Cosmic Encounter: Please don’t ally everyone, every time

Cosmic Encounter is one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. However, many report having a dreadful first experience with it. They find it overly random and that only the highest attack cards matter. They see themselves tied at 4 colonies and luck deciding who wins. To them, the game seems pointless and over too quick.

If this has happened to you, there’s a chance you’ve been allying too often. In this article I’ll explain why one must be careful with alliances and the effect too many of them have in the game.

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Blood Rage ★

Bloodthirsty vikings battle at the end of the world in Blood Rage. Players rally their monsters and troops to fight, not in pursuit of a goal, but for its own glory. It’s a streamlined, hyper aggressive game of area control and card play.

Every time I see it, I want to play it again. But every time I do, I walk away disappointed. It’s a game on the cusp of being great, in the same way a car without brakes is almost complete.

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Dune ★★★★★

Dune has battles, but it’s not a game about combat. There’s treachery, and negotiation, but deals alone cannot secure victory. The highly asymmetrical factions give their leaders incredible power, but they are balanced in such a way that they are but a tool in the fight for the desert planet.

Forty years after its original publication date, its multi layered mechanics and superb theming have made Dune one of the best games I’ve ever played.

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The ugliest move I’ve ever made in a game

I’m no stranger to mean-spirited games. The Republic of Rome sits proud on my shelf, bringing back memories of triumvirates and last-moment bribery. I love Dune and Cosmic Encounter but would not miss the chance to play a robber baron in 1830. And I’ve enjoyed my single play of Diplomacy, which should automatically label me as terrible people.

And yet, when I sat down to play to play Power Grid today, I did not expect it to turn so ugly.

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