Looking to the skies to expand their reach, Cosmic Encounter: 42nd Anniversary Edition sees an array of budding alien empires vying for control of the galaxy. From parasitic life-forms clinging to their hosts, psychic races wielding unseen knowledge, and ancient warriors simply itching for a scrap, there are plenty of species for you to choose from.
With each player controlling five home planets, the aim of the game is to form colonies on five foreign planets - i.e. those controlled by the other players. Once your enemy is decided, you must choose how much of your fleet to dedicate to the conquest. Then, you and your opponent can form alliances with bystanders to bolster your forces in exchange for handsome rewards and secretly pledge one of your combat cards to the conflict. Will you double down and play your strongest cards? Perhaps you expect little resistance and want to save your best for when you need it? Or maybe you can both benefit from this exchange through negotiation?
The standard routine in Cosmic Encounter is fairly simple, making it accessible to newcomers. However, with over 50 different species to choose from, each with wildly different abilities, every game plays completely differently. Throw in unlockable ‘technologies’ and single use ‘artefact’ cards to shake up combat, and gameplay becomes increasingly exciting and engaging.
In the 42nd Anniversary Edition, Fantasy Flight Games brings new components including beautiful, translucent spaceships, so you can conquer the galaxy in style. You can also shake up the way you play with a new playable race, Demon, previously only released at Cosmic Con. Finally, the introduction of Cosmic Combo cards, which suggest themed alien match-ups, creates interesting gameplay interactions and new challenges to overcome.
With alliances, backstabbing, bluffs and a plethora of interacting powers, this game is both chaotic and, mostly importantly, fun. How else could we celebrate its 42nd anniversary?
If Cosmic Encounter takes your fancy, as it has with many before you, there are several expansions out in which you can expand your repertoire of alien races, utilise inventive new technologies and even add extra players.
Player Count: 3-5
Time: 60-120 Minutes