically, it makes sense to me that a tiny planet would remain tiny after being stolen. Why should more ships be able to land on the planet just because it is in The Claw's possession? However, that seems to amount to Pygmy's power being partially copied by The Claw, which may or may not run afoul the following text for Pygmy: "Your power cannot be zapped, lost, stolen, or copied through any means."

3. Assuming folks agree that Pygmy's ship limitation remains on a planet even after it has been stolen by The Claw, is that outcome distinguishable from The Claw stealing one of Poison's planets? Specifically, do Poison's planets become non-poisonous after being stolen by The Claw and, if so, why then would Pygmy's planets not become non-pygmy after being stolen by The Claw?

Like Pygmy, one of Poison's powers, as well as Xenophile's, is based on a "home system" reference. Poison's sheet states "Each foreign colony in your home system loses one ship to the warp." Once Poison's planet (or Xenophile's) is stolen by The Claw and thus no longer in the "home system," Poison's power (or Xenophile's) presumably no longer applies to the planet. Why a different outcome with Pygmy's "home system" power? Is it (a) simply that the intent of Pygmy is linkage of its power effects to its planets or (b) that the distinction comes from contrasting Pygmy's text from Poison's?

Possibly relevant:
Poison's power can be lost, copied, etc., like with most powers.
Xenophile's power cannot be lost due to too few home colonies, but otherwise can be stolen, copied, etc.
Pygmy's power cannot be lost, stolen, copied, or zapped under any circumstances.



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
revilos wrote:
I've been wondering if there are circumstances under which planets retain their properties (that of the host alien) after they are stolen by The Claw.

Most of these will probably be resolved by noting that The Claw says "move it to your home system, sending any ships on it to the warp, and making it a new home planet for yourself". The moment it becomes a a home planet for The Claw, it ceases to be a home planet for anyone else. Similarly, Locust removes the planet from the game, so it no longer belongs to its original owner but is just a marker now.

revilos wrote:
1. If The Claw steals one of Pygmy's planets (or if Locust devours one of Pygmy's planets), does the planet still count as only half of foreign colony for The Claw (or others establishing a colony there in The Claw's system) or Locust?

No, it is just a normal, full-size planet now. (Doesn't make any story sense, I know, but that's Pygmy's doing, not the fault of The Claw or Locust.)

revilos wrote:
2. If The Claw steals one of Pygmy's planets, does that planet retain a limitation of four ships maximum?

No; it's no longer a home planet for Pygmy. The Claw used his big giant pincers to put all the pieces back together.

revilos wrote:
Thematically, it makes sense to me that a tiny planet would remain tiny after being stolen.

Storywise you are correct, but Pygmy was not written to take that into account.

revilos wrote:
3. Assuming folks agree that Pygmy's ship limitation remains on a planet even after it has been stolen by The Claw, is that outcome distinguishable from The Claw stealing one of Poison's planets?

I wouldn't start down this Path of Chaos; it will only end in inconsistency.

revilos wrote:
Specifically, do Poison's planets become non-poisonous after being stolen by The Claw and, if so, why then would Pygmy's planets not become non-pygmy after being stolen by The Claw?

Yes, same answer: they are no longer planets "in your home system" for Poison. This one works fine from a story perspective, since it's Poison's entire system that's polluted, not the worlds. Whatever you remove from the toxic environment (even a planet) can air out and become safe again.

revilos wrote:
Pygmy's power cannot be lost, stolen, copied, or zapped under any circumstances.

Yes, but his planets can be lost.

I don't think anyone would object to houseruling this, but officially Pygmy's planets can be stolen and they magically transform to full size.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
By the game rules, "your home planets" are the planets currently in your system, regardless of whether they started the game there. The planets in the Pygmy's system are the ones that have the four-ship limit and only provide half a foreign colony, regardless of where they began the game. Similarly, the Poison only wears down ships in its own system. This is how "home system" is defined.

This means that planets will spontaneously "change size" when an effect like The Claw moves them in or out of the Pygmy's system. It also creates a leak where Wild Leviathan can be used to insert a planet with more than four ships into the Pygmy's system - but since the ships are all already there, there's no way of deciding which ships should be ejected to reduce the planet to the four-ship limit.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
FWIW, I've experimented with recasting Pygmy to eliminate the magic resizing, give it a use clause so it's zappable and losable, fix the Wild Leviathan problem that Roberta mentioned (and I had forgotten about), plus the weird storyline with the Genesis Planet), etc. It goes something like this:
Game Setup: Choose one unused player color and place the five extra planets (four in a four-planet game) in your system. The ten (or eight) planets you begin with are “pygmy planets” for the entire game, even if this sheet is lost. Place two of your ships on each. There can never be more than four ships (including yours) on any pygmy planet. Use the timing rule to determine landing order; excess ships return to other colonies. Every colony on a pygmy planet counts as only half a colony toward victory (round down each player’s total). Do not use this power unless you have an unused player color.

You have the power of Half. When counting your colonies, use this power to treat your colonies on pygmy planets as full colonies.


This is a work in progress. It still has at least one bug in that when Pygmy gets down to five home planets, I think they would count as 2.5 home planets and he would immediately lose his power before getting to use it to count them as 5 and keep his power.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
oliver !
msg tools
Much thanks Bill and Roberta! The Claw v. Pygmy story outcome is pretty ganky, but at least I'm now off the Path of Chaos.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
Bill Martinson wrote:
It still has at least one bug in that when Pygmy gets down to five home planets, I think they would count as 2.5 home planets and he would immediately lose his power before getting to use it to count them as 5 and keep his power.

Nope, that's actually not a problem. By your wording, they only count as half-planets toward victory. Home colony counts aren't toward victory.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oh yeah, I forgot that ... so I wonder what the bug was. I'm pretty sure there's still something wrong with my text, I just can't remember what.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rasek Karanhini
msg tools
In my humble opinion, the bug is in the "use" clause. Pigmy does not need to perform that "use this power to treat your colonies on pigmy planets as full colonies".

Pigmy is already counting his colonies on pigmy planets as full colonies, since halving happens only toward victory.

I presume that the "this power cannot be copied, stolen..." remains in effect, right?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
The bug is that it's still a reverse hex masquerading as an alien power.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rasek wrote:
In my humble opinion, the bug is in the "use" clause. Pigmy does not need to perform that "use this power to treat your colonies on pigmy planets as full colonies".

The use clause would apply after something like The Claw or Wild Leviathan moved a pygmy planet to another system; in this case, revised Pygmy would use his power to count his ships on that planet as a full foreign colony toward victory.

Rasek wrote:
I presume that the "this power cannot be copied, stolen..." remains in effect, right?

No, my goal is to get rid of that. I detest those brute-force patches on Horde, Pygmy, and Symbiote. Cosmic Zap is the quintessential action card in Cosmic Encounter; every alien should be zappable. A power that has to be patched so you can't zap it is an unfinished design in my opinion.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
Bill Martinson wrote:
every alien should be zappable

This is probably your problem with your revised Pygmy, then - unless one specific alien or one specific flare (and in most games, neither of these will be present) steals a planet from its system, it's unzappable. The zappability you've added is little more than a formality.

In other words, the bug is that it's a reverse hex masquerading as an alien power.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rasek Karanhini
msg tools
We can also say that unless one specific alien or one specific flare steals a planet from his system, Pigmy does not get any benefit from "using" his power.

The window for zapping it is a very narrow one.

However, anyone that steals or copy his power in the right moment could potentially get an instant win.

In mi opinion, there is no much fun in having a power which I hardly will be able to use, but might be used against me to finish the game.





 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Let me clarify. I wasn't trying to say that every power should get zapped in every game; it would be more accurate to say that I feel a brute-force patch which makes a power absolutely unzappable is both inelegant and unnecessary.

Some powers are technically zappable but rarely zapped, such as Philanthropist and Zombie. That's fine, and I'd feel better about a Pygmy or Symbiote that was "technically zappable but rarely zapped" than the as-printed versions of those powers, which I don't really respect because their designs just seem to punt: "Well, this'll be a real mess if it gets zapped, so we'll just rip out the use keyword, say you can't zap it, and incorrectly make all the timing icons orange for extra inconsistency. Done!"

Having said all that, I'm not married to my current attempt and would welcome other ideas. There seem to be two basic questions here:

1. Can Pygmy be recast to solve the story problems and eliminate the patch?
2. Would the result be worth it?

Roberta, I suspect you've already decided "no" on #2, but I need to explore #1 before I can answer #2 for myself.

I do have to admit, though, that you're absolutely right about Pygmy being a reverse hex (or what I now call a Special System) trying to act as an alien power. In fact, in the Special Systems variant I've been working on, I had to add a special rule just for Pygmy:

* If a player's initial alien power and special system are incompatible with each other (for example, Symbiote and the Ringworld), that player may choose to draw either a new alien at random or a new special system at random. If the player's initial alien power is incompatible with all available special systems (such as Pygmy), that player also has the option to keep the alien and play with a normal planet system, as modified by the alien power (if applicable).

That was a few months ago, though, and now I'm thinking I'll eliminate that and just say that when using the special systems you leave Pygmy in the box (since I will probably have something like an Asteroids system that does the same thing).

The saddest thing about Pygmy for me is this: One of the reasons people cite for not wanting reverse hexes in FFG is that some of the original ones overlapped with alien powers (e.g., Gas Giant/Amoeba and Pulsar/Anti-Matter). So here we have an interesting new idea that's a perfect candidate for a great reverse hex, but it gets "used up" as an alien power (and an awkward one at that).

This suggests once again that FFG does not plan ahead very well. In game design, protecting the future of your product line generally means maintaining a road map of possible future expansion concepts and setting aside the ideas that best fit those concepts so you have the material you need when you get there.

Maybe FFG has already decided there will never be special systems. Jack says they have not been ruled out, but this information makes the decision to "use up" a good special system on an alien power even more confusing. Who knows ... maybe FFG is planning ahead and still considering special systems, but they just aren't very good at assessing which categories things best fit into. Or maybe they needed another alien in a hurry to meet a deadline.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
Here, though, Pygmy still isn't really "technically zappable but rarely zapped". With Zombie, you could zap Zombie in any game containing Zombie if you wanted to; you usually just don't want to. With this version of Pygmy, though, you usually can't zap the Pygmy at all - in most games, it's just not possible because the use clause cannot possibly trigger unless one of a handful of other alien powers is present. Nobody cares about Zombie or Philanthropist enough to zap them in most cases (though if you're the defense and about to draw a new hand, it might be worth stopping the Philanthropist from handing you a losing card), but they still could be zapped and still will be hit by Cosmic Nebula. Pygmy, in most games, is literally unzappable.

Here's something annoying about your revised Pygmy, though: power-trading effects. If Pygmy starts out with Wild Sorcerer in hand, then they get to spend the game with 2 powers and their victim gets to spend the game with 0. Not fun.

If they needed another alien in a hurry to meet a deadline, they should have just grabbed Aristocrat.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
salty53 wrote:
Here, though, Pygmy still isn't really "technically zappable but rarely zapped".

Okay, uncle. I don't care enough about the concept to argue shades of hypothetical zappability; I just wanted the patch gone. Anyway, let's call this proposal dead and move on.

salty53 wrote:
Here's something annoying about your revised Pygmy, though: power-trading effects. If Pygmy starts out with Wild Sorcerer in hand, then they get to spend the game with 2 powers and their victim gets to spend the game with 0. Not fun.

Hmm, yeah, I missed that, and it's a whopper. This by itself pretty much kills the proposed implementation.

Okay, who has another proposal for fixing the story and killing the patch?

salty53 wrote:
If they needed another alien in a hurry to meet a deadline, they should have just grabbed Aristocrat.

I agree, but with the reservation that Aristocrat is a non-trivial conversion and I fear it will get messed up.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
Bill Martinson wrote:
I agree, but with the reservation that Aristocrat is a non-trivial conversion and I fear it will get messed up.

How is Aristocrat a nontrivial conversion? Take the original power and slap a use on the part where it grabs Flares. You'd have to actively go out of your way to screw it u- okay, fair point.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Humor aside (which I quite enjoyed, by the way), I think four tweaks are appropriate for an FFG version of Aristocrat:

1. Put a time limit on looking through the deck at game start (this is the biggest complaint about the original version, and easily solved by adding "for one minute").

2. Clarify the flare-drawing part by appending "and add it to your hand". In FFG, drawing flares from the flare deck pretty much always causes you to pull an alien power sheet (game start, Chrysalis, Wild Chrysalis), so it should be clarified that Aristocrat is an exception to this FFG standard practice.

3. Make the flare-drawing part optional. I've never seen the benefit in mandating something that slows the game down. If Aristocrat doesn't want a fresh flare this encounter, why make him get one? And why make it difficult for the other players to steal some of those cool flares by cycling them back out of the game as quickly as possible? Making it optional gives everyone more options.

4. Make the flare-discarding part contingent upon holding a flare that doesn't match anybody's alien power. Watching your Super flare get removed from the game by my Aristocrat is an unnecessarily negative event that doesn't enhance the gameplay experience for you, and isn't necessary for me to enjoy my power.

With those thoughts in mind, my version looks like this:
Game Setup: After the other players are dealt their initial hands, you have one minute to look through the deck. Take any eight cards (except the Aristocrat flare) to form your initial hand, and then re-shuffle the deck.

You have the power of Privilege. As a main player, before encounter cards are selected, you may use this power to draw a flare at random from the unused flare deck and add it to your hand. After you have drawn your first unused flare in this manner, whenever you use this power again, if you have any flares in your hand that do not match any players’ alien powers, you must first choose one of those unmatched flares and remove it from the game. The flares you remove from the game cannot be drawn again.

I think, though, that this may need to be updated for that whole "are you still the alien if you've lost your power?" business.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
If you want to make it as simple as possible, you could always just have the Flares be discarded instead of removed from the game. Sure, the deck is a bit more Flare-dense next run through, but it sorts out all of the "Are you still the alien?" problems, keeps all the Supers in the game, and maintains the "after your first extra Flare, you need to lose a Flare to grab a Flare" intent of the original.

I do see what you mean about it being less of a straightforward copy-paste than I'd imagined.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
salty53 wrote:
If you want to make it as simple as possible, you could always just have the Flares be discarded instead of removed from the game. Sure, the deck is a bit more Flare-dense next run through, but it sorts out all of the "Are you still the alien?" problems, keeps all the Supers in the game, and maintains the "after your first extra Flare, you need to lose a Flare to grab a Flare" intent of the original.

Not a bad idea ... I'll have to think about that. It would make it a really flare-dense game, but that could be part of the power's charm: once in a blue moon, we play with 30 flares, yee-ha! The potential downside is that it could start to be a bit more of a boon to your opponents, since they would naturally have more per-capita flares as well, but wouldn't have the discarding requirement.

salty53 wrote:
I do see what you mean about it being less of a straightforward copy-paste than I'd imagined.

Unlike the more "obviously complex" ports, with this one the danger lies in the subtlety. I doubt FFG will really think about any of the points I raised.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberta Yang
msg tools
Bill Martinson wrote:
The potential downside is that it could start to be a bit more of a boon to your opponents, since they would naturally have more per-capita flares as well, but wouldn't have the discarding requirement.

In future runs through the deck, everyone gets extra Flares that they don't need to discard. The difference is that you personally get even more Flares at the cost of discarding the bad ones - but now that there are more Flares in your hand, you're more likely to have something that can be discarded painlessly.

Aristocrat certainly comes out of it no worse than anyone else in future runs, and at minimum is still doing marginally better.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rasek Karanhini
msg tools
This would lead to a very flare-dense game. It seems more logical and easier to discard unmatched flares, stating that a "unmatched" flare is the one that does not match any of the aliens in the table game (no matter if face-up or face-down).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Just a Bill
United States
Norfolk
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The face-down thing would be tricky with hidden powers, since Aritstocrat couldn't know for certain which flares were candidates. This could be patched with something like "if you have any flares in your hand that do not match any alien powers you know to be in the game (even if currently lost)...", but I feel like I'm starting to overcomplicate it now.

Another option:
After you have drawn your first unused flare in this manner, whenever you use this power again, you must first choose a flare from your hand (if you have one) and remove it from the game. If that flare matches an alien power in the game, even one that is face down, the player controlling that power may require you to instead discard the flare or shuffle it into the deck (that player's choice). The flares you remove from the game cannot be drawn again.


Great discussion! This shows why I was concerned that Aristocrat has nuances that FFG might overlook.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Marvosh
United States
Boise
ID
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't think this would have as much effect on the deck as you guys think it would.

Bill mentioned 30 flares earlier. You would probably notice it at that point, but that's only after Aristocrat's been a main player in 20 encounters. We rarely get to that number of encounters in our games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Pseudonym
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bill Martinson wrote:
The face-down thing would be tricky with hidden powers, since Aritstocrat couldn't know for certain which flares were candidates. This could be patched with something like "if you have any flares in your hand that do not match any alien powers you know to be in the game (even if currently lost)...", but I feel like I'm starting to overcomplicate it now.

Another option:
After you have drawn your first unused flare in this manner, whenever you use this power again, you must first choose a flare from your hand (if you have one) and remove it from the game. If that flare matches an alien power in the game, even one that is face down, the player controlling that power may require you to instead discard the flare or shuffle it into the deck (that player's choice). The flares you remove from the game cannot be drawn again.


Great discussion! This shows why I was concerned that Aristocrat has nuances that FFG might overlook.


Maybe instead of removing the flare from the game you just put it on your sheet. And have some way for other players to grab or discard their super flares from the Aristocrat's sheet.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rasek Karanhini
msg tools
Bill Martinson wrote:

Another option:
After you have drawn your first unused flare in this manner, whenever you use this power again, you must first choose a flare from your hand (if you have one) and remove it from the game. If that flare matches an alien power in the game, even one that is face down, the player controlling that power may require you to instead discard the flare or shuffle it into the deck (that player's choice). The flares you remove from the game cannot be drawn again.



Perfect. I like it a lot.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.