Cosmic Encounter Frequently Asked Questions

From: [email protected] (Kurt Adam)
Subject: Cosmic Encounter Frequently Asked Questions
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Date: 20 Sep 2000 01:27:22 -0400
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Last Updated: Fri May 26, 2000

              Cosmic Encounter Frequently Asked Questions
                      by Kurt Adam ([email protected])

Welcome to This newsgroup is for discussing the
game Cosmic Encounter (CE). General topics include rules and timing
questions, new expansions, powers and flares, and general gaming

Many FAQs, including this one, are available on the archive site in the directory pub/usenet/news.answers. The name under
which a FAQ is archived appears in the Archive-name line at the top of
the article. This FAQ is archived as games/cosmic-encounter-faq.
Note that FAQs are available at this site, but NOTHING ELSE. This is
not the general CE archive site which is described below. This FAQ is
also available by WWW using

If you do not have ftp, you can request messages from rtfm by using
the local mail server. Send mail to [email protected] contain-
ing the line "send usenet/news.answers/games/cosmic-encounter-faq" to
get this file. Send a message containing "help" to get general
information about the mail server. The rtfm mail server can ONLY be
used to obtain FAQs. It cannot be used to get files from the CE
archive site.

The CE archive contains many materials including powers, expansions
and clarifications from back issues of Encounter (the CE newsletter,
see below).

If you have any additions/corrections to this file, please email them
to Kurt Adam ([email protected]).

   * 0. Table of Contents
   * 1. What is Cosmic Encounter?
   * 2. How is the game played?
   * 3. What versions of CE are available?
   * 4. What's this about an online version?
   * 5. What comes with the game?
   * 6. What is Encounter and how can I get it?
   * 7. Where can I get additional stuff?
   * 8. General timing questions
   * 9. Questions about powers

1. What is Cosmic Encounter?

Cosmic Encounter is a board game first developed by Eon Games, then
briefly distributed by West End Games and Games Workshop, and finally by
Mayfair Games. Cosmic Encounter is a registered trademark of Eon Games,
Inc. It will soon be available in an edition distributed by Hasbro.

In the game, each player plays the part of an alien trying to conquer
the universe. Each player's alien has a power that allows it to break
some of the game's rules. The interaction of the powers during conflicts
is the basis of the enjoyment of the game.

2. How is the game played?

The game is rather simple: Each player has a "home system" with 5
planets in it, and 20 tokens, which start the game evenly distributed
across the 5 home planets. The object of the game is to establish bases
on 5 foreign planets. A base is any number of tokens on a single planet.
Any number of opposing players may have a base on the same planet.

Cards are dealt and the order of play is established. Then the first
player is directed by a colored card to the system in which s/he must
make her/his first attack. S/he designates which of the home bases there
s/he'll attack and deploys 1-4 free tokens to a cone representing the
attack field. The defending player (who is the owner of the system)
defends with whatever tokens are on the planet being attacked. Each side
in the challenge can ask other players to ally with 1-4 free tokens.

Each main player then plays a challenge card face down (challenge cards
include attack cards numbered from 1 to 40 and compromise cards). After
cards are revealed, the card number is added to the total of the main
player's and allies' tokens on that side of the challenge...higher total
wins. If a compromise card is played it indicates that that side loses,
but the player who played a compromise card takes consolation cards from
her/his opponent's hand. If both players play a compromise, they have 1
minute to make a deal which can include exchanging bases, cards or some
other immediate actions.

Winning tokens on the offense get to establish a base on the planet
attacked. Winning allied tokens on the defense gain their owner rewards,
either new cards or freed tokens. Winning main player tokens on the
defense get nothing. All losing tokens go to the "warp" where they're
not free for use.

Each player is entitled to a second challenge if their first challenge
is successful. Play then continues around the board.

In addition, each player has an alien power which lets her/him break a
rule in a particular way to her/his benefit. There are cards in players'
hands (called flares and edicts) that grant temporary or instantaneous
powers, such as freeing tokens from the warp, re-establishing home
bases, etc. There are cards that act to multiply an attack card played.
And many more game extensions that give CE it's character and it's
unpredictability. This unpredictability is what makes the game so

There are also many game extensions that add additional twists to the
game (e.g. moons, lucre, alternate hexes, praw, flares, ...) Many
additional powers and new game extensions have been invented by CE
players, some of which are available through the archive (see below).

3. What versions of CE are available?

The original Eon sets as well as the West End and Games Workshop
versions are long out of print. The only version that is available new
right now is the Mayfair one.

Mayfair published three sets: Cosmic Encounter, More Cosmic Encounter
and Simply Cosmic Encounter. Cosmic Encounter is required to play with
More Cosmic Encounter. The basic set gives 48 aliens (and their flares),
6 hexes (with reverse hexes), warp, cone, cards

More Cosmic Encounter gives 54 more powers (and flares), Moons, Lucre,
Special Destiny Cards, Comets and more.

Simply Cosmic Encounter is a stripped-down introductory set. It contains
enough for four people to be introduced to the game. It includes 8
aliens (Filch, Grief, Laser, Loser, Mind, Sorcerer, Warpish, and
Zombie), 4 sets of hexes and tokens (in different colors than the
original basic set), warp, cone and cards.

Mayfair was working on a new expansion, tentatively titled A Bit More
Cosmic. It was slated include 35 new powers with Flares and Novas and
two sets of hexes and tokens (dark green and brown). Due to the changes
within Mayfair it is unclear as to whether this and the Cosmic Novas
expansion will ever see the light of day.

Cosmic Novas was to contain only cards that added Eon-style flares
(called Novas) which are not discarded after use.

Mayfair's address is: Mayfair Games
5211 W. 65th Street
Bedford Park, IL 60638
(708) 458-3900
([email protected])

Mayfair has a web site at, but there's not
much real info there.

Eon published the base set and nine expansions. The Eon editions do
occasionally get auctioned off either at cons or on the net, but they do
get expensive (a complete Eon set with all 9 expansions recently went
for $200).

The West End sets have also been sighted (albeit less frequently).

I have never seen a Games Workshop version.

Also, there are foreign editions. Hexagames released one in Germany and
Jeux Descartes still publishes one in France (that edition is called
Recontre Cosmique). The French edition goes to six players and uses the
original Eon art. Around 1980, Grow Jogos e Brinquedos released an
edition in Brazil called Contatos Cosmicos. The set had 18 powers
(including Warrior, Machine, Terrorist, Skeptic, Chronos, Worm, Zombie,
Macron, Mutant, Reincarnator, Pacifist and 7 others). It had none of the
expansions that we've come to know and love (not even Flares!).


4. What's this about an online version?

The Eon guys are working with Tim Macinta on an online version of Cosmic
Encounter. The games are four players with a limited number of powers
(although they're working on expanding the list of available powers). At
this time there are no flares, reverse cones, etc. It's much like the
original Eon basic set. Games are played with four home bases and four
bases to win. Most other rules remain the same. The game is available
for play 24 hours by going to . A
Java-enabled browser is required. See the site for more details.

5. What comes with the game?

The two Mayfair sets contain the following:

Basic Set

48 Alien powers (with flares): Amoeba, Anti-Matter, Assassin, Aura,
Cavalry, Changeling, Chosen, Chronos, Clone, Connoisseur, Deuce, Empath,
Filch, Filth, Fungus, Gambler, Healer, Insect, Laser, Loser, Macron,
Magnet, Mind, Mirror, Mutant, Oracle, Pacifist, Parasite, Pentaform,
Phantom, Philanthropist, Reincarnator, Seeker, Sniveler, Sorcerer,
Subversive, Symbiote, Terrorist, Trader, Vacuum, Vampire, Visionary,
Void, Vulch, Will, Worm, Wrack, Zombie

94 Cards:
     Attack 40(1), 30(1), 20(2), 19(1), 18(1), 17(1), 16(1), 15(4),
     14(2), 13(1), 12(5), 11(2), 10(6), 9(2), 8(8), 7(4), 6(8), 5(2),
     4(2), 1(1). Compromise(17). Edicts: Cosmic Zap(3), Edict Zap(1),
     Emotion Control(1), Finder(1), Flare Zap(2), Force Field(1), Hand
     Zap(1), Keeper(1), Mobius Tubes(2), Plague(1), Rebirth(1),
     Sanity(1), Space Junk(1), Stellar Gas(1), Timegash(1), Un Zap(1),
     Victory Boon(1), Warp Break(1). Destiny: Wild(1), Reverse Wild(1),
     3 in each color(18), 1 Reverse of each color(6).
6 Planet Hexes (with reverse hexes on the back)

1 Warp Hex

6 Token sets: Red, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Light Blue, Orange.

1 Hyper-Space Cone

6 Reverse Hex Descriptions

1 Challenge Summary Card

1 Rule Book

More Cosmic Encounter

54 Alien powers (with flares): Anomaly, Aristocrat, Assessor, Berserker,
Boomerang, Bully, Busybody, Butler, Calculator, Crystal, Delegator,
Demon, Dictator, Diplomat, Disease, Doppelganger, Dragon, Entrepreneur,
Ethic, Extortionist, Force, Ghost, Gnome, Gorgon, Grief, Grudge, Hurtz,
Industrialist, Judge, Lloyd, Machine, Mesmer, Miser, Negator, Obverse,
Pavlov, Pirate, Plant, Prolong, Prophet, Queue, Reserve, Schizoid,
Serpent, Silencer, Siren, Skeptic, Spiff, Sting, Virus, Warpish,
Warrior, Witch, Wraith

88 Cards:
     Attack 20(1), 19(1), 18(1), 17(1), 16(1), 15(2), 14(1), 13(3),
     12(2), 11(3), 10(3), 9(4), 8(3), 7(3), 6(3), 5(1), 4(3), 1(1),
     0(2), -1(1), -4(1), -5(1), -6(1), -8(1). Compromise(11). Kickers:
     -2(1), -1(1), 0(1), 1(1), 2(4), 3(1). Reinforcements: +1(7), +2(4),
     +3(2), +4(1), +5(1). Edicts: Cosmic Zap(1), Breach(1), Cosmic
     Gas(1), Destiny Zap(1), Solar Wind(1), New Moon(1), Kicker Zap(1),
     Flare Zap(1), Un Zap(1), Mobius Tubes(1).
10 Special Destiny Cards

16 Comets(16)

100 Lucre counters: 1(55), 2(30), 5(10), 10(5)

100 Moons

1 Rule Book covering the extra components

Simply Cosmic

8 Alien powers (with flares):

76 Cards
     Attack 40(1), 30(1), 20(1), 19(1), 17(1), 16(1), 15(2), 14(2),
     13(3), 12(3), 11(3), 10(3), 9(4), 8(3), 7(2), 6(3), 5(1), 4(1),
     1(1), 0(1), -1(1), -5(1). Compromise(12). Reinforcements(12).
26 Destiny Cards (including 4 Comets and 4 instructional)

4 Planet Hexes

4 Token sets: Mint, Lavender, Pink, Tan (yes, those are the official

1 Warp Hex

1 Hyper-Space Cone

1 Rule Book

You can tell which cards have come from the More Cosmic Encounter set by
the small numbers in the lower left corner.

A parts list for the other versions is located at

6. What is Encounter and how can I get it?

Encounter was the support magazine for Eon's games and originally
published by Eon. The magazine contained rules questions and
clarifications, new powers and expansions for CE as well as things for
their other games. 6 issues were released while the game was produced by

After Mayfair began producing CE, it also revived Encounter. However,
after 3 issues they ceased publication. Mike Arms ([email protected]),
the editor, is working on starting it up again, but right now it is
officially "on hiatus".

7. Where can I get additional stuff?

Peter Olotka, one of the original designers, has a web site that lists
info on this and other games that he's worked on. It also includes info
on various foreign editions. The page can be found at .

Aaron Fuegi ([email protected]) maintains a web page of all variants and
expansions that have been posted the or sent to him
(including Bad Powers, Moons List, Zodiac, Quarks, Elementals, Skill
Tokens and Rogues Power). They can be found at

Steve Staton ([email protected]) has converted the complete rule book
from Eon's ninth expansion set into Postscript. The two files (one for
the main book and the other for the appendix listing all the powers,
moons, etc.) can be found on the web at or by anonymous
FTP at

Jack Reda runs The Warp, which is a collection of variants and
expansions from various sources. It can be found at .

Cedric Chin has many powers available at his site which can be found at .

The FTP site at is down at this time. I have a
feeling that it won't be coming back. I'm leaving in the below
instructions in case it comes back up at some point.

The FTP site has many interesting tidbits (listed below).

Those without web access can use anonymous FTP. The host is ( To get a file from the archive
follow this sequence:

1) ftp

2) At the login prompt enter: anonymous. Then at the password prompt
enter your email address.

3) At the ftp> prompt enter: cd ce

4) Then use ftp commands to list (ls), download (get) and upload (put)
files. A guide to using ftp is available in the "Anonymous FTP:
Frequently Asked Questions" posting in news.answers.

Those without anonymous FTP access can use an e-mail to FTP server as
outlined in the above-mentioned FAQ.

Archive Contents

     The original FAQ
     Shell archive containing the program that reads Cosmic Encounter
     powers and flares in a "raw text" format and produces alien power
     cards and flare cards in PostScript format
     PostScript files which print materials for Cosmic Encounter (card
     backs, cards, cones, hexes, lucre, moons, power cards)
     A set of prototype PostScript files demonstrating the use of the
     templates found in
     Introduction to (some of) the PostScript headers and their use.
     Takes the reader through the generation of a small CE set -- cone,
     hexes, destiny deck, challenge deck, and powers (the latter through
     Summary of Matt's add-on hazard cards
     Rules and PostScript files to create the game extension "asteroids"
     created by Andrew Plotkin
     Rules for playing CE with Prisoners, Prisoner-related powers, and a
     PostScript file to print prisoner rulings
     Summary of rules clarifications
     Digest of the neatest stuff to come from the mailing list over its
     first 19 months, except the other stuff in the archives
     Consolidated CE Archive in CE Convert format as compiled by Mike
     Rizzo. This archive consolidates all non-Eon and non-Mayfair powers
     384 Aliens from Cedric Chin in CE Convert format. These are not
     contained in the Consolidated CE Archive. The submission is in 8
     files: chinaa - chinah.

8. General timing questions

When collecting consolation, the only card which is allowed to be played
from the hand of the collectee (the one from whom consolation is being
drawn), is Stellar Gas, which prevents collecting consolation.

9. Questions about powers

Due to the nature of the game and the rules breaking that occurs as a
result, there are many interactions that can cause questions to arise. A
lot of these can be resolved (and have been) within a particular group.
House rulings are definitely de rigeur for CE. However, this section is
intended to cover those rulings that seem to be consistently applied in
most groups.

1. When is the Sting considered to be losing tokens "voluntarily"?

Generally, the Sting is considered to be losing tokens voluntarily only
as a result of an agreement to do so to satisfy the Disease Wild flare.


This FAQ was developed by Kurt Adam ([email protected]), with
generous amounts of help from the original FAQ and the denizens of
[email protected]
[email protected]                      

"There ain't no devil; there's just God when he's drunk."
                                             - Tom Waits, "Heartattack & Vine"

Last updated: Thu Sep 21 00:01:22 2000