We played Cosmic Encounter on Wednesday night at Book Realm. Cosmic is not really my kinda game, but forces conspired against me. You see Trevor had managed to buy the ancient 2nd edition complete with all expansions in useable condition for $A5, when it's worth up to $US300. We know this because Cyberkev is a Cosmic guru, so when Trevor and Cyberkev and RealmKeeper and Ozvortex and I sat down to play, I thought it only fair that we try out Trevor's treasure.
First discovery was that although the cards and special powers were present, the tokens and "who you have to attack" counters were not all there, so we cannibalised some bits from other games. We took the pirates from Cartagena and put them in the draw string bag from Ingenious to decide who should be attacked. I used influence markers from Go West as my tokens, and RealmKeeper and Trevor used pretty glass stones from Magic as their tokens.
I won't go through the specifics of the game, because I can't remember them, so I'll tell you about the special powers. I was Boomerang. This meant when you attack me, I get to attack you first. That seemed like a quicker way to die, to me, but as Cyberkev pointed out, it means you get lots more opportunities to capture bases which is how you win the game. Trevor was Skeptic, which meant that he was constantly telling people "I don't think you can win", and on several occasions they agreed with him and backed off. Cyberkev was Vulch, meaning that he picked up all of the used Edicts. So if you wanted to use something against him, you had to give it to him. Andrew was Delegator, meaning that he could change the primary player in conflicts. I found that so annoying that I didn't call him as an ally very much. Ozvortex was the Will, meaning he could choose the opponent and planet he wanted to attack. It didn't seem to help though.
So the Delegator was by far the most annoying. Realmkeeper got somewhat shafted because he had bad cards and after a couple of times where he switched someone's attack out from under them he didn't get invited back and wasn't able to use them up to get new ones. Ozvortex had a fist full of cards, and once I managed to take 4 of them as consolation. Shortly after, I compromised with him, and as giving me a base would have won the game for me, I convinced him to give me his whole hand instead. Both times, I got a heap of Edict cards, and had to spend time thinking about how I could use them to my advantage.
Eventually, as will happen with sort of game where it is so easy to pick on the leader, we had 4 bases each. I attacked Trevor on my turn, and he called for all allies. The Delegator joined in, and made Cyberkev the primary opponent rather than Trevor. We played our cards, and I was well and truly defeated, which I had expected because I had such bad attack cards. But I did have an Edict that said both of those attack cards were Compromises. That meant Cyberkev and I had to make a deal, so we traded a base for a base and shared the win.
I was pleased that it was Cyberkev I had dealt with there, as I thought he would take the win. Trevor might have refused, because he likes to fight. Ozvortex probably would have agreed, Realmkeeper could have gone either way depending on his whim. But I thought Cyberkev would find it very hard to refuse a chance to share a win. As it was, I think he considered his chances of winning some other way, and decided that sharing a win with me was his best outcome, on average.
So that was my second game of Cosmic, what do I think? Well my 6.5 rating at BGG remains unchanged. It's an alright game, but I just can't get into the negotiation of allies. Sure, I could try to be charming or friendly or loyal or intimidating or whatever to try to gain support, but I know that most people I play with will ally with me based on their best interests, not my personal skill. So it was no surprise to me when all 5 of us had 4 bases, because nobody was stupid enough to let someone else win. We might as well shorten the game and play for 1 base each. I definitely prefer analytical games, where I can harness the resources of my massive brain to crush my opponents... or not.
Coincidentally, on Thursday night we played Mall of Horror which requires much the same negotation skills as Cosmic. Sadly I was so tired on Thursday night because I couldn't sleep Wednesday night because Cosmic Encounter had pumped me up so much, that I was flat all through the game. I made a bad mistake to get my gunman killed, and fell out of contention 2/3 of the way through the game. Mall of Horror is another game that I would play again, but wouldn't rush to.
Probably my favourite of this genre of game is Ca$h'n Gun$, maybe because you can always chicken out when you've got guns pointed at you, and that means you only die if you're not careful, and the game becomes a struggle to balance caution and greed. Also it's a bit quicker, so there's less time spent negotiating, and it's funny to shoot kids.