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Randall Barnes
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So I got this early on after prodding from one of my friends (who is also one of my main Cosmic partners). I originally had no interest in this game because I have all the Cosmic expansions, play it given pretty much any chance, and I assumed it would just be a reskinned copy...

I was wrong.

Now let's be clear, most of the game is based on Cosmic and if you are familiar with that game you will pick this up quickly. However, I am not disappointed in this purchase because it requires a little different way of thinking, allows for some different/interesting tactics, and has a different pace than I get from Cosmic.

There are 6 things that make this different than Cosmic and while they each seem minor on their own, each one requires you to change your mindset just a little, and combine to make the game feel different from Cosmic:

1) Identical "watered-down" decks of Encounter cards- This is the most obvious difference at first glance and is one of the two double edged swords (along with point #3). Each player has a deck containing the same quantity of cards and same numbered cards. The attack (hostility) cards max out at 20. There's no 23, 30, or 40. I wanna say the top 3 are 20, 15, and 12. This is indicative of the biggest difference between the two games: GoT is basically a calmer, most strategic Cosmic. However, this also lends credence to the idea that your political leanings with other players are more important in GoT because you can't often rely solely on the strength of your "attack" cards in this game.

2) Power movement- So, the way "ships" (power) work in GoT is effectively like the Levithan power works in Cosmic. You choose one of your characters (planets with potential powers) to send into the challenge, thus sending in all of the power on that character. Once power is assigned to a character it is pretty much locked in place and can't be moved to another character easily. Instead, if you lose a challenge, you lose half the power off a character back to what is effectively your alien card. You can later move ONE power off your "alien card" onto a character at the beginning of an encounter. Because of this ebb and flow, managing power becomes a much bigger part of this game than ships are in cosmic (especially considering point #6).

3) Character action cards in lieu of Artifacts/Flairs- In GoT, each player's deck contains 10 Character cards (2x each of a card for each different character). Character cards can only be played if the charater associated with the card is participating in the challenge in question. Each deck's character cards are different and provide some interesting Tactical decisions. For example, the ability on Arya Stark's card says that if you lose an encounter you can have your opponent lose all but one of their power. Once your opponents know that this card is in your deck they will double think sending their biggest character against you, it will effect the your opponents' choices to ally against you, it will allow you to bluff strength, and it will even effect your decisions on where to put your power because you don't want her to die and for you to lose that ability (more on that later).

The other thing to be said within this same header is that the decks do not contain Cosmic Zaps, Card Zaps, Emotion Controls, etc. This means that games of GoT will be less wild, chaotic and prone to swings, which will put some Cosmic players off of this game because that's part of the spirit of Cosmic. That said, it also makes this game more accessible to some new players who get confused and want to quit when they can't follow the inevitable 'we win-reinforcement-power-cosmic zap-card zap that-finder for card zap to card zap that one...' exchange. This game is more controlled for all the positive and negatives that entails.

4) Alliances- A very small detail in this game that's different is that the player that is wanting to ally asks to join a side instead of being invited. If they are rejected, they cannot ask to join the other side, they are out of luck. This means that you don't get the Cosmic issue of inviting an ally and then having them jump in on the offense with one ship like a leech, you can reject them if they don't send what you feel like is a sufficient number of power. Furthermore, because they have to declare the character they're sending, you know what character card they have at their disposal and whether it could help you, backfire, or intimidate your opponent. A small change coupled with other small changes leading to significant things to consider.

5) Hostages- So when you win a challenge or "collect compensation" in this edition, you can get to take a card from your opponent(s) and hold it hostage. You can give these back (or be forced to give them back) to draw cards or "torment" them. If you torment a hostage you get to remove 1-4 power from one of your opponent's characters. Given the difficulty in moving power around, a well-timed power removal can keep a troublesome character out a challenges, and keeping their character card power in check. Hostages also enable you to potentially kill an opponent's character (more on that below). As a final thought, you can trade Hostages with other players as part of a negotiation...

6) Character death- The last point in the game is that if a character ever has 0 power on them, they are killed. This means that the cards in their deck belonging to that character are effectively Attack 0s. Finally, if all of a player's characters die, the game immediately ends and whoever has the most "foreign colonies" (represented in this game as influence tokens placed outside of the play area, not on a character) wins. This means that if one or two players are winning, they can try to kill off another player's characters to end the game before the others catch up. This is not a particularly difficult task, since it happened our very first game.


So, to close out this rambling comparison, I like this game as a different flavor of Cosmic. I don't mean like Vanilla vs French Vanilla, I mean Vanilla vs Strawberry. If you like Cosmic and are interested in a less chaotic, more subtly strategic variant, you might like this as well. If you think the chaos is the heart of Cosmic, you probably won't be impressed. Finally, if you played Cosmic and didn't like it because of the chaotic, swingy nature of it, I'd recommend giving this a shot.

Thanks for reading folks, hope you enjoy it!
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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Thanks!
Exactly the kind of review I was looking for.
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Mike Marentette
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I owned and then sold Cosmic Encounter and four expansions because I could never convince my friends to play it. It always seemed too light to them. Not sure about this one.
 
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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mikemarentette wrote:
I owned and then sold Cosmic Encounter and four expansions because I could never convince my friends to play it. It always seemed too light to them. Not sure about this one.

Yeah, you need just the right crowd for Cosmic: dedicated enough to soldier through the convoluted twists and turns, and yet casual enough to enjoy the chaos and laugh at the surprise wins.

I feel like this version would appeal more to "traditional" gamers.
I'm very tempted to try it... and I feel like we should do it together.
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Mike Marentette
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I would be willing to play it, but not sure I am ready to buy it yet. As you know, trying to get FFG games a good price is pain these days.
 
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Michelle
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weishaupt wrote:
Yeah, you need just the right crowd for Cosmic: dedicated enough to soldier through the convoluted twists and turns, and yet casual enough to enjoy the chaos and laugh at the surprise wins.

I feel like this version would appeal more to "traditional" gamers.
I'm very tempted to try it... and I feel like we should do it together.


This is a great way of describing the ideal Cosmic crowd. I wasn't able to find enough people of this type, and I too ended up selling the game. It fell totally flat with my casual roommates, and with my uber-gamer parents and siblings.
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Mike Marentette
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I wonder if the GOT game will elicit the same reaction.
 
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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mikemarentette wrote:
I would be willing to play it, but not sure I am ready to buy it yet. As you know, trying to get FFG games a good price is pain these days.

Let's keep each other informed if we we find a copy at some point.
Let's get together and play this!
 
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Rasmus Helms
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I like Cosmic for about an hour. Then I'd like to see an end. Most often the game outstays it welcome. Does GoT fix that?
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Cosmic is definitely a "right croqd" kind of game. Still, I do have the crowd so this one will be a pass.
 
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Randall Barnes
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Well it's kind of odd. The calming down of the game means that it's rare there will be a combination of powers that draw the game out, but that also means there will be less powers that can end it early. I feel like it will smooth out the game times if nothing else. I don't know if it will make the game consistently last an hour, but I think it'll hold your attention longer.
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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RHelms wrote:
I like Cosmic for about an hour. Then I'd like to see an end. Most often the game outstays it welcome. Does GoT fix that?

Really? I've played the "new" Cosmic (FFG) dozens of times (almost all four-player games), and a session rarely lasted more than one hour. In fact, it routinely ended at the 45-minute mark.

How long do your games take?
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Rasmus Helms
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weishaupt wrote:
RHelms wrote:
I like Cosmic for about an hour. Then I'd like to see an end. Most often the game outstays it welcome. Does GoT fix that?

Really? I've played the "new" Cosmic (FFG) dozens of times (almost all four-player games), and a session rarely lasted more than one hour. In fact, it routinely ended at the 45-minute mark.

How long do your games take?


I guess the last game I played of CE might've affected my memory of previous CE games. Six players, some had VERY slow powers. When it was just about to be my turn, the turn order changes... it felt like forever. I had one turn in the entire game.

I guess I just want GoT to be less chaotic. Which it seems like it is
 
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