Intergalactic warfare is as much a game of politics as it is an epic battle among the stars. In the card game Cosmic Encounter, you’ll form shifting alliances with other alien races in an attempt to spread your colonies to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and win the game. If you’re a fan of fantasy card games that offer plenty of opportunities for strategy and backstabbing, you’ll love Cosmic Encounter.
Cosmic Encounter assigns each player the role of leader of their very own alien race. On every turn, a different player becomes the offense and must try to establish colonies in the planetary systems of the other players. The offense will draw cards from the destiny deck, which contain either a color that aligns with certain planets in other player’s systems, a special condition for selecting another player, or a wild card that lets you choose who to attack.
Once the card is drawn, the offense will shoot through the hyperspace gate and head to the planet that matches their card. The other players are not left defenseless, however. They can engage their ships to try and keep the offense out of their system, resulting in a battle between the ships of the two opposing players.
In Cosmic Encounter, both the offense and the defense are allowed to invite any of the other players to ally with their side. Players who are given an invitation can either accept or refuse. If they accept, they can add their own ships to the cause and potentially win rewards.
Attack or Negotiate?
To successfully build a colony on another planet, you need to win one of these offensive encounters. The way these battles work is by drawing Encounter cards, which will decide whether or not the players attack, negotiate, or a mixture of the two. If both players play Attack cards, then they add the values of the cards to their ships, leaving the player with the higher score the winner.
If both players play Negotiate cards, then the allies disperse and the offense and defense must agree to a deal within one minute. This can be anything from swapping cards to allowing one of the defensive player’s colonies to be established on the offensive player’s planet. If they don’t reach an agreement, then both players lose three of their ships.
In encounters in which the offense wins, the defense (and any allies on their side) lose all of the ships they played, while the offense and their allies get to establish colonies on the defending planet. If the defense wins, then the offense and their allies lose their ships, while the defense gets to keep their colony on their planet. Defensive allies then get to collect Defender Rewards, which are either cards, discarded ships, or both.
If one player plays an Attack card and the other plays a Negotiate card, then the attacker automatically wins while the loser receives Compensation by randomly taking cards from the other player’s hand. Once one player manages to establish five colonies outside of their own home system, they win the game!
Cosmic Encounter Later Editions
Cosmic Encounter has a few standalone sequels that flip the script of the original card game and add new mechanics and possibilities to the game. Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition adds a newly discovered alien species while also introducing Cosmic Combo cards that add customizable challenges to the game.
Cosmic Encounter Duel takes the mechanics of the 3-5 player card game and turns it into a one-on-one standoff between two players. This sequel card game adds a new alien species known as the Cheater, which can help you cheat your way ahead as long as your opponent doesn’t catch you.
Conquer the Galaxy with Cosmic Encounter
Cosmic Encounter is a 3-5 player card game that’s usually best for small groups of friends, although families can enjoy it as well. It’s suitable for ages 12 and up, so teenagers in particular will be able to enjoy the thrill of intergalactic warfare. Playing time lasts around one to two hours, which is pretty standard for most fantasy card games.
Buy Cosmic Encounter today and use your alien powers to conquer the universe!