On Encounters That Are Cosmic

That's it! I quit.

I said this no less then three times during our play of Cosmic Encounters, and I meant it every time it was said. I hate this game so much, I hope it gets burnt up in a fire. This is in fact the worst game ever. It is so bad it possibly does not even deserve the label 'game'.

I am eagerly awaiting my next chance to play again.

The Elements: This is basically the card game 'war' with a heavy dash of dragon poker.

The Crux
: You attempt to establish colonies on other players planets. Each turn a hyperspace gate will open, that points to a random player, at which point you will launch an attack in an attempt to kill and colonize whatever is beyond the gate. When you encounter the opponent, you each play a card with a number on it, and the higher number + the number of ships wins the combat. You then have a colony. Reach five and win.

However, things are not so deceptively simple.

You play one of a large selection of randomly determined races, and there are a variety of 'flare' cards in the number deck tuned to the races that are in play. There are also cards that neutralize powers. Each race, and all these reusable flare cards each have specific rules that will alter the flow of play. You literally have no idea what could happen next.
Ships that are lost head to the warp.
(It's that round thing in the middle)


More on that in a second.

The Countenance: When I sit down to play a game, I intend to win the game I'm attempting to play. I develop a strategy.

That is a terrible idea for this game.

I got something I thought was awesome. The race of the Losers. Their power was if you lose you win. Since it is so easy to lose at this game, I was enjoying a string of victories until suddenly someone played a card that allowed them to switch races with me.

Clearly if you are not even assured that you will have access to the same suite of powers on your turn, any sort of long term strategy becomes useless. Also, the game play basically boils down to 'which card is highest' with a ridiculous amount of variables.

The Detritus: Don't make long term plans, anything can happen. Take advantage of any situation once the opportunity becomes available.

The Final Counsel: It may sound as if I am being somewhat negative in this review about the game. I will admit, I was frustrated several times during play - but that was only because I brought my own preconceptions like "planning ahead", "playing to win", and "developing a strategy" to the table. If you sit down to have fun with your friends, this is a fantastic game. We spent a great deal of time during play laughing, and that is always a wonderful thing. I highly recommend it for an evening of off kilter fun.

Normally I would provide links to where you could purchase this game, but due to new state laws created in a vain attempt to acquire money, I am no longer an authorized amazon associate. Arkansas felt that they weren't getting their cut from online retailers, so they decided to punish the population by making them poorer. This should not come as a surprise to anyone living in america. 


  1. And we haven't even played with Tech yet. Or either of the two(!) expansions.

    Playing with 5 players is also very different from our three.

  2. Oh Cosmic Encounters, I great game. I'm not familiar with the more recent versions, but yes, it all about going with the flow and having a great time. I've always said that its a game who those who hate chess.

  3. I got many years of play out of the early 90s Mayfair editions. Did you ever play those? If so, how does the new version compare?

  4. Sadly, I did not ever have the opportunity to play the original.


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