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Beatrix Schilke
Germany
Hilden
NRW
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2 – 4 players
60 minutes
12+


Board game from the year 2017 – Space, Simulation, Construction

For me, Cosmogenesis has everything that makes a good game: interesting theme, beautifully and well thought-out game material, catchy rules, an elegant gameplay and after half a game I was in love with it.

But let's go back to the beginning. Not until the Big Bang, that would be too far, but until the time when our suns had no planets. But planets of all sizes are needed to win this game – Terrestrial bodies (with and without atmosphere) and gas giants (with and without rings) - and moons, asteroids, comets and exotic objects and... life - from bacteria that can settle almost anywhere to intelligent life (but naturally only on terresttrial bodies of a certain size with atmosphere and in the habitable zone of our suns).

So let's have a look at our solar construction kit - which material is available to us creators.



First of all, the board on which the four action fields are located and the Rounds Track. For each player there is a player board, this represents the own solar system, with place for 5 planets (three of them in the habitable zone) with maximally three moons each and an asteroid belt (for asteroids and comets), as well as places for the objectives and 1 expansion module for each player with space for 2 more planets.



There are a lot of planets: Terrestrial bodies in sizes 1-4 and gas giants in 2 sizes. In addition, asteroids, comets and exotic objects, and two different types of objectives, planetary and stellar. Finally, there is a cloth bag and a big (start player) marker (the monolith) and many small markers, as well as 4 tokens each in the players' colours, 4 player aids and 1 score pad in the box.

Now we solar system creators have everything to start our work and we have six rounds to do it. At the beginning of the game, each player selects one of two planetary objectives and receives asteroids as starting material (the starting player 1 to the fourth player, who receives 4). In each round, players make four action on the board one at a time and this can be followed by 1 additional action and the use of their exotic objects (they give you further action possibilities). Between the rounds there is a phase of evolution in which life that has already developed (on planets where evolution is possible) can evolve.
What actions does the board offer us? In each round, each player must make 1 action from each of the 4 sectors, 2 or more actions from the same sector are not allowed. This means that if there is already a player's token in one of the sectors, he/she is not allowed to do any more action there.



In section I, one can take a objective - in rounds 1, 3, and 5, a stellar one (these are placed directly face-up to the right of the player's board and give victory points at the end of the game for fulfilled conditions and possibly a bonus for a majority) and in the remaining rounds a planetary one (these objectives are held hidden, until fulfilled, then they are placed to the left of the corresponding planet). Sectors II and III offer a selection of celestial bodies, terrestrial bodies (but always without atmosphere) in sizes 1-3 (Size 4 can only be created as a result of a collision and is taken from the reserve), gas giants in two sizes (but always without rings) and exotic objects (recognizable at the white border). Gas giants are always placed on the left side of the player's board as planets (and always starting with the innermost planet - seen from the sun - and continuing outwards without leaving any gaps). Exotic objects are marked with 2 small white markers so that you can track how often they have been used (each object can be used 2x in the game - 1x per turn - and they still bring 1 victory point at the end of the game). Terrestrial bodies can be used as planets, or as moons (moons must always be at least 1 size smaller than their planets - gas giants are always considered larger than all terrestrial bodies) or they can be collided to increase already existing terrestrial bodies (or asteroids corresponding to terrestrial bodies of size 1). By the way, these places are filled blind out of the cloth bag. Sector IV finally brings asteroids (either two or one plus the starting player marker) - which must always be placed in the asteroid belt - and comets (which can be placed either in the belt or used for collisions with gas giants - they provide rings - or terrestrial bodies of size 3 and 4 - which thus obtain atmosphere and water).

After each action, the player has the possibility to use an additional action, e. g. 1 asteroid from the belt (to turn it into a moon, to use it for a collision - as with the terrestrial bodies -, to create life (everywhere, as the bacterial symbol indicates) or to enlarge the system (only once per game). 2 asteroids can be turned into 1 comet, or 1 comet (from the belt) can collide. And the last possibility of an additional action is to reveal a fulfilled planetary target and put it next to the corresponding planet. This will immediately give you the indicated reward (always 1 asteroid plus another reward) and at the end of the game victory points.

In addition, each player can use each of his exotic objects once before or after his additional action (provided they have not been used twice). These objects bring additional asteroids, comets, life, evolution or actions.



After 6 rounds (with 4 actions and up to 4 additional actions per player) and 6x evolution the game is over. The final settlement follows. Points are awarded for the stellar goals depending on the fulfillment of the conditions and possibly the bonus, if you have achieved the majority for this goal (points for these goals are always only rewarded to the owner of the goal), for the fulfilled planetary goals (the revealed ones), for the evolution achieved on each planet or moon (the table is on the board), for the exotic objects, for the value of the asteroid belt (for this value, each comet in the belt is counted with 2 and each asteroid with 1 - the player with the highest value receives 5 victory points, the second with 3). Whose system has now achieved the highest total score is the winner.

As I said above, this game has everything that makes a good game for me. This also includes the "details" of the well thought-out game material (all relevant information is available - e. g. where can life develop or how many victory points are there at the end for which evolutionary step). For me, this also includes the well implemented theme, which is close to the current state of knowledge - with some free liberties taken. The simple rules, the elegant gameplay, the easy to understand symbols and the language neutrality of the game material (with the exception of player aids) as well as the relatively short playing time (if the players know the game) also contribute to this.
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Alexandre Santos
Belgium
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Thank you for the detailed write up!

How is player interaction? How much, through which means?
 
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Beatrix Schilke
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AlexFS wrote:
Thank you for the detailed write up!

How is player interaction? How much, through which means?


Each player constructs his own solar system. Interaction only takes place in such a way that you take resources from the board for which another player would have gained victory points over a stellar objective. In other words, the game is not very interactive, but due to the (usually) short downtime you are always involved in the gameplay.
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brain machine
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Thank you for your review!

Is it good for two players?

What about replayability?
 
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Beatrix Schilke
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brainmachine wrote:

Is it good for two players?


It's also fun with two players, but it gets better with more players.

brainmachine wrote:

What about replayability?


Each of our games was different and I found each game interesting.
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