Cosmic Encounter

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Today I’m going to talk about a game which could be the definition of broken, its random beyond any other game I can think of, the powers are completely unbalanced, there is luck up the wahzoo and yet, despite that, it’s been hugely popular for over 30 years.

My Story So Far…

Cosmic Encounter was a game that was picked up for me in a charity shop back when I was in my teens by my loving parents, who back then, didn’t really have the patience to learn games, which begs the question why buy the games? Anyway, I digress. This was a time when old Games Workshop games were fairly common in the charity shops, we had found Heroquest, Bloodbowl, Dungeonquest, Kings & Things and Cosmic Encounter was just another £1.50 find that got added to the cupboard.

Of course, I wanted to play it. I broke it out, read the rules, failed to understand why anyone would agree to play unless they could be the Virus and tried to teach the game to my family. Immediate outraged followed as one person’s power was clearly superior, how was anyone else supposed to win. The game concluded quickly after that and was returned to the box, there to rest in peace for many years to come.

Fast forward several years. I’m now 20 and in a long term, long distance relationship. My then Girlfriend expresses interest in playing games. I pipe up that I have a whole collection of stuff we can try. I suggest Kings and Things (we’d already been playing various trading card games and I thought she’d be up for something a little more complex), I hadn’t even finished getting the components out of the box before she suggested putting it off for another night.

Needless to say the games never came out again, we broke up a couple of years later and Cosmic Encounter was lost for good, along with much of my roleplaying collection! Then, in 2008, I discovered board games again, right around the time FFG was republishing Cosmic and I remember