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JosueCafe

Zero to nine colonies with one flare…?

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A strange situation came up last time we played Cosmic Encounter. Here's what happened:

I started the game out very poorly. By mid-game I had no planets at all, with my brother in the lead. My luck changed when I drew the Schizoid flare, which allows the user to switch solar systems (basically token colors) with an opponent. As soon as my bro received his fourth colony, I revealed the card and switched positions, leaving him with zero planets and me with nine. The reason I had nine rather than four (in my opinion) was that I was also playing as the Horde, and I happened to have tokens placed on each of my original planets ( now my brother's). Since the power card states that Horde tokens are treated as ships under my control, I argued that the hoard tokens in my brother's new solar system counted as foreign colonies for myself. Of course nobody agreed with this interpretation.

Do you guys think the horde tokens should be counted as my ships? Should they have become my brother's ships since we changed solar systems? I think it is obvious by the power sheet that they are always under my control, but I'm curious what you guys think.

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You have stumbled onto one of those scenarios in which the intentions of the rules and the actual wording on the cards aren't entirely clear.  In this particular instance, the issue is about the aliens with powers that say, "Your power cannot be stolen or copied through any means".  The Cosmodex 2.0 offers some crucial insight, I think, to this situation.  It discusses that the intention of "cannot be stolen/copied" alien powers includes altering possession of them by any means, including "changing player color".  As such, the Cosmodex suggests that such alien powers be amended to read as follows:

"Your power cannot be stolen, copied, or separated from your player color through any means."

What this would mean for Horde with a Wild Schizoid is that when Horde switches player colors with an opponent, the Horde tokens currently in play stay with his original color and no longer count as ships under Horde's control.  However, since the new player now in possession of Horde's color doesn't have the Horde alien power, he can't count them as his ships either, so they effectively become useless (for this reason and reasons of minimizing headaches, it would be best to remove all existing Horde tokens from play).  From then on, new Horde tokens that enter play will be attached to Horde's new player color and will function normally.

Of course, if you and your friends prefer to play by following the cards simply as written, then your stunt would work but it's fairly clear that "cannot be stolen/copied" powers aren't intended to function that way.

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Having a bunch of orphaned stacks of useless old horde tokens that had to be kept separated from new horde tokens would be pretty messy.  Fortunately, with the revised text this cannot happen because Wild Schizoid cannot be played to affect Horde (since it would cause Horde's power to be separated from his player color). If Horde is currently green, the whole point of the revision is to block all effects that would make Horde stop being green.

 

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Thanks for the clarification, Bill.  After your comments, I realized that my response above was predicated upon an overly-analytical and ultimately flawed reading of the intention of Horde's text revision.  The core of my misinterpretation came from the notion that "player color" referred to "current player color".  As such, I didn't interpret Horde preventing a color swap but rather, preventing another player color from acquiring Horde tokens through such means (i.e. "…cannot be separated from your player color…" not "…your starting player color…".  Your clarification makes Horde's interaction much simpler and more logical.

Not sure if using the term "starting" would be of any value toward such interactions.

Thanks again!

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I don't think I'm understanding the distinction you are drawing.  When playing Horde, your starting player color and your current player color will alwatys be the same thing, since you can't separate your color from your alien power.

Are you trying to interpret the revision as somehow saying your tokens cannot be separated from your color?  If so, I would say set that idea aside and just interpret the text as presented: your power cannot be separated from your player color.  I believe that will straighten it out.

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