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Cosmic Encounter Designer Peter Olotka, Jack Kittredge, BIll Eberle, Bill Norton Publisher Eon Games, West End Games, Games Workshop Mayfair Games, Avalon Hill, Fantasy Flight Games Players 3–6+ (depending on edition) Setup time 5-10 minutes Playing time 20-120+ minutes (depending on various factors) Random chance Medium Skills required Prediction, diplomacy, card management Cosmic Encounter is a science fiction-themed strategy board game, designed by "Future Pastimes" (collectively, Peter Olotka, Jack Kittredge and Bill Eberle, with Bill Norton) and originally published by Eon Games in 1977. In it, each player takes the role of a particular alien species with a unique power to break one of the rules of the game attempting to establish control over the universe. In 1992, a new edition of Cosmic Encounter won the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame of 1991,[1] and placed 6th in the Deutscher Spiele Preis. The game was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame in 1997.[2] Cosmic Encounter is a very dynamic and social game, with players being encouraged to interact, argue, form alliances, make deals, double-cross, and occasionally work together to protect the common good. Most editions of the game are designed for three to six players, although official rules exist for playing with as few as two, or as many as eight, players. Contents 1 Gameplay 2 History 2.1 Online version 3 Influence 4 References 5 External links // Gameplay The board consists of a home system with five planets for each player and an area in the middle termed the "Warp". There is also a cardboard hyperspace gate (also called the "cone") used for pointing an attack at an opponent's planet. Each player begins with twenty ships in their home system (four on each planet). Two decks of cards are used: one deck which determines who is attacked next (the "destiny" pile), and one which contains the cards players hold in their hands. This second deck is made up of numbered cards which are used in encounters and many other special cards which affect the game in various ways. The specific wording of these cards varies among editions. On a player's turn, he or she turns over a card from the destiny deck that determines which system to attack, chooses a particular planet in that system, and puts one or more ships in the cone to attack with. The attacking and defending players then have the opportunity to ask other players to ally with them. Allies stand to gain benefits if they join the winning side, or suffer losses if on the losing side. Each main player then selects one of the numbered cards from his hand, to play face down, then flip over simultaneously. The cards and ships involved in the encounter are added up, any special conditions or cards played are taken into account, and the side with the higher total wins. If the attacking player is successful, he and his allies gain one colony each on the disputed planet. If the defending player wins, then the attack is thwarted, the defensive player keeps possession of his/her planet, and all defensive allies gain rewards. All ships from the losing side are sent to the Warp, where they cannot be used until retrieved. Under certain conditions, players may also be forced to "make a deal" which can include the exchange of cards, colonies, and other game properties, though if no deal can be made within a short time, both players lose tokens to the Warp. The object of the game is to establish five colonies on planets outside of one's home system. In a shorter variant where each player only has four planets as opposed to five, only four foreign colonies are required to win. Each player has one or more alien powers which distort, extend, or break the basic rules of the game in some way, usually to that player's advantage. For example, Macron's ships are worth four of any other's ships, Zombie never loses ships to the Warp, and Oracle can see what card his opponent plays before choosing his own card. Some powers encourage a limited role-playing aspect, for example the Sniveler, with the power to "whine" when doing worse than the other players. While some powers have limited effects that affect a single aspect of gameplay (such as Clone being allowed to keep a card it has just played instead of discarding it), others change the game more substantially (such as Void removing enemy ships from the game permanently) or even change the object of the game (such as Masochist instantly winning if all of its ships are lost). At the beginning of the game, these powers are randomly selected from the many different alien powers, so each game requires a different strategy to win. Many of these powers interact with one another in complex ways that are not immediately apparent, sometimes even requiring group consensus (or experience) to resolve conflicts. However, should a player have fewer than 3 colonies in his home system, their alien powers become inactive until the player can regain a 3rd colony back in their home system. There are many other cards ("Artifacts") which may be played at various times with many different effects, such as instantly releasing all ships from the Warp. More advanced optional game components can add further levels of complexity and unpredictability, and include: Flares: Cards based on the alien powers that provide a player with a limited aspect of that power. If a player holds a Flare that matches his or her alien, then the Flare upgrades that power in a manner stated on the card. Lucre: In-game currency that allows more control of resources (such as buying more cards for one's hand). Multiple alien powers affect Lucre. Moons: Colonies on moons do not count towards victory conditions, but occupying one grants access to its special ability. Moon abilities can be powerful (such as retaining an alien power when it would normally be lost), while others can be described as "silly" (such as forcing the owner to speak in rhymes). Special planetary systems: Printed on the reverse side of the normal systems in most prints of Cosmic Encounter, the special systems have additional rules in regards to the player's initial setup, colonies, and victory conditions. Some players have created their own "homemade" powers, and have posted these along with other various game extensions on the Internet. Major variants include multiple-power games (in which players have multiple alien powers at once) and hidden-power games (in which powers are not revealed until their first use). Official variants include rules for adding a seventh or eighth player, and there has been a version providing enough components for a ten-player game (when combined with a previous release). History The original version of Cosmic Encounter had exactly six alien powers and was designed for up to six players. This edition was nearly published by Parker Brothers in the mid-1970s; when it was not, the designers founded Eon Games to publish it. The first Eon edition was released in 1977. It allowed up to four players and included fifteen alien powers. Over the next five years, Eon released nine expansions, adding sixty more alien powers, components for a fifth and sixth player, and several new types of pieces, including "Flare" cards, money (Lucre), Moons, and special power planet systems. The artwork on these early editions included images painted by Dean Morrissey. Mayfair Game's box top for More Cosmic Encounter In 1986, the game was republished in the U.S. by West End Games. The game used the same deck of cards and number of players, and the same powers with five additional powers from Eon expansion sets #1 and #2. However, the cards and tokens were incompatible with the Eon edition. Meanwhile, in the UK, the game was published by Games Workshop. The GW edition supported six players, with powers from the Eon base set and some of the first three expansions. In 1991, the game was licensed by Mayfair Games. Mayfair published Cosmic Encounter, an expansion called More Cosmic Encounter (1992), and a stripped-down introductory version of the game called Simply Cosmic (1995). The Mayfair edition revised some powers from the original Eon set, introduced many more, and significantly revised some of the existing components. It also introduced several new components. By combining the three Mayfair products, it is possible to play a 10-player game. In 2000, Avalon Hill (by then a division of Hasbro) published a simplified version in one box with plastic pieces. This version was limited to 20 powers and four players. On Aug. 17, 2007, Fantasy Flight Games announced plans to reprint the game "in the Summer of 2008."[3] This was later updated to "November 2008."[4] Game designer Kevin Wilson gave demonstrations of the Fantasy Flight Cosmic Encounter version at Gen Con 2008. This was released in December 2008, and included 50 alien powers, a new Technology variant, and support for 5 players. Fantasy Flight has also released an expansion set called "Cosmic Incursion" in February 2010 that added 20 aliens (some new and some old), ships for a sixth player, and a "Rewards" deck which includes, among other things, Kickers and Rifts. Online version In 2003, original designer Peter Olotka and partners launched a new version called Cosmic Encounter Online that may be played over the internet. As of 2010[update], this version has 35 powers, including four new aliens and two more that are designed for online play (such as Dork, which blocks other players' screens). Influence The possibility of an organic and completely different experience every time one plays was one of the influences in the design of the card game Magic: The Gathering. Magic designer Richard Garfield has often cited Cosmic Encounter as being influential in the design of Magic, going so far as to say, "[Magic's] most influential ancestor is a game for which I have no end of respect: Cosmic Encounter."[5] The game also heavily influenced the Dune board game, which was also designed by Future Pastimes.[6] References ^ "Origins Award Winners (1991)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. http://web.archive.org/web/20080315071737/http://www.originsgamefair.com/awards/1991/list-of-winners. Retrieved 2007-11-02.  ^ "Origins Award Winners (1996)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20071221022725/http://www.originsgamefair.com/awards/1996/list-of-winners. Retrieved 2007-11-02.  ^ "Fantasy Flight Games to republish classic Eon games". Fantasy Flight Games. http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/PDF/eongames-pressrelease.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-15.  ^ "Cosmic Encounter, coming in November". Boardgame News. http://www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/boardgamenews/comments/cosmic_encounter_coming_in_november/. Retrieved 2008-08-02.  ^ Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games ^ W. Eric Martin. "Peter Olotka on Cosmic Encounter and D*ne". Boardgame news. http://www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/boardgamenews/comments/w_eric_martin_peter_olotka_on_cosmic_encounter_and_dne/. "We stole heavily from Cosmic Encounter when we designed Dune; the idea of having these well-defined and different powers, we applied it to Darkover, to Dune, and to Cosmic Encounter."  Hemmings, Fred (June/July 1978). "Open Box: Comic Encounter" (review). White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (7): 18. ISSN 0265-8712.  External links Official sites Cosmic Encounter Online Fantasy Flight Games' Cosmic Encounter page Avalon Hill's Cosmic Encounter product page Wiki Cosmic Encounter Wiki Discussion and reviews Cosmic Encounter Library showing the complete version history along with photos and components as well as general CE information. TheDiceTower.com Interview with game designer Peter Olotka, June 13, 2005 GameSpy.com Interview with game designer Peter Olotka, January 2002 Eon Games article (with brief mention of Cosmic Encounter) at TheGamesJournal.com Cosmic Encounter at BoardGameGeek