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Subject: Cosmic Encounter vs Small World vs Cyclades rss

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pablo bastard
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Hi all!
Now I'm facing a trilemma between those titles.
Each has its own pro and con, but what I'm looking for is a game with wide range of players which has confrontation and a thematic/ameritras-ish feel.
So:
- Cosmic Encounter: not viable for 2, and probably neither for 3. Praised by a lot of people, and hated by some more. I've read it's very chaotic, which makes me to hesitate.
- Cyclades: has euro mechanics (which I like), and an ameritrash feel. Makes for the wide range requisite. Maybe not too much confrontation/interaction? Or not too good for 2 players?
- Small World: same as Cyclades, but it's much lighter. Probably too light? I know it could be playable in almost auto-pilto, which I dislike.

I'm really really dubitative among these three. Probably Small World is the last one in the list, but I like the sensations with that one but probably will end up being too light for me.

Suggestions?
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Moe45673
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If you want 2-3, ignore Cosmic Encounter.

Have you watched the tabletop episode on Small World? That should give you a great idea how it plays
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Stephen Mould
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Haven't played Cyclades, but between the other two, based on what you say you're looking for i'd go for Cosmic. It is indeed hugely chaotic and completely unbalanced, but with a group of players who are willing to accept this and to play the other players, form fragile alliances, and stab each other in the back at opportune moments, it can be great fun. The vast number of different aliens mean each game is different and it's one of those games that gives you stories to talk about afterwards and betrayals to avengein later games. I can certainly see why people dislike it though, and for the very reasons i mentioned as positives. minimum of 3 though for a good game, and it gets better with more players.

Small World is fun, and i've enjoyed it a lot, but I haven't got it to the table in the last few months. It is light, but there is strategy and the variable race/power combos mean you have to have a slightly different approach each time. It scales well, as it comes with boards for each player number, though I think 3 player is somewhat weaker as it suffers from the problem of two people fighting whilst the other sits back and wins.
 
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Nathan Alexander
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I own all 3 and they are all great games. However, Cosmic Encounter and Cyclades are better games than Small World.

Cosmic Encounter plays great with 4/5. 3 does work but not quite as well. Great player interaction and loads of replayability!! The aliens rock!

Cyclades plays best with 4 imo (mainly because one God will always be absent during the auction phase, adding a small element of luck to the game). Not as confrontational as some may think. The theme is brilliant (if you like Greek Myth).

Small World plays great with any number (thanks to the varying board sizes) and the different combinations of races and special powers adds loads of replayability to the game. However, it's not quite as engaging as the other two!

Ultimately you can't go wrong with any. I would push you towards Cosmic Encounter (providing you have a group that enjoy lots of interaction, backstabbery etc.). If not then go for Cyclades.

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Shane Larsen
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Kemet - I can't help but think about this one as I read your comments.

You say you like the idea that Cyclades has Euro mechanics. This one has even more. The whole game is Euro based. Even when you go to battle, you don't roll dice, you use cards from an attack hand, and every player has the exact same hand of 6 cards to use. That's as Euro as a battle phase can get. In fact, the only bit of luck in the game (and it only makes small differences every now and then) is the luck of the draw in the Divine Intervention cards (and randomly choosing a start player at the beginning of the game). But as with the battle cars, it's very controlled because each player is dealt only one at the start of each round. In spite of all of this Euro controliness, the game strongly encourages attacking because it's the most common way to get VPs. All this adds up to the most perfect hybrid game ever invented. Thematic, AT-attacking, fleet-building goodness all over the board, but everything controlled by a brilliantly-blended set of Euro mechanics.

You also say you like the idea of changing up your races in Small World. Well, that's what Kemet is all about. You are constantly changing small abilities you have within your race to battle the other players. And there are endless possibilities found in the race techs. This is where this game really shines. With the exception of a few techs, each tech is unique. So there's a race element to get to the ones you find most desirable for your strategy plans.

You also say that you'd like it to play well with less players. Kemet is still fantastic with 3. I haven't heard any reports about 2 players. But I imagine it wouldn't be all that bad. Just more interesting with more.

Lastly, it shares something with Cosmic Encounter too: win condition. Each player is in a race to be the first to have 7 VPs. What this creates is an epic final few rounds, every time. Players see all information on the board. And they know who is creeping closer to the win count. Naturally, players will occasionally work together to pull the leader back a bit. But you have to be careful not to push someone else into the win position. The end-game Kemet consistently creates as much tension as I've felt in any game.

I'm a fanboy, so keep that in mind. But for the reasons stated above, and the experiences I've had with this outstanding game. It's currently my #2 game of all time.

Take a close look at it.

As for my opinion on the others:

Cosmic > Small World > Cyclades

But they're each different beasts. Believe it or not, I have more fun with Small World than Cyclades, even though Small World is lighter than I usually prefer. I just don't find Cyclades much fun at all. Quite boring actually.
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pablo bastard
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thedacker wrote:
Kemet - I can't help but think about this one as I read your comments.

You say you like the idea that Cyclades has Euro mechanics. This one has even more. The whole game is Euro based. Even when you go to battle, you don't roll dice, you use cards from an attack hand, and every player has the exact same hand of 6 cards to use. That's as Euro as a battle phase can get. In fact, the only bit of luck in the game (and it only makes small differences every now and then) is the luck of the draw in the Divine Intervention cards (and randomly choosing a start player at the beginning of the game). But as with the battle cars, it's very controlled because each player is dealt only one at the start of each round. In spite of all of this Euro controliness, the game strongly encourages attacking because it's the most common way to get VPs. All this adds up to the most perfect hybrid game ever invented. Thematic, AT-attacking, fleet-building goodness all over the board, but everything controlled by a brilliantly-blended set of Euro mechanics.

You also say you like the idea of changing up your races in Small World. Well, that's what Kemet is all about. You are constantly changing small abilities you have within your race to battle the other players. And there are endless possibilities found in the race techs. This is where this game really shines. With the exception of a few techs, each tech is unique. So there's a race element to get to the ones you find most desirable for your strategy plans.

You also say that you'd like it to play well with less players. Kemet is still fantastic with 3. I haven't heard any reports about 2 players. But I imagine it wouldn't be all that bad. Just more interesting with more.

Lastly, it shares something with Cosmic Encounter too: win condition. Each player is in a race to be the first to have 7 VPs. What this creates is an epic final few rounds, every time. Players see all information on the board. And they know who is creeping closer to the win count. Naturally, players will occasionally work together to pull the leader back a bit. But you have to be careful not to push someone else into the win position. The end-game Kemet consistently creates as much tension as I've felt in any game.

I'm a fanboy, so keep that in mind. But for the reasons stated above, and the experiences I've had with this outstanding game. It's currently my #2 game of all time.

Take a close look at it.

As for my opinion on the others:

Cosmic > Small World > Cyclades

But they're each different beasts. Believe it or not, I have more fun with Small World than Cyclades, even though Small World is lighter than I usually prefer. I just don't find Cyclades much fun at all. Quite boring actually.


Oh man... another one to the list This one sounds great! I think it fits the requirements the most of the 4.

How about replayability? I think I should check some videos & reviews.
But, only #232 in BGG list?
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Austin Andersen
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I don't have any of the games you mentioned, but if I were to get one of them, I'd get Cosmic Encounter.
 
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Daniel Sell
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I have all three and I'd take Cosmic Encounters over the others.

Cyclades and Small World do similar things, they're confrontational light hearted conquest games that play quickly. Small World is faster while Cyclades is a bit meatier. They're nice and certainly have their place in a collection but Cosmic Encounters has remained popular for almost 40 years for a reason.
 
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Moe45673
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PaVoLo wrote:


Oh man... another one to the list This one sounds great! I think it fits the requirements the most of the 4.

How about replayability? I think I should check some videos & reviews.
But, only #232 in BGG list?


Kemet is new, all those other games have had time to rise up through the ranks.

It is a great game and probably the one to go for. It's also the only one without any expansions, giving you the full possible experience in one box.

Finally, the game has plenty of replayability. Just make sure you know it backwards and forwards and have a good method for explaining the rules, otherwise you'll turn off folks who would otherwise like it
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Bernard Hoon
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I have played Small World and Cyclades (with the Hades expansion). Of the two, I can HIGHLY recommend Cyclades (but I would suggest going for the Hades expansion right off the bat). My group LOVES this game. Cyclades fits your criteria. It has player confrontation (sometimes less, sometimes more), resource management, bluffing, enough theme/artwork/thematic mechanics/detailed miniatures to make it feel ameritrashy and it works equally as well with 2 as with 5 players.
 
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Moe45673
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Just to muddy the waters a bit, I highly enjoy Cyclades (with or without the Hades expansion). I think I like it more without it, but that's more due to me being terrible at auction games (with Hades, there's more to spend your money on), which makes it more streamlined for my poor resource management sk!llz
 
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Blorb Plorbst
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I like Cyclades more than either of the others but I consider it more a Euro than AmTrash.

I think the action/bid mechanic is great and provides real strategic interaction.
 
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Shane Larsen
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PaVoLo wrote:
How about replayability? I think I should check some videos & reviews.
But, only #232 in BGG list?


Replayability: Outstanding.
You have three different tech categories (red, blue, white). In each you have 12(?) different techs. I don't know how to figure the combo possibilities, but that's where you find your replayability. Additionally, it's a kind-of-the-hill style game. There are regions on the map that give you different bonuses if you control it at the end of each round. So the possible strategies to explore are seemingly endless.

Only #232 on BGG rankings?: Give it one year.
As already mentioned, it's a newer title. Give this one a little more time and it will be in the top 100 in thematic rank, strategy rank, and board-game rank. You can quote me on that.
 
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Alan Gaskell
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This choice all depends on your group.

If they enjoy negotiation/smack talk/backstabbing then the order of preference is:

1. Cosmic Encounter
2. Small World
3. Cyclades

If your group is more strategic and/or quiet then the order needs to be reversed.
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Ben Rubinstein

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VALIS13 wrote:
This choice all depends on your group.

If they enjoy negotiation/smack talk/backstabbing then the order of preference is:

1. Cosmic Encounter
2. Small World
3. Cyclades

If your group is more strategic and/or quiet then the order needs to be reversed.


Really? We have FREQUENT howls of rage over the Cyclades auctions!

Personally, I like Cyclades best, and a bit more than Kemet, actually.

But then again the part I dislike about Kemet is what lots of people like. I don't like the tech advances in Kemet. I find that reading all the advances, before you buy them, an then studying what advances your opponent has purchased are too much of a time/brain suck.
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Samo Oleami
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If you're looking at ameritrash style game that features direct conflict that forget about scalability, these titles are all better with bigger player counts. For such a game for 2-3 players get a game made for precisely 2 or 3 players otherwise it won't work. Game dynamics are so different it can't work.

Smallworld might be an exception as it has specific boards for different player counts and it changes in character from multiplayer chaos to two player thinky chess like experience.

But, just get one game for 4+ players and one for 2, 3 player count in conflict game is a rarity (but not impossible to find. Small world does it kinda okay).

What are they like:

1) Cosmic encounter is a negotiation game drowning in chaos. I love it, some can't stand it. It's pretty much about one's attitude towards chaos. If one wishes a controllable gaming environment where cause and effect of one's actions are transparent - this is not such a game. It's game of constant shift and stupid stuff going on and negotiations and bluffing. It's a ride - you ride the waves of chaos. said to be best with 6 players (which is possible with expansion).

2) Cyclades is a weird beast that looks as resource management euro with auction and flows slow at start, then all hell breaks loose and somebody wins. It's great when it all comes together, but sometimes it doesn't - the whole group must be on their toes preventing other players from winning. And people must bid aggressively. There's a free variant rule (from expansion but uses no special pieces) where you can bid for starting positions making a more territorial game.

3) Smallworld is accessible and simple to "plug and play" but can also turn around and be the most thinky of the bunch. It's the most safe buy, could also be the least exciting.

other options:
Kemet probably. Haven't played it. Probably less fragile and scales better than Cyclades.
King of Tokyo. 30 minutes of mayhem. Just buy it if you haven't allready.


What I would recommend:
If you're not sure what you'll like take Smallworld.
If Cosmic Encounter sounds like fun, really fun, then it probably will be fun, so buy it. If it doesn't sound like fun, avoid it.
If you like huge swings and drama, go for Cyclades (or Cosmic Encounter)
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chris thatcher
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I own all 3 and would rate them- cosmic, cyclades, Small world. But I wouldn't recommend any of these with under 4 players. I also own kemet and that is indeed worth a look, altho personally I think cyclades is a superior game.

If you want a ameritrash battle game that plays good from 2 to 4 I'd suggest Nexus Ops.
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Samo Oleami
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Tariff wrote:
I also own kemet and that is indeed worth a look, altho personally I think cyclades is a superior game.

Sorry for hijacking a thread, but care to explain/compare?
 
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Pasi Ojala
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PaVoLo wrote:

- Small World: same as Cyclades, but it's much lighter. Probably too light? I know it could be playable in almost auto-pilto, which I dislike.


Get Small World:Underground instead and it's not autopilot anymore with the additional bells and whistles (Artefacts and Popular Places).

I don't think Cosmic Encounter is any 'heavier', but may lead to more interesting games (at least if you have 4+ players). How it works for you is more dependent on your group.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Kemet is still good with 2 players, although better with more.
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Gilda Griffon
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I would go with either Small World or Cyclades. Either plays fine with two, and requires very different strategy than a high player count. Small World is much lighter, having just a combat phase. It sounds like you'd prefer Cyclades, depending on how you feel about auctions.

A friend bought the FFG edition of Cosmic, and personally, the only engaging thing about it were the race cards with their charming art and Variable Player Powers. Having to attack randomly made it feel not like a strategy game at all, "commit 1-4 ships to an attack" was a pointless fiddly mechanic when the attack cards decide everything (they go from 4-40 ships in value), and as a hand management game it was nothing special.
 
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Shane Larsen
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Carthoris wrote:
Kemet is still good with 2 players, although better with more.


This is what I suspected. I imagine the techs make it interesting no matter what number you're playing with, even with two.
 
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Nalex222 wrote:
I own all 3 and they are all great games. However, Cosmic Encounter and Cyclades are better games than Small World.

Cosmic Encounter plays great with 4/5. 3 does work but not quite as well. Great player interaction and loads of replayability!! The aliens rock!

Cyclades plays best with 4 imo (mainly because one God will always be absent during the auction phase, adding a small element of luck to the game). Not as confrontational as some may think. The theme is brilliant (if you like Greek Myth).

Small World plays great with any number (thanks to the varying board sizes) and the different combinations of races and special powers adds loads of replayability to the game. However, it's not quite as engaging as the other two!

Ultimately you can't go wrong with any. I would push you towards Cosmic Encounter (providing you have a group that enjoy lots of interaction, backstabbery etc.). If not then go for Cyclades.


what he said
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