News for December 2011
Smells Like Victory 11
A preview of Cosmic Alliance, the upcoming expansion for Cosmic Encounter
Cosmic Encounter | Published 20 December 2011

A military society from their earliest days, the Generals have always placed a high value on leadership and charisma. Their history is full of some of the most inspiring speeches ever given in all the Cosmos. Whenever a ragtag band of warriors stands up to defy the odds, a General will be there to lead them. Whether fighting the enemy on the beaches or standing with a few lucky men to fight for freedom, a General will smile and say, “I love the smell of Ionic Gas in the morning… It smells like victory.”

Earlier this month we announced Cosmic Alliance, the latest expansion for Cosmic Encounter. In addition to its 20 new alien races, this exciting expansion features components for another player, rules for large eight-player games, and a new variant – team rules, which allow steadfast allies to dominate the Cosmos together!

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the Team Cosmic variant, and we’ll see one alien ready to lead his soldiers to triumph: the charismatic and inspirational General.

Welcome to the team

In the Team Cosmic variant, players form teams of two in an attempt to conquer the galaxy cooperatively. After randomly forming teams, partners sit across from each other, with the odd player (if there is one) sitting across from an unused planet. Partners then play as normal, each attempting to satisfy his own victory condition while aiding his partner as much as possible. After all, a partnership can’t win until both partners have claimed their own victory!

How do you help out your ally? Each time you gain a foreign colony, you may instead gift it to your partner. Simply return your ships to other colonies you control, and let your freeloading buddy place an equal number of his ships in their place. In this variant, you can have more than five colonies, so feel free to stay in the game as long as it takes to help your partner to victory.

A few other points to keep in mind:

  • A player cannot have an encounter against his partner. During the destiny phase, if a player draws a destiny card with his partner’s color, the player may either attack a foreign colony in his or her partner’s home system (as though the player drew his own color) or draw again.
  • The main players in each encounter always automatically invite their partners as allies. In an encounter against his partner, a player cannot ally against his partner. However, in an encounter against other players, partners can each ally with different sides.
  • Players cannot show other players their cards (even their partners), but they may talk openly about their strategy and cards so that all players can hear – including mentioning specific cards in their hand.
  • Since the odd player does not have a partner, the odd player only needs to complete a victory condition by himself to win. Also, the odd player receives twice as many turns as any other player. When the turn order arrives at the unused planet across from the odd player, he receives a full extra turn. Afterwards, turn order continues from the unused planet.

Leading the way

One new alien race sure to benefit from these larger games is the General. For these natural leaders, it’s the more the merrier. Whenever alliances are formed, the General can draw a card for every alien allied with him!

The General’s Alien Sheet. Click to Enlarge.

Are you ready to be a team player? Keep checking back for more on Cosmic Alliance in the coming weeks, then look for it to blast onto store shelves late in the first quarter of 2012!

Cosmic Encounter is a classic board game that puts players in charge of the fate of an alien race. Three to five players each strive to be the first to conquer five enemy colonies and establish themselves as the dominant life form in the galaxy. With over 50 alien characters to choose from, no two games are ever the same.

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Comments (11)

Published: 1/4/2012 3:18:56 PM

So... where it says "Afterwards"... does that mean after the General draws cards (before the encounter actually takes place) or after the entire encounter?  I'm thinking it means after the encounter... but it seems a bit vague just to say "afterwards"...

Published: 12/28/2011 11:46:02 PM

 Another long wait

The Warp
Published: 12/21/2011 10:23:30 PM

Yeah, who knows what criteria is used to decide which aliens to preview...  I like both of these guys, but some more contrast between them would be nice.  Sigh.... the release can't happen soon enough.

Published: 12/21/2011 5:40:45 PM

@Kobold Curry Chef  yes, let's keep an eye on this.

Animal - Easy Rider (1969)

General - Apocalypse Now (1979)

Published: 12/21/2011 4:48:47 PM

I certainly don't expect every alien in the set to be alliance-related, but I did wonder if they made an effort to include more of those than usual. Of course not every alien can be knock-your-socks-off sexy; there have to be some that are just plain average.  I will say this one is both straightforward to understand and solidly built, both of which I appreciate.  It's a little on the boring side, but a nice solid power for new players ... and I suppose you have to start the previews with some like that so you can build up to the jaw-droppers.

The Warp
Published: 12/21/2011 3:56:40 PM

Gift is also a verb.  It means to bestow something. 

I think previewing two alliance-based aliens for Cosmic Alliance is pretty straight-forward.  They both have card draws, but that's not all there is to them.  I don't expect that there will be a ton of Alliance aliens in the set, so it may be that they are going with most (if not all) of them for the initial previews.  Gorgon and Schizoid have nothing to do with being allies, and this could be it.

Published: 12/21/2011 2:34:51 PM

When did "gift" become a verb again? How about just "give"?

Published: 12/21/2011 8:32:07 AM

So far that's one alien that encourages alliances with a card draw, and another alien that encourages alliances with a card draw. ;-)

Reading between the lines in these comments (artwork, history, etc.), it seems like there's an unspoken feeling of being underwhelmed by the gameplay.  (That was my reaction, anyway.)  Perhaps it will turn out to have subtle awesomeness like Philanthropist.  Or perhaps they just wanted a crapload of alliance-related powers for this expansion.

Published: 12/20/2011 11:39:36 PM

General sounds like a lot of fun. I can't wait to see the other 18 Aliens in this expansion :)

Kobold Curry Chef
Published: 12/20/2011 5:59:45 PM

If I'm not mistaken, both Animal and General have histories with movie references from the 1970s. I wonder if they can keep that up for the entire expansion; I, for one, would be amused.

The Warp
Published: 12/20/2011 5:55:55 PM

Love the art for the General. 

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