Brian M
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Cosmic Encounter was an early hobby game for, and one I played a lot in high School and college. Probably with an early Mayfair edition, with no expansions. Not sure; a friend had it in high school, and there was a copy in the game library in college.

Years later, the Avalon Hill edition comes out. Yay! A chance to own this classic. Not something we played a lot these days, but still good to have around.

Then the FFG version released. Did I need a new copy of CE? Sure, more aliens would be nice, but did I really need it?

I held off, up until I encountered a very discounted copy (granted, with a munged box...but so what, it's just the box!) of the FFG version and couldn't resist.

The new aliens and components looked cool, and the rules were good old Cosmic. Well, except for the tech cardsartifacts, but we'd probably leave them out for our first few plays anyway.

And the flares.

The flares were new.

(Yes, I know they did exist in SOME old versions, but not in the versions I'd ever played).

For some reason, the flares confused me. They went back to your hand? Huh? And you had flares for powers you didn't have in play?

I was puzzled, but figured it would all make sense when we played. Which happened a week or two later at a games day. I was still a bit hesitant about flares, especially since it had been a week or more since I read the rules, but hey, it was Cosmic, I'd figure it out.

Flares proceeded to completely confuse the group. I felt like what I remembered about how they were supposed to work was all wrong.

I proceeded to sort of write off the new CE. I just didn't understand flares. That was 3 years ago.

Last weekend, I was pondering some games to sell at the BGG flea market, and figured I should give the new CE one more try if possible. I re-read the rules and looked through the cards. And I discovered something.

The first (and possibly only) flare we had encountered in play was the Sorcerer Flare, which is the one flare in the basic set that doesn't work the same way all the other flares do! No wonder it seemed like my understanding of flares was all messed up!



Edit 10/1: Corrected 'artifacts' to 'tech cards'.
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StormKnight wrote:
The new aliens and components looked cool, and the rules were good old Cosmic. Well, except for the artifacts, but we'd probably leave them out for our first few plays anyway.

Huh? What was new about the Artifacts? All they did was change the name from "Edict" to "Artifact". How do you even play the game without them? No Cosmic Zaps? No Mobius Tubes?
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Brian M
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
The new aliens and components looked cool, and the rules were good old Cosmic. Well, except for the artifacts, but we'd probably leave them out for our first few plays anyway.

Huh? What was new about the Artifacts? All they did was change the name from "Edict" to "Artifact". How do you even play the game without them? No Cosmic Zaps? No Mobius Tubes?

OK, maybe not 'artifacts'...whatever the things are that you can place 1 ship per turn on them until you build them and then get their special effect. It's not like I have the rules near me right now.
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Pasi Ojala
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Techs. But the techs are not required, while flares are an integral part of the game, and the number one reason to wanting to keep a Negotiate card in hand.
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a1bert wrote:
Techs. But the techs are not required, while flares are an integral part of the game, and the number one reason to wanting to keep a Negotiate card in hand.

Techs! Thanks.
Flares weren't part of the two earlier versions I'd played at all. And we never saw a lot of point in negotiating in those versions. But when I re-read the FFG rules the other night, one of my first thoughts was "Whoa, THAT'S a good reason to negotiate!"
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StormKnight wrote:
"Whoa, THAT'S a good reason to negotiate!"


And known flares are a good reason to intentionally lose using a negotiate card against an attack card to collect compensation and draw the flares out of the attacker's hand!
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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StormKnight wrote:
And the flares.

The flares were new.

(Yes, I know they did exist in SOME old versions, but not in the versions I'd ever played).

Wow, really? I've played since the early 80s and we always used flares (well, I guess since the, um, 5th? EON Expansion). For our group, flares made the game come alive and once they were introduced to the game, we never played without. It just added to the ordered-chaos of CE that we love.

-shnar
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Warren Denning
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Did you start with the big box Avalon Hills version of CE? Because I think that's the only version that did not include flares from the get go (it was the one with the little plastic ships and the planets that connected to the Warp).
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I thought my first plays were with the Mayfair version, with the basic black box with just the title on the cover:



However, I never saw Flares or Moons or whatnot, so I guess it must have been one the earlier versions. Maybe this one:



From the BGG description the 1977 Eon edition (which the one above is included with) did not include flares in the base game.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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It didn't. Flares were introduced in one of the expansions (I thought it was the 5th one, but looks like the 5th one added Moons. Cosmic Encounter: Expansion Set #4 looks like it added flares). But growing up, everytime I played the owners had almost all the expansions (I think the elusive 9th expansion was the only one that some of the owners didn't have).

-shnar
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Yes, the original Eon edition, even after three expansions, didn't have flares. Likewise, the West End edition didn't have flares.

I've always felt that CE was a fine game even without flares. Try a two-power game with no flares. Or for extra wackiness, a 3-power game. Or try Extra-Wacky-Cosmic-Encounter-Supreme - that's a 3-power game with a dollop of sour cream on it.

Yes, flares are good - particularly for the added value of compensation. But a fine game can still be had without them.
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