Wednesday, December 31, 2008
You didn't "save" Cosmic Encounter, just for the record; that's one of the biggest myths in gaming history. And your errata, if anyone had bothered to compile it, would have been a hefty document. Still, you weren't all bad, I suppose. Maybe you helped settle a rules argument or two. I wouldn't know; I was too busy fondling my Eon collection.
Godspeed, goofy timing icons. Go in peace.
Zero is the "fewest" of anything, including CE ships. Really, it is. I promise. Consider it an official ruling.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The review, frankly, is mixed, with Bruno clearly longing for the complete chaos from the days of playing with the Eon aliens and throwing in flares, moons and lucre. Although he lauds the professionalism and overall design of the FFG edition, Bruno closes with an interesting thought:
Anyway, now that the FFG has proven, with this edition, that they can make their job seriously, I hope they will take it much less seriously in the expansion! And even in a slightly watered down version, it's still the second best edition of the very best game ever.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tom Vasel, the Man With 10,000 Games, has fired up his video camera again, producing a nice 10-minute summary of the differences between the last three editions of the Cosmic Encounter boardgame.
The video review also includes a late entry into the Understatement of the Year sweepstakes; while discussing the Mayfair aliens, Tom notes:
The person who drew the artwork for these wasn't very good.
Yeah, I'll have to agree with that one ...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Not an alien was stirring, at Cosmic just yet.
The browsers were cued on computers with care;
In hopes that an email soon would be there.
The players were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of game play danced in their heads.
And we at our keyboards 'bout ready to snap;
Been working long hours, keeled over to nap.
When down in the disc drive there arose such a clatter
I spun round in my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the hard drive I flew to check FLASH;
Tore open the guts much fearing a crash.
The screen with the driver became all aglow,
Gave a luster of midday to flash objects below,
When then as my tiring eyes came a glower,
I saw miniature aliens and each with a power,
With a very bold player so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment I just had to click.
More rapid than saucers his aliens they came.
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
Now Macron! now Empath! now Zombie! and Warrior!
On Virus, on Oracle, on Pacifist and Sorcerer!
To the top of the planet, to the top of the game;
Now dash away dash away, bring me my fame.
As dry notes before the office fan fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up on the internet the aliens they flew,
With a game full of fun and the bold player too.
And then in a twinkle, I realized my goof,
By enhancing the drawing of each little proof.
As I drew back my head and was turning around,
Through the portal bold player came with a bound.
He was dressed all in sweats, a right portly old bloke
And his clothes were all tarnished with pizza and Coke.
A bundle of powers he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a coder, he took me aback.
His eyes how they squinted! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were quite sallow, his nose like a cherry.
His droll little mouth made him look wide awake,
And the beard on his chin was right flecked with cake.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his fist,
And the smoke, it encircled us both, like in Myst.
He had a broad face and a giant round belly
That shook, when he laughed as though full from the deli.
He was chubby and plump, and came forth quite near;
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of my fear.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went right to the game,
And filled all the planets frame after frame.
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod up through the portal he rose.
He sprang to the ether, to his pals gave a whistleho,
And away they all flew like an unguided mistletoe.
But I heard him exclaim as he faded to black
Happy Holidays to all, you can bet I'll be back.
(received via mysterious email from Peter Olotka)
Monday, December 22, 2008
**That's what it says on his business card. No, really.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
My favorite passage:
I hate Risk. I have for many years now. I hate that you still like Risk. I hate that you guilt me into playing with you because no one else will. I hate that you do the accents of the countries you're attacking from.And their "Hamlet: Facebook Edition" isn't bad, either ...
Friday, December 19, 2008
31 were included in the Eon base set and expansions:
- (12 from base set) Amoeba, Clone, Macron, Mind, Mutant, Oracle, Philanthropist, Trader, Virus, Void, Vulch, Zombie;
- (4 from Expansion 1) Dictator, Grudge, Parasite, Will;
- (7 from Expansion 2): Anti-Matter, Calculator, Filch, Gambler, Machine, Miser, Sorcerer
- (5 from Expansion 3): Assassin (renamed to Shadow), Healer, Reincarnator, Vacuum, Warrior;
- (3 from Expansion 7): Loser, Pacifist, Warpish.
Chosen, Mirror, Reserve, and Spiff.
2 are from Cosmic Encounter Online:
Mite and Tripler.
And 13 are new and have never before been published officially:
Barbarian, Citadel, Cudgel, Fido, Fodder, Hacker, Hate, Human, Kamikaze, Masochist, Observer, Remora, and Tick-Tock.
Instant analysis: overall, it's a very interesting mix. I’m particularly satisfied with FFG’s decision to search the cosmos for 13 essentially new aliens, and I’m also impressed by how many old-school aliens are still making the grade today. Eighty percent of the original base set from 1977 (12 of 15) is included in CE’s 2008 re-release, along with 70 percent (7 of 10) of Expansion 2.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Interested or not, I now regret even bringing it up. Amazon is light years beyond useless when it comes to gaming: inaccurate listings, shipping dates that change on a whim, robotic replies for "customer service" ... these are just three of the problems with the typical Amazon game listing. And, sadly, many Cosmic Encounter fans are now caught up in Amazon's web of inaccuracies:
Horror stories I
Horror stories II
Horror stories III
Horror stories IV
So, yeah, I think that will about play a Quash on any further Amazon mentions from me. They are the best in the world at delivering books, CDs, and DVDs, but truly hopeless when it comes to games.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
BGWS 054 - Board Games with Scott 054 - Cosmic Encounter from Scott Nicholson on Vimeo.
I haven't even gotten all the way through it yet, but I already have a favorite line:
"Avalon Hill decided to strip out all of the awesome."Zing!
As usual, Scott does a fine job giving an overview of a game. His videos have led me to purchase a number of games I probably wouldn't have taken a chance on otherwise.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Ryan Barger is one of three artists credited with the alien artwork for the new Cosmic Encounter boardgame, and it's easy to see why FFG keeps him on speed-dial. It's no wonder the new edition looks as good as it does.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Regarding the list of 2008 champions posted below, it should be noted that Tmax has won nine monthly titles at Cosmic Encounter Online, which would be the real record for most championships. I forgot to add the three he has won in this year, despite the fact that they were right there on the list I was posting.
I think the kids have an expression for this: duh.
Anyway, this is from White Dwarf #29 (Feb./March 1982 issue), back before Games Workshop turned the magazine into a 12-times-a-year, 100-page advertisement for Borehammer. Click on the image for a larger version.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
- January: Sluggo
- February: Aspracing
- March: Tmax
- April: NothingHealz
- May: none (see note 1)
- June: AP (see note 2)
- July: Tmax
- August: Anfauglir
- September: Tmax
- October: Williamson
- November: Xav
2: AP's seventh monthly title, the most for any player.
Friday, December 12, 2008
(Bonus! Michael also writes teaser text for his articles over at Fortress: Ameritrash ... and this one includes a nice shot of the impossible-to-find Cosmic Encounter T-shirts.)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
As disappointing as that announcement was, what we didn't know is that the near-future held some better news. It was about six months later that Fantasy Flight Games announced at GenCon that it had acquired the rights to publish a CE boardgame.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I was reminded of all of this today when I finished an absolutely spectacular game of Dune that featured more twists and turns than the old Space Mountain ride. It probably helped that I ended up winning, too** — those are my black Harkonnen pieces on the map, poised to control Arrakis with their faithful Fremen sidekicks. Mere moments after that map image was posted, it was game-over-thank-you-for-playing-drive-home-safely. As The Man said: "Veni, vidi, vici, Dune-i."
In all seriousness, any Cosmic Encounter fan who just hasn't gotten around to checking out Dune yet would be doing themselves a favor if they rectified that oversight. Good places to start are here, here, and here. Tell them Baron Vladimir sent you.
**There was also some goofy-ass Bene Gesserit thing at the very end. I'm scoring it as a three-way win.
This is a site that thinks nothing of having about 10,000 entries for Monopoly — even though 99 percent of those are exactly the same game with only the names of the spaces changed. It's also a site that didn't blink twice before immediately creating separate entries for new editions to games such as Britannia, Arkham Horror, and Fury of Dracula, to name just three (all of which are FFG properties now, interestingly enough).
This being BGG we're talking about, there is, of course, no guarantee that the various editions of CE will remain split. From the main page of the new CE listing:
This is the new entry for the Fantasy Flight printing of Cosmic Encounter. As the new game changes several mechanisms of the original, and is available in a much wider release, the two games should be regarded as separate entities. This is a tentative determination based on prospective information; If the games are deemed the same after release, then they will be merged.Whatever, clowns. Go back to your Agricola-worship.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This is just a teaser, though, according to Scott. He promises a full-length CE video in the near-future.
For those who have never visited, the BWS site is definitely worth a visit.
Monday, December 8, 2008
... at least according to well-known game reviewer, internet personality, and website-runner Tom Vasel, who is clearly a scholar and a gentleman when it comes to variable-power space-themed games. Or something.
The best part comes at about the 5:00 mark, when one of Tom's daughters starts popping pieces in her mouth. And, for those looking to scrub ahead to just the CE stuff, the words "Cosmic Encounter" are first mentioned at about the 4:40 mark.
Don't hit that second link if you absolutely, positively want your CE box-opening experience to be totally spoiler-free. For everyone else, there's some interesting eye candy to look at while taking breaks from the hourly "Is it here yet?" calls to your local retailer.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I'll start with an alien making his big-league debut in the upcoming Fantasy Flight Games edition. Here's how to play Cudgel:
That pretty much covers it.
Be sure to tune in next time, where I'll discuss the intricacies of playing Zombie.
I've had CE artist Felicia Cano's website bookmarked ever since Kevin told me she was working on the game, and it gives me great pleasure to finally be able to link to her site publicly. She's very talented, and she was a great pick for the new edition of Cosmic.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Instead, it turned out to be one of the most popular things I ever posted in roughly 30 months of Cosmic Encounter-related writing. I still have no idea why, although it is sort of a cool image.
Who the hell knows, as the kids say.
Bang it here to read all about the new edition and how it compares to previous CE releases.
Friday, December 5, 2008
For proof, I offer an established retailer saying he expects to have it on his shelves by then, and an FFG employee later chiming in and pretty much agreeing with that assessment.
Sounds good to me; let's do this thing.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
But I don't. So I can't.
Now, normally, "Macron" and "interesting" aren't often found in the same sentence, but this is not your old-school Big Green Dude. No, this is Macron Mark II, brother, and he's here to turn your puny skeleton into pulp. And to take more cards, too: check out the one very key change to Big Mac's power.
(Fun note for CE Online players who have been around for a while: remember GodOfAtheism ... ?)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
A number of aliens have been featured at FFG.com as the build-up to the new edition of CE continues, but none have been what I would consider true homebrews. Tripler will be new to many players, but he's been played about 25,000 times at Cosmic Encounter Online. Human is new, too, but I never published the idea anywhere for anyone else to see (not to mention that the original idea was later modified), so no one ever got a chance to play it for themselves. Remora is new, but I don't think CE designer Kevin Wilson would argue too hard that his alien creation would qualify as a homebrew.
So congratulations to Cudgel and creator Ken Hubbard. It's no longer a homebrew; it's an official alien!
All interested parties should update their bookmarks with the URL you see above. Also, anyone picking up any sort of RSS feed from the TypePad address will need to burn a new feed (sorry about that). The TypePad site — which is located here — will remain open for a few days, although it will not be updated.
And, best of all, once all the code is in place, Blogmic will be integrated into the front page of the new Cosmic Encounter Online portal! Can I get a "w00t!"?
**That's right, 399. I even had a "400th post!" idea for the next one, too ...
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
A great mix of aliens has been featured so far: classic Eon era, online-only, new creations, and even well-known homebrews have all been put under the spotlight. A complete listing, with links, is over there on your right. No, your other right.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Anyway, GeorgeOTC, congratulations on winning the recent Double Trouble League at Cosmic Encounter Online. And by "recent," I mean, "It ended in October."
For the record, the finalists who were handed a big serving of beat-down were AP, Conchad, and Sarry. Full details here.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The following series of strategy articles are well worth a look for fans of the Dune boardgame. They are especially good for newcomers to the game, who often miss out on many of the subtleties each faction brings to the table.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Here's the scoop: the complete rulebook for the new edition of Cosmic Encounter is now available for download!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
The image above is gleefully reproduced from Walking Dead #53, published by Image Comics. If you can't quite make out what all the fuss is about, click on the image for a bigger version.
Walking Dead is actually a pretty entertaining read. Head on over to the Image site and check it out.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Anyway, the March 1981 issue of Space Gamer was a fun one for fans of Cosmic Encounter, which hogged the entire cover (bonus points for identifying all of the aliens; click the image to make it larger) and led the issue with a two-page review from publisher Steve Jackson. The verdict, essentially, came down to "I heart you a lot, Cosmic," and, in a testament to Stevie J.'s writing skills, it's a review that still reads well more than a quarter-century later.
Jackson would later visit the world of CE within the pages of Space Gamer for the obligatory "here's a bunch of new aliens" article ... but that's a tale for another day.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
One of my Blogmic spies — I use Bothans; they're great — just checked in with a hidden-camera shot of the proposed Xbox Live Arcade version of Cosmic Encounter (click the image for a larger version). It looks great, and, better yet, it actually plays! I believe that's Macron getting set to attack Clone ... ah, you just can't beat the classics.
But let's not get too excited: the entire project is in a bit of a slowdown mode for now. I believe our friends in the movie industry refer to it as Development Hell. There is, for all intents and purposes, no real timetable at all for CE to be released into the Xbox wilds. That could change, but, for now, murky spy photos is the best we can do.