The release of Cosmic Storm, the newest expansion for Cosmic Encounter, is coming soon. Expansion designer Jay Little took the time to share his thoughts about his work on the upcoming Cosmic Storm, and becoming part of the Cosmic Encounter legacy.
A Word from the Designer
Getting to work on Cosmic Encounter was an incredibly important milestone in my design career. I've been playing Cosmic Encounter for more than twenty years, and it is far and away my favorite board game of all time. It's hard to explain just how special it was to be able to work on a game that's been so influential to my life as both a player and a designer. It fits my free-wheeling, social style of gameplay better than anything else I've ever come across. I still have dozens of hand-written index cards featuring alien powers my friends and I designed ever since I was first introduced to the game.
During Cosmic Storm's development, one of the real treats for me was being able to work with Peter Olotka and Bill Eberle, two of the original designers for Cosmic Encounter. Throughout the development process, Peter and Bill were incredibly helpful and made themselves available to brainstorm ideas, offer feedback, and share anecdotes from the long, storied history of Cosmic Encounter. I was already enthusiastic going into the project, but the support Peter, Bill, and the dedicated play testers provided kept me energized and focused throughout.
Even with my experience with the game, there were several surprises along the way. For example, designing alien powers is a much more complex, time-intensive process than I think most people (myself included) might expect. With one hundred existing alien powers, new aliens had to provide a distinct and novel feel. And with twenty-five alien powers in Cosmic Storm, when previous expansions included twenty alien powers, adding twenty-five percent more awesome alien goodness required even more careful design and thought.
As a long-time player and as a game designer, I was surprised by how some of the simplest concepts could be difficult to articulate in a way that made them fit into the game's mechanics while delivering the sort of gameplay experience Cosmic Encounter players have come to expect. One of the fun design challenges was choosing a number of those home-brewed alien powers my friends and I had designed so many years ago, then updating and refining them to fit into the game. My old gaming buddies got a real kick out of it when I told them some of our fan made powers were going to be featured in Cosmic Storm.
Then there are the inside jokes and humor. Cosmic Encounter is a blend of strategy and social gaming, but it is also a bit of a parody of more traditional games. There are a number of games that take themselves far more seriously than Cosmic Encounter – after all, one of the defining elements of Cosmic is that it is a game all about breaking its own rules. It can be bizarre, extreme, wacky, and even unbalanced. It can feature a session where everyone at the table shares a win. It can produce unpredictable and unforeseen events based on two crazy effects running into each other. Victory can be snatched from the jaws of defeat, or quashed with a well-timed betrayal.
More than any other game I've played, Cosmic Encounter creates game sessions people talk about for years to come. I'm hoping my contributions to Cosmic Encounter can have that same effect, and offer years of entertainment and enjoyment to the game's passionate players.
Thanks, Jay! Below, we share two of Jay’s aliens who will burst onto the scene in Cosmic Storm!
The constant whirling and high-speed revolution of the Dervishes make them unpredictable and chaotic. In fact, their undulations have been known to make some aliens queasy. Dervishes delight in bold sweeping tactics and surprises in combat, sometimes turning their opponents’ resources against them.
Always in motion, the Dervish swirls its way through the galaxy, turning the tables on its opponents. With the power to Whirl, the Dervish can determine whether he would like to whirl clockwise or counterclockwise. Then, each player involved in the encounter must pass his hand of cards in that direction to the next player in the encounter.
The versatility of the Converters makes them highly prized as manufacturers and business partners. They can take virtually any piece of technology and change it into something completely different. Some theorize that they eat the original materials, creating some suspicion about how the new materials appear.
The Converter is skilled at adapting to a given scenario. With its power to Exchange, the Converter can discard cards in order to keep ships from the warp, and draw cards instead of retrieving ships from the warp!
Keep checking back for more previews as you prepare for a Cosmic Storm! Also, be sure to check out our Facebook page, where we will be previewing aliens included in Cosmic Storm that won’t be discussed on our website!...
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