Having wandered along to London On Board‘s saturday meeting, I had a chance to play a (new to me) board game called “Cosmic Encounter“, which is a card game based space battle game for up to 6 players. You start out as a species with 5 “home” systems, and the objective is to establish colonies on 5 other worlds. Players take turns in invading other players systems based on the flip of a card. The attacking player assigns ships to the attack, defender to the defence, and each side can call for assistance from any of the other players.
You draw species cards at the start of the game, which gives you special abilities (the ability of the “anti-matter” species to flip it so that the losers win makes for quite a challenge for the attacker, where you have to remember to apply your re-enforcements to the enemy, instead of onto you… you know, so they win, and therefore lose…). The success or failure of any encounter (or battle) is determined by playing encounter cards, with the highest score winning (with ‘re-enforcement’ modifiers being taken into account). If you’re victorious, you get to claim the system, if you fail, the destroyed ships fall into the void (which you can start to recover at the beginning of your turn, or if you help successfully defend a system). As the game progresses, you have fewer and fewer ships to attack or defend systems with, which forces you to cooperate with your opponents to expand your territory.
I think I’d have liked to understand the modifiers a bit more before playing, but the game itself was quite good fun. It has a few back-stabbing elements to it, as well as cooperative and timed negotiation elements (if you fail to negotiate a settlement to the encounter within a time limit, both sides lose their ships) which makes it quite good fun to play.