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Close Encounters of the Dud Kind (Questions)


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#1 Hugesinker

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:06 PM

I have a couple questions, mostly about uncommon encounters.

First, Dud Encounters-- That is, encounters when the offense has no encounter cards left.  According to the rules, these encounters end immediately during the planning phase and any allies go back to their existing colonies without further effect.  This means that the defense gets one of their cards out of the orders deck for free (until reshuffle), all players get an opportunity to research their tech, the offense benefits from regroup, and all committed allies (and the offense) get a chance to move any ships that participated to different colonies. 

  • (1) Is this all correct (above)?
  • (2) Is it also the case that the defense MUST draw a new hand (immediately playing any cards that they can and want to play), or does the turn end before the defense must do this?
  • (3) The rules are clear that in the unlikely event that the DEFENSE doesn't draw any encounter cards when they get a fresh hand of eight, they simply discard (immediately playing any cards that they can and want to play) and draw another hand as many times as is necessary to get an encounter card before continuing with the planning phase.  However, there is no similar stipulation in the rules for the offense if they draw a fresh hand with no encounter cards during their Start Turn phase.  Does this mean it is possible for the offense's first encounter of a round to be a dud?

Next, about Ignored Orders cards-- That is, if a player draws their own color and decides not to have an encounter in their own system.

  • (4) Do these orders go to discard or are they reshuffled into the orders draw deck after the player gets orders that they must follow?  The rules do not make this clear.  We've always played that any ignored orders get shuffled back in, otherwise it is possible to go through the entire orders deck without certain player(s) being encountered.

Then there are Redeployment "Encounters"-- Encounters to move ships to one of your existing colonies.  If you get your own orders, you theoretically could decide to use them to send up to four ships to a home planet that you already have a colony on.  Usually a dumb move, but this could be advantageous if you are having a difficult time getting ships to a certain home colony quickly enough otherwise and/or you really want to take your own orders card out of the draw deck (assuming ignored orders would be reshuffled).

  • (5) I assume that Redeployment Encounters to your own system count as an unsuccessful encounter.  Is this correct?
  • (6) What about Redeployment Encounters to a foreign system?  Also usually a dumb move, but there could be a situation where every planet remaining in a system already has one of your colonies on it; or perhaps the only planet without one of your colonies has a certain Terrorist bomb and you don't want to lose any ships.  According to the rules, you still need to go through all the motions, including playing encounter cards against the owner of that system (even if they are defending with zero ships).  Is this an unsuccessful encounter even if you win and get to add ships?

Last but not least, the theoretical Empty System Encounter-- Encountering a system that has no planets.  Although I haven't seen it happen to anybody, it appears possible that the home planets of a player could be destroyed or gobbled up in various ways until eventually there are no planets left in their system.

  • (7) What happens in this situation?  It looks like we get stuck in the Launch Phase with no place to point the cone.

 



#2 Hugesinker

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:18 PM

With number 2, I mean in the situation where the defense also doesn't have any encounter cards.



#3 The Warp

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 02:43 AM

If the offense has no encounter cards at the start of turn, he or she draws a new hand.  There is no dud encounter.  If after the first encounter is successful for the offense, and he then has no encounter cards, his turn ends before going to destiny.  In very very rare situations when the offense has an encounter card at the beginning of the encounter, but loses it before the encounter actually takes place, then the defense keeps his card, and that destiny card is discarded just like it normally is.

If the offense draws his own color, and has a planet with no colony on it, he may attack or occupy it (no new draws on destiny).  He cannot place ships on a colony where he already has them.  That destiny would be discarded and new one drawn. 

If a player has no planets left, and no legitimate encounter can take place, you draw again from destiny.



#4 Hugesinker

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 05:39 AM

The Warp!  Thanks for your response!

The Warp said:

If the offense has no encounter cards at the start of turn, he or she draws a new hand.  There is no dud encounter.  If after the first encounter is successful for the offense, and he then has no encounter cards, his turn ends before going to destiny.  In very very rare situations when the offense has an encounter card at the beginning of the encounter, but loses it before the encounter actually takes place, then the defense keeps his card, and that destiny card is discarded just like it normally is.

I know that if the offense has no encounter cards, they draw a new hand at the start of their turn (Start Turn Phase)-- what if none of the eight cards they draw are encounter cards? There is no stipulation in the rules that the offense can draw another hand immediately like there is for the defense (thats Q3). (see pg 13 in the rules "Drawing new Cards").  The rules also say "If the offense runs out of cards later during his or her turn AND NEEDS TO PLAY ONE, the offense's turn ends immediately."  The offense doesn't usually NEED TO PLAY an encounter card until the Planning phase.  This is reenforced by the rules for the Planning phase (pg 9) wherein it says "The offense and defense Now each select an encounter card... and play it facedown... If the offense has no encounter cards in hand, his or her turn immediately ends."  It never says that the offense must end their turn at any other time.  I realize that if the offense has a successful first encounter, they get to decide whether or not to have a second one (or take a tech card), so they would most likely decide not to have a dud encounter, but the rules make it apparent that they can if they want to.

For instance, what if the offense has a successful first encounter and now has no encounter cards left, but they also have a home planet that they want to reoccupy.  This player would be inclined to attempt a second encounter in hopes of drawing their own color from the destiny deck-- if they didn't, they would have a dud encounter with another player that would end at the planning phase when they needed to play an encounter card.

The Warp said:

If the offense draws his own color, and has a planet with no colony on it, he may attack or occupy it (no new draws on destiny).  He cannot place ships on a colony where he already has them.  That destiny would be discarded and new one drawn. 

Okay, so your reading here is that if you draw your own orders, your only choices are: reoccupy an empty planet, drive off a foreign colony, or you must draw a new destiny card.  You may not gather ships and reenforce a home colony even if you wanted to-- for instance, if you would rather reenforce a home colony to prevent the shadow from taking away your alien power than attack some heavily-entrenched foreign colonies.  This seems strange because the rules are clear that you CAN reenforce a FOREIGN colony by having an encounter in a foreign system if you wanted to. (Pg 11 "If the Offense Won")  This still leaves open (Q6)!

I take it that your answer to (Q4) is that you discard the destiny card even if you do not use it-- so that a player may, by the luck of the draw, get no encounters in their system until reshuffle.  We already have the "last card gets lucky" rule in play for the destiny deck, don't you think you think that also discarding here is a bit much? 

The Warp said:

If a player has no planets left, and no legitimate encounter can take place, you draw again from destiny.

I think this is a good ruling here.  In fact, when they lose their last planet, maybe their color should be removed from the destiny deck entirely until they get a planet back.



#5 Adam

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 02:17 AM

"Start of Turn" is a phase.  If you draw a new hand at start of turn and still don't have any encounter cards, it is still "Start of Turn."  The rules say to draw a new hand if at "Start of Turn" phase you don't have an encounter card.  It doesn't specify a limit, so I see no reason not to keep drawing new hands.  At least, it sounds like a good explanation for what would be an awful scenario, so that's what I'd say in the unlikely event that it ever happens.

Of course, there is one problem I never thought of: What if there are 8 or more cards left in the deck but no encounter cards?  The Cosmic Quake is triggered by a lack of cards to draw, not by a lack of encounter cards.  I wonder how the game would handle that.  Quakes pretty much never happen, so it's just a curiosity.  I'd probably just suggest doing a Quake anyway.



#6 Kobold Curry Chef

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 06:48 AM

I agree, Adam. It is exceedingly rare that the deck will be 8 or more cards and yet have no encounter cards, but in that case, duck and cover!

It's a testament to how well FFG tuned the Cosmic deck that this is rarely a concern. I saw it happen a lot with the Mayfair edition, especially after the expansion.



#7 Hugesinker

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:31 AM

Yikes, you guys are giving me more questions!



#8 The Warp

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 08:09 AM

If you draw 8 cards and have no encounter cards, you discard and draw again.  If that then triggers a Quake, then Quake on, brother.

You can't reinforce any colonies by attacking them.  You can, however, reinforce a colony when you retrieve a ship from the warp, foreign or home (and if you have no colonies, that ship goes directly onto the gate). 

As far as discarding destiny cards, you make no exceptions for someone that draws his own color several times in a row, canceling to draw again.  That's Cosmic.  It can happen, but it's pretty rare.



#9 Hugesinker

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:49 PM

The Warp said:

You can't reinforce any colonies by attacking them.  You can, however, reinforce a colony when you retrieve a ship from the warp, foreign or home (and if you have no colonies, that ship goes directly onto the gate). 

Rules pg.11, Resolution Phase section under "If the Offense Won"--

"* All the ships on the hyperspace gate (the offense's ships plus any allies' ships) are placed on the planet, thus establishing (or possibly reinforcing) a colony for the offense and each offensive ally."

In the situation where you already have a colony on every planet remaining in the targeted foreign system, the only thing you can do is reinforce one of them.



#10 Kobold Curry Chef

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 02:47 PM

If you have a colony on every planet in someone else's system, either you have already won the game by having 5 foreign colonies, or else that player has lost one or more planets to Locust/The Claw/etc. and you are still very very close to winning by having 3-4 foreign colonies.

In that very rare circumstance, yes, you can only try to "reinforce" an existing colony. This is a classic case where playing a Negotiate is your best option...



#11 Hugesinker

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 11:25 AM

Kobold Curry Chef said:

In that very rare circumstance, yes, you can only try to "reinforce" an existing colony. This is a classic case where playing a Negotiate is your best option...

I don't see any reason to believe that it must be limited to only that one very rare circumstance.  Either way, this brings us right back to the original question of whether or not reinforcing would count as a successful encounter.



#12 Kobold Curry Chef

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 05:24 PM

It doesn't matter what planet you are attacking, in this case; if you win the encounter, it's a success. If you make a deal, it's a success. You would then be eligible for a second encounter.



#13 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:29 AM

There is no such thing as a "redeployment encounter".  You cannot simply add more ships to one of your existing colonies without encountering anyone.  This has never been allowed in any version of Cosmic Encounter.  You can reclaim an empty home planet, but that's the only encounter you can have that doesn't involve an opponent.  (The future possibility of moons in FFG notwithstanding.)

Now, there is a rules gap in the situation where you draw your own color and reclaim an empty home planet: it is not defined wither this counts as a "win" or not.  Based on what would (a) create the fewest rulings issues and (b) be consistent with the original Eon rules when gaining a colony on an empty moon (a highly parallel situation), I staunchly maintain that reclaiming an empty home planet is a "win with no loser" and therefore a successful encounter.

(Most folks assume that it's good enough to just know whether an encounter was "successful" or not.  While this is certainly sufficient to tell you whether you get a second encounter or not, there are game effects that need to know whether you actually won, lost, made a deal, or failed to deal.  Thus, anything that results in an unusual resolution should map onto one of those four outcomes for each relevant player, so that we all know whether and how those other game effects apply.  If you can always tell which one of the four standard outcomes applies to you, then you are good to go.)



#14 Hugesinker

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:20 PM

Just_a_Bill said:

There is no such thing as a "redeployment encounter".  You cannot simply add more ships to one of your existing colonies without encountering anyone.  This has never been allowed in any version of Cosmic Encounter.  You can reclaim an empty home planet, but that's the only encounter you can have that doesn't involve an opponent.  (The future possibility of moons in FFG notwithstanding.)

For home systems, it isn't explicitly allowed or prevented-- normally this would mean it was not allowed by default.  However, it is explicitly allowed in a foreign system, in which case it still initiates an encounter with the owner of the system.  If you can reinforce a foreign system but not a home system, that seems kind of counter-intuitive.  I don't see any harm in allowing it as a non-successful encounter.

Just_a_Bill said:

Now, there is a rules gap in the situation where you draw your own color and reclaim an empty home planet: it is not defined wither this counts as a "win" or not.  Based on what would (a) create the fewest rulings issues and (b) be consistent with the original Eon rules when gaining a colony on an empty moon (a highly parallel situation), I staunchly maintain that reclaiming an empty home planet is a "win with no loser" and therefore a successful encounter.

Reoccupying an empty home planet IS considered a successful encounter according to the core rules.  This is on Page 7, under "If a Color is Drawn", third paragraph.



#15 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 04:54 PM

Hugesinker said:

 

Reoccupying an empty home planet IS considered a successful encounter according to the core rules.  This is on Page 7, under "If a Color is Drawn", third paragraph.

Yes, the rulebook defines it as a "success" but does not tell us whether or not it is a "win".  This is precisely my point.  "Success" and "win" do NOT mean the same thing in Cosmic Encounter.  The FAQ says they do, but the FAQ is absolutely wrong on this point.  That is the rules gap I referred to.

In case this is still not clear:  Not only is it a success (as the rulebook attests), but more specifically it is a WIN.  All wins are successes, but not all successes are wins.  It is a hierarchical relationship.  FFG has never understood this, and thus continues to write rules, cards, and FAQ entries incorrectly.



#16 Hugesinker

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 05:14 AM

Just_a_bill, what good is a "win" over a "success"?  ... especially against yourself?   It looks like whether or not an encounter is considered "successful" is the only thing that matters to the basic mechanics of the game.  Maybe there's some alien power where this is important?



#17 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 05:54 AM

Yes, there are effects that need to know what kind of success it was: a win or a deal.

Saying an encounter was a "success" is like saying a student "passed" his class.  Well, what kind of passing grade did he get?  Does his father owe him a used car, a trip to Dairy Queen, or nothing at all?  Not every student needs to know this because not all of them made a deal with their father ... but some did!  And yet there are teachers who keep arguing (without merit) that all anyone needs to know is whether the students passed or not.

"Success" and "win" are not interchangeable; there is a hierarchy here. Eon understood that, but FFG does not (the FAQ is flat-out wrong on this point) and so they continue to confuse many of their players.



#18 Hugesinker

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:24 AM

Just_a_Bill said:

Yes, there are effects that need to know what kind of success it was: a win or a deal.

Saying an encounter was a "success" is like saying a student "passed" his class.  Well, what kind of passing grade did he get?  Does his father owe him a used car, a trip to Dairy Queen, or nothing at all?  Not every student needs to know this because not all of them made a deal with their father ... but some did!  And yet there are teachers who keep arguing (without merit) that all anyone needs to know is whether the students passed or not.

"Success" and "win" are not interchangeable; there is a hierarchy here. Eon understood that, but FFG does not (the FAQ is flat-out wrong on this point) and so they continue to confuse many of their players.

I'd like to find out what you think of "Dud Encounters" as I described earlier-- an encounter where the offense has no encounter cards that will end at the planning phase.

When it comes to Win versus Success, I'm not sure if it can be categorically right or wrong to define the two things synonymously.  The only potential problem is that it can be self-consistent with the rest of their rules or not.  In one system, a negotiated deal between the main players would be both a win and a success for them.  In another system, it would be a success but not a win.  However, if FFG used "win" by itself to describe a power that should not apply to deals, that would make it, or the power description, a problem.  That's what you're going to need to show to make your case.

Also, I approve of Dairy Queen and their thin chocolaty ice cream shells.



#19 Just_a_Bill

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:04 AM

Hugesinker said:

I'd like to find out what you think of "Dud Encounters" as I described earlier-- an encounter where the offense has no encounter cards that will end at the planning phase.

My comments are all in the context of completed encounters.  The ones you call "duds" are basically incomplete or aborted encounters. They typically do not have a Resolution phase, so the effects that need to know how the encounter ended cannot be used.  So in that sense, there is a fifth outcome that we could call "incomplete" or something.  But since that's irrelevant for the effects that care about the type of outcome, I tend to ignore it.

Hugesinker said:

When it comes to Win versus Success, I'm not sure if it can be categorically right or wrong to define the two things synonymously.

It you look at the relevant effects, it becomes pretty clear that win and success are not equal.  One is a specific outcome and the other is a category of outcomes.  (Otherwise why even have two terms?)  All wins are successes but not all successes are wins, just like not all fruits are apples.

Hugesinker said:

However, if FFG used "win" by itself to describe a power that should not apply to deals, that would make it, or the power description, a problem. That's what you're going to need to show to make your case.

Or, to make your case, you need to show that nothing breaks when you claim that win = deal = successful and loss = failed deal = unsuccessful.  (Everybody always want the other guy to do the research!)

Anyway, here you go.  There are quite a few individual effects that make it clear that not all successes can be wins; or, more specifically, that a deal is not a win  and a failed deal is not a loss. Last time I did the research I believe I came up with 15 or 20, but I will give just a few here:

  • Wind Fungus: If a deal is a win, then when a player makes a deal Wild Fungus would capture all opposing ships. This would be contrary to the intent, and ambiguous since the allies' ships already left the encounter before the deal-making started.
  • Guerrilla: If Guerrilla fails to deal and thus (by your interpretation) has "lost", each ally is supposed to lose to the warp all but one of the ships he had in the encounter. Trouble is, he has already dispersed his ships back to various colonies. No competent designer would write the function to leave this gap if it was intended that a failed deal triggered Guerrilla's power.  Wild Guerrilla would also be nonsensical if a failed deal were considered a "loss".
  • Leviathan: If a deal were to count as a win, after Leviathan makes a deal he could just plop ships from his worldship onto the targeted planet for a free colony. Clearly not the intent.  On the other side, if Leviathan fails to deal and thus has "lost", in addition to the three ships he loses normally he also has to send the ships on his worldship to the warp -- leading to the ambiguity of whether these losses can overlap or not.
  • Other weird crap: Mercenary as an ally would collect rewards after he has already left the encounter if the main players make a deal. Tick-tock would be completely redundant. Barbarian would make a deal with you and then still loot your hand. Void would "win" via making a deal ... but where are the "losing ships"? Loser, via upset, would make dealing players "both lose", and would make non-dealing players "both win".  The insanity would just never end.

If all these terms meant the same thing, there would be no point in having more than one term, right? There would be no point in writing "wins or makes a deal" on some effects while writing only "wins" on other effects.  And worse, there would be no clean way that a designer could create an effect that works for wins but doesn't work for deals.  He would have to write something ugly like "if you won (but did not make a deal)" or, even worse, "if you lost (but did not try to make a deal and fail)" — and there is not a single effect written like that in the entire game.  They all just say "win" when they mean win and "win or deal" when they mean both.

The evidence is very clear: win and deal are two separate outcomes that both exist under the umbrella of "success".  It just cannot work any other way.



#20 Tiz

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 06:13 PM

I've had about this the other day. I had 1 encounter card left. During my regroup phase some used a plague on another player. That got me wondering, if they would have plagued me then I wouldn't have any encounter cards during my turn. I wouldn't be able to draw any because the starting phase already happened, so would my turn be over? But what about if the Philanthropist could give me an encounter card later? That wouldn't happen until the alliance phase. So... does my turn end immediately or can I keep playing because I would be receiving an encounter card before the planing phase anyway?






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