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Subject: Bluey - the power of the "Blue cards" rss

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Homer Simpson
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Bluey
Has only Rewards

Game Setup: Put 32 tokens on this sheet. When you get your initial hand you draw the cards from the Reward deck instead of the Cosmic Deck.

You have the power of the "Blue cards". Whenever you gain a card with a Cosmic deck back on it, discard it and get a card from the Reward deck. When you need to draw a new hand you draw the cards only from the Reward deck.
Each time any player (including you) plays a Reward deck back card use this power to discard a token from this sheet. If you discard your last token use this power to win the game. You may still win the game via the normal method.

Flare:
Wild: at any time you can give this Flare to the Bluey to establish a colony in your home system. If the Bluey is not playing you can discard it to take five cards from the Reward Deck.

Super: Before discarding this card you may play it and discard two tokens from your alien sheet.

Remarks:
I've been playing with this idea in my head for a very long time. It has so much potential (IMO) and can make some very interesting games.

The Bluey race can never play a regular Negotiate (Unless by a Morph). He can always gain some compensation from his opponents or get better deals when negotiating with them. He has good attack cards (but never the 30 or 40), some pretty good artifacts but no Flares whatsoever (except the one-shot Super Bluey).

He can use his own Wild Flare to regain his power.

Other players will try to avoid taking or playing Rewards cards. Or maybe not, who knows.

I chose the number of tokens for its symbolic meaning (32 tokens for the 32 cards in the Reward deck), but I think it's a difficult yet reasonable goal to achieve. If other players will, indeed, avoid that deck, he'll have to play all of it by himself or play the Hand Zap on himself at the exact right time and hope not to get Card Zapped. If he will get stuck with all the bad stuff in the Reward deck he'll have to use it all - the negative Attack cards, the Crooked Deals, Attack 10's and the Kicker X0 - and keep his power safe. That's not a very easy task to accomplish.

If other players will take or even use cards from the reward deck, he'll have to face some other threats to his power and alternate win.

However, when he's on the verge of losing his power he can choose to do so in his own terms. For example: If he has three foreign colonies and this is his hand - Attack 23, Attack 16, Attack -07, Kicker X3, Kicker X2 - and he is the defense, he can play the -07 even if it means losing his power, and win the game anyway with two very good encounters as an offensive player (Attack 16 with Kicker X3 and Attack 23 with Kicker X2 leaves you some very good chances to win the game even against a big army).

There's no limit to the number of tokens he can discard in a single encounter. If he and his opponent both played kickers and "Blue" encounter cards, it's four tokens already. With Reinforcements it can go up to eight. A single Cosmic Zap can stop him from discarding tons of tokens at the same time, whereas a Blue Card Zap can cancel it and make Bluey discard ten tokens on the same encounter, perhaps more (with Finder, Space Junk and other "blue" effects). Just think of the craziness of such a game!

All-in-all I think it's a very strong race that can be played with several different strategies. Other players should be very careful when playing against him.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the Flare. I knew he can't use any Flares ever as long as he have the power, and I also knew that unless the Wild effect wouldn't be something big like gaining back your power, nobody will ever want to trigger its Super effect. But when you are Warpish who just lost his power, and you have four foreign colonies and Bluey has, say, seven tokens on his sheet, it might not be such a bad idea after all to play the Wild...

I decided that Wild Bluey should do something extremely different when Bluey is not playing. It seemed right to let you draw cards from the Reward Deck when there's no concern about Bluey's tokens.

The power itself also had some different versions. At first I thought of a power that plays only "Blue" cards, and that's it. I still think it's a great power even without the alt-win, but I also think that this particular alt-win gives the power a special flavor. Then, I started to think about mechanics that let him tempt other players to gain or play Reward Deck cards, and let him remove from the game cards that he played. It was way too complicated. Finally, after several months of thinking about it on-and-off I came up with this version which I think I'm satisfy with.

Bluey was not my first option for the name. At first I wanted to call him just "Blue" as a reference to the color of the back of the Reward deck. I tried "Rewarder" for a while but didn't like it either. I still don't know what should be his name, but the sound of the word (?) "Bluey" is kind of cute, I think.

I didn't write any history for that race but I believe it can be fun to do it (I just don't have the inspiration).
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Ken H.
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Well, I hate the name/theme, but the ability looks fun. I like the fact that it is an alt-win alien, but still has an ability during the actual game.
 
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Just a Bill
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Rubric wrote:
Well, I hate the name/theme

Yeah, sorry Homer but that is thoroughly awful.

This thing has many strikes against it for me: bad name, alt-win, the sheer number of effects it can never use ... but the deal-breaker from a design perspective is probably the fact that it can't play its own Super flare (you suggest he can play it, but I don't see how).

EDIT: Okay, I see the rare situation where he can play his Super. Another player has to hand it to him during an encounter in which he has already been zapped or lost his power. Then when the zap wears off, or if he gets his power back on a later encounter in which he has not played a flare, he can play it as it's being discarded. But the opponents should be smart enough to only play it when he has his power active, so in that case the net effect is still that he can't use his Super.
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Mi Myma
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homertve wrote:
Flare:
Wild: at any time you can give this Flare to the Bluey to establish a colony in your home system. If the Bluey is not playing you can discard it to take five cards from the Reward Deck.

Super: Before discarding this card you may play it and discard two tokens from your alien sheet.

Since the same flare cannot be played twice in one encounter, you'll have to include an exception in the Super's text. Otherwise, the Super can only be used if he gets in as compensation or in a deal.

Quote:
If he will get stuck with all the bad stuff in the Reward deck he'll have to use it all - the negative Attack cards, the Crooked Deals,...

Crooked Deals are NOT "bad stuff"!

Quote:
Bluey was not my first option for the name. At first I wanted to call him just "Blue" as a reference to the color of the back of the Reward deck. I tried "Rewarder" for a while but didn't like it either. I still don't know what should be his name, but the sound of the word (?) "Bluey" is kind of cute, I think.

The name is pretty lame. How about "Elite" or "Noble" - the idea being that you're above the "regular deck" that the commoners use.

Of course, the power needs "Only use in a game using the Reward Deck."

Also, the way you've written the power, normal cards stay in the player's hand if he gets the power mid-game, such as by the Changeling, Chrysalis, Reincarnator, etc. This isn't necessarily a problem, just something to take note of.

I don't normally like private victory condition powers, and the whole concept of only using reward cards seems just wrong to me, yet somehow, I like this power.
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Just a Bill
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
normal cards stay in the player's hand if he gets the power mid-game

You cannot acquire a power mid-game if it has Game Setup text; all the power-acquiring effects preclude that.
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Homer Simpson
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Bill Martinson wrote:
but the deal-breaker from a design perspective is probably the fact that it can't play its own Super flare (you suggest he can play it, but I don't see how).
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Since the same flare cannot be played twice in one encounter, you'll have to include an exception in the Super's text. Otherwise, the Super can only be used if he gets in as compensation or in a deal.
Well, that wasn't my intention, and I missed that rule about not being able to play a Flare twice in the same encounter.

However, Cosmic Encounter is, in its core, a game about breaking its own rules (every alien does that), so I just need the Flare to say that specifically. How about something like this:

Super: When you recieve this card, before you discard it you may play it even if it has already played in this encounter by another player to discard two tokens from your alien sheet.

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
The name is pretty lame. How about "Elite" or "Noble" - the idea being that you're above the "regular deck" that the commoners use.
I like the name Noble. I think I'll use that. Thanks!
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homertve wrote:
Each time any player (including you) plays a Reward deck back card use this power to discard a token from this sheet. If you discard your last token use this power to win the game. You may still win the game via the normal method.

So if I discard my last token and my use to win the game is zapped, I can never win the game by my alt win because I will never again discard my last token? Just steal the Tick-Tock's wording - or, better still, don't make it an alt win at all, because automatically getting reward cards is already a good power.

homertve wrote:
even if it has already played in this encounter by another player

Unnecessary. The once-per-encounter is tracked separately for the Wild and Super halves of flares, as if they were different cards.
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Just a Bill
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salty53 wrote:
Unnecessary. The once-per-encounter is tracked separately for the Wild and Super halves of flares, as if they were different cards.

Oh crap, that's right. Dang, I guess even being obsessively hyper-analytical isn't enough for me to be able to play FFG's version correctly.

So maybe the clarification needs to focus not on the one-use-per-flare-effect-per-encounter restriction, but on the one-flare-per-player-per-encounter limit: "... you may play it even if you have already played a flare this encounter to discard ..."
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Bill Martinson wrote:
"... you may play it even if you have already played a flare this encounter to discard ..."
Why do we need that? He can not use any other Flare ever anyway... (if he has his power)
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Just a Bill
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Oh yeah, I guess that's right. Unless he has lost his power due to home colonies, plays a flare, regains a home colony, and then is given his own flare.

I must be getting too old for this.
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
normal cards stay in the player's hand if he gets the power mid-game

You cannot acquire a power mid-game if it has Game Setup text; all the power-acquiring effects preclude that.

Not the Changeling. Not Plant. Not Psychic Switcheroo. Not Wild Philanthropist.
 
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salty53 wrote:
homertve wrote:
even if it has already played in this encounter by another player

Unnecessary. The once-per-encounter is tracked separately for the Wild and Super halves of flares, as if they were different cards.

Where do you get this? Page 13 says, "A flare cannot be used more than once per encounter,..." It doesn't say anything about tacking the Wild and Super effects separately.
 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Not the Changeling. Not Plant. Not Psychic Switcheroo. Not Wild Philanthropist.

Excellent point; I was only considering effects that bring them into the game. So the power should probably say "whenever you have a cosmic-back card in your hand..."

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Where do you get this? Page 13 says, "A flare cannot be used more than once per encounter,..." It doesn't say anything about tacking the Wild and Super effects separately.

A single flare card has two flare effects. So any given reference to "flare" has to be resolved to one or the other. Here's part of the flares essay from the Cosmodex:
The FAQ specifically rules that when a Super flare is prevented due to the underlying power being Cosmic Zapped, that flare's Wild effect can still be played during the same encounter. This additional complication forces us to conclude that the once-per-encounter limit on each flare being played applies to its two effects separately (leading to the assertion above that two players can use the separate "halves" of the flare during the same encounter).
 
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Bill Martinson wrote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Not the Changeling. Not Plant. Not Psychic Switcheroo. Not Wild Philanthropist.

Excellent point; I was only considering effects that bring them into the game. So the power should probably say "whenever you have a cosmic-back card in your hand..."

It really doesn't have to say that. The power still works without it.

Quote:
Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Where do you get this? Page 13 says, "A flare cannot be used more than once per encounter,..." It doesn't say anything about tacking the Wild and Super effects separately.

A single flare card has two flare effects. So any given reference to "flare" has to be resolved to one or the other. Here's part of the flares essay from the Cosmodex:
The FAQ specifically rules that when a Super flare is prevented due to the underlying power being Cosmic Zapped, that flare's Wild effect can still be played during the same encounter. This additional complication forces us to conclude that the once-per-encounter limit on each flare being played applies to its two effects separately (leading to the assertion above that two players can use the separate "halves" of the flare during the same encounter).







But page 13 of the rulebook calls the card itself a flare, not two flares. It has two "flare effects". It says a *flare* can only be used once per encounter, not that a flare *effect* can only be used once per encounter. The cosmic zap issue is irrelevant - if the power is zapped, then the super-flare is *prevented* - it was never actually played or used. The zapped player is free to play any other flare in his hand, because he hasn't actually played one in the encounter (he tried and was prevented). He's also free to play the same flare for its wild effect, since he hasn't played a flare in the encounter, and this particular flare hasn't been played in the encounter.

A flare that is given to the power owner after the use of its wild effect cannot be used for its super effect in the same encounter.
 
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
But page 13 of the rulebook calls the card itself a flare, not two flares. It has two "flare effects". It says a *flare* can only be used once per encounter, not that a flare *effect* can only be used once per encounter.

A complication in all this is that a "flare card" has two different "flare effects." The "Zombie flare" is one card, but Wild Zombie and Super Zombie are two entirely different flares. Any time FFG says "flare" by itself we have to guess which meaning they intend. Considering all the various rulings in the rulebook and FAQ, taken together, it seemed to me that treating the two effects separately could resolve everything. However, I see now that you are slicing things along a different dimension:

Phil Fleischmann wrote:
if the power is zapped, then the super-flare is *prevented* - it was never actually played or used. The zapped player is free to play any other flare in his hand, because he hasn't actually played one in the encounter (he tried and was prevented).

So you are saying that "cancel" and "negate" are synonymous with each other, but "prevent" is fundamentally different (and thus, Wild and Super Anti-Matter are not really parallel to Card Zap). I think now that you are probably right, although this has sparked a couple of new issues for me:

Super Symbiote says "This flare may not be canceled through any means." Because Super Anti-Matter would explicitly not count as canceling, then it can actually prevent Super Symbiote. That doesn't seem to be a gameplay problem, but it is counter-intuitive since "through any means" seems intended to be absolute. But if they wanted it absolute, then they should have said "may not be canceled or prevented" — because as written, Super Anti-Matter can nail it. (Note that Card Zap also does not technically cancel anything, which is why I believe "negate" has to be synonymous with "cancel.")

Parasite is nonsensical when it says "Unless specifically prevented by another game effect (such as the Force Field artifact)...." At first I thought this clause was going to be a potential objection to your interpretation, but then I realized it is just plain WRONG under either interpretation. This phrase was copied from Eon and Mayfair, and probably made sense in those "looser" editions, but with FFG's more specific timing structure it is flat-out wrong. Force Field always plays after Parasite has done his thing, so it cannot under any circumstances prevent his power; it can only kick him out after his power has been used. Thus, Force Field always trumps Parasite (that's probably a good thing, actually) and I will need to correct this text in the Cosmodex. (Will it never end? Should I change Card Zap to say "cancel" instead of "negate" while I'm at it? Nothing else in the game uses that term.)

I really wish they would learn how to analyze their designs, and then write them properly; I am so tired of all this sloppy crap.

But anyway, I'm thinking you are probably right and I need to undo my conclusions about counting flare limits on the two effects separately and rewrite some stuff — unless somebody has a good counter-argument to Phil's argument.
 
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