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Kevin discusses the revealed aliens. #2: The Mirror

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#1 KevinW



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Posted 21 November 2008 - 06:28 PM

[Transferred over from old forum.]


Mirror was first introduced in the Mayfair edition of Cosmic Encounter, so it may be unfamiliar even to some of you old timers. It’s actually one of my favorite additions from that version, along with reinforcement cards.

Mirror is a simple concept (reverse the digits of any attack cards played) with some bite to it. It always gets a gasp from players who haven’t seen it before, and rightly so. There aren’t a lot of aliens who can play an attack 90 card, after all.

However, if it was just a powerhouse, I wouldn’t like it that much. But Mirror requires some thought and finesse. When you use its power, you have to do so before seeing your opponent’s card, which it reverses as well. Now, you have the advantage, since your opponent doesn’t know whether or not you’re going to use your power, but if you aren’t careful, your opponent might be the one with that attack 90.

What’s interesting about Mirror is that it makes weak cards strong, and it turns strong cards to mush. Just think about it. The 10, 20, 30, and 40 are all extremely vulnerable to Mirror’s power, while other attack cards suddenly come into their own. Many of the attack cards under 10 become incredibly powerful, while the teens and the 23 remain fairly reliable middleweights. I really like aliens that cause players to weight the value of the cards differently, and Mirror is one of the best at doing that.

Of course, this means that the Clone running around with an attack 40 is most likely in a lot of trouble against the Mirror. But as I said in my last post, it doesn’t pay to become too predictable.

Players familiar with the Mayfair edition will see that I didn’t make any real changes to Mirror, although I did add a 0 in front of the attack cards that were less than 10 in order to simplify Mirror’s power a bit. I personally like having two digits on all the attack cards anyway. I think it looks a bit more attractive and has more of a ‘sci-fi’ look and feel.

As for the Mirror’s skill level, I rated it a yellow alert alien. A beginning player doesn’t really have any sense of the card mix, which is somewhat necessary to get the most out of Mirror’s power. Also, it has to be said that Mirror has one of those abilities which can seem overwhelmingly powerful to a Cosmic beginner, turning them away from the game before they acquire the skills to realize that there are plenty of ways to beat it. One of my goals for the alert system was to avoid situations like that by allowing players to dip their toes in the water first with the green aliens, then add in the yellow aliens once they’ve mastered the basic skills of the game and are better prepared to handle curveballs like the Mirror’s power.

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