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Cosmic Encounter

Entry updated 3 January 2013. Tagged: Game.

Board Game (1977). Eon Products (EP). Designed by Peter Olotka, Jack Kittredge, Bill Eberle.

Cosmic Encounter is perhaps the archetypal self modifying game. Every player is given a card representing an Alien race which has a special power; examples include the ability to force players to become allies and a race which gains the abilities of another, different, card after every defeat. When the alien powers conflict with the normal game mechanics, the card rules take precedence. The goal of the game is to move ships on to at least five planets belonging to other players through a series of challenges which are resolved by the use of special cards and the alien powers. The gameplay, however, revolves around the use of powers and their complex, unexpected interactions. While the sf elements of Cosmic Encounter are little more than a thematic disguise for the underlying game mechanics, those mechanics create an intriguing, highly social experience in which every game is different.

Related works: There have been a number of editions of Cosmic Encounter since the 1977 first publication, all of them variants of the original, including English language versions produced by West End Games (1986), Games Workshop (1986), Mayfair Games (1991), Avalon Hill (2000) and Fantasy Flight Games (2008). There are 9 expansions for the 1977 Eon edition, all created by the original designers and adding various new powers and rules, many of which have been included in later versions of the main game: Expansion #1 (1977 EP); Expansion #2 (1977 EP); Expansion #3 (1978 EP); Expansion #4 (1979 EP); Expansion #5 (1980 EP); Expansion #6 (1980 EP); Expansion #7 (1981 EP); Expansion #8 (1982 EP) and Expansion #9 (1983 EP). The Mayfair edition has one expansion, More Cosmic Encounter (1992 Mayfair) designed by Peter Olotka, Jack Kittredge, Bill Eberle. Cosmic Incursion (2010 Fantasy Flight Games [FFG]), Cosmic Conflict (2011 FFG) and Cosmic Alliance (2012 FFG) are all expansions for the Fantasy Flight version. Simply Cosmic (1995 Mayfair) designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge is a simplified introductory version with fewer alien power cards. Cosmic Encounter Online (2003 Future Pastimes, Web) designed by Peter Olotka, Bill Eberle is a highly popular version of the game that can be played on the internet. [NT]


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