Changes in COSMOS SciFi Stellar Conflict rules from November 2005 to April 2006

This document describes the changes introduced with the April 2006 edition of the COSMOS SciFi Stellar Conflict rulebook. Thus these are the differenced from the playtest game rules to the first commercial games. Some of the changes were introduced during the playtest in the "Hydra" game.

The references to rulebook sections are to the new (April 2006) edition of the rulebook.

General game structure

  1. Game duration is now between 12 and 14 turns.
    The exact duration is unknown to players unless they develop the new (exotic) technology "Deep Secrets of Cosmology". Sections 1.1 and 14.2.4.
  2. Team game variant.
    A variant of the game in which players are organized in four-player teams. Section 21.

Changes related to industrial production

These changes are designed to slow industrial growth a little compared to the test games so that you can better afford to "take out" resources for warships in the mid-game and to make it less unattractive to break off industrial development before the last few turns.

  1. Reduced efficiency of industries beyond the first two per population.
    The production efficiency of industies byond the first two operated by each unit of working population is reduced. This means diminishing returns when more and more industries are built in the same colony. A new super advanced technology "Self-repairing Robots" increases efficiency. Sections 8.4, 13 and 14.2.3 and the new table 9.
  2. The cost of industries has been changed.
    The cost of industries now follows mineral content of the planet, thus lessening the growth rates for high mineral content planets (and slightly increasing it for mineral content 1 planets). This affects industries in both regular and gas giant mining colonies. Sections 8.2 and 13.
  3. New technology "Graviton Pump".
    This exotic technology introduces a cost reduction for gas giant mining industries. Even with it, gas giant mining is more expensive than before. Sections 13 and 14.2.4.
  4. Gas giant mining colonies no longer get two initial industries.
    This increses the marginal cost of gas giant mining.
  5. Gas giant mining colonies may no longer combine in fleets.
    This increases the administration "cost" of gas giant mining but also removes an area of potential confusion. Section 13.
  6. Half the barren planets now have mineral content 4.
    With the increased industry cost overall this is no longer too powerful. Table 1.

Changes related to research

These changes are designed primarily to increase the motivation and scope for cooperation between races.

  1. Cost of research centres increased.
    A research centre now costs 3 i.p. to construct, except for double researcher races who keep the old cost of 2 i.p. per centre. Sections 8.2 and 16.2.1.
  2. Starting colonies have 10 research centres already.
    This means 10 research points to spend on the first turn, but on the other hand also 20 fewer i.p. This should get everyone started with research right away. Sections 8.2 and 17.
  3. Discount for being taught technologies increased.
    The discount for being taught has been increased to 20% for non-diplomats and 30% for diplomats (it remains at 30% for double diplomats). The diplomat bonus now works both ways: you are also given the extra 10% if you are taught by a diplomat. Sections 14.1 and 16.8.
  4. Being taught now gives a bonus even on same turn technology is developed.
    If you are taught a technology on the same turn you have just developed it yourself you get the discount in form of research points you can spend next turn. This makes it possible for allies who trade technologies to develop the same technology on the same turn and both get the discount by teaching each other. Section 14.1.
  5. You can do research "overtime".
    A new overtime order allows the production of some extra research points at the very beginning of the turn, before research. This means you can get those last points you are short of for developing a crucial technology. It makes slight miscalculations less costly and research more flexible. Section 15.
  6. Superlogistics and the Tachyon Communicator now work immediately.
    "Superlogistics" now work the same turn it is developed, i.e. you will be able to give more orders that turn (the order checker will apply your increased administration limit when it reads your research orders). Similarly the order checker will detect when you develop the Tachyon Communicator and allow giving orders to ships outside command range immediately. Section 14.2.1.
  7. Suspended Animation made an "advanced technology".
    "Suspended Animation" has been moved from the "exotic" to the "advanced" technology group, making it possible to acquire earlier in the game. Table 6.

Changes related to the administration limit

  1. Scouts/explorers get one free order.
    Fleets consisting entirely of scouts and/or explorers get one free order each turn. This should make it possible to explore more of the galaxy. Section 2.1.
  2. More orders are "free".
    The orders repair, cloak, uncloak and the new orders overtime and reserve have been made "free" orders not counting towards the administration limit. Section 2.1.
  3. The "refit" order now accepts a list of ships.
    The refit order has been changed to accept a list of ships ID numbers so that you no longer need to pay one administration point for each ship you refit. Section 9.6.
  4. Extra administration points can be produced "overtime".
    The new overtime order allows the production of some extra administration points at the beginning of the turn, allowing more orders to be given that turn. The cost depends on your industrial production and increases geometrically the more administration points you want to "produce" this way. Section 15.

Changes related to invasion of colonies and primitives

  1. New "probe" order.
    It is now possible to probe the defences of colonies without risking destruction of your entire invasion fleet. Mostly relevant for gauging the strength of primitive colonies. Section 11.3.
  2. Number of operational bases now determined each phase.
    The number of defence bases which are operational and will shoot at attackers is now determined each phase rather than only when bases are built. This means if the population is reduced the number of operational bases may fall below the number of constructed bases. Section 11.2.
  3. Cost of bases reduced with "Robotic Army".
    The "Robotic Army" technology now not only allows more operational bases, it also decreases the cost of bases to 3 i.p. each. Sections 8.2 and 14.2.3.
  4. Primitives start weaker.
    The starting size and strength of primitive colonies has been reduced. Section 8.7.
  5. Primitives develop more slowly.
    Primitive colonies pay a surcharge of 1 i.p. extra for every installation they construct and therefore develop more slowly than before. Section 8.7.

Changes related to terraforming

  1. Terraforming now takes a full turn.
    Terraforming now takes a full turn. This means you can only terraform one "step" in a single turn. It also means that colonies which are destroyed/enslaved in a turn they terraform will not have terraformed the planet for the invader. Section 14.2.3.
  2. New technology: "Terraforming III".
    Allows terraforming from "minimal terran" to "terran" in a single step (and at 100 i.p. cost). Section 14.2.3.

Changes related to victory points and scoring

  1. Bonus for happy population.
    Population in "happy" colonies (requiring a certain number of installations) is worth an extra point per population unit (i.e. they score double). Section 8.3.
  2. Special race type specific bonuses to "double" races.
    Most "double" races now have the chance to score a special victory point bonus. For example, a double industrialist receives a bonus for being the player with the highest industrial production when the game ends. Section 16.

Changes specific to race types

Most of these changes are for double diplomats, but other race types have also been changed.

  1. Changes for researchers
    Section 16.2.
    1. Researchers get a discount on "overtime" research.
      Researchers get 10% and double researchers 20%.
    2. Double researchers pay only 2 i.p. per research centre.
      Other race types pay 3 i.p.
  2. Changes for administrators
    Section 16.3.
    1. Administrators get a discount on "overtime" administration.
      Administrators get 10% and double administrators 20%.
    2. Terraforming discounts changed.
      The discounts on developing Terraforming I and Terraforming II have been reduced. There is on the other hand a discount on the new Terraforming III.
  3. Changes for diplomats
    Section 16.8.
    1. Diplomat bonus mainly for non-diplomat allies.
      The diplomat bonus for allies is reduced to 1 v.p. for allies who are "single" diplomats and 0 v.p. for allies which are "double diplomats".
    2. Only 10 i.p. discount on ambassador ships.
      Ambassador ships now cost 30 i.p. for diplomats and double diplomats.
  4. Changes for double diplomats
    Section 16.8.1. The changes for diplomats listed above apply as well.
    1. "Persuade" only works the first 8 turns.
      From turn 9 primitives can no longer be persuaded.
    2. Persuaded colonies can hold 20 less population.
      The primitive population takes up some space.
    3. Persuaded primitives may not be moved from terran worlds.
      Double diplomats cannot "load" primitives from terran worlds and thus cannot empty primitive colonies to give them away and cannot use primitives as slave labor in gas giant mining industries.
    4. Installations reduced when a colony is persuaded.
      The defence bases and industries are halved. Starport size is increased to 5 though.
    5. "Persuade" dismantles ambassador ships.
      The ambassador ships required for persuation are dismantled in the process.
    6. "Persuade" requires an ambassador ship per 20 primitives.
      The number of primitives handled per ship was reduced from 25 to 20.
  5. Changes for double slavers
    Section 16.9.1.
    1. Double slaver maximum colony sizes reduced by 25%.
      As double slavers have some of their populations as "slave caste", their maximum colony size has been reduced so they would not be better megaworlders than a megaworlder.
    2. Slave capacity of colonies increased.
      Double slavers colonies now have room for 2.5 times the number of slaves that non-slaver races have room for. This is to compensate for the general 25% reduction of maximum colony size.

Miscellaneous changes

  1. New "disclose" order.
    It is possible to share map and exploration information with your allies with the new "disclose" order. Section 10.1.
  2. New "reserve" order.
    This is a new order making it easier to leave sufficient i.p. in colonies for loading onto freighters and gas giant mining colonies. Section 9.7.2.
  3. Number of slaves controllable per population halved.
    Normal races may now control 2 slave units per population unit, slavers 4 slaves/pop and double slavers 6 slaves/pop. Section 12.
  4. The "repair" order easier to use.
    If given without a number of h.p. to repair, the order will repair as much as it can afford or as much as the ship is damaged, whichever is less. Section 9.6.
  5. Overview of resources and research improved.
    The table of resources in the status report has been replaced by more detailed and informative sections on research and production. Section 3.
  6. Colony advisors.
    In the status for each colony report you will be reminded when it is necessary to remove population to ensure room for growth. From turn 6 you will also get advice on how to make each colony a "happy" colony.
  7. Hints on surroundings in the set-up report.
    In the set-up report you are now given hints on the number of terrans, sub-terrans and so on in your immediate neighbourhood. This may influence your choice of race types.