EXCERPTS FROM THE WINTER 2001 GA REPORT
FROM “K-BAN’S KORNER”:
COSMIC ENCOUNTER (Avalon Hill/Hasbro; $39.95)
In 1979, Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton and Peter Olatka, known collectively as Future Pastimes, released Cosmic Encounter, under the Eon Products banner, as the “science fiction game for everyone!”. Cosmic Encounter was one of the most innovative and creative games of the past 20 years and has had several incarnations after Eon folded…
The original Eon edition spawned 9 or 10 expansion sets that added cards, Aliens, equipment for a fifth and sixth player, currency (“lucre”), flares and other lunacy. The newAvalon Hill/Hasbro set has been painstakingly designed to introduce CE to a new audience with the opulent components being the obvious hook. The tokens are 3D plastic spaceships instead of flat, cardboard, disks. Attacks are carried out using a molded plastic “Mothership” for the offensive player and allies and “Carriers” for the defensive allies instead of using the original cardboard cone. The planet systems are colorful and swirl around the central “warp” while evoking an attractive space motif. The Eon Destiny pile, for determining attack order, is now known simply as “orders”. Some of the cards have been renamed in an effort to maintain a colonization theme: “Edicts” are now “Artifacts”, “Compromise” card are now “Negotiate” cards. In short, the set is absolutely stunning.
Cosmic Encounter was always, at its core, a relatively simple game of space colonization. In this edition, two to four players take turns as the offensive player, attacking planets in other systems by risking up to four tokens, recruiting allies, and adding their collective quantity of tokens to the value of attack cards, played face down. The total is compared to the total of the defensive player and his allies (once the attack cards are revealed) with high total being the winner of the “encounter”. This simple resolution is further complicated by the Negotiate
cards which result in concession (conceding defeat), consolation (loser blindly drawing cards from the victor’s hand) or possibly requiring that a deal be worked out subject to simple constraints of cards and/or bases being traded. Artifact cards modify the outcome of an encounter but are not used directly in attack or defense.
If the offensive player is successful, he and his allies jointly occupy the opponent’s base. The first player to establish five bases on planets outside his own system is the winner, with shared victories possible…
What always made CE unique and unpredictable were the Alien powers that allowed each player to break one key rule of the game – in effect, legal cheating! Each player receives an Alien card and assumes the role of that Alien race for the entire game (or until his opponents cancel that power by causing him to lose three or more home bases). The mix of Alien powers in a given game test the resourcefulness of each player as one’s strategic use of cards, tokens and alliances are determined by the power of the Alien chosen…. The new Avalon Hill edition includes 20 Aliens, most of which from the original Eon allotment…. Every game of CE is different, as the interaction of the Aliens gives each game a different feel….
Few games elicit as much fun and laughter as Cosmic Encounter. Play is very interactive… A four player session can last from 30-60 minutes… No two games every play the same keeping Cosmic Encounter fresh after all these years. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Steve Kurzban
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Winter 2001 GA Report Articles SAMPLES