Preview the Zany Aliens of Cosmic Encounter Duel
The galaxy can be an overwhelming place. New planets pop up with uncanny frequency, there’s a strange new alien around every corner, and the entire affair is overseen by an alarmingly bureaucratic organization known as the Cosmic Citizenship Council. But there’s no better time to start meeting the new neighbors than right now!
Cosmic Encounter Duel is a fast-paced, tactical board game, spinning off from the original Cosmic Encounter game and distilling its essential experience into a game designed specifically for two players. In last week’s preview, we took a closer look at the heart of the game by shining the spotlight on the strategic choices you’ll make in every duel—but before you can hope to win a duel, you need to know your opponent.
Cosmic Encounter Duel comes with 27 brand-new aliens, each with a truly unusual approach to the game! Today, we turn our attention to the curious and unexpected aliens that you can play, as well as seeing the return of a few familiar faces.
A Galaxy of Possibilities
The galaxy is a wild place, and the 27 new aliens in Cosmic Encounter Duel each warp the pre-established rules of your interstellar duels in some way. Although some alien abilities are easier for beginners and others are more complex (clearly denoted by a green, yellow, or red bar on the alien card), they all have a chance to make your duels utterly unique and completely memorable!
Let’s start by keeping things simple with the Underdog. The Underdogs pride themselves on their come-from-behind attitude and their proclivity for winning when the odds are stacked against them, and they avoid a fair fight whenever possible. The Underdog has a simple ablity: “Fair” Adjustment. During every contest or duel, if your opponent reveals a plan card that is higher than your revealed plan card by eleven or more, you automatically win the contest or duel!
Though “Fair” Adjustment is easy to understand from the outset, its ramifications for the game affect every part of your duels. Your opponent wants to win their duels—but if they commit too much with their plan card, you’ll win the duel instead! So, they want to win by a smaller amount, which gives you a window to play a high plan card and steal the duel. Of course, they know that you know that…
Few aliens can match the strangeness on offer from the Über-Reserve. When you play this alien, you’re playing your own minigame just beneath the surface of Cosmic Encounter Duel. As the Über-Reserve, you can Ascend during any contest or duel by placing a consecutive run of at least two plan cards beneath your alien card. You can build up these runs throughout the game, and if you ever have twelve or more cards underneath your alien card, you’ve Achieved Enlightenment, and you immediately win the game!
Committing runs of cards may seem like a no-brainer, but remember that you are removing these cards from the game—so you won’t be able to commit them to this duel or any future duel. You’ll have to weigh carefully your chances of reaching enlightenment against how much you much you might need the cards you’re removing from your hand.
Once you’re ready to leap into some of the most complex aliens in the game, you may be interested to try the bombastic power of the Musician. The Musician’s first ability, Crescendo, holds a promise of things to come—your hand limit is four, plus the number of ships on their alien card. Most aliens have a hand limit of six cards, so you’ll be starting off at a disadvantage compared to your opponent.
That disadvantage will quickly disappear with the Musician’s Encore ability—after you win a contest or duel, you can place one of your ships on your alien card, increasing your hand size. Then, you may choose to discard your hand or draw up to your hand limit! Encore gives the Musician an unparalleled level of control over the cards in your hand, but you have to remember that when you put ships on your alien card, you’re permanently removing those ships from your supply—and if you ever run out of ships entirely, you lose the game! As with most choices in Cosmic Encounter Duel, it may not be as simple as it first appears.
An Envoy from the CCC
Every alien included in Cosmic Encounter Duel is a brand-new addition to the universe, but that doesn’t mean there’s no place for familiar favorites. As you engage in your duel for recognition as a certified civilization, envoys from the Cosmic Citizenship Council will appear—and winning their friendship could prove to be the difference maker in any duel.
At the beginning of each game, three envoys are revealed—members of the Cosmic Citizenship Council who will oversee your duel. But their role as overseers doesn’t mean that they aren’t above putting a finger on the scales! Throughout the game, you’ll have opportunities to increase your friendship with an envoy, which can lead to you becoming allied and gaining access to that envoy’s special ability.
Friendship with the Healer, for instance, may allow both you and your opponent to recover half of their ships destroyed during a duel, helping you to hedge your bets against an aggressive opponent. The Anti-Matter flips the core mathematics of the game on their head, by giving victory to the player with lower clout at the end of every duel. You may even play with the chaotic Mirror, who tranposes the digits of each revealed plan, turning a mediocre 08 into an unbelievably high 80! Ultimately, the envoys offer just another layer of unexpected abilities that can twist and turn every game of Cosmic Encounter Duel into an unforgettable experience!
Who Are You?
A host of new aliens burst onto the scene with Cosmic Encounter Duel, and if one thing’s for certain, it’s that our galaxy will never look the same again.
You can pre-order your own copy of Cosmic Encounter Duel at your local retailer or online through our webstore today, and look for it to release at local retailers on June 19!