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  1. jdu98a

    End Game takes too long?

    Yeah, I feel ya on those 8 person games. They have the potential to stretch on if there isn't a power like the Winner or the Tick-Tock at the table. Something I've thought about trying, but have not had the opportunity yet, is instituting a house rule that artifact cards can only be used once per game (unless some alien power overrides that like the Vulch). Basically, once used, artifacts are removed from the game. What i've noticed in large table games is that with so many players and so many cards always out there in people's hands it's almost impossible for there not to be several zaps ready to be played to prevent anyone from winning. As a result it takes forever until finally someone is able to muster overwhelming numbers or just get lucky to have a turn where no zaps are available in order to win. Like I said, I haven't tried it, but I'm guessing the removal of the artifacts in the end game would result in a quicker finish.
  2. Thanks! I'd also love to expand to hosting tournaments outside of my own circle of players.
  3. jdu98a

    End Game takes too long?

    The group I play with allows shared wins, but I have a house rule that "A negotiation cannot result in a win." This makes for some interesting and fun negotiations towards the end of the game.
  4. Picture Gallery I am a software developer by trade. I am also a huge Cosmic Encounter fan and have been playing the game for 20+ years. I have introduced the game to a number of people. Enough people that it is possible for us to have a decent sized tournament (12-15 players). I decided to use my developer skills to tackle the job of managing a tournament. This was my process: [I should make it clear that the app I built is for my own personal use only, and has not been monetized in any way] How I Chose to Run My Tournaments There are basically two ways to run a CE tournament. 1) Some sort of elimination bracket. This is viable but complicated since there are more than two players in a game, and particularly if you intend to allow shared wins (which to me is a big part of the fun of CE) OR 2) Convert games to a scoring system whereby each player at the table ends the game (win or lose) with some score value that then accumulates to result in a ranking of all players. The solution I decided on was #2 with a variation. There would be multiple rounds of play using the scoring system. Following the last regular round the players with the top cumulative scores (probably 4-6) would secure a seat at the final table. The final table does not use the scoring system. The winner of the final game is the tournament winner. The assigning of alien powers is handled at the start of the tournament via a draft process. In an example tournament consisting of 3 normal rounds (+ 1 final round) each player drafts 4 alien cards. Each alien can be used only once over the course of the tournament and they can be used in any order the player sees fit. This allows players to have some level of control in planning and executing a strategy for their tournament. Assuming of course that they are able to get the alien cards they were hoping for. The Scoring System The idea behind the scoring system that I apply is to reward players for what is "generally" considered good play. I stress "generally" because, as anyone who has played CE knows, for every rule or strategy in the game there is an alien power that changes it. And, even with the point system that I devised, there are some alien powers that require special scoring rules which I will cover later. I also wanted a scoring system that could be used with any combination of game variants and could even handle shared wins. I came up with the following. At the conclusion of each game all players receive points based on four factors: Whether they were a winner or not The number of foreign colonies they acquired [if they were NOT a winner] The number of home colonies they retained The number of ships they retained. Here's an example of point allocations: Points/Foreign Colony: 6 Points/Home Colony: 2 Points/Ship Remaining: 1 BONUS Victory Points: 24 A player who wins a game receives points for 5 foreign colonies (even if they won by some means other than by acquiring 5 colonies). In addition they are awarded a bonus of 24 points. In the case of a shared win all winning players receive the same points for 5 foreign colonies, but the bonus is divided evenly between all winners. So, given the point values above, if there are 3 winners each of them would receive a bonus of 8 points. This allows for shared wins, but it rewards and incentivizes players towards individual wins. Players that did not win still record points for their foreign and home colonies and remaining ships. No doubt you, as the experienced player you are, already see some weaknesses in this system when it comes to how certain alien powers play out. What, for example, does one do if they are playing the Masochist OR the Pygmy? As I mentioned there are certain alien powers that require special scoring rules. As an example, if a player wins a game by losing all their ships as the Masochist, they are instructed to record points as if they had all 5 home colonies and all 20 ships remaining. Each of the current alien cards in the game (thru Cosmic Eons) has been considered carefully and the app notifies the player if they are entering a score for an alien that has a special rule. A note about remaining ship points. While they are recorded for each game those points are not applied by default. They can be called up and applied at the end of regular play in order to break a tie between 2 or more players to determine spots at the final table. The Software As I mentioned I am a software developer and I quickly saw this as an opportunity to take a CE tournament experience to the next level by bringing it into the digital age. The app is built on the FileMaker Pro platform and is hosted on a local network. A central large form screen (like the TV in my living room) displays a scoreboard showing individual round scores, whether or not a particular score was the result of a win or shared win, and a cumulative score. Also displayed is a schedule listing table assignments of each player at each table for each round. Players are automatically ranked based on their cumulative scores and once a player has achieved a score that secures them a spot on the final table their score gets highlighted with a star. Alternatively, if a player has no hope of making the final table, they receive a sad face The software is able to make such determinations by calculating the max possible scores of all players based on all the scores that have already been entered. From there it can calculate if a particular current score will for sure be OR has no chance of being in the final round. Players register for the tournament and enter their own scores each round using iPads present at each table. Each iPad is linked to the server and scores update automatically on the large scoreboard as well as the other iPads. When starting the tournament the app allows for a review of the settings that will be used for the tournament. These settings include The number of rounds in the tournament (max of 10) The number of players at the final table (max of 8) Point allocations for foreign colonies, home colonies, ships, as well as the victory bonus Whether or not shared wins are permitted in regular rounds Whether or not points for ships remaining are counted (this setting can be applied retroactively to break ties) There is no limit to the number of players in a tournament. Once all players are registered the app will automatically populate the schedule creating the appropriate number of tables needed. The scheduling algorithm limits tables to 4-5 players for regular rounds. Also present on the settings screen is the ability to test the current settings. The app will simulate 100 tournaments based on the current settings using a semi-random algorithm to calculate scores for as many players as you designate for the test. The results of the simulation is presented as a dialogue that states the percent probability of a player securing a seat at the final table having won a given number of games. This allows the tournament admin to tweak the point allocations to balance the tournament to their liking. I generally like there to be at least the tiniest chance (1-2%) for a player that did well but never actually won a game to still make it to the final round. It's fun to mess around with the numbers to see how you can effect probability in the tournament.