Saturday, March 28, 2009

League gets new name, crowded leaderboard

The ongoing league action at Cosmic Encounter Online has been re-branded from "March Madness" to "Much Madness," in large part because plans now call for the tournament to extend into April. (Additional trivia, free of charge: March Madness is also a registered trademark).

Dates and times remain the same (Thursdays, 8E/5P), as does the format, which is the basic solo-wins-only variety used for most CEO leagues.

The top of the standings is crowded, with no single player able to take charge yet. Here's the updated standings:

Friday, March 20, 2009

CE alien survey #22: SHADOW

First appearance: Eon Expansion #3 (as "Assassin").

Plain-English power: After Destiny is flipped, send a ship of that color to the Warp.

Loved by: Healer (easy healing), Zombie, Warpish. Vacuum can spread the hurt around to others. Masochist, of course.

Loathed by: Macron, most of all. Kamikaze is no fan of Shadow, either, but Macron is truly hosed by Shadow.

Three ways to win as Shadow:
  • Bide your time. Your power is going to matter more as the game goes on, as the Warp gets full. Cudgel and Vacuum speed the game along towards that point, which is nice. Which leads to the second point ...
  • Manage your own ships well. Why? Because you want to be in a position where you don't need to play a Mobius Tubes. Got the Tubes? Play out your hand and let it end up in the discard pile.
  • Take out the right ships. Never randomly toss someone else's ship in the Warp. Always make sure it's a ship that the player hates to see go. Foreign colonies are almost always the best choice, but not always, so be mindful of what Destiny cards have been played. When a Wild is drawn, you've got a free choice — don't waste it. If Virus is in the game, you are part of the solution to de-bug him.
Three ways to win against Shadow:
  • Go big when you go for foreign colonies: three ships at the least and usually four ships on offense. Sorry if you don't like it, you simply must (super sorry if you're Macron).
  • Don't let the game drag on. If you are not playing a combat power, you may want to even consider a shared win if it becomes an option. A smart Shadow is going to be elminating foreign colonies left and right when the Warp is full, with his own ships safe.
  • If one Mobius Tubes has been played, watch for the next. You need it. Do what you have to do to get cards from the deck, both to get the second Tubes and to force the discards to be re-shuffled. That second Tubes needs to be played before Shadow can get the game to the exact place he wants it to be.
At CE Online? No.

Anything else? The Wild Shadow is an amazing Flare; it's positively nuclear. It says, "As the defense, when you lose an encounter and your opponent played an attack card, you may send one of your ships not in the encounter to the warp to take all opposing ships to the warp with you. In spite of winning, the opposing players do not receive colonies on your planet."

— Submitted by Rob Burns

Monday, March 16, 2009

All y'all should probably just give up now

There's a new sheriff in town over at the March Madness league. Let's take a long, loving look at the new leaderboard:

Two wins
  • TheDukester
One win
  • Praxis
  • AP
  • Peter
  • Toomai
  • Diseris
  • Hadsil
  • Zach of the Over-sized Dome
Odd note from last Thursday's action: Will was the winning alien in all three games in which it appeared. I would have lost money on that bet.

Complete standings here.

Cosmic Encounter hits the table at con

My spies tell me this shot from last weekend's MoMo Con in Atlanta was actually snapped by Greg Olotka, legendary Cosmic Encounter Online code-jockey and son of some guy who created some game once.

The image is a bit small-ish, so many important questions remain unanswered:
  • Who is winning?
  • Who is playing what alien?
  • Is Greg actually playing?
  • Would you let your sister date any of these guys?
Anyone have an AAR? Was the new CE a hit at the con?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Madness continues tonight at CEO

The second session of the March Madness league at Cosmic Encounter Online is scheduled for tonight (8E/5P), and it appears that last week's bugs have been squashed.

The early leaders are all tied at one win apiece. Here they are:
  • Toomai
  • Diseris
  • Hadsil
  • Large Melon Zeke

Monday, March 9, 2009

New league pods are go, yo!

It looks as if this Thursday's second March Madness league night will feature the new group of pods mentioned below.

Full details here.

Why I'm glad The Two Hacks aren't gamers

Winds of Dune, the upcoming new "Dune" book — and those quote-marks are there on purpose — is so bad that it causes computers to crash. Alleged "writer" Kevin J. Anderson says so right on his self-indulgent Twitter page.

So it's time to give thanks to Shai-Hulud, once again, that Hack One and his idiot friend Frank Herbert's Son had nothing whatsoever to do with the classic Dune boardgame. Nor will their input be needed for the upcoming Twilight: Dune.
Bless the Maker and all His Water. Bless the coming and going of Him, May His passing cleanse the world. May He keep the world for his people.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New league at CE Online! It's madness!

Update (3/5): League play begins tonight! (8E/5P)

Update II (3/5): Interested parties should read Peter's comments below.


March Madness, that is. That's the name of the upcoming league at Cosmic Encounter Online, which begins on Thursday. There's even two bonuses:

Bonus #1: The league will be hosted by none other than Peter Olotka, designer of the original Cosmic Encounter boardgame.

Bonus #2: All kinds of new pods will be added to the deck. Here's the list:
101, 99, 65, 55, 33, 13, 13, 9 (x2), 7 (x3), 3, 1, -10, -20, N (x4);
Emotion Control, Stellar Gas, Plague (x2), Force Field, Zap.
Full details can be found at CosBlog.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bounty offered: $5 for a 505

I'm offering a $5 bounty** for the first player to record an encounter total of 505 or greater in any league game at the upcoming March Madness league.

And just how in the cosmos would one score a 505, you might ask? Easy!
  1. Play Virus;
  2. Develop a home planet with five or more ships;
  3. Play the 101 pod.
Voila! Instant crisp $5 bill for you!

Fiver.jpgNote also that the bounty would be payable for, say, having six ships and playing the 99 pod ... or even eight ships with the 65 pod. Any total of 505 or more is a winner.

Rules? There are two:
  1. The 505 or higher must come during an actual league game;
  2. A screenshot is required.
Keep in mind that I'm in my 12th year of using Photoshop. I will spot any attempts at fakery in far less time than it would take to construct them.

I'd prefer to pay the winner (if any) via PayPal, but it's not an absolute requirement.

**If the winner (if any) would prefer, I'll just buy them a month-long membership at CE Online, instead.

And speaking of tournaments ...

Here's what looks like a good one for anyone who might be in the Atlanta area for MomoCon on the weekend of March 14-15. This information comes from our own Big Head Zach, writer of many strategy articles and tweaker of much Cosmic Encounter Online code:
We'll be running games of C.E. all weekend, free to play, open to anyone who wants to jump in! However, if you want a shot at some cool prizes, you can purchase tickets to have the games you play count in a running competition that lasts until Sunday afternoon, where the top 5 players will square off in an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny (tm) to see who is the Supreme Ruler Of The Universe, Bwahaha (tm).

The entry fee is $5 to have your games tracked. This fee is reduced to $3 if you are in a sci-fi themed costume (please, cosplayers, come have fun where I can see you!).

All games will use the 4-Planet variant (for quicker games), and feature 30 of the 50 aliens in the box (picked to allow variety but minimize newbie frustration). There are no other changes from the basic rules.

The plan is to have two copies of the game available to play (meaning 10 people can be playing at any given moment). If players cannot decide how to group themselves together to play, the staff will randomly seat people.
That's the basic version. For the full announcement, follow this link.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

So just what should Twilight: Dune look like?

I'd say that's a pretty fair question. And, being gamers, I'm sure we all have lots of ideas. To start things off, there's a bunch of interesting points in this discussion at the FFG boards.

I have a good starting point: if there's going to be the equivalent of the Bene Gesserit's co-existence rule, then just, for the love of all that is holy ... make ... it ... clear.

Monday, March 2, 2009

CE alien survey #21: WARPISH

First appearance: Eon expansion #7.

Plain-English power: Ships in the Warp add to your combat total.

Loved by: Necromongers; Warp fetishists; Jack Reda**; the win-inverters (Spiff / Loser / Anti-Matter) are fascinated. Zombie and Void tolerate Warpish because they will never contribute to his cause.

Loathed by: Virus and Citadel (competition, especially competition they end up creating), Chosen (necromancy is an abomination against the Divine), Shadow / Vacuum/ Cudgel (unwitting accomplices).

Three ways to win as Warpish:
  1. Your loss is still your gain. The only thing Warpish ever loses is board position. Knowing this, you can run a 4-ship offense a lot longer out of the gate than others, and can afford to be a bit more thin across all colonies. Keep three home colonies reasonably defended at all times.
  2. Card Zaps are for Mobius Tubes. Period. To a lesser extent, save Ionic Gas for when a lot of defensive allies are about to claim rewards (and have numerous ships in the Warp). If you get Mobius Tubes, keep it a big secret. Tubes should only leave your hand as a discard, not as compensation.
  3. Inviting allies on defense is shooting yourself in the foot. Never turn down an offer to ally on offense: you'll get a colony and prevent defensive rewards at best, and get more ships in the Warp at worst. Accept invitations to defend if you really need the cards, or if the odds are good that you'll defeat a significant offensive force (and add to your unholy fleet).
Three ways to win against Warpish:
  1. Warpish is weakest at the beginning of the game, or just after Mobius Tubes is played. If you have the means (i.e., choice) to rid him of colonies, choose him over other targets. A Warp full of ships does him no good if he is down to two or fewer home colonies.
  2. Go thin on offensive attacks. Consider launching ships in a fashion that doesn't favor Warpish in one direction or the other. If you are defeated, you want to give Warpish the least amount of bonus you can. Supplement with thoughtful card play.
  3. Mobius Tubes. Rather than hold out as long as you can, you should play the Tubes if the Warp ship count gets significantly higher than 10 — even if you have few ships in the Warp — to keep Warpish's advantage reasonably low. If you get a Card Zap, consider holding onto it, as it's likely Warpish will Card Zap the first Mobius Tubes to come out, and you can then Card Zap the Card Zap.
At CE Online? Yes.

Anything else? Warpish is one of the few aliens to theoretically get more powerful as its board position gets weaker. However, it's still common for Warpish to rely mostly on the suffering of others to fuel his undead fleet. Better them than him, right?

— Submitted by Zach Gaskins

**Message from Jack: "Not especially. Surprised?"

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Good news, bad news at

The good: The ever-popular "Upcoming Products" page — arguably the most talked-about page at the entire Fantasy Flight Games site — has been relaunched, following a long hiatus, with a spiffy new format.

The bad: Not a single word about the new Dune game. Or Twilight: Dune. Or Dune: Imperium. I can't decide what to call it this week.

And, for that matter, no mention of Borderlands, either ...