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Subject: Doesn't you just hate the player elimination in Cosmic? rss

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Andy Stout
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opinionatedgamers.com/2013/02/14/138-games-part4

That there is how Cosmic will be represented to anyone who hasn't played it and goes to that there website. Yikes.
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General Norris
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Man, I can deal with player elimination but not in game that last several hours like Cosmic Encounter does.
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Big Head Zach
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Holy crapballs, is that inaccurate. And to say "this is terrible, but you should play it out of some sense of duty to the hobby like a hazing ritual" is entirely confusing to me.
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Jack Reda
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My favorite game is Cosmic Encounter.
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Yeah, it smacks of not actually playing the game, but rather watching someone else playing it, and making assumptions. Maybe he's been playing it incorrectly?
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Greg Filpus
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Technically, it's possible to get into a truly unwinnable state without getting eliminated. You can fall into one of the leaks in remove ships from the game effects and be left with less than five ships, or planet removal effects can leave you with less than five planets outside your home system to colonize. But I don't think that's what he meant.
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Patrick G.
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I doesn't hate it!
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David Stahler Jr.
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That's just plain silly. One of the points of Cosmic Encounter is that everyone is pretty much constantly involved in every turn of the game because of the Invite Allies phase (along with all the ways of messing with other players even when you're not invited...)

Certainly, one can get behind, but I've seen MANY games when someone comes back to win from way behind, much more than in most games.

The one valid criticism is that once in a while a game can go long, depending on the combination of alien races.
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Aaron Bohm
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Certainly Cosmic Encounter is definitely not a game for everyone and, quite the opposite, it tends to be very polarizing. For this guy however, I'm sure he played it once, said "I don't like it," and then pulled out of his butt random reasons to not like it that happened to be completely unrelated to the game.

The two biggest things that impact it are in how the game is taught and who you are playing with.

When teaching the game, I always emphasize that if you do nothing else, the only decision that is really going to matter is in who to ally with and when. I know, I know... There are other critical elements to the game however from a strategy standpoint, there is nothing else as crucial to the point where, if people don't get it, it breaks the game. Alliances need to be thought out well or else the game sucks. When we play with someone who isn't taught this, it is very apparent.

The second thing is, just like people in Apples to Apples who try and pick the most definitionally correct answer instead of the most fun, people play Cosmic Enouncter too seriously and competitively. It does have some deep strategy to it however it is the definition of chaotic and zany to the point that any rule or situation you can think of has many outcomes based on all the counters and counter to counters. A more easy going, even -dare I say- lighter group may enjoy this more. The strategy is embedded in the chaos and you can't play this with someone who is going to get upset when the plans they set up for three turns crumble because of a Zap.
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Jack Reda
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GregF wrote:
Technically, it's possible to get into a truly unwinnable state without getting eliminated. You can fall into one of the leaks in remove ships from the game effects and be left with less than five ships, or planet removal effects can leave you with less than five planets outside your home system to colonize. But I don't think that's what he meant.


I played in a game where all of my ships save five were removed from the game, and I ended up in a shared win with one other player. It isn't easy, but I do reject the idea that any game is truly unwinnable. Odds are high you will lose in many situations, but never say never.
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Just a Bill
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No, I said "oh, brother," not "go hover."
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Note that Greg was defining truly unwinnable situations, where you physically cannot achieve the win conditions. Your example, although inspiring and impressive, doesn't refute what he was saying.
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David Stahler Jr.
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Never Knows Best wrote:
The second thing is, just like people in Apples to Apples who try and pick the most definitionally correct answer instead of the most fun, people play Cosmic Enouncter too seriously and competitively. It does have some deep strategy to it however it is the definition of chaotic and zany to the point that any rule or situation you can think of has many outcomes based on all the counters and counter to counters. A more easy going, even -dare I say- lighter group may enjoy this more. The strategy is embedded in the chaos and you can't play this with someone who is going to get upset when the plans they set up for three turns crumble because of a Zap.


I wonder if this is why I've had more success, in some ways, teaching this game to my high school students than my adult gaming group friends. They take to it much more quickly and seem to roll with the chaotic aspects of it, while adult players sometimes seem to get too frustrated when their strategies go awry.
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Michael Marvosh
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Wheelockian wrote:
Never Knows Best wrote:
The second thing is, just like people in Apples to Apples who try and pick the most definitionally correct answer instead of the most fun, people play Cosmic Enouncter too seriously and competitively. It does have some deep strategy to it however it is the definition of chaotic and zany to the point that any rule or situation you can think of has many outcomes based on all the counters and counter to counters. A more easy going, even -dare I say- lighter group may enjoy this more. The strategy is embedded in the chaos and you can't play this with someone who is going to get upset when the plans they set up for three turns crumble because of a Zap.


I wonder if this is why I've had more success, in some ways, teaching this game to my high school students than my adult gaming group friends. They take to it much more quickly and seem to roll with the chaotic aspects of it, while adult players sometimes seem to get too frustrated when their strategies go awry.


It's because adults should be playing Cards Against Humanity instead.
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*Damn, how did I miss the fact the this game I just bought has hateful player-elimination!?*

Phheeew, I'm relieved that it turns out it doesn't. People please, don't shock me like that.
 
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Roberta Yang
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Technically Cosmic Encounter did have player elimination once, since the Eon/Mayfair version of Void didn't have the "can't be reduced below 5 ships" safety net and explicitly could actually could boot you out of the game. But even then, it was very difficult for that to happen, and even if it did, losing 16 ships permanently couldn't possibly happen "early" like the article describes. Not to mention that putting so much emphasis on that lone player elimination power that doesn't even exist in the modern version is completely disingenuous in 2013.
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Andy Stout
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captaincomic wrote:
*Damn, how did I miss the fact the this game I just bought has hateful player-elimination!?*

Phheeew, I'm relieved that it turns out it doesn't. People please, don't shock me like that.

Don't worry, you just bought the best board game ever. Enjoy!
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Mark Ramsey
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I love CE and have played it lots. I must agree that player elimination is rare, if not practically unheard of.

However...

One of my most unpleasant gaming experiences occurred in a 7 player game of CE where I was player 7. I realize it was likely the combination of Aliens, but by the time I got my first turn (well over an hour into the game) I was basically eliminated. I don't remember the exact details, but by the end of player 6's first turn, I had lost my alien power and was down to 2 or 3 ships on each of my remaining planets. I had one or two crappy encounter cards in my hand at the start of my turn, so I was pretty much guaranteed to lose my first and only encounter of my first and, as it turns out, only turn of the game.

At least I was able to go join a game at another table...

Having said that, I still love CE - but maybe a little bit less.

 
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VanMark wrote:
I was basically eliminated. I don't remember the exact details, but by the end of player 6's first turn, I had lost my alien power and was down to 2 or 3 ships on each of my remaining planets. I had one or two crappy encounter cards in my hand at the start of my turn, so I was pretty much guaranteed to lose my first and only encounter of my first and, as it turns out, only turn of the game.


Sounds like the game ended quickly, but you were never eliminated. There are few better things than being so far out of it, and having others gang on the leader prolonging the game long enough to fly under the radar, run into some luck with a new hand, and put at least a scare into everyone else.

Despite the rare cases where CE could maybe produce an eliminated player, to be charactarized in general as an elimination game is a shame.
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Roberta Yang
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It's very difficult to actually end up in an unwinnable situation in FFG's Cosmic Encounter. You need to be the Masochist, have some ship removal effect like Void remove 15 of your ships from the game, voluntarily use the Super Masochist flare to remove a 16th ship of your from the game, and lose your Masochist power to the Wild Reincarnator. (Even losing the Masochist to Changeling or Wild Sorcerer still leaves you able to get your power back the same way you lost it.)

Even interpreting "player elimination" loosely to include being put in a bad situation where your chances of winning are very poor, it still doesn't make sense. Cosmic Encounter has enough swingy card effects, a diplomacy element that hurts leaders and helps stragglers, and the potential for even the weakest force to win by making deals. Having played euros where a single misplay on the first turn has left me crippled for the rest of the game without a hope of recovery, Cosmic Encounter is probably the last game that I would describe as having that problem.
 
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Martin G
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Yeah, I read that article and thought 'WTF?!' but didn't get round to commenting. Thanks for setting them straight.
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Bram Verbiest
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I really don't get it, I have played this game over 80 times and only 1 time a player got eliminated. And game length? In a few occasions a game took over 2,5 hours but mostly it makes the 1-1,5 hour, sometimes like 30 minutes.

Did this guy play it once with 7 players or so? When I read this, it made no sense at all...
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Ryan Tullis
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In other news, Monopoly is my least favorite abstract.
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Greg Filpus
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salty53 wrote:
It's very difficult to actually end up in an unwinnable situation in FFG's Cosmic Encounter. You need to be the Masochist, have some ship removal effect like Void remove 15 of your ships from the game, voluntarily use the Super Masochist flare to remove a 16th ship of your from the game, and lose your Masochist power to the Wild Reincarnator. (Even losing the Masochist to Changeling or Wild Sorcerer still leaves you able to get your power back the same way you lost it.)


Depending on how you select powers reincarnated into with Wild Reincarnator, you might be able to get back to Masochist or another alt-win eventually. So you have to lose the power via Wild Reincarnator or Wild Sorcerer, and then have Sargasso Web eat the Flare. (Or have Changeling swap with you and destroy Changeling in the same way.)

As I mentioned in another thread, you can also have four ships via Wild Horde and have all but one of your "real" ships removed from the game.
 
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Mark Ramsey
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btblack wrote:
VanMark wrote:
I was basically eliminated. I don't remember the exact details, but by the end of player 6's first turn, I had lost my alien power and was down to 2 or 3 ships on each of my remaining planets. I had one or two crappy encounter cards in my hand at the start of my turn, so I was pretty much guaranteed to lose my first and only encounter of my first and, as it turns out, only turn of the game.


Sounds like the game ended quickly, but you were never eliminated. There are few better things than being so far out of it, and having others gang on the leader prolonging the game long enough to fly under the radar, run into some luck with a new hand, and put at least a scare into everyone else.

Despite the rare cases where CE could maybe produce an eliminated player, to be charactarized in general as an elimination game is a shame.


I never said it was an elimination game, but I was effectively eliminated before my first turn. I never got a second turn and the final score was player 1 with 5 points for the win, three other players with 4 points each, two players with 3 points and me with one point which I only got because I allied with a successful attack. When you think about it, with the number of Aliens available now through expansions, there are going to be more than a few nightmare combinations that should be avoided.

Remember, I still like CE - I'm just acknowledging that player elimination (outright or effective) is a possibility that I experienced first-hand.
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Roberta Yang
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GregF wrote:
Depending on how you select powers reincarnated into with Wild Reincarnator, you might be able to get back to Masochist or another alt-win eventually. So you have to lose the power via Wild Reincarnator or Wild Sorcerer, and then have Sargasso Web eat the Flare. (Or have Changeling swap with you and destroy Changeling in the same way.)

As I mentioned in another thread, you can also have four ships via Wild Horde and have all but one of your "real" ships removed from the game.

Ah, I forgot Sargasso Web and Wild Horde. Okay, so there are a couple more ways of doing it than I thought, but it's still functionally in "never gonna happen" territory.

VanMark wrote:
and me with one point which I only got because I allied with a successful attack.

You say that as if making alliances is somehow less worthy and the game shouldn't expect you to ally.
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VanMark wrote:
I never said it was an elimination game, but I was effectively eliminated before my first turn. I never got a second turn... player elimination (outright or effective) is a possibility that I experienced first-hand.

If "effective" elimination is being behind 3 or 4 colonies and having a bunch of ships in the warp, then yes, elimation isn't so rare in CE, especially in a game with a lot of players...there's a greater likihood someone will be far behind and feel eliminated. But I've always felt like CE had a better than average game mechanism to allow comebacks.
 
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