News, notes, and anecdotes from the world of COSMIC ENCOUNTER, the greatest game ev-ah! There's lots of COSMIC ENCOUNTER ONLINE discussion here, too (and even some DUNE)
... when you have an alien with a name like "GROCERY CLERK", or "NICOTINE PATCH", or "FLINTSTONE", you are probably straying too far off course.
Can you say HERTZ or LLOYD...everyone is guilty.
I'm not a big fan of aliens with American cultural references, either. You'll never see me play an alien named Galactica, or Clinton, or whatever ... ever, ever, ever. It takes me right out of the mood.I remain a little bit surprised that Spiff wasn't renamed, actually; it's a clear reference to Calvin & Hobbes. But maybe it's still obscure enough to most players.
HERTZ and LLOYD make me laugh... I don't have any trouble using them in my games, since they're easy to imagine in the Cosmic universe of aliens. But I stand by my feelings on GROCERY CLERK... nix.
Ahem. As the creator of "Galactica" and "Clinton", such powers were created with tongue-in-cheek. While I do think their effects can work in a game, they were created more for the joke. Don't like the power because you don't like what it does, not what the name is. As for the article itself, I do have a few powers that are long-winded. If one is put off by that, no one's perfect.As for cultural references, "Lloyd" is reference to Lloyd's of London insurance. "Hurtz" references Hertz rent-a-car. When Mayfair came out with "Spiff", I was entertained, not offended.
Another common mistake, I think, in making a bad power is trying too hard to be powerful or just plain win a combat. It's the desire of wanting something AWESOME. Having recently rediscovered some of my own very early creation powers of way, way back when I've forgotten, I think for one or two I made that mistake. I can more easily recognize it now reading others' powers and quickly determine it's not a good power. Matt Stone's set has a few of them as well. :)
Who said anything about being "offended" by Spiff? I said I was "surprised."As far the Galactica example, I'd be happy to play with the power (provided it added something to the game; I haven't actually read it, so I don't know), but I'd change the name first. That's just for my own benefit, as American pop-culture references kill my "conquering the cosmos" mood faster than anything else does. I don't want to be reminded of the world I actually live in when I'm supposed to be playing a SF-themed game. I'm likely in the minority there, but I can't help it.So there's no real "liking" or "disliking" of the power going on here; I never said that. I said I didn't like the name. Big difference.
Galactica starts the game with his "home bases" in other players' systems. He wins the game by occupying all his planets in his system. When he wins as defensive player, he places tokens on the attacked planet and gets the base. Ironically, it is one of my "long-winded" powers. I could shorten it, but I think new players might not get what's going on. It's way "Expert" rating.Clinton is really more a joke power. You get rewards like cards from the deck or unused flares when another player takes an active interest in something that's not game related. (Answers the telephone, goes to the bathroom, talks about something that happened at work, etc.) Next time you play the game, wouldn't work online, privately note how often something like this happens, even if from yourself. You might be surprised when you actually take the time to notice.
I just read it; very interesting. All I'd have to do is print it out with "Voyager" or something as the name and I'd be fine.I agree it's off-the-scale red (using FFG's new "alert levels"), but veteran players could handle it. My preference would be to shorten the text a bit, but that's my only nit-pick. It's got that sort of "alternate-win" vibe I'm into lately, so I'm on-board with that.
I have a lot of renamed aliens in my set as well... I had a lot of my own powers that shared names with either Gerald, Cedric or Matt's powers, and I sorta split up whose power was re-christened. I added a lot of powers from the CE Archives, and I went with the original power name when provided, even though some of them were in my set with the names that Aaron's group gave to them.
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