Friday, May 8, 2009

Fantasy Flight's FAQ a fabulous first

While going over Fantasy Flight's official Cosmic Encounter FAQ today, it occurred to me that the document really is the first of its kind. Despite a 30-plus-year history, CE has never had an official** FAQ of any kind, with simple poor timing being a big part of the reason.

Consider the history:
  • Eon (1977): The concept of an "internet" was understood by about 23 people in the whole world when Cosmic was first published, all of whom worked for the Defense Department, so that wasn't exactly a big factor. The Future Pastimes gang was able to issue some rulings in their Encounter newsletter, which was nice, but that publication certainly didn't reach every CE player. Later, Expansion #9 cleared up a lot of issues — and, in its own way, was sort of FAQ-like — but that was it for CE in its original form. There would be no further Eon-branded items.
  • Mayfair (1991): I think Mayfair, had they kept the CE license a bit longer, likely would have eventually posted some sort of FAQ on their ultra-primitive website of the mid-90s. And we all would have gleefully paid AOL even more usage fees to dial up our 56K modems and have a look at it. Sadly, we'll never really know, though. By the time the concept of the fabled World Wide Web was familiar to more people than just the propeller-heads, Mayfair had long since ceased to actively support CE.
  • Avalon Hill (2000): This one is a no-brainer. There's no doubt at all that AH would have eventually released a FAQ ... of course, that would imply that they chose to support the game in the first place, which we all know didn't happen, for whatever reason. But had AH announced plans for, say, one or two expansions, they certainly would have also taken the time to add a FAQ to their support pages, which were actually pretty good for that time period.
(All of which reminds me: you know what other classic game from the same era could really use an official FAQ? Dune. Big-time. Not a bizarre Q&A session that many people have attempted to pass off as a FAQ over the years, but an honest-to-God real FAQ. Anyone who doubts this needs to poll 10 experienced Dune players and ask them exactly how Bene Gesserit co-existence works.)

Wait, I'm digressing. Where was I? Oh, yeah: welcome to the Cosmic family, Mr. Official FAQ Document. Now prepare to be picked apart.

**Official = a FAQ produced by the publisher. Unofficial = all other attempts at FAQs, no matter how well-researched or well-intentioned.


Adam said...

There are a number of rulings I don't really agree with, but I'm just glad to have rulings, so I won't bother house ruling them (except Gambler Vs. Sorceror) for the sake of consistency.

By the way, how'd you get that image? I know Toomai has put up an abridged version all in text, but I'd love to see the full version like that if possible.

Toomai said...

Maybe he edited the transparency of the text box in the PDF (so it's completely opaque instead of see-through).

TheDukester said...

There wasn't much to it:

1. Took a screenshot with SnapzPro;

2. Edited the image in iPhoto, which has some basic special effects (that one is "vignette");

3. Saved the new image as a basic JPEG.

Adam said...

Thanks, I'll have to see if my Mac at work has iPhoto.

I wonder if the FAQ will be in the expansion.