Friday, January 30, 2009

CE alien survey #14: FILCH

First appearance: Eon expansion #2.

Plain-English power: May keep encounter card played by opponent.

Loved by: Mutant; Hacker; kleptomaniacs; impulse-buyers; magicians.

Loathed by: Clone.

Three ways to win as Filch:
  1. If someone reveals they have your Flare (quite possibly by being caught stealing), maneuver towards taking Compensation from them.
  2. The power, at its core, implies that you'll be picking only good cards ... and that your foes will be trying to extract Compensation from you to get at those cards. Negotiate frequently to discourage this tactic, and pick up every card you can so that if you do get raided, it's less likely that you'll lose good cards.
  3. Be on the lookout for an ace in the hole against powers like Anti-Matter, Loser, and other aliens who have bizarre encounter resolutions.
Three ways to win against Filch:
  1. Keep a Card Zap ready to blow his Flare away, and a Cosmic Zap in case someone plays Attack 30 or 40 against him.
  2. Keep your Attack cards played against Filch in the teens or lower if you can manage it.
  3. Filch tends to ensure good cards stay in circulation ... in his hand. Using him as Compensation fodder (rather than for gaining colonies) is a sound practice.
At CE Online? Yes.

— Submitted by Zach Gaskins

25 comments:

TheDukester said...

Then again, that's what the comments field is good for, right?. Here's Zach's notes on the "classic" [vomit sounds from editor] Filch flare:

As the Filch, everyone will be ignoring you and trying to figure out if others are stealing. Distractions are always good.

If you don't have the Flare, always watch everyone's hands, especially during Regroup and when someone has to get a new hand or defensive rewards. There's no penalty for wrongfully accusing someone of stealing. As a matter of fact, insist that someone else deal a player both ships and cards. Having a strong bladder is also helpful.

If you have the Flare, practice palming ships and cards. Offer to deal other players their cards.

Toomai said...

I tend to play with Filch's classic flare, but only for kicks. I might try using the new edition sometime. (For those who are unaware, it lets you chuck an N to take a played artifact or flare; it goes into your hand instead of being used.)

Adam said...

We've played with the classic flare three or four times in somewhere between 12 and 15 games. Nothing compares to the moment when you look at someone casually fanning out the largest hand of cards you've ever seen. It really is hilarious, and you don't have a sense of humor if you aren't amused by it at least the first couple times it's played.

After awhile though, it becomes tedious. With 50 flares in the base set and 10 flares in each game, that's WAY too high of odds (20%) of seeing such a hugely game-altering card for my tastes. Once someone swipes the deck (a surprisingly easy task, even if you expect it, if your table is small), the game is practically over. All the powers in the 'verse combined can't beat the whole deck.

Unlike aliens and other cards, this flare undoes ALL other strategy. It's not that pleasant "twist" of the rules we are used to but a tearing up of the rules.

Put the classic in for a few games, but after awhile, or at least until expansions make the odds of pulling the flare much, much lower, it needs to come out or you aren't playing Cosmic anymore -- you're playing Wild Filch.

TheDukester said...

Once was enough for me. Never again.

Officially-sanctioned cheating just doesn't work. It doesn't even work in Illuminati, which practically encourages it. And Cosmic is chaotic enough -- in a good, still-tactical way -- without adding in a game-breaker.

Toomai said...

Well my sisters don't really play "to win" anyway, and in the month we've been playing for, the classic flare's only ever been used once (for a single card).

It's actually extremely difficult to win against people who don't compete 100% (not to mention it's frustrating). For example, if Purple is about to get a solo win, Blue will ally with her anyway just so the game can end. They think the Plague is the most unfair card in the deck, and they'll constantly agree to play N's.

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