Saturday, August 29, 2009

CE alien survey #27: MISER

First appearance: Eon Expansion #2.

Plain-English power: You have two hands of cards.

Loved by: Greedy guys, those who like a safety net.

Loathed by: Card-stealers, those who enjoy pounding their enemy's hand, Han Solo.

Three ways to win as Miser:
  • At the start of the game, pick your better hand as your hoard. Generally, this hand would include more Artifacts, more Flares, or just your best Attack.
  • Don't assume your hoard is only for emergencies. Treat the safe cards the same as your regular hand.
  • Miser is the best alien at storing cards until the best time, especially since he can keep a hoard without encounter cards. However, if you can't see how your hoarded Artifacts and Flares will have a significant effect, then get a new hoard.
Three ways to win against Miser:
  • Keep Miser's regular hand small. He already has twice as many cards as you, so cut him down to size a bit.
  • Try to force the good stuff out of Miser's hoard, especially at the beginning of the game. For example, make him play his best attack out of it. A hoard without good cards is more of a burden than an asset.
  • Watch how often the Miser player checks his hoard. If he checks it often, chances are he'll use it more often than someone who lets it sit for a few encounters at a time. Frequent checks can also mean he has a good stored card he doesn't want to miss using (although this is dependant on how good his memory is).
At CE Online? No.

Anything else? Miser appeared twice in major CE expansions, but never in a base set until the FFG edition.

— Submitted by Toomai Glittershine

Friday, August 21, 2009

Follow-up Friday: CE expansion still in warp

It's looking more and more likely that any possible Cosmic Encounter expansion is definitely not in Fantasy Flight Games' immediate post-GenCon plans. The company has released a very specific list of release dates for September and October, and there's no mention of the game to be found. FFG is also currently releasing rules and news for a number of their games at a very rapid clip — just take a look at the front page of the website and you'll see what I mean — and, again, there's not a "Cosmic" or an "Encounter" to be found anywhere.

It's still possible that the expansion could be a stealth release, of course; there's no rule that says FFG or any other gaming company has to do things in any specific order or has to announce their every move. But I'm leaning more and more toward a late fall or early 2010 release, after this current huge wave of post-GenCon products has been in the pipeline for awhile.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ummm ... then again, maybe not ...

So ... never mind on those posts below. Ignore them. I was only kidding; clearly, there won't be any Cosmic Encounter news coming out of GenCon.

Or at least not in this six-minute video, which appears to be a series of highlights from Fantasy Flight Games' annual "InFlight Report" state-of-the-company address. There's all kinds of cool stuff in the video — especially if you're into things such as Descent and Talisman — but the words "cosmic" and "encounter" are never mentioned.

Now, as much as I'm disappointed, I'm also going to add that I don't think there's anything sinister going on here. I suspect that the long-rumored CE expansion simply hasn't found a place yet on FFG's production schedule, which, in all the years I've been following the company, has never been so crowded.

Stay tuned to this channel. If my Bothan spies report back with any sort of update, it will be posted immediately.

(No Twilight: Dune news, either. With or without dinosaurs)

Play Cosmic on a $1,500 table! Why not?

Just revealed at GenCon: from the folks who brought you the $9,000 Sultan gaming table comes ... The Emissary! It's a fraction of the price, and you can eat off it!

I'm getting two.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My official CE: Incursion predictions

I figure we're almost exactly 24 hours from the expected announcement of the first Cosmic Encounter expansion — see post below — so here's a quick guess at what we'll be seeing:

Title: Cosmic Encounter: Incursion.
Size: No more than half the size of the big CE box. Thinner, like one of the Lords of the Rings expansions.
New aliens: 20 to 25.
New mechanics: Hazards is a definite, as its already mentioned in the original CE rulebook. Rules and pieces for a sixth player will be added. I also expect to see one totally new mechanic (much like Tech was completely new in the original edition).
Price: Either $29 or $39, depending on how much of the new stuff is printed on heavy stock.

CE expansion news coming on Friday?

The last couple of GenCons have been good ones for fans of Cosmic Encounter: the 2007 show brought us news of Fantasy Flight Games' upcoming new editions of Cosmic Encounter, Borderlands, and Twilight Imperium: Dune with Dinosaurs, while the 2008 show featured the actual first look at the new edition of CE.

Now, for this year's show, comes word that FFG will be hosting an "InFlight Report," where the company is expected to provide the gaming equivalent of a state-of-the-nation address. Here's the key part of the announcement (emphasis added):
... the 2009 InFlight Report will highlight FFG thoughts on its position in the marketplace, interesting anecdotes about FFG's operations, as well as a bundle of news and announcements.
Given that CE has been a runaway success for FFG (it completely sold out its first printing) and given that an expansion to the game seems to be about the worst-kept secret in all of gaming, I'm fairly optimistic we'll be seeing some news tomorrow. I'm pretty sure that deserves a "W00t!"

And, hey, FFG, if you're not too busy? Please, please, please announce something for Dune: Imperium. Enough with the wating game; let's hear something concrete.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who's playing CE? Twitter will tell ya

So I've been noodling around a bit with Twitter, being the Web 2.0 god that I am, and one neat thing I've discovered is that its search function can provide what is essentially a real-time look at who out there might be discussing a certain topic (and how popular the topic is at any given time). It's really kind of fascinating to observe.

For instance, posted above are the results from a search for "Cosmic Encounter" that I did about 90 seconds ago. Now, I might know any of these people, but I can see where our shared love of the game might lead me to open a conversation with one of them, which might lead to making some sort of stronger connection down the road. Sometimes, I begin to understand why this social-media thing seems to be gaining so much traction.

Beyond possibly finding other CE fans out there in on the interwebs, though, it's really just sort of hypnotic to see what people are talking about in as close to real-time as we've got right now. We've come a long way since I first used a Macintosh SE at the campus computer lab.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Please play the DUNE boardgame today

On our national day of mourning, I think it would be great if we all tried to get in a game of the still-fantastic DUNE boardgame today.

(And when you're done with that, be sure to drop an email to Fantasy Flight Games inquiring about the status of DUNE: Imperium).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bill is the alpha player at Alpha league

The Alphabetical Aliens league is in the books at Cosmic Encounter Online, with Bill needing only three games to dispatch with pretenders Sleepy Weasel, Zxzxi, and BH Zach. I'll spare everyone the usual "he h/\xXz0rzd teh game!" comment. Full details can be found here.

That wraps up another CE Online league, and I'm hoping the next one is equally as entertaining. I didn't know what to think when the alphabet concept was announced, but it turns out that almost every one of the combos was a real blast to play.