Who – or what – is out there?
Eons past, your ancestors searched for intelligent life in the black void of space. The search proved fruitless; they were alone. Desolate, they used their technology to send inhabitable planets the seeds of life and waited. Legend says the weight of their solitude was so overwhelming, they faded into nothingness. In their absence, over millions of years, Alien races evolved.
To aid their children, your ancestors left a legacy: a cache of technology and hyperspace gates. Your ancestors meant these gifts to encourage communication and harmony between their children. However, without the guiding touch of their elder hand, neither you nor your Alien brethren knew peace. But you did know war.
Welcome to the Cosmic Age, where the sky isn’t studied for its beauty, but instead watched against invasion. Meanwhile, your own race’s ships seek to colonize your Alien brethren’s planets and gain cosmic supremacy.
Voyage, Colonize, Dominate
Cosmic Encounter is a game of cunning and domination for 3-5 players, playable in 1-2 hours. Players become the leaders of various aliens, struggling against each other for ultimate sovereignty. To ensure victory, your alien race must be the first to have five colonies occupying your opponents’ home planet systems.
Players can choose to become 50 Alien characters, each with its own unique power and history. Aliens are categorized as beginner, intermediate, and expert to help players determine which Alien will best benefit their experience and personality. Are you part of a genteel race with an aptitude for theft? Or have you broken your back against prolonged oppression and now fight mercilessly, leaving no survivors?
To begin, players are supplied with planets, ships, and markers to place on the Warp, a game component that marks both success and failure. If your race succeeds, your marker advances on the Warp counter. If you fail, your ships are sent into the center void to wait.
Each race battles each other through encounters, which are comprised of seven phases. Encounters transform the current player into “Offense,” his opponent into “Defense,” and the remaining players into “Allies.” These sparse titles create an atmosphere of military conquest and war that immerses players into the game. Cosmic Encounter provides an engrossing atmosphere for players through its game components, as well. The Warp, planet, and other tokens and cards feature beautiful cosmic imagery, and the Alien sheets carry detailed artwork that brings every character to life.
Make Friends – and Enemies
Drawing from Destiny decides a battle’s location and who your opponent shall be. As Offense, you use the Hyperspace Gate to move 1-4 of your ships from your Home System or a Foreign System and attack the Defense (be careful not to remove all of your ships from a planet; doing so forfeits your colony there).
Offense and Defense can both recruit additional players to become their Allies through invitations. But be careful! Allies are still enemy Alien races with their own agendas. Will their participation mean their advancement and victory? Or are you cunning enough to use them and still succeed?
Encounters are fought primarily through Attack, Negotiate, and Morph cards. Additional cards, like Reinforcement, Artifact, and Flare cards can also be used to effect the outcome of battle. Offense and Defense can also use their alien powers, as long as they aren’t zapped! Strategizing is important for all players involved in Encounters. Do you use and sacrifice your Artifact card? Should you negotiate and trade with your opponent? As an Ally does the promised reward merit aiding your foe?
Your galactic battle can have several outcomes. Your Encounter could be successful and your race is able to build a colony on your opponent’s planet, with success you have the choice of a second Encounter and your marker is advanced on the Warp counter. Should you lose, your ships are sent into the center of the Warp, stuck in purgatory until you are able to rescue them during another turn.
The Infinite Cosmos
Cosmic Encounter offers you and your fellow Aliens several variants for gameplay. Should you desire, a game can be shortened by requiring fewer colonies or extended and made more challenging through utilizing Tech cards. Tech cards add difficulty and honor the legacy of your Alien ancestors. By researching and completing their Tech cards, players are able to use them in their Encounters with their opponents.
Players can also adjust the difficulty and challenge of play through hiding or rotating their powers. If this variant is agreed upon, players have the option of becoming a new Alien every round. You are also able to change attack play during Encounters, allowing more Flare cards to be used.
Prepare to send your ships out into the black cold. Will you be ruthless and crush your Alien opponents? After all, in space no one can hear you scream.
1 - 2 hours
3 - 5 players
The copyrightable portions of Cosmic Encounter are © 2008 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Cosmic Encounter is a registered trademark of Eon Products, Inc. Used under license from Eon Products, Inc. Fantasy Flight Supply is a trademark of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.