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Subject: Shared Victories? rss

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Keith Burgun
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My group has played about 3 or 4 games, and most of them have gone over 3 hours in length. I've triple checked all of the rules, and we are playing the game correctly. Well, I missed the Cosmic Quake, which definitely accounts for like a good 20-30 minutes of the 3 hours of our last game, but anyway...

The one BIG thing we all missed is "you're supposed to be OK with a shared win". Like, I now understand that in order for this game to work, all or at least most players have to be OK for going for a shared win. If ALL 5 players are totally all going for solo wins, then then game breaks down.

To illustrate, we had 2 games in a row where all 5 players were at 4 colonies for 80% of the game, and each time one player attacked, he was against all 4 of the others.

So, I was like "OK, we have to accept that shared victories are supposed to be OK.

Then a friend of mine brought up the following analogy:

He said that that's really lame, and de-motivates him to play the game. As he explained, it's kind of like if you have a car race, and the objective of the race is to pass the finish line first. But, if you want to, you can also invite some friends to be the winner with you! Otherwise, the race might never end!!!

In a way it's just the basic problem of king-making.

So I'd like to get your guys thoughts on this matter. Shared victories, are they really lame, or am I missing something?
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Chris Tannhauser
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Shared wins, especially when they're "Poopy-pants Coalition" wins from multiple negotiations, are really all the "winners" getting second place.

Solo wins, on the other hand, are like bagging first, second, third and a four-space array of foam-spraying champagne magnums simultaneously.

When is a shared win okay? When you realize you probably can't pull the solo win before someone downstream, but you can engineer (you hope) a shared win NOW. Then I say go for it—I'm okay sharing the victory as long as my Arch Nemesis gets nothing.

As for game length, here's my experience: as your group gets better at hand management—and learns the deck—games will get shorter as people don't just spend out arbitrarily but marshal resources for big, big moves. Our games started long, taking all afternoon or evening, but now they're down under two hours, with about half of those inside a head-spinning 60 minutes.

EDIT: When are shared wins best? When you can dupe someone into helping because they think we're all hugging while winning... as you slip the dagger between the ribs and drop the body for a solo victory.
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Andy Leber
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LAME. In all seriousness though, the more players there are, the more you should open your mind to the possibility. But I don't necessarily automatically resign myself to sharing the win just because there are 5+ players... I always prefer to try and win.

It really depends on the game state once a player or two get to 4 planets too.
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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But yes, I am with Chris, the whole mass of opponents doing it is lame. A necessary expedient is ok.
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Just a Bill
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Cosmic Encounter is a game where one player can win, or two or more, or everybody can win, or everybody can lose. If that offends your group's gamer sensibilities, then you may not get as much enjoyment out of Cosmic as others of us do. It's intended to be more about social interaction and having memorable experiences than about being a platform for one player to showcase his strategic genius.

Having said that, solo wins are plenty common; getting more experience will help you. When possible, choose aliens that help you get that fifth colony in weird ways. When you get key cards such as Cosmic Zap, Card Zap, Force Field, Attack 30/40, whatever, try to save them for your final push. If your group tends to reach an "equilibrium" of 4 colonies each, then don't be in such a hurry to get there; use your crappier cards early, and save the better ones for later.

And ... don't judge a joint win as something shameful. It is a deliberate core element of the game's design. Cosmic Encounter is supposed to be (partly) about negotiation and compromise — but it is also about lies and backstabbing. Some players relish the opportunity to forge a join win, only to yank the rug out from the other guy at the last minute with some unexpected card play. Such a thing would not be possible if join wins couldn't happen.

If it helps, you can think of it as a potential team game where the teams constantly change, and the winning team's staff may not even be known until the last moment.
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Keith Burgun
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The problem I'd really like an answer to is, if you think you can maybe get your 5th colony, isn't it REALLY lame to invite some people along? Like, who do you choose? Isn't that king-making?
 
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Greg Filpus
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HiveGod wrote:
When is a shared win okay? When you realize you probably can't pull the solo win before someone downstream, but you can engineer (you hope) a shared win NOW. Then I say go for it—I'm okay sharing the victory as long as my Arch Nemesis gets nothing.


There are cards and powers that can "break through" everyone allied against you for a solo win: the 40 and 30, Force Field, the nastier combat powers, getting an opponent with only Negotiates. If you don't have one of those things, you have to weigh the odds that somebody else does, or is going to get it before you do.

Quote:
EDIT: When are shared wins best? When you can dupe someone into helping because they think we're all hugging while winning... as you slip the dagger between the ribs and drop the body for a solo victory.


See PBF 12.
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Mil Myman
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keithburgun wrote:
The problem I'd really like an answer to is, if you think you can maybe get your 5th colony, isn't it REALLY lame to invite some people along? Like, who do you choose? Isn't that king-making?

Maybe, but you're making yourself king. You invite only those that you *need* to win. If you think you can win solo, you don't need anyone.

Wouldn't you rather be part of a shared win than part of a shared loss?
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Ian Toltz
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I find the xA is particularly helpful in trying to make solo wins more viable. Its mere existence forces people to make some tough decisions...
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Mil Myman
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Asmor wrote:


I find the xA is particularly helpful in trying to make solo wins more viable. Its mere existence forces people to make some tough decisions...

However, it's non-existence doesn't.
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Ian Toltz
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Asmor wrote:


I find the xA is particularly helpful in trying to make solo wins more viable. Its mere existence forces people to make some tough decisions...

However, it's non-existence doesn't.


Indeed. I've printed out a number of cards from the Cosmorium and added them to my game.
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Yes, the players need to be OK with shared wins for the game to be be at its best. They're in there for a reason, and the end game can become degenerate if no one is willing to share victory. 3 hours is too long for Cosmic

BUT that doesn't mean shared wins are inevitable. Solo wins are not rare around here by any means.

As they get better players will start realizing how to position themselves and set up their hand for a solo or minority win all game. You can play well and end up the only one who wins, but if you take "too long" to achieve your victory or miss your chance, it's better to share a win than to routinely go around the table until all the Cosmic Zaps are gone and the combat powerhouse alien in the game wins it.
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Robert Seater
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Ultimately, the game designer gets to decide the rules of victory, not the players. If the rules declare that "you both win" then you both win. It's really that simple. Many rulebooks even go so far as to note that you should "rejoice in shared victory", mandating not only that you have both won, but that you should both be happy about it. Mandatory happiness should be mandated more often! If you design your own game, then you can decide if a draw is a victory or not, but you don't get to decide that for other people's games!

In Cosmic, the rules are clear. When players share victory, they all win. So, that's the end of the story. It's not a debate amongst players; it has been dictated by the game designers. Other games declare that tied scorers draw. In those games, then you have not won. It's printed in the rules, and the rules should be taken literally. Doing otherwise is a house rule. House rules are fine, but disliking a house rule (even a common one) should not diminish the game.

Practically, though, it is often hard to convince players that "everyone wins", "everyone loses", and "draw" are different results. There is a challenge for the designer and rule book writer to clarify what a draw means, but ultimately the players must enforce what the designer indicates. A player refusing an opportunity to share a win is no different than someone refusing to score a solo win. Both involve someone not abiding by the goals specified by the game designer, and both are sub-optimal play that waste everyone's time by lengthening the end game.

The most effective game I've ever seen in getting players to accept a shared win is We Didn't Playtest This: Legacies. If you win, you get to write your name on a card. If you lose, you don't. So, if I share the win, I don't care that others are also writing on cards because I got to, and that's the whole point of the game.
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Eric Matthews
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Cosmic encointer is nothing like a car race. It's a war game of sorts and many times wars are won by a coalition. It's thematic and frankly this is probably a big reason why your games are consistently so long.

Also it isn't a great 3 player game; it's sweet spot is 4-6 players.

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Jack Reda
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I win alone plenty, but I don't mind the shared win. It's better than the shared loss.
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Eric Matthews
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keithburgun wrote:
The problem I'd really like an answer to is, if you think you can maybe get your 5th colony, isn't it REALLY lame to invite some people along? Like, who do you choose? Isn't that king-making?


Absolutely not. Cosmic Enconter is a game specificlly about negotiation and sometimes that means teaming up to beat a common foe. Other times it means backstabbing your supposed alies at the last minute and stealing a solo victory out from under them (one of the sweetest endings in cosmic if you can pull it off-- but only sweet because shared victories are so common).

When it comes down to it cosmic is balanced not for individuals but so that players are forced to negotiate in order to win in many cases.

E
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Jon Gon
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Ganybyte wrote:
Other times it means backstabbing your supposed allies at the last minute and stealing a solo victory out from under them...

For example, inviting all available players for a shared win after convincing them that a certain player really deserves to lose alone. Then play a force field on your own allies.. .

Note: Not recommended if you don't enjoy being insulted.

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Nate Owens
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Hand management can be really tricky in Cosmic Encounter, so the shared win is a way for someone who can't get rid of their crappy hand to still maybe make it in and eek out a victory. It's one more way to keep everyone in the game until the end.

They also become far more likely and appealing with more players, unless you really feel like your hand is good enough to take on seven other people.
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David Valadez
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Unfortunately, the shared victory condition kind of ruined the experience with my new play group. It was a 4 player game with 3 new players and ended with a 3 vs 1 victory. They all seemed disappointed with the anticlimatic ending. I hope I can convince them to play it again someday, but for now, I may be stuck with playing it at conventions.
 
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Nate Owens
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sputang wrote:
Unfortunately, the shared victory condition kind of ruined the experience with my new play group. It was a 4 player game with 3 new players and ended with a 3 vs 1 victory. They all seemed disappointed with the anticlimatic ending. I hope I can convince them to play it again someday, but for now, I may be stuck with playing it at conventions.


I have twice been the victim of what I call a dogpile victory, where everyone defeats one player. One of those was like a seven player game. Six winners, one loser (me).

I swear, it's like I find new and exciting ways to lose this game every time I play.
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Ryan Tullis
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In a 5 player game, this is how me and my friends rank victory:

1.) Solo win (you battled and clawed your way to the top)

2.) 2-player shared victory on an ATTACK (not negotiate for the win. It's not as great, but you still had to overcome the alliance of three other players most likely. Still a good victory to have).

3.) 3-player victory on an ATTACK (You really needed THREE players to attack at once to win? Well, I guess it makes sense if you have weaker powers and up against an extremely strong alien (like Virus). Then you have to do what you have to do. Fair enough.)

4.) 4-player victory on an ATTACK (That's pretty pathetic. Unless you're going up against an EXTREMELY strong power and every other player is perfectly aware that player is going to kill everyone on their turn, this is a bad way to win. You pretty much just forced one guy to lose. Was it really worth it?

5.) Negotiate for the win. Good job on your huggy-huggy-boo-boo win. How about we play a co-op next and we can make apple juice and talk about our feelings? Should be ashamed of yourself. shake EXCEPTION: You have all negotiates, you and the person you've pulled up against have been picked on and destroyed the entire game, and neither of you have any real shot at winning while Jimmy-McVirus is multiplying like the plague. Negotiate away.


ULTIMATE VICTORY

You tricked the huggy-huggy-boo-boo player into negotiating for the win with you, and you betrayed his carebear behind. If you achieve this, you should be dancing on his tears of defeat. Warning here: He will probably never negotiate with you again for anything. So know that you just made yourself an enemy for a while.



And there you go. You can see how after so many games my friends and I have come to terms with the wins. Is there anything in the rules that say a win is a less than another win? No. But, then again, Cosmic Encounter is all about the metagame. We fit it to the group we play with. Some other people here might think our "unsaid" rating system is bogus. But that's fine. Cosmic is like that. Find what works best for your group.



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Ian Toltz
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San Il Defanso wrote:
I swear, it's like I find new and exciting ways to lose this game every time I play.


It's quotes like this that make me wish boardgames had dust covers.
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Ganybyte wrote:
Cosmic encointer is nothing like a car race. It's a war game of sorts and many times wars are won by a coalition. It's thematic and frankly this is probably a big reason why your games are consistently so long.

Also it isn't a great 3 player game; it's sweet spot is 4-6 players.

Exactly. It's like saying that it was lame of the Britts to have a shared victory with USA, France and the Russians. They should have totally gone for solo victory after defeating the Nazis on their own...

Napoleon tried something like that, and ended up with a 6 on 1 loss for his troubles
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