I played a ton of the EON version of Cosmic Encounter and can see how this would be an interesting and potentially very good power if the rules work the same in the later versions of CE. So here are some principals that could apply:
- You can't lose all your tokens gradually, because then your opponents
will see what's coming and can stop you. You need to gather up
special cards until you can
lose all your tokens in one quick shot.
- Consider all the possible special cards and what they do. I actually lost all but one token in a single turn of EON Cosmic Encounter once because every planet in my home system was simultaneously blown up through a combination of the Filth power and the Terrorist flare card. You may not have the Filth power (part of Cosmic Conflict expansion) but think about all the different powers and cards that do things like cause planets to explode or be evacuated, cause more than the maximum number of tokens be used on attack or defense, cause results or attack/defense to be switched/reversed, cause you to have more turns than you normally get, etc.
- Do everything you can to delay using all the special cards in your hand (while protecting them to stay in your hand) until the moment you think you have a fairly good chance of playing them all right in a row with just the right timing.
Then do it. You might get stopped. Or you might not. But it will be one heck of a dramatic moment in the game, like the terrorist/filth play that eliminated 19 of my tokens in one shot, that I still remember to this day (incredibly, I came back to win a shared victory in that game with the person who nearly put me out of the game . . .)
But there's more. In my initial thinking about how I might win by losing with this power, I neglected to think about the benefits obtained by the threat of losing. I would get myself invited more. Why? Because everyone would understand that I'll always contribute 4 tokens. I would also abandon all my home bases as there's no reason to keep any tokens there (since the power is retained anyway).
You could almost restate this power as "you have the power to use your tokens extravagantly, and if this extravagance leads to heavy losses, your opponents will rescue your tokens from the warp to prevent you from winning." Being able to mount attacks (or ally with others) with no fear of suffering a permanent setback has to be worth something, though until play testing this power a number of times it's hard to know exactly how worth while it would be.
EDIT 1/23/14: I obtained the FFG version of Cosmic Encounter and have played enough games over the past month to have additional info. In games where tech cards are used, the Masochist has a significantly better chance to win.
By far the best tech card is the Omega Missile. It will take several turns to get all of your tokens on either a single planet or the Warp. Then you win at the start of any player's encounter by launching the Omega Missile on that planet.
The Precursor Seed could be helpful with the right power such as the Machine or Amoeba but is more likely to result in a useless power and with cost 9 takes a long time to build.
There are several other tech cards that are mildly useful, and potentially more useful when combined with other cards: Plasma Thrusters, Infinity Drive, and Delta Scanners.
A general principle in Cosmic Encounters is that large hands give you more options and control over the game. With Masochist, it becomes almost mandatory to build a very large hand with many special cards that, when used with the right timing (and hopefully combined with a good, developed tech card), lead to a quick victory.