Cosmic Encounter (CE) is an epic science fiction board game originally created and published in 1977 by the relatively obscure Eon Games. The game is with its fourth publisher now, Fantasy Flight, which took over publishing CE in 2008 and is one indication of the quality and popularity of this game. Many other board games would have folded by now given the same circumstances.
The basic foundation of Cosmic Encounter is easy to understand: Each player assumes the role as leader of a super advanced alien race with their own home system of planets. The objective of the game is to establish 5 colonies on planets outside of your home system. In other words, you have to conquer 5 of your opponents planets and it does not matter which 5, as long as they are outside your home territory.
The technique that the game uses to determine who wins or loses each encounter is rather simple also. One deck of “Destiny” cards determines who is attacked and one deck of numbered cards is divided between the players. During each encounter the numbered cards are added to the number of ships involved on each side and the side with the highest total wins the encounter. Of course, there are a number of variables which can affect the total score of each side during an encounter. But very basically that is how the game works.
The objective and mechanics of CE may sound simplistic but rest assured that the game is not. Due to the dynamic nature of CE each player has the opportunity to engage in every progression of the game. No matter whose turn it is, every player must constantly make decisions. Should I join the defense of another player? Join the attack? Form an alliances through diplomacy? Or break a treaty with deception and treachery? It is very hard to get bored with this game once it starts gaining momentum.
The genius of Cosmic Encounters as a game is the inclusion of human emotions and the social skills that the players exhibit at any moment of the game. Are you good at persuading? Can you deceive? Are you a brute force type of person? Can you cooperate with another player at one point and then back stab them later? The possibilities are virtual limitless, which in turn makes it almost necessary to adopt a different strategy in order to win each time the game is played.
Highlights Of Cosmic Encounter Board Game:
For 3-5 players – recommended for ages 12 and up – can be played in 1-3 hours
Players choose from dozens of alien races – each has its own unique power – adds to replay value
CE is a social game that requires lots of interaction between the players – every player is included all the time – nobody feels left out
Destiny cards determine who is attacked randomly – adds to high replay value
CE rules are very easy to learn but it takes planning and strategy to win – the game does not depend on luck to determine who wins
The game components are high quality and sturdy with visually pleasing artwork
There is an expansion set available from Fantasy Flight – Cosmic Incursion (released Feb. 2010) – adds to complexity and replay value
Cosmic Encounter is a wonderful game for teens and adults alike. In fact it is one of those games that both teens and adults can enjoy together. This is one of the few science fiction games that I can point to and say girls will like this game just as much as guys because of the social interaction involved. In short, this is an amazing board game and in my opinion can even be called a masterpiece