Back when Cosmic Conflict (the second expansion for Cosmic Encounter) was being released, I talked about my history with the game here on the blog. I won’t go into that again, but I will say that since then, I’ve gotten my own copy of the base game, as well as the first expansion (Cosmic Incursion). I need to play it some more, but I’m still pretty excited about:
Cosmic Alliance is the third expansion for Fantasy Flight’s version of Cosmic Encounter, as designed by Kevin Wilson. The expansion adds enough pieces that you can play with eight players (as long as you have all three expansions). The big addition this expansion provides is the ability to play in teams (though not with fewer than five players). In a game that is all about forming alliances and taking advantage of your neighbor, this should be interesting.
The expansion comes with 20 new alien races, as well as a new white planet set with 20 matching ships and a colony marker. You get 38 markers for the Horde race, and 54 cards that include 24 large group cosmic cards, 21 flare cards (Schizoid has two), 3 white destiny cards, and 6 Schizoid cards. The large group cards are for games with seven or more players, and the flare cards are added to the pool from previous editions (choose which Schizoid you want).
The team rules are really the heart of this expansion. To form teams, you deal out unique destiny cards into piles of two. These players are partners and are trying to win together. In odd numbered games, the player who ends up not on a team is on their own, trying to achieve solo victory. Partners sit across the table from each other, with an unused planet across from an odd player. You then choose aliens as normal, but may not discuss with your partner which to use.
The following special rules apply to team play:
- You can’t have an encounter against your partner.
- Your partner is permanently invited to be your ally, and partners can never join other encounters against each other. You can choose opposite sides in encounters that don’t involve your partner.
- If you gain a colony on your partner’s system, it counts as a home colony, not a foreign colony.
- Both players must win for the game to be over – you both need five foreign colonies or fulfill some alternate victory condition. There can still be shared wins between teams.
- Every time you gain a foreign colony, you can choose to give it to your partner instead.
- You can’t show anyone your cards, but you may talk about what you have. Keep in mind that everyone else can hear – no sneaking off and discussing strategy in private.
- The odd player only has to fulfill one victory condition, and also gets twice as many turns. When the unused planet is reached, the odd player gets a full extra turn.
The only other new rule included is the Cosmic Quake – if the discard and cosmic decks are both empty, everyone discards their hands and cards are reshuffled with eight redealt to each player. So far, we only know details about six races:
- Animal (intermediate, power to party): If a main player fails to invite you as an ally, force them to lose a ship to the Warp. If your side wins an encounter, everyone on your side celebrates by drawing a free card.
- Cyborg (intermediate, power of bionics): During setup, three cards that cannot be stolen are dealt face up on your sheet. You can play one of these cards at any time as if it was in your hand. If it then gets discarded, you may draw a new one. If not, it goes back in your hand.
- General (beginner, power of leadership): As a main player, draw one card per player allied with you during the encounter. Each of your allies also gets to draw a card.
- Poison (expert, power of toxicity): Each time a card with a hazard warning is drawn from the destiny deck, each foreign colony in your system loses a ship. Also, if you are a main player and your opponent’s attack card is within 2 of yours, you win automatically.
- Pygmy (beginner, power of half): You get twice as many home worlds (using an unused player color), but only two ships go on each. Each of your home worlds only counts as half of a foreign colony for your opponents. There can never be more than four ships on any of your planets (including your own). This power cannot be zapped, lost, stolen, or copied.
- Sting (intermediate, power to substitute): When you lose ships to the warp, designate another player to contribute half of what you would have lost. That player then gets to draw as many cards from your hand as ships they lost.
I’m looking forward to seeing what all of the new races do. It looks to make a great game even better. I’m looking forward to trying out the team rules sometime…it looks like it adds an extra level of strategy to the game, trying to look after your partner while trying to get yourself to your own win condition. Should be fun. Thanks for reading!