Android Mainframe Review – 2 years later!

Android Mainframe Box Art
Android Mainframe Box Art
Released 2016
Designer Jordi Gené, Gregorio Morales
Publisher Fantasy Flight Games (Website)
Players 2 – 4 (3-4 players best)
Playing Time 20-30 minutes
Category Area Control/Management
Hand Management
Player Powers
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

So it’s always worth checking old servers after all

So looking through a few bits and pieces over on Board Game Geek, I noticed I had left a review score for Android: Mainframe.  That was one of my first reviews and one that I had started doing video for even!

But in the trapping of a dying desktop and url/hosting issues, I lost the review.  I figured it would be one I would write back up, and let things sit.

Then I found something while trying to get the YouTube page in some form of order.  I found my first ever released video review.  It is as bad as I remember :p

Don’t believe me?

And I have to say, overall my thoughts have not changed.

There have been a lot of new games come out over the last couple of years, and with restricted playtime, I haven’t been playing Android: Mainframe as much as I would like.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to, it’s just that there has been something else to play.  As for some time my playtime was solo or two player, Android: Mainframe just didn’t really suit.

Android Mainframe Components
There isn't much to it component wise, and that helps make Android: Mainframe fairly easy to reach for
Android Mainframe Gameplay
One interesting tactic is to close an opponents square for them, restricting their scoring ability

Even with this in mind, when I moved all of my board games in the spare bedroom, even unsorted I left Android: Mainframe in a position where I can easily reach it.  True, all of the Android games are together, but that is only because of Mainframe and wanting to play New Angeles one day soon.

Funnily enough, the closest competition to Android: Mainframe that I have seen of late is Dragon Castle – and they are not remotely similar in gameplay.  It’s the way that after the game my brain keeps a hold of what happened that makes it feel so satisfying to play, and it takes very little time to get a game happening.

With Fantasy Flight announcing the end of Android: Netrunner on October 22nd, I was thinking of a big run of Android games to see the series off – then I remembered that’s near PAX time, and I wasn’t going to take them all on the road.

Might make an exception for Android: Mainframe though.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Arkham Horror is getting a 3rd Edition – or is it?

Arkham Horror Third Edition Feature

Once more, something is loose in Arkham

Ahhh Cthulhu.   Lovecraft’s creation is one of the more common themes in board games today, but it’s easy to forget Cthulhu is only one of.  Lovecraft opened many, many more doors in his stories.

Gaming company Chaosium, Inc is definitely responsible for my earliest Cthulhu gaming memories.  While looking back now with the advantage of age I can see Lovecraft’s influence on many games I have played, Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu was the first ‘Lovecraft’ game I had ever played.

Way back in 1987 though, 6 years after Call of Cthulhu was released on the world but 7 years before I had discovered it, Chaosium released another Lovecraft based game.

That game was called Arkham Horror.

Set loosely in the world of the Call of Cthulhu RPG, up to eight players could investigate the town of Arkham and try and stop the followers of the Elder Gods from releasing them upon the world.

Arkham Horror First Edition
Created as a board game in the Call of Cthulhu RPG world, Arkham Horror was released in 1987

It was a brave game, especially for the time.  RPG awareness was on the rise, but in the US were also being attacked.  ‘Dungeons and Dragons makes kids killers’ was not an unusual headline of the time.

But Arkham Horror skirted a niche area.  It wasn’t an RPG – it was a Board Game.  What harm can come from playing a board game?  And many people played essentially a roll and move game with their investigators, closing gates to other realms and saving the world.

And then in 2005, Fantasy Flight released Arkham Horror 2nd Edition.

When you say Arkham Horror, this is the game that many people think of.  Many elements were added to Chaosium’s design.

Investigators are still premade, but you can adjust them in certain ways.  The Mythos Phase was slightly altered, but still a big part of the game.  You still investigated Arkham with gates and Elder Gods still being a problem.

Health and Sanity can be restored by visiting the correct buildings.  Encounters can be avoided with Stealth.  You could now be Blessed or Cursed.  Closing gates was expanded to include spending clue tokens and Elder Sign.

Arkham Horror Second Edition with board
Fantasy Flights Arkham Horror Second Edition. This is the game people tend to think of when you say Arkham Horror.

It sounds a little overwhelming, doesn’t it?  And that’s before you add tweaks and mechanics from the eight expansions.

Arkham Horror is a great game, but really only for a certain type of player.  It’s a long game to play, difficult to learn, and complex with a lot of little rule interactions and game admin.

Taking these rules on board, in 2013 Fantasy Flight released Eldritch Horror.  It was widely regarded as an improvement of the Arkham Horror system, but still a long and complex game.  Rules were simplified to a degree, and instead of restricting you to the town of Arkham, Eldritch Horror took players all over the world.  This made a lot of people refer to Eldritch Horror as Arkham Horror Third Edition.

But the joke apparently is on us.  Over the Gen Con weekend, Fantasy Flight has officially announced a true Arkham Horror Third Edition!

There are a lot of things on the surface that appear the same.  Up to 6 players will have their own investigator, and the town of Arkham is still the primary location.  This will still likely be a long game, estimated by Fantasy Flight to be 2 – 3 hours.

The most striking visual change is the board.  There is no longer a traditional map board, but a series of modular pieces that are assembled each game.

There has already been some vocal opposition to this style, but personally, I am enjoying the possibilities this presents.  This will allow Fantasy Flight to not only drill down further into the town of Arkham but potentially expand to other areas as well.

Arkham Horror Third Edition Tiles
Arkham Horror is back, and it has been heavily redesigned
Arkham Horror Third Edition Scenarios
How do we save the world today? Who knows, we only know it needs saving!

Another big change from the sounds of it is that investigators are no longer concentrating on just closing portals.

Arkham Horror Third Edition will come with four scenarios, each unique in what they offer.  From the brief reports over Gen Con, investigators will start each scenario with a custom board setup and a general objective.

The actual mission of the game and the narrative will need to be discovered through play, and each scenario will have different outcomes depending on different decisions made through the game!

There seem to be a lot of positive changes happening here, and it appears to be from a lot of current sources.

Some of the changes such as the new Mythos resolution are influenced directly by Arkham Horror: The Card Game.  Others seem to stem from Eldritch Horror.  The scenario style and modular boards seem aligned with Mansions of Madness.

There are suggestions that this new system will allow even more influence from Eldritch Horror though.  Not in mechanics and items as now, but in scenarios and possible future international locations.

Arkham Horror Third Edition Investigators
The Investigators - a familiar sight and story for people that have played any Arkham Horror Files game.
Arkham Horror Third Edition Monster Cards
Really, these guys are all misunderstood. At the end of the day, yhey just want a hug. And their God. Nothing omnious at all.

I am really enjoying the idea of what on the surface seems to be a rolling up of almost all of the Arkham Horror Files games.  The only one I can’t see anything with directly is Elder Sign, but I am sure some locations and scenarios can be inspired from here as well over time.

This does lead me through to the only puzzling thing about Arkham Horror Third Edition.  Gameplay mechanics have been visually heavily modified, but has the game been changed too much?  The game has obvious roots to the original Arkham Horror, but it also has the potential to be so much more.

Really my only question without playing it is why this game is Arkham Horror Third Edition and not a new game in the Arkham Horror Files line?

There are two reasons why this puzzles me.

Firstly, Arkham Horror has a reputation amongst gamers as a tough, time-consuming game to learn with a massive difficulty curve.  Fantasy Flight could be prematurely cutting off potential players with this.

Secondly, hardcore Arkham Horror fans are already voicing displeasure at some of the changes.  My favourite one so far is ‘The modular board looks like a space station, I won’t play this’.  These players will still enjoy their second edition games, but again are Fantasy Flight cutting off sales from their established base with too many changes?

But really, if the biggest question for me is that the title isn’t making much sense, that’s a pretty good sign.

I am going to enjoy an evening or many playing through Arkham Horror Third Edition.  I know I am going to buy it.  I am 90{dfca638b9dbdbc1caf156b9b6679a983a965572ca56a786c9cf360ad3783820c} sure I will enjoy it.  And come last quarter of 2018, I will be putting this to the test, be sure of that 🙂

Check out the official announcement on Fantasy Flights page here, and the Board Game Geek page for more information.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Richard Garfield and Fantasy Flight reveal KeyForge: Call of the Archons

KeyForge Starter Pack

This is my deck.  There aren’t any like it, and this one is mine.

I have spoken a few times about my relationship with Android: Netrunner.  Asymmetrical two-player card games are something I enjoy playing, but there is almost always two major obstacles.

The first is buying boosters looking for ‘the card’.  This is something that the LCG or Living Card Game format largely fixed though.  Knowing that every few weeks you would be spending $X on a new expansion made budgeting simple.  There was also no frustration in buying 100 boosters and not finding one card you need to make a combo happen.

The second is almost contradictory – deckbuilding.  Most people play trading card games as deck builders – literally, putting your own unique deck into play and seeing how it holds up against others.  This takes a lot of time, and that is not something all players have at their disposal.

There are two key aspects that take time with deckbuilding (three depending on how you look at it).

The first is the study of the cards and rules to learn the interactions.  This learning curve is similar to all gaming, but in a trading card game with literally hundreds if not thousands of cards this can become a full-time job.

The second is the playtesting of said decks.  Building the deck and understanding interactions is fine, but the playing of the deck to fully understand your creation is a labour of love.  And it is here that a culture of gamers emerges – the ‘MinMaxers’.

Pile Of Cards
If you think this looks daunting, you are obviously new to trading card games

Now MinMaxers get a pretty unfair go reputation wise.  I don’t mean the term to be derogatory in the least.  Really good MinMaxers are borderline mathematical geniuses that work out statistics on card efficiency and draw-chance for fun.  These players are in search of the ‘best’ deck – the one that is guaranteed to win every time.

There is nothing wrong with this – wanting to win with your deck is the point of playing after all.  I honestly respect these players and their abilities as they are well deserved.

There is a subset of these players though that give them a bad name.  These are the kinds of players that look at a beginner or casual player and don’t deem them ‘worthy’ to play because they don’t have deck X or card Y.  These types of people you just want to avoid in general and are a separate reason people don’t want to play socially altogether.

Now in trading card games, MinMaxers are where the money is.  These are the players that will buy every booster pack they can get their hands on to get that ultra rare card that will give them the edge.

Even if they don’t have that magical card, they are able to use the cards they do have with terrible effectiveness.  This is daunting to newer players yes, but learning a game and playing against a veteran player always feels like this.

Once you get to know a game, you start learning archetypes in games.  In Magic: The Gathering, you learn what a red aggro player means.  In Android: Netrunner, you know Jinteki means you have to protect yourself on a successful run.  The exact cards and effects may vary, but you learn a general theme and feel pretty quickly.

Netrunner Runners
Once you get to know the game, you have a pretty good idea the overall strategy of the player when you see one of these IDs

Now in some ways, Richard Garfield is responsible for this type of play in Trading Card games.  One of the most successful TCG to date is Magic: The Gathering, and it became a template for many games that followed such as Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!.  Even Netrunner, the original design Android: Netrunner was based on, shared a lot of common themes that promote this kind of play.

So you can imagine my excitement when during Gen Con 2018 Richard Garfield and Fantasy Flight Games announced a new type of trading card game that turned all of this on it’s head.

So what makes KeyForge interesting to me?  On the surface, it looks like any other trading card game.  Two players have control over unique decks, and try and outplay their opponent through a combination of luck and skill.

KeyForge is a resource and combat game.  The point of the game is to collect three keys, achieved by harvesting 18 pieces of Amber (or Æmber in the game).

Learn the core rules, identify the archetypes of the seven houses, throw your deck together job done – what’s the hubbub about.

Well, it’s the throw your deck together bit.  This doesn’t happen, ever.  With the exception of the starter pack decks, each deck will truly be unique.

KeyForge Starter Pack
KeyForge, where you don't buy cards to fit your deck - you just buy a whole new deck and play!

You see booster packs in KeyForge aren’t a random combination of cards you get to put into or leave out of your deck.  Each booster pack is a new deck, in its entirety, ready to play.  It’s actually illegal game wise to take cards from one deck and put them in another.

Imagine travelling around and you leave your deck at home – no card games for you this trip!  Well in KeyForge, assuming you can borrow some tokens or a pen and paper, this won’t be a problem.  Nip into your local game store, and buy a USD$10 booster pack.  You now have a new unique deck ready to play!

And the billions and billions of combinations?  This isn’t actually marketing hype.  It’s easier to explain with a normal deck of playing cards.  A standard poker deck has 52 cards, so the amount of combinations that deck order can be is 52 factorial or 52!.  This means 52x51x50x49x etc. etc. down to x1.

How many combinations can exist?

80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636, 856,403,766,975,289,505,440, 883,277,824,000,000,000,000.

That is why they say when you shuffle a deck of cards, that exact deck order most likely has never existed.  The number is just too huge.  And that is with a pool of 52 cards.

Imagine the number of combinations in KeyForge with its 7 factions!  Even if each faction had only 52 cards in it, the number of possible combinations is mind-blowing.  Hence the random decks in each booster are statistically unique, and no one else will have a deck like yours.

Now the MinMaxers still have their place in KeyForge.  Learning the available card pool and hoping for a booster with the ‘magic’ combination is still possible.

But imagine the organised play opportunities?  The deck comes into it, but you can have one class with your well practised deck, and another with blind decks that you open at the start of the event and just start playing!

KeyForge Combinations
The chances of anticipating the contents of your opponents deck are amazingly small when you do the maths

Fantasy Flight has confirmed that KeyForge: Call of the Archons will be supported by their organised play, and it will be out fourth quarter this year.

Quietly, I am hoping it will be out early October for purely selfish reasons.  While this would potentially take the shine off last round ‘official’ Android: Netrunner play, jumping straight into a new card game would be amazing!

And if it is released in the States early October, there is the chance it will be at PAX Aus come October 26th.  Where I will be.  With my wallet ready 🙂

You didn’t think that countdown was just for show, did you?

What do you think about KeyForge?  Is the idea of a trading card game you just need to learn to play appeal?  Let me know!

For more information, the official Fantasy Flight announcement can be found here, and the Board Game Geek page here.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Fantasy Flight Games reveals Fallout: New California

Fallout Board Game New California Box Art

An interesting choice for expansion material

Fallout: The Board Game.  It had a lot of buzz, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it when it was first announced.  I have three plays of it now, and I will be getting it back to the table a few more times for a formal review.  Right now, my thoughts are if your a fan and like heavy solo games, go for it.  Fallout is not a terrible game, it’s just to me not a great game either.  The license and theme are definitely doing a lot of the sales work.

Things have been fairly quiet for about a year now about the board game.  And then Friday the 13th (Australian Time) on the Fantasy Flight Facebook page, an image familiar to Fallout fans appeared:

Fallout Board Game New California Please Stand By
The last time we saw this image, Fallout 76 was announced

Personally, I was hoping the announcement was for a Mansions of Madness/Imperial Assault type of app.  Fallout has a lot of bookkeeping, and play could be streamlined with such a tool.

What came to light over the weekend though was a new expansion is coming this year – Fallout: New California.

Now some new scenarios and characters are always a welcome addition to this sort of game.  Variety is the spice of life, and there is a good game in there – I am sure of it.  It’s one of the main reasons why I am determined to stick with the game and try to find as much game as possible in there.

But the expansion setting confused me a little.  While I admittedly haven’t finished Fallout 4, I only really remember New California being referred to in story on the odd occasion.

Fallout Board Game New California Box Art
The Fallout: New California Expansion. An Official Expansion for an unofficial mod?

The big bit of news Video Game wise about New California is that a long-awaited fan-made mod for Fallout: New Vegas has been in the works.  Set as a prequel to Fallout: New Vegas, the New California mod has been years in the making, and has a release date of October this year.

There was recently a trailer for the mod with the release date, shown below:

Now while this is a huge mod and the culmination of years of dedicated work, it’s not exactly a ‘canon’ update either.

This makes the Fallout: New California Board Game an interesting choice.  On one hand, you have an established IP with set events and characters that fans know.  On the other, there is an unexplored lore acknowledged area of the country that is open for creative interpretation.

The featured Vault 44 is even a new area lore wise – from memory there is no mention of Vault 44 in the pre-existing narrative, so hopefully again some creative freedom is being explored here!

Fallout Board Game New California Components
A way to add variety is almost always welcome!

While the expansion comes with only two new scenarios, with new characters and creatures there will be a lot of variety in the original games too.  This is always something to look forward to.

But honestly, one thing that pulls me out of the Fallout game is the micromanagement of the world itself.  Fantasy Flight, if you could maybe think of supporting the Fallout with an app, I think you will have a better sales uptake than with this expansion.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Fallout Board Game New California Minis
New characters incoming. Even just this addition is a welcome one!

Android: Netrunner has been cancelled effective October 22, 2018

Android Netrunner Feature

As one system is saved, another ends

I love the world of Android.  My second Blatherings episode was even how I loved the game but just couldn’t play it anymore.

Android: Netrunner ended for me at ‘Rotation’ – when the original cycles of cards were being dropped from competitive play.  The timing just seemed right to me – I wasn’t playing it as much as I wanted, and the complexity made it a chore to teach new players.

This was just a time for me to put down the cards, and enjoy watching and occasionally helping a community enjoy a game I once played with a passion.

But I love the game, and I am happily keeping all the cards I have collected to date.  As I said in the Blatherings, if any of the people I used to play wanted a game I would be up for it.

But in an announcement from Fantasy Flight, come late October this will be the only way to play.  No new packs will be printed or any Android: Netrunner products will be sold by Fantasy Flight, and organised play will no longer be supported.

Android Netrunner Core Set 2.0
Android: Netrunner Core Set. A competitive card game that plays brilliantly socially.

This is sad news indeed.  According to the announcement, it’s a simple case of Wizards of the Coast and Fantasy Flight not renewing the licensing agreement that allowed Fantasy Flight to create and publish Android: Netrunner.

Well, I say simple.  Anything in business situations like this are never that straightforward.  But the impact on the community is clear – no more official support.

But whereas Warhammer Quest was recently saved with the revamp to Heroes of Terrinoth, I just can’t see Fantasy Flight doing something similar with Android: Netrunner.  The world of Netrunner is deep in lore, and this lore is built from the factions in the game.  Warhammer Quest just needed ‘generic fantasy’ to use the mechanics with, Android: Netrunner I can only see as the game it is.

Unfortunately, Netrunner players have been in this situation before.  Richard Garfield and Wizards of the Coast first released Netrunner in 1996 and began catching on well.

And then – it stopped.  Wizard basically decided to stop.  Sound familiar?  The reasons are probably wildly different, but the effect is the same.

The community really pulled together even back then, and players were still playing the original Netrunner up to 2012 when the revised game was released by Fantasy Flight.

Netrunner Original Starter Box
The original Netrunner was very 90's. But Richard Garfield has a talent for asymmetrical card games.

I have no doubt that the community will pull together the same way with the revised game.  It is already a very strong community, and the news of the effective cancellation will only ensure they rally even more.  Given enough players, I might even be able to continue semi-regular casual tournaments with a games group or two.

Truth be told, this news has me thinking of getting the revised core set and the last 2 cycles, just to let me jump into any game with the groups that will probably keep playing.

From the sounds of it, this won’t be the end of the Android games from Fantasy Flight as a whole.  I really enjoy Android; Mainframe, Infiltration is still a great game even solo, and one day I will finally get to play New Angeles.

But come October 22nd, I will definitely feel sad when the servers are taken down on the second life of Netrunner.

See the official announcement here, including thoughts from lead designer Micheal Boggs and the head of studio Andrew Navaro.  It’s worth reading just for this alone.

Until then, I am secretly hoping that Reina can pull something out of her hat 🙂

Netrunner Reina Roja
The Red Queen's new look. A freedom fighter with many tools at her disposal.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

The pre-Origins drought might be over starting with Heroes of Terrinoth

Heroes of Terrinoth Box Art

Just goes to show you can’t keep a good system down

And here I was thinking only Video Game publishers don’t wait for their big event for reveals!

Here I was, patiently waiting for Origins to start late next week (conveniently just after E3 – hmm) for the new Board Game news.  The dry spell the last couple of weeks I was expecting with the Origins build up, and with E3 and work quiet announcements was to be expected.  But then Fantasy Flight decided to jump the gun, and I am happy they did!

I think it was late 2016 when I got a copy of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game.  I had been looking for something that really had the original Warhammer Quest feel, and I was hoping this would be it.

Short version – it wasn’t, but it was still a lot of fun.  For a card-based dungeon explorer campaign though, it was a lot of fun.  I was disappointed when the Games Workshop relationship ended with Fantasy Flight for a lot of reasons, one of which being Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game would not be getting any new missions.

Now I have been talking a lot about dungeon exploring card games a lot.  On the site, Escape the Dark Castle has gotten a lot of coverage recently.  It is a great quick simple game, great for 15-20 minutes.  Behind the scenes, I have been playing the Arkham Horror: The Card Game more when I can find the time.  It’s not regular because I don’t enjoy Arkham Horror, it’s now and then because it is a long and complex game compared to the others.  If I am going to spend 10 minutes or so setting up a game, then another hour or more playing one story, I need to be in a certain mood with the time to spare.

Warhammer Quest Card Game Mid Game
An entire dungeon set out ready to explore

So Warhammer Quest filled a great halfway point – a more cohesive story with changing goals depending on missions, but without the ‘fun admin paperwork’ that comes with deckbuilding in Arkham Horror.

Enter the Heroes of Terrinoth

So what do you do when you know you have a mechanically sound game, but can no longer publish the theme?

Create a new world and a new game!

Heroes of Terrinoth Box Art
Warhammer Quest 2.0 incoming!
Heroes of Terrinoth Box Components
So much cardboard goodness! Just enough to get you immersed in an adventure, but not enough to overload you either

Apart from simply being a new slap of paint on mechanics though, it looks like Fantasy Flight has taken this opportunity to also streamline and expand upon the original Warhammer Quest mechanics.

While Heroes of Terrinoth keeps to the ‘standard’ classes similar to Warhammer Quest, you can also select from different archetypes, increasing the chances of finding a character that fits your playstyle even more.

Heroes of Terrinoth Box Heroes
Your four 'classic' classes, but this is where your choices begin

Because it is a reimplementation of Warhammer Quest, I already know it’s a game I enjoy and will be getting.

This may be prematurely judging, but the world only really needs to be a generic fantasy setting for me overall, so the narrative can almost be anything at this stage.  Games Workshop has done a lot, but great narrative games have never really been a thing with them.  Plenty of Lore, but not really a story.

Check out Heroes of Terrinoth on Board Game Geek here, and I will do a review on Warhammer Quest in the next couple of weeks for more information on the game systems.

Maybe, if I can talk Alpal into it, we can even do another game playthrough!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition is coming

Cosmic Encounter 42 Anniversary Edition Box Art

The game that causes more feuds than Monopoly

Cosmic Encounter is one of those games I love because it proves structured chaos can be fun.  It’s a game I describe as a bluffing/cooperative/deck building/betrayal game, with bonus jank.  Each player selects a race with a superpower specifically designed to break the base rules of the game.  From there, it’s a race to be the player(s) to colonize five worlds outside your own system.  So simple!

Apparently, the first edition was released in 1977, making the game only a couple of years younger than I am!  In this age of Cult of the New, that does make me feel very old.  Also wouldn’t this make the 42 anniversary next year?

Cosmic Encounter is a game that people either love or hate.  It is a game that surprises me constantly because it thrives on the same mechanics as Steve Jacksons Munchkin.  It is a game of take that, deal breaking, and rules that make no sense.

Yet most Munchkin players I know don’t like Cosmic Encounter, and Cosmic Encounter players don’t like Munchkin.  I play and enjoy both, but I am very careful who I play Munchkin with from past experience.  I will try and pull everyone into a game of Cosmic Encounter.

Cosmic Encounter 42 Anniversary Edition Components
All the same game, with a new twist. See through space ships!
Cosmic Encounter 42 Anniversary Edition Sample Races
The races of Cosmic Encounter. With 50 in the base game, variety is not this games problem.

The rules themselves really are simple and straightforward – it’s the races that bring the chaotic elements.  Don’t want anyone to come with you as you attack the winning planet?  Too bad, my race lets me join no matter what you say.

Oh, you don’t mind losing because it will cost me a heap of ships?  Well, my ability is my ships don’t get blown up, they just go back to my home system.

And you think I am weak because I am a pacifist?  Well if I want to negotiate and you attack, I automatically win.

Yes, you read those correctly – you can negotiate, and you can team up and joint win.  Each game, as long as you choose different races, is all but guaranteed to be a different experience.

And I won’t sugarcoat it – this does sometimes mean one player has a super ability is completely overpowered.  It’s rare, but it happens.  If a new player is unlucky enough to be in a game with an experienced player and a runaway ability, it can sour them.  But generally, because everyone has game-breaking abilities, I find it best to get players of similar experience together and let them have fun that way.

A new addition to the Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition is the Cosmic Combo cards.  At the moment not too much is known about how they work, but from the Fantasy Flight website:

“These carefully assembled cards offer a list of alien species with a brief description of their powers to create themed matchups and explore different types of games.”

My thinking is these are pre-grouped races for more balanced gameplay meant to help against the runaway powers random configuration sometimes give you and is a great addition for new players.

Cosmic Encounter 42 Anniversary Edition Cosmic Combo Cards
I belive the Cosmic Combo cards will be randomly selected and tell players the race choices.

The Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition is set to become the new standard game, essentially a fourth edition release.

As I already have all current Third Edition releases and expansions, the Cosmic Combo’s aren’t enough of a deal to get me to start buying everything again.  But if you have been thinking about Cosmic Encounter, or know someone that has been, this is a great idea.

Possible Christmas present maybe?  Fantasy Flight thinks so with a third-quarter 2018 release!

To see the full announcement on Fantasy Flights website, click here.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD