In The Hithchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote: "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is." Apparently the fifty aliens in the latest version of Cosmic Encounter weren't enough to compete for all that space, as the expansion Cosmic Incursion adds twenty new ones. There are also a new deck of cards and room for another player.

For you xenophiles (who are the most likely players of Cosmic Encounter), there are twenty new aliens introduced in Cosmic Incursion. These aliens are nicely varied. Some are sluggers, like Fury (who gets one token, giving a combat bonus, for each ship lost when attacking or defending) and Leviathan (who can use whole planets to help attack!). Others are far more subtle: Genius can draw cards instead of colonies -- and can win if they collect 20 cards; Sniveller can whine (really, that's their power) when behind the other players and either get compensated or hurt the other players. These aliens work quite well with the original ones.

Apart from new aliens, the biggest change Cosmic Incursion brings is the reserve deck. These are new cards that players can draw when claiming rewards from being defensive allies. The reserve deck offers new artifacts, crooked deals, kickers (that affect combat), and rift cards (that get ships from the warp -- or hurt anyone who steals these cards from you). To keep this from being the only deck players draw from when claiming rewards, it also includes encounter cards that are lower value than the regular cards, so drawing from the new deck is a little risky. Cosmic Incursion also includes a new color (orange), planets, and destiny cards so up to six people can now play Cosmic Encounter.

Cosmic Incursion doesn't revolutionize Cosmic Encounter -- it enhances it. The new aliens are very nice, and the reserve deck is as easy to play with as it is to set aside. Cosmic Incursion isn't required to enjoy Cosmic Encounter, but this expansion does give players a little more variety (and room for one more!).

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

No comments: