October Game of the Month – Cosmic Encounter

The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our libraries at Ravenwood Castle and the Malted Meeple. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it.

Game: Cosmic Encounter

This month’s Game of the Month is really out of this world! October’s Game of the Month is a Malted Meeple staff favorite, Cosmic Encounter. With the new expansion Cosmic Eons on the horizon, this is the perfect time to feature this game as our game of the month!

In Cosmic Encounter, players take on the role of a leader of a powerful alien race, dreaming of cosmic domination.  But the other players and their alien races have their own dreams of galactic conquest! Who will be the first to spread their influence outside their home colonies and win the game?

A game of Cosmic Encounter begins with each player choosing a color to represent their alien race. Players form their home colonies by taking their five planets and placing their ships on top of each of their planets. The Destiny Deck, Warp, Hyperspace Gate, and Cosmic Deck are placed within reach of the players. The players are given two flare cards which will help them randomly select their alien powers. The flare cards are then shuffled into the Cosmic Deck. The ultimate goal of Cosmic Encounter is to establish five colonies outside your home system. The methods you chose are up to you.  Warfare, negotiation, and subterfuge are all viable options!

In Cosmic Encounter, a player’s turn is broken into several phases. During a player’s turn, they will become the offensive player and will have to encounter one of their opponents. This opponent is referred to as the defensive player. When ships are lost they are placed in the Warp. During the Regroup Phase, the player retrieves one ship from the Warp and may place it on any of his colonies. Next, the Destiny Phase begins when the player draws a Destiny Card to determine the defensive player. The offensive player begins the Launch Phase by taking the Hyperspace Gate and pointing it at one planet belonging to the defensive player. The offensive and defensive players may then invite any of the other players to join them during the Alliance Phase. These players may then choose to join either the offense or defense, or to abstain.

During the Planning phase, the offensive player and defensive player each choose an Encounter Card from their hand to play and place it face down in front of them. The Encounter Cards are revealed during the Reveal phase and their effects are resolved. The outcome of the encounter depends upon the Encounter Cards chosen.

Finally, players then move to the Resolution Phase where the outcome of the encounter is resolved. If the offense is victorious, the offensive player and his allies establish a colony. If the defensive player wins the encounter, his defensive allies gain their choice of rewards. All ships from the losing side go to the Warp. If the players successfully make a deal, they execute its terms. If the offensive player had a successful encounter, they may choose to have a second encounter if they wish.

As mentioned earlier, each player also has an alien power which allows him to break certain game rules. For instance, the Zombies’ ships never go to the Warp, the Clone gets to keep his encounter cards rather than discarding them, and the Oracle is able to see the card his opponent plays before choosing his own. With 50 Alien Powers in the base game alone, Cosmic Encounter offers nearly limitless possibility.

The game currently has five expansions with a new one on the way: Cosmic Conflict, Cosmic Incursion, Cosmic Alliance, Cosmic Storm, Cosmic Dominion and soon Cosmic Eons!  The expansions add more players, Alien Power Cards, Cosmic Cards, and much more! No other game offers as much replay value as Cosmic Encounter. Period.

The next time you visit the Malted Meeple or Ravenwood Castle be sure to give this fantastic game a try!

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.