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Subject: First play through rules questions rss

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Allen Michaels
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Had our first play through tonight. All green races, last game used the flares.

Flares made things a bit hairy. The players couldn't handle that you kept the flare...thought it was too powerful. Yes, we were playing 1 flare per encounter.

So, here is where it broke down a bit.

We had Vulch in the game. I played a Plague in regroup phase on the Vulch player. After it's resolved, he picks up the Artifact, and immediately plays it on me. This is valid, yes?

Near the end of the game, Reserve was battling another player. The reveal made it close, and the other player played reinforcement cards (3 at once). Reserve wanted to use his power, so I said let's do this one at a time. So, that went down...and right at end of that, I said 'Well, that was great - but I'm Cosmic Zapping Reserve's power'.

Was I too late? Or does this go to a timing rule?

Reserve has two 'use' powers. I only can zap one of them, correct? He still can't use his Super flare if one of two is zapped, correct?

Subsequent to this, Vulch played a Card Zap, which I card Zapped. He then took my Card and Cosmic Zap. I know he couldn't have used that Card zap to continue to chain...but he can use either of those cards against something else in phase, yes?

I assume Vulch is a menace in a 6-player game! In the above case, we ruled the Cosmic Zap was still valid, zapped one of the Reserve powers...and rolled the reinforcements back, and moved forward again. But Reserve still had the other part of the power available, and still won.


Similarly with timing, Sorcerer vs. Cosmic Zap. Do i need to Zap him before he uses his power, or if he says 'Swap'...am I still allowed to Zap it? Or is it the timing rule, and if he's offense, he can't be zapped?


Sorry for the questions...and bad structure, but it's late and I wanted to get my thoughts down while I remember. Thanks!


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Dom Rougier
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I don't have the card in front of me to check the timing on Plague, so I'll leave that one for others.

In the case of Sorcerer vs Cosmic Zap (or indeed any Power vs Zap), you wait until he declares the use of his power (i.e. "Swap"), but the Zap will prevent the power from triggering. Equally, a Card Zap could then cancel that Cosmic Zap (so that the "Swap" would take place).

The actual timing rules are used when there are two abilities which would otherwise activate at the same time. Situations where you need to use them are thankfully quite rare, and you wouldn't need them for this situation.
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Nathan
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al_fredo wrote:
We had Vulch in the game. I played a Plague in regroup phase on the Vulch player. After it's resolved, he picks up the Artifact, and immediately plays it on me. This is valid, yes?


Yes, Vulch can be very annoying this way. I recently played against Vulch and used a Force Field on the other side, Vulch then used it on my side also.

al_fredo wrote:
Near the end of the game, Reserve was battling another player. The reveal made it close, and the other player played reinforcement cards (3 at once). Reserve wanted to use his power, so I said let's do this one at a time. So, that went down...and right at end of that, I said 'Well, that was great - but I'm Cosmic Zapping Reserve's power'.

Was I too late? Or does this go to a timing rule?


Cosmic Zap: Stops Powers. Play at any time to cancel one use of any alien's power, including your own. That power may not be used again during the current encounter.

You can cancel one use of a power immediately retrospectively, but by waiting you lost the opportunity to zap the first use of the power. From that point onwards during the encounter that alien does not have a power.

al_fredo wrote:
Reserve has two 'use' powers. I only can zap one of them, correct? He still can't use his Super flare if one of two is zapped, correct?


You can only zap on one specific use of the power, as explained above - but from then on out the player is powerless for the whole encounter. So you cannot wait for 2 uses, then zap both, but you can zap the most recent use straight away and then no more powers at all for that player.

And correct, super flare becomes wild following cosmic zap.

al_fredo wrote:
Subsequent to this, Vulch played a Card Zap, which I card Zapped. He then took my Card and Cosmic Zap. I know he couldn't have used that Card zap to continue to chain...but he can use either of those cards against something else in phase, yes?


Yes, correct.

al_fredo wrote:
I assume Vulch is a menace in a 6-player game! In the above case, we ruled the Cosmic Zap was still valid, zapped one of the Reserve powers...and rolled the reinforcements back, and moved forward again. But Reserve still had the other part of the power available, and still won.


Reserve did not have power for this encounter anymore, so technically should not have won. Oops!

al_fredo wrote:
Similarly with timing, Sorcerer vs. Cosmic Zap. Do i need to Zap him before he uses his power, or if he says 'Swap'...am I still allowed to Zap it? Or is it the timing rule, and if he's offense, he can't be zapped?


You can zap beforehand, or when he tries to use it go "actually I will zap that!"

al_fredo wrote:
Sorry for the questions...and bad structure, but it's late and I wanted to get my thoughts down while I remember. Thanks!


Best to ask, so those sneaky Reserves will not win by mistake next time!
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Just a Bill
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I think I agree with all the answers except this:

Lobotnik wrote:
al_fredo wrote:
Do i need to Zap him before he uses his power, or if he says 'Swap'...am I still allowed to Zap it?
You can zap beforehand, or when he tries to use it go "actually I will zap that!"

Zaps are always played in response to the declaration of an action of the appropriate type; you don't zap "pre-emptively."
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Nathan
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Bill Martinson wrote:
I think I agree with all the answers except this:

Lobotnik wrote:
al_fredo wrote:
Do i need to Zap him before he uses his power, or if he says 'Swap'...am I still allowed to Zap it?
You can zap beforehand, or when he tries to use it go "actually I will zap that!"

Zaps are always played in response to the declaration of an action of the appropriate type; you don't zap "pre-emptively."


True, on reading the card a little more carefully that makes sense. Also, in practice even if it were possible you would always hold onto it to catch them out, as they may do other stuff prior to the zapping.
 
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Jeff Thornsen
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usually it goes a lot like:

"Will you use your power?"
"Yes"
"Cosmic Zap!"

This way if the player says No, you don't have to reveal to everyone that you hold a cosmic zap. Although sometimes a player will say "If you try to use your power I'll zap it" - possibly as an empty threat.

With something like the Reserve, you have to Zap when they say they are using their power, but before they actually play any cards from their hand. Same with stuff like the Chosen - you have to immediately zap it before you see what the outcome of resolving the power will be.
 
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Jordan S.
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Offering additional clarification:

al_fredo wrote:
...Near the end of the game, Reserve was battling another player. The reveal made it close, and the other player played reinforcement cards (3 at once). Reserve wanted to use his power, so I said let's do this one at a time. So, that went down...and right at end of that, I said 'Well, that was great - but I'm Cosmic Zapping Reserve's power'.

Was I too late? Or does this go to a timing rule?

Based on your description, it sounds like it was played correctly but this can be slightly tricky based on how it actually played out. Reserve can use his power to play "one or more" attack cards as reinforcements but there is also no limit to the number of times he may use his power in an encounter. Reserve can use his power to play one card, then use it again to play another immediately after that. Each time Reserve announces the decision to use his power, you have the opportunity to Zap it. This cancels the current use and prohibits him from any further use effects his power has for the rest of the encounter but doesn't undo previous uses. Thus, if you didn't Zap his first card and he decides to use his power again to play another, you can't retroactively Zap the first card as well, as your opportunity has passed.

In any case, the timing rule needn't be involved as you are playing Zap as a response to Reserve's power. They are not simultaneous effects.

al_fredo wrote:
Reserve has two 'use' powers. I only can zap one of them, correct? He still can't use his Super flare if one of two is zapped, correct?

To clarify, the term "power" refers to the entirety of the Alien Sheet, not to the specific use clauses on it. When you Zap a "power", you are Zapping the whole alien, not just a single one of his use effects.

When an Alien Power is Zapped, the player can no longer access any use functions of that alien for the rest of the encounter. Effects that do not require use still operate as normal. While a power is Zapped, the player only uses the Wild Flare and cannot access his Super.

al_fredo wrote:
I assume Vulch is a menace in a 6-player game! In the above case, we ruled the Cosmic Zap was still valid, zapped one of the Reserve powers...and rolled the reinforcements back, and moved forward again. But Reserve still had the other part of the power available, and still won.

Once Zapped, Reserve should have lost all of his use effects for the rest of the encounter, not just the one that was cancelled.
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Nathan
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Webhead123 wrote:
To clarify, the term "power" refers to the entirety of the Alien Sheet, not to the specific use clauses on it. When you Zap a "power", you are Zapping the whole alien, not just a single one of his use effects.

When an Alien Power is Zapped, the player can no longer access any use functions of that alien for the rest of the encounter. Effects that do not require use still operate as normal. While a power is Zapped, the player only uses the Wild Flare and cannot access his Super.

al_fredo wrote:
I assume Vulch is a menace in a 6-player game! In the above case, we ruled the Cosmic Zap was still valid, zapped one of the Reserve powers...and rolled the reinforcements back, and moved forward again. But Reserve still had the other part of the power available, and still won.

Once Zapped, Reserve should have lost all of his use effects for the rest of the encounter, not just the one that was cancelled.


Exactly, cosmic zap has the same effect as someone losing their alien power when they lose 3 home colonies and turn over the card, but just for 1 encounter. And they do not turn over the card either.
 
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Michael Marvosh
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For what it's worth, this is what I think.

1. Reserve says, "I'm using my power."
2. Decision to play or not play Cosmic Zap must be made now.
3. Reserve puts down some cards as reinforcements.

I think you do not get to see what cards the Reserve player is going to play before you decide to zap him. If he goes ahead and throws them down before you get a chance to zap him, then I say you still get to zap him and he has to take them back, because he fast played and that's no fun.
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Eric Matthews
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Drinkdrawers wrote:
For what it's worth, this is what I think.

1. Reserve says, "I'm using my power."
2. Decision to play or not play Cosmic Zap must be made now.
3. Reserve puts down some cards as reinforcements.

I think you do not get to see what cards the Reserve player is going to play before you decide to zap him. If he goes ahead and throws them down before you get a chance to zap him, then I say you still get to zap him and he has to take them back, because he fast played and that's no fun.


This is the correct way to play, technically. However in practice many people dont declare, pause, then reveal with this kind of power. And I feel they lose that opportunity to keep thier card hidden if they jump the gun. Cosmic is not a race to see who can play thier power before they are zapped and when people declare thier power while throwing a card down, which happens a lot in a tense game, a zap should really be allowed unless its a first time player. I have been as guilty as anyone in getting too excited.

Whenever someone starts to jump the gun at our table you will often hear a chorus of "waaaaait..." from the people with cards or powers that might change things.
 
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Mil Myman
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Webhead123 wrote:
Once Zapped, Reserve should have lost all of his use effects for the rest of the encounter, not just the one that was cancelled.

Not just the use effects, but *all* of the effects are lost if you are zapped (though this distinction doesn't matter in the case of Reserve).
 
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Allen Michaels
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Webhead123 wrote:
Once Zapped, Reserve should have lost all of his use effects for the rest of the encounter, not just the one that was cancelled.

Not just the use effects, but *all* of the effects are lost if you are zapped (though this distinction doesn't matter in the case of Reserve).


Fury wrote:
Avenges Lost Ships (G) You have the power of Vengeance. Each time one or more of your ships are lost to the warp or removed from the game, use this power to place one token on this sheet for each of those ships.

As a main player or ally, after encounter cards are selected but before they are revealed, you may discard any number of tokens from this sheet to add or subtract 3 from your side's total for each token you discard.


So in the case of Fury...if Fury is Zapped, they are NOT allowed to discard their tokens, even though it's not a power 'use'?

I.E...is this correct?
"When an Alien Power is Zapped, the player can no longer access any 'use' functions of that alien for the rest of the encounter. Effects that do not require use still operate as normal. "
 
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Greg Filpus
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al_fredo wrote:
Fury wrote:
Avenges Lost Ships (G) You have the power of Vengeance. Each time one or more of your ships are lost to the warp or removed from the game, use this power to place one token on this sheet for each of those ships.

As a main player or ally, after encounter cards are selected but before they are revealed, you may discard any number of tokens from this sheet to add or subtract 3 from your side's total for each token you discard.


So in the case of Fury...if Fury is Zapped, they are NOT allowed to discard their tokens, even though it's not a power 'use'?


Almost- if Fury had been Zapped previously in the encounter, she wouldn't be able to discard tokens. (For instance, if someone played Plague on Fury and she was zapped as she tried to take the tokens for it.) It's not legal to Zap Fury to interrupt her trying to discard tokens, or before playing encounter cards if you think she's going to try.

Quote:
I.E...is this correct?
"When an Alien Power is Zapped, the player can no longer access any 'use' functions of that alien for the rest of the encounter. Effects that do not require use still operate as normal. "


That isn't correct- you seem to be saying different things in your two paragraphs.

(Persnickety exceptions: Warrior's token gain, in addition to not being a use, explicitly triggers after the encounter ends, so a previous Zap would no longer apply. Consensus on the forums seems to be that effects that "clean up" something that already happened, like Merchant's hired ships turning back into cards or Leviathan's worldship returning to his system, still happen even if the relevant power is Zapped or lost in the interim.)
 
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Allen Michaels
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Right...my second quote was further up the page.

So, you can't Zap Fury as she is changing in tokens (because she's not 'using' her power). I think that's pretty clear.

But you're saying that if she was Zapped somehow before - she can't use her tokens, even though she's not 'using' her power?

From the rules:
Quote:
Zapping Powers
Occasionally, a game effect (such as the “Cosmic Zap” artifact)
is said to zap a power. This can only happen when the power is
used as described on its alien sheet. The effect of that power’s
use is then canceled and that power may not be used again
until the end of the current encounter.

Some parts of some alien powers (such as
Warrior’s ability to add tokens to its alien
sheet and Zombie’s ability to free ships as
part of a deal) do not require the power
to be used in order to occur, and
therefore cannot be zapped.


I know it says 'some'...and mentions the Warrior exception. However, doesn't Fury's token discard also qualify? It does not require the power to be used.
 
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Jordan S.
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Drinkdrawers wrote:
...I think you do not get to see what cards the Reserve player is going to play before you decide to zap him. If he goes ahead and throws them down before you get a chance to zap him, then I say you still get to zap him and he has to take them back, because he fast played and that's no fun.

Correct and I agree. Ideally, the player should declare the intent to use their power first, thus giving the opportunity for other players to respond if they wish. As such, the power *should* be zapped before Reserve plays the card(s) from his hand but, again, sometimes play gets a little hasty in the heat of battle. That's Reserve's loss for tipping his hand too early!

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Not just the use effects, but *all* of the effects are lost if you are zapped (though this distinction doesn't matter in the case of Reserve).

I'm not entirely sure that's correct but I invite being proven wrong if I am.

The FFG edition tried to be fairly explicit about how and when Cosmic Zap works. From page 12 of the book under "Zapping Powers", it reads:

Quote:
Occasionally, a game effect (such as the "Cosmic Zap" artifact) is said to zap a power. This can only happen when the power is used as described on its alien sheet. The effect of that power’s use is then canceled and that power may not be used again until the end of the current encounter.

Some parts of some alien powers (such as Warrior’s ability to add tokens to its alien sheet and Zombie’s ability to free ships as part of a deal) do not require the power to be used in order to occur, and therefore cannot be zapped.

Bill also offers some support in the Cosmodex under "alien powers" by saying:

Quote:
Loss of power: A Cosmic Zap nullifies the use clause on an alien power, leaving the rest of the power intact...

...Cosmic Zaps shut off only zappable effects, while other forms of power loss shut off both zappable and non-zappable effects. Automatic effects always continue to function, either because they were already scheduled/enqueued before the power was lost or because they are necessary for the game engine to keep working smoothly.

...which I feel follows the logic of what the rulebook is saying.

al_fredo wrote:
...So in the case of Fury...if Fury is Zapped, they are NOT allowed to discard their tokens, even though it's not a power 'use'?

I would say, yes, Fury can discard tokens as printed because, again, it's not a use function of the power. Now, perhaps it might be argued to be a flub on the part of FFG for not labeling it as such but FFG did go to the effort of creating the use clause specifically for the purpose to identifying which effects of alien powers can be zapped and which can't.
 
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Allen Michaels
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Ninja'd myself...and, Jordan, I think we are in agreement here.

My extra question was with reserve...since it has two 'use' powers - but as I understand it, if one is zapped...then any powers that need to be 'used' cannot be used.
 
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Just a Bill
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Hooboy, here we go. Put on a fresh pot of coffee, boys; it's gonna be a long night.

First, I have to say that "what Bill says in the Cosmodex" may be wrong. Since this thread broke I've been re-examining that and researching all the alien powers, and will probably need to revise that entry. But first let's get a few data points out on the table:

1. The rulebook is unclear about all of this, and indeed FFG seems to have two different ways to 'use' alien powers: the use use and the non-use use. I'm going to call these UUs and NUUs for short. FFG has not always correctly applied or omitted the bold-and-italic formatting that (should) distinguishe a UU from an NUU. So we're starting from a wobbly foundation of horrible terminology inconsistently applied, but we'll do the best we can.

2. The rulebook draws a distinction between UUs and NUUs for the purpose of whether you can play a zap, but it's not at all clear on what parts of the alien sheet are and are not shut off after the zap resolves.

3. I believe that most aspects of an alien power are shut off after it's zapped (including most NUUs), but that some special cases must continue to be in effect. (In the Cosmodex I call these 'automatic' effects, but I'm not sure my examples are very optimal.) Examples of text that still has to be active include the final 'protection' sentences on Gorgon, Horde, Masochist, and Xenophile. (Locust would be on this list, too, except he explicitly says "even if this power is later lost or stolen.") I'm pretty sure there are other examples, but now I don't have confidence in the list I currently have on the Cosmodex, and I don't yet have a solid way to clearly identify what all the automatic effects are; it probably requires some analysis and intuition.

3a. The reasons I believe this is the case are (a) that's how it worked in all previous editions (nothing was really safe from a zap), and (b) it seems to be the 'safest' approach to avoid leaks/abuses.

4. Here are the aliens I found where a zap on an earlier UU can then preclude subsequent NUUs during the same encounter: Ethic, Filth, Fury, Industrialist, Lightning, Macron, Sapient, Siren, Vulch, Warrior, Zombie.

5. I disagree about Warrior being an exception. Although his token gain triggers "after" the encounter ends, it still happens in the Resolution phase, just as the "very last" action of the phase. (Once the phase ends, it could be somebody else's turn, so it pretty much has to be this way.) So an earlier zap does preclude the token gain.

6. This is all further complicated by the case of power loss due to loss of home colonies, power theft/loan, etc. This creates new examples where a power can be UU'd or NUU'd, then get shut off but not zapped, then another NUU comes into scope later, or a 'cleanup' provision from an earlier UU or NUU needs to happen. The reason this creates new cases to consider is that a zap prevents the UU from happening in the first place, so most automatic cleanup effects never get enqueued, but other forms of power loss do not undo the prior UU or NUU and thus things do get enqueued.

Anybody confused yet? ;-)

Sorry, I had to rush through this pretty fast. I'm about to lose my internet connection for at least a few hours ... will try to finish this later, but it might be tomorrow.
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Allen Michaels
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Yikes.

Yikes. Yikes!

Right...so the rulebook only really clears up that you can't play a zap in response to a power that isn't 'used'. I'm totally fine with that.

Then, if you have happened to be zapped...
I'm not going to guess on intent, but I think it might be easier for my brain just to say...if you're zapped, you lose your power. That means you can't 'use' it or anything attached to it. Basically, everything after 'You have the power of XXXX' is gone. I guess there are exceptions here of unzappable things (Symbiote/Pygmy)...and I suppose 'game setup' type things.

Does it really make sense that if Fury has been zapped, that she can still discard her tokens for value? Why have this case with these NUUs?

Having just introduced this game to my group, I'm looking for the streamlined solution - so "as if the sheet is flipped over" would be the ideal 'house' ruling.

Coffee is on...thanks for listening. (P.S. this was one of the reasons i was hesitant on getting the game. Something as basic as what can you zap is unclear. Yet, everyone loved the game, so time to Regroup.)





 
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Jordan S.
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al_fredo wrote:
Having just introduced this game to my group, I'm looking for the streamlined solution - so "as if the sheet is flipped over" would be the ideal 'house' ruling.


And that's really the best way to approach Cosmic Encounter. Yes, it's nice to sit down and nitpick at timing and semantics and all the other crazy interactions that can happen in the game but when you're at the table with your friends, it's really more important that everyone find common ground to agree on a ruling and move forward. Treating Cosmic Zap as killing "use only" or as "the whole dang alien" is going to service the game just fine the majority of the time, so long as everyone at the table is bound to the same ruling.
 
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