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CRITICISMS OF THE FFG COSMIC ENCOUNTER


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#1 Pulsar

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:03 AM

I know of none, and I personally wouldn't criticize any of the three versions of Cosmic Encounter I've owned and played (except jesus those last version's clumsy transport ships were ridiculous.) But I know players new to Cosmic Encounter might have had some trouble understanding certain rules if they weren't clearly worded in the new manual, and I wonder if veteran Cosmic players find anything about the new version or its expansions to criticize.

I would love to hear both!



#2 The Warp

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:39 PM

It's hard for me to really find much to criticize.  I know I would have loved getting 6 players in the base set, but I was confident that 6 would happen in the first expansion, which it did.  I also would have enjoyed it if they'd had more fun with the individual planets.  The unique planet art was the one and only thing I loved about the AH version of CE.  While I do prefer individual planets, I think not having each one look different was too bad.  Maybe we'll get some unique planets that have effects or abilities that can get mixed into a player's system in some future expansion.



#3 Adam

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 07:15 PM

I hate that it's not free.



#4 rashktah

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 08:45 PM

I think it's sad that there is no german version of the game.

 

For me, it's no great problem that the game's in english, but it really limits my host of gamers as some of the flare cards and powers can be a bit tricky to understand without a greater grasp on the english language.



#5 Pulsar

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:57 AM

Wow, Rashktah, frankly I'm surprised this game hasn't been translated into thirty languages, German among the first three.

I agree that the planets are boring.  I use the planets from the last edition (the only good part of that game) because they are so incredibly boring, and they don't really need to be separate, do they?  Not for me, anyway; I've never played a 4-planet game.



#6 Kobold Curry Chef

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:07 AM

I would dispute that the system hexes from previous editions are better.  Having individual planet discs is better for two reasons.  First, it allows for a more free-form setup on the tabletop.  The system hexes encouraged or even required a circular arrangement.  That's a pain in the neck when you have 6 players and an oblong conference table to play on.  Also, the system hexes tend to limit the actual player number to 6.  With planet discs, it feels much easier to make the game fit the tabletop and number of players you have.

Second, without individual planet discs, you wouldn't have innovative aliens such as Locust, the Claw, Leviathan, etc.

The only drawback I can see is the loss of the "reverse system hexes," but from what I've heard, those weren't terribly popular to begin with.

For these reasons, I strongly prefer the FFG planet discs.



#7 Adam

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:19 AM

Individual planets are also much easier to store, among their many other benefits.



#8 Pulsar

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:28 PM

Wow I hadn't thought about the effect on table arrangement and alien powers.  Of course.  There are just so blessed many in the new version.

So it seems this wildly unbalanced game is the tightest rule system ever   I can't think of any criticisms either, except yeah the planets could look more unique, come on, but that's a component thing.  Okay, FFG, time to translate rules into German, Swahili, Portuguese... you have a winner.



#9 JasonJ

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 12:53 PM

Uh huh.

 

How about the same criticism as every other FFG product - poorly written rules that could do with professional editing and proof-reading, and which leave some issues simply unaddressed?

 

See my post here for our latest breakdown:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?efid=50&efcid=1&efidt=436270

 

There's also the issue of there not being any sort of FAQ addressing CI yet, despite it being quite old now.



#10 JasonJ

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 02:58 PM

Damn, slightly harsher than I intended - Cosmic Encounter has a number of irritating flaws in its rulebooks and cards, but it is far better than any other FFG publication I've read.  But it cannot be said to be without criticism



#11 Adam

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 04:13 AM

They've done no worse than any previous company has with the game's rulebook, in my opinion.  It's not exactly a game in which you can ever account for every situation when you've got 75 aliens, 75 wild flares, 75 super flares, Technology, artifacts, and soon 25 more aliens, wilds, and supers, plus a Hazards deck all turning the rules upside-down.  I'll take the rules we have over the alternative ten generations of play testing before releasing the base set with all issues addressed.



#12 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 08:05 AM

Adam said:

It's not exactly a game in which you can ever account for every situation when you've got 75 aliens...

 

This always sounds to me like a straw-man excuse that ignores the substance of the complaint. Nobody really expects every possible component conflict to be addressed, nor do players demand clairvoyance about future game mechanics. What gets people's hackles up is when they read a rule or card and immediately spot fundamental gaps and ambiguities that should have been fixed through better review and editing.

When the core rulebook directly contradicts both itself and cards in the same edition, or an expansion rulesheet doesn't provide enough rules to play a new mechanic without running into unanswered questions right away, or a card is so poorly worded that it doesn't even do what it was apparently intended to do, this has nothing to do with how many aliens are in the game. It's a QA problem.

So FFG has hundreds of bits to keep track of. Boo hoo. I worked for a game publisher that had thousands of text-based gameplay components to keep track of and we still managed to write rules that worked — and in those cases where some minor bug slipped through, we issued clarifications and errata within days (typically before the product even released), not months later.

Forget your "ten generations of play testing"; just give us a meager ten days of professional editing.



#13 Pulsar

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:12 PM

This is really weird.  JasonJ's and Just_a_Bill's comments have echoes what I've been trying to get address in most these FFG forums.  A writer and editor myself, being a lover of games and their systems is almost a curse now that I've tried to get into FFG games, whose notoriety for badly written code made me ignore them for over a decade.  Now that they have a hold of my favorite game, Cosmic, and have taken over distribution of my new favorite game, Cadwallon, I've been trying like a tasmanian devil to get involved and help push them toward what I saw was the obviously right direction:

More re-reading of rulebook prototypes

Test-reading by Newbies and Novice game-players (to see if they can then play the game correctly)

Better writers who know how to teach, how to sequence, and even how to spoonfeed rules

Better editing for the love of goddess please mary and joseph come ON! Ahem, so there aren't glaring contradictions out the gate

I've owned every edition of Cosmic, so I didn't read the rules to the FFG, just dove in, and while I agree with Adam's comment that this game is wildly unbalanced—that's the strength of the game and why we all love it—any dedicated team could sit down and really analyze the system to put it into a shape that would amicably assemble all its disparate elements into a solid system.  Then writers could arrange and spoonfeed that system through text.  Then editors with sensitivity to the written word could maybe be hired.  Then test reading, then more editing.  This sounds like a lot, but it's what would make these games go mainstream.  Catan did it (after a stuttering step, maybe two at most), and yet FFG keeps dressing up games—even those it didn't invent—in colors and components so dazzling we can't HELP but want to love.

 

But alas, Jim is right.  I even try to overlook certain things but the thought hovers in the air between me and the beautiful board I've laid out before me for its virgin play: "That card doesn't even make sense with itself!" or "Why do I have to decide between the number they listed here and the different one in the rulebook?" or "Wouldn't anyone who read this once have caught this misspelling?"

We are regularly frustrated by the apparent complete lack of care for the nervous system of the game itself.  It's getting painful.  I tried to start this kind of thread with House Rules/Fixes next to it in their forums, and though a lot of people were interested within the first couple days (as apparently most people come to these forums to try to fix their broken rules), I was practically lambasted for the effort, accused of spamming, and even told by a quintessential rules-lawyer type that my successful effort to get clarification on a couple elements of Cadwallon I suspected were rushed (by confirming my suspicion with the game's designer himself) was just an attempt to justify my own house rules. So I gave up, realizing nobody was really getting the irony here, which I'll end with:

Those of us who care enough to come on these forums do not in the slightest represent the mainstream game audience, and if FFG wants to reach the broader base I know it can with some of these classic and potential classic games, it's going to have to take the freaking time to write and edit better rules.

Otherwise, please at least surrender custody of games you didn't create to more caring parents.



#14 Adam

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 01:44 AM

Not really.  The issue he was pointing to was immediately answered by two users and involved a specific interaction with a flare and another card.  It's covered in the rules if read closely.  I was only responding to the case in point.



#15 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 02:45 AM

Sorry, it sounded like a response to his general comment.  I didn't realize you were only defending the one example.



#16 Pulsar

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Posted 29 January 2011 - 11:19 AM

Yeah, I'm ranting generally too.  As I keep perusing, Ad Astra seems to have the tightest rules in the whole catalog, but I think that's the designers' work solely.  Even though they had to translate into English they did a better job than FFG does on its own stuff.  Just look at the paragraph blip about As Astra in the catalog.  There are two contradicting verb tenses in the first sentence.  For the same verb too!  This sort of thing shows what level of care people put into a product, and I just think it's really sad.  It really seems no one is even reading what they just wrote.  I guess FFG will just keep trying to sell decent games by dressing them up pretty with nice parts, or in Dust's case wrapping the box in mega-cleavage.  Really shows their focus.

Hey, did anyone notice their raffle was supposed to be announced on the last Friday in the news section and didn't get announced at all?  I went to check the rules because my points were over the 200 mark and guess what?  No rules.  It says go here, customer service, to read the rules.  You click the link, no rules.  You click all the links on the page it takes you to, no rules.  I don't wanna win a random game by these guys, so it doesn't matter to me in that respect, just that it shows how don't-give-a-damn they really are.  It's really the details that tell you what you need to know about a company. They can't even get their parts manufacturers to let the plastic cool in the miniature mold long enough before yoinking them out all misshapen.  I just hope they start opening their eyes about this, but we'll still have to wait for reprints, which will be fornever.



#17 Adam

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 12:58 PM

Pulsar said:

 As Astra

See Alanis, that's what I was talking about.



#18 TylerT

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:14 PM

i happen to have some fairly strong fans of the mayfar edition in my group, their disagreements with new cosmic are petty, trite and worthless. i will relate them to you paraphrased and twisted for comedic value.

 

score board:

"how are you suposed to win if everyone knows you have four systems, mayfair cosmic would never end if it had a score board"

 

power level of flares:

"holding onto a flare is over powered, it's almost enough power to help you win without tricking everyone into thinking you had 3 bases and not four"

 

awsome ship tokens:

"if you can't reverse a token how does vampire work? how dare they change a small detail in a game that is different every time it's played.

 

Tech:

WHAT IS THIS! WHERE IS MY MOONS AND LUCRE!

 

victory condition powers:

THESE ARE JUST WRONG.

 

about the only thing i agree with is the deck could use a few extra card zaps, as we rarely have that chain reaction of zaps that we got with the mayfair set.

 



#19 Ezel

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:29 AM

Pulsar said:

Hey, did anyone notice their raffle was supposed to be announced on the last Friday in the news section and didn't get announced at all?  I went to check the rules because my points were over the 200 mark and guess what?  No rules.  It says go here, customer service, to read the rules.  You click the link, no rules.  You click all the links on the page it takes you to, no rules.  I don't wanna win a random game by these guys, so it doesn't matter to me in that respect, just that it shows how don't-give-a-damn they really are.  It's really the details that tell you what you need to know about a company. They can't even get their parts manufacturers to let the plastic cool in the miniature mold long enough before yoinking them out all misshapen.  I just hope they start opening their eyes about this, but we'll still have to wait for reprints, which will be fornever.

Just signed up for this forum a few days ago.

The raffle has to still be on since it's still mentioned when you join the forum and FFG are doing wonders keeping stuff up to date.

I can't in any way imagine that there is not a raffle at the last friday of this month!

It is inconcivable if it's gone since FFG is such an amazing company and actually update the news-section often. It would take them like 3 minutes of their time to get rid of the whole raffle thing if it wasn't running so . . . IT IS STILL RUNNING! IT HAS TO !!! EVERY OTHER CONCLUSION MUST BE WRONG!!!! SINCE FFG WOULDN'T LURE CUSTOMERS WITH FALSE PROPAGANDA THEY COULD REMOVE IN 3 BLEEDIN' MINUTES!!!!!

I bet the forums i RIDDLED with posts like the one below and I just can't find them because of my lousy google-skills:

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?efid=1&efcid=2&efidt=86586



#20 Bloody Sun Boy

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:36 AM

I'll do a slight thread-necro and jump in on the FFG "planet-disks" topic.

I love 'em.  Honestly, they allow for much greater flexibility of set-up, storage, game design and simple player aesthetics (like playing the Warpish and placing your planets in a circle around the Warp!) than locking the planets together as "systems".  Someone previously mentioned the added fun of alien powers like Locust, The Claw, Leviathan, Wild Guerrilla, etc.  Actually seeing the dread in your opponents eyes as you place an *entire planet* on the Hyperspace Gate during the Launch phase is just wonderful!

Could the individual planet art be diversified and enhanced?  Sure, I won't argue that.  But I did appreciate that at least FFG gave each planet two distinct sides (one of which looking somewhat more like "planetary debris" than an actually habitable planet), which can be surprisingly useful under many circumstances.

Component-wise, I can't think of anything about FFG's edition that I find inferior to previous releases.






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