Eons ago, your ancestors searched the black void of space for intelligent life. The search proved fruitless; they were alone. Desolate, they used their technology to send the seeds of life to inhabitable planets. They waited, but gradually over the millennia they faded into nothingness. However, over millions of years, alien races slowly evolved.
To aid their children, your ancestors left behind a legacy of advanced technology and hyperspace gates. They meant these gifts to encourage communication and harmony between their children. Now, without the guiding touch of an elder hand, you and your distant alien cousins must learn to communicate, negotiate, and coexist.
Welcome to the Cosmic Age. The open skies of countless worlds are filled with speeding spaceships, and a panoply of lien races is competing to populate the galaxy. Will your own people choose to occupy undefended worlds, create peaceful and diverse alien civilizations, or ruthlessly conquer others' territory? In the quest to colonize as many planets as possible, there are as many paths to victory as there are alien races seeking it. Peace, war, negotiation, betrayal—you never know what will happen in the next encounter.
Cosmic Encounter is a game of interplanetary colonization and cunning negotiations for three to five players. Each player takes on the role of the leader of a unique alien race seeking to colonize as many planets as possible away from your native system. The first alien race (or races) to colonize five planets in other players’ systems wins. Of course, even planets that are not yet colonized are still defended, and in order to establish a settlement, you’ll need to win over the alien race that controls that planet—through negotiation, partnership, or war.
The core set includes fifty alien races, each with its own history and powers. You may be the leader of the genteel and thieving Filches, sensitive and oozing Amoebas, sneaky, infesting Parasites, or self-sacrificing Kamikazes. Your powers may enable you to quickly travel through space, prevent your defeated ships from falling into the Warp, or allow you to look at another player's hand before you decide your next move. Each alien has individual strategic tools and a specific play style that shapes all of its encounters—and in fact, the entire game.
You begin with five home planets and twenty ships. A hyperspace gate opens before you, and in the heart of the galaxy is the Warp, which marks both success and failure. If your race establishes a new colony, your marker advances on the Warp counter. When you fail to do, the ships involved in that encounter are sent into the abyss of the Warp.
Destiny decides the location of every attempted colony. It may be in the system of a dire foe or long-term ally. Once you’ve launched your ships, you can then ask other players to support you, as can your opponent. But be careful! Even your allies are still enemy alien races with their own agendas. Will their participation mean that they advance, while you struggle behind? Or are you cunning enough to use the alliance for your own benefit?
When all the ships have reached their destination, you pick what card you will play, deciding whether to fight, negotiate, or morph and mimic whatever your opponent does. Alien powers and Reinforcement, Artifact, and Flare cards can also be played at this time to affect the outcome of the encounter. Finally, you and your opponent resolve the outcome. Your may win and get to establish the colony you wanted. You may be defeated and your ships sent into the Warp until you rescue them during another turn. You may win a battle and still lose ships or cards, you may gain more through negotiation than you would have through fighting, or negotiations may fail utterly with dire consequences for both parties.
Cosmic Encounter offers you and your fellow aliens several variants for gameplay. Should you desire, a game can be shortened or lengthened by requiring fewer or more colonies. Tech cards can be integrated, which give each player a specific objective. Once accomplished, the Tech card becomes a useful asset that you can use later in the game. Players could also choose to conceal their alien powers until the moment they are used, or rotate which alien races they control and become a new alien every round.
With its numerous alien races, Flare cards, Artifact cards, and gameplay variants, Cosmic Encounter truly offers an infinity of gaming experiences. It is easy-to-learn for younger or less experienced players, but has enough variety and strategic complexity to engross even the most experienced board gamers.
Amass your fleet, form your alliances, and dive into the vast galaxy of this classic game!Players: 3 - 5 (more with expansions)
Playing Time: 1 - 2 hours
BGG page: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/39463/cosmic-encounter