9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
In this review, I will describe each step of the game. But unlike many reviews which merely regurgitate rules when explaining gameplay, I will try to explain what I think each step adds to the game as I describe them.
Cosmic Encounter is a classic game from the 1970s. This does not matter. Unlike Monopoly, Risk, Life, Sorry, Uno, etc. that got dusty, stale, un-challenging, and un-fun when people learned how to, you know, actually design good board games, Cosmic Encounter remains one of the most enjoyable (even if it is, admittedly, not the most strategic) experiences in tabletop gaming.
The basics of the gameplay are simple.
On your turn, you may rescue a ship from death if any are currently dead.
Then, you find out who you are going to attack by drawing a card. This is a point of contention for some who have played, or considered playing. I would like to assure you that this does not negatively impact the strategy of the game. In a game with a shared board like Risk, this would be unthinkable because of the area control you need to do. However, since every planet is separate and does not interact with adjacent ones in Cosmic Encounter, you do not lose your "board position" with this mechanic (as no real board positions exist). Instead, it serves to stop unfair teaming up against (for example, attacking Bob because he's the lame one of the group) and keep everyone involved.
Then, you send up to four of your ships. This game, perhaps strangely or unexpectedly, shares many elements with Poker. This is your bid. A powerful bluffing tool. It starts out pretty straightfoward - am I confident I can win? I'll send 4 ships to flex my muscle. If I think I might lose, I'll only send 1 ship so I sacrifice less. But of course, this leads into the natural bluff of sending 1 ship when you in fact have a huge chance of winning. And from there, into double-bluffs, triple-bluffs, and beyond. The excellent component quality of Fantasy Flight's version certainly contributes, the cute stacking UFOs feeling much like a stack of poker chips.
After that, you may request alliances. Both offense and defense may do so, with both sets sending 1 - 4 of their own ships. A win for the offense, and everyone helping gets a point. A win for defense, and the defensive planet stays safe and their allies get new cards or their ships back. This unlocks a huge portion of the game. Allies on your side in an encounter not only give you up to 4 attack more, but can also play cards and use powers to boost you up. But the real beauty in alliances isn't their encounter-to-encounter use, but their ability to be truly lasting... and truly temporary. You can win together in Cosmic Encounter, making betrayal less inevitable and alliances more valuable than some games. But, still, there's always the looming chance that either side defects. The fact that a deck tells you who to attack comes into play here, forcing allies to confront each other. They must figure something out in the moment, or one of them will reign superior, straining or ending their continued relationship.
Finally, the combat happens. Each player lays down an "Encounter" card from their hand - either a number from 0 to 40, or a big fat N for the peaceful Negotiate. Then reveal the cards. Should two attacks flip, add the card + ships and give victory to the highest number. Should one negotiate flip, they automatically lose but get compensated. Should two negotiates be played, the players have 1 minute to strike a deal, or both suffer losses. The most common circumstance is, naturally, two attack cards as they have the majority of the deck. The bluffing about these cards of course happens before they are even selected, trying to convince your opponent they don't have to play so high, or that they should play high and therefore blow their good card on you.
But, once again, with the possibility of Negotiating, Cosmic Encounter makes alliances all the more legitimate, and all the more volatile. It is exceedingly easy to play an attack when Negotiates have been agreed upon by both parties. Again, Cosmic Encounter succeeds in its addictive "above the table" play of negotiation, alliances, backhanded deals, and more by further legitimizing them with its mechanics. It is not unreasonable to expect to truly Negotiate. However, it also smartly avoids the trap of making them too hard-coded in the rules, and actually forcing continued alliances as other games may do. The result is a perfect balance between constant brutal betrayal, and pansy dedication to your promises. A shifting but every-now-and-then reliable web of allies.
That is a turn of Cosmic Encounter.
But, of course, even in what would be a perfectly fun light game of luck, bluffing, and alliances, these solid core mechanics seize to even be the main attraction, when they would be in other games.
Of course, you probably know that the Aliens are the real attraction. "Each one breaks a rule", as most reviews will tell you.
The first decision regarding this is at the start of the game, when you are dealt two flares and then find the corresponding aliens and choose between the two. The selection of two provides just enough options (well, one) that you are never saddled with the worst possible power you could have had, but you can be left with a sub-par one.
And that's kind of the point. There needs to be power differentials.
Other games may be better tests of skill.
But they don't form amazing stories of comeback wins. Powerful alliances that crumble because of greed. Epic empires that fall because they couldn't stand on their own. And, yes, sometimes that time the super powerful race won. But isn't that warfare? Sometimes superior strategy and deal-making will pull the smaller guys through... sometimes bigger guns means the opposition doesn't even have to try.
The Aliens do some really funny and entertaining things, yes. There's the Loser, who makes winners lose and losers win. The Zombie, never dying.
And it's funny. The aliens are clearly the main attraction to this game. They're renowned in the gaming community and the first thing used to sell a new player on trying it out. But I have been stalled on writing this part of the review.
Because, when I talk about Cosmic Encounter, I feel a need to do it justice. And with such a breadth of alien powers, it can be hard to figure out which ones are "worthy" of a one-off mention. Which ones do the "most interesting" things.
A lot of reviews talk about that. How they love the Masochist, or they think the Loser is so great. But at it's heart, it's not about the most interesting things.
Yes, there's hilarious card plays. Amazing only ever one time combos that came together pefectly. Incredible come from behind wins.
But it's really about the opposite being just as viable. Lying low, picking up your points here and there where you can get them. Being a trustworthy but not intense ally and negotiator. Slipping by until you've won. And every strategy, every tactic, in between the two extremes of absolute bombast and completely lying low. There's an alien to suit them all, and a way to win with them all.
And notice that... all those completely viable paths to victory. They're about how you're acting. They're not about how you're pushing chits around a map, how you're shuffling you cards, or how you're running your engine. The game is about aliens. The aliens are you. The game is about you and it really does unlock that social aspect. The people around the table become the aliens on their cards. You're thrust into an unfamiliar universe, with newly unfamiliar faces, and you're challenged to navigate it with the social skills of a woefully unprepared Loser.
I do not have some highly thought out, methodical method for determining the score to award a game when reviewing it. I've hardly touched on component quality, and I haven't factored in whatever 8.75 I may give it into a perfectly calculated average, to determine the score Cosmic Encounter deserves.
All I know is that I give it a 10.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This game comes with a ton of various colored UFO ships, cardboard planets matching those colors, matching scorekeepers, huge alien race cards, decks of cards, a gateway cone, and a huge dimensional warp circle.
Players are dealt two cards from a "Flare" deck, which are powerful cards focusing on a race. The players get the matching alien race cards and pick one. All Flares dealt to the players are shuffled in the main deck and if there's less than ten Flares, that many additional are shuffled in.
The main deck is dealt to players, 8 cards, and players seed their five colored planets with four ships each.
The second deck, Destiny, is drawn from until a color matching a player is revealed abs that player goes first. The Destiny cards are shuffled again.
A third optional deck, Tech, has abilities players can research. They get two and pick one to start with.
Player 1 draws a Destiny card after retrieving one ship from Warp and placing it on a controlled colony. This should match a color in play. Some are Wild (attack any) and some are special (attack who has least ships, most colonized, etc). This player is offense. The target color or player is defense. If using Tech, one ship can land on the upside down card. Techs are activated after a number if ships land on them as the card power requires.
Offense points the Gateway triangle at a planet. The Gate is prepped with 1-4 UFO ships and offense asks players for help if wanted. Nobody answers yet, though.
Defense then asks for help as well. Again nobody admits.
Offensive help then places 1-4 ships on the gate, and then defense help follows.
Players then lay down a card privately. It is an Encounter card: Attack, Negotiate, or Morph (only one Morph is in the deck - it copies the opposing Attack or Negotiate.) and things happen.
Attack vs Attack: These have random numbers, 0-40. Add this to the total UFO pieces on your side. Players and Assistants may have extra cards (like Reinforcements, which alter totals on sides by a couple points) to influence things. If Offense wins, Defense hits the warp portal and offense and allies take the planet. If Defense wins, Offense hits the warp and the defense allies return home but get 1 ship from warp, or 1 card from the draw deck per ship they sent to reinforce.
Attack vs Negotiate: Negotiate loses, Attack wins. The offense colonizes if won, warps if lost. Defense stays if won, warps if lost. Negotiator gets to draw one card from the Attacker's hand as compensation.
Negotiate v Negotiate: Allies return ships to colonies. The offense and defense have one minute to make a mutual agreement: card swaps, ship colonization that's mutual, etc. If no deal happens, 3 ships per side must go to Warp.
Then players score. Do you have 1-5 colonies? That's 0, your starting point value. Do you have 1-2 colonies? Your race power is disabled until you get a third colony. Do you have over five? That's one to five (6-10) points. Five points wins. I wish the warp had scoring saying 1-5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 instead of 0-5, though.
Some alien powers and some cards only activate at certain phases in the game, but that's the premise.
I love that Cosmic Encounter doesn't really have down time between turns. Every player is almost always actively involved when not offending or defending.
There's a learning curve here and several expansions, but they aren't necessary aside from two have additional players. There's tons of races here and I think if Fantasy Flight went with cheap deck expansions and separate huge alien race cards with Flares, the price points on those would feel safer for buying. As is this game is awesome and other than the Warp score bit I mentioned, I wish the UFOs looked different for flavor between players, but that'd add to the cost.
This game is fantastic and I still recommend it to anyone!