I lugged Cosmic Encounter around for all my college years and I finally got to play it on Friday with Brendan, Jo, Eric Sun, Carol, and Daniel. There’s a bit of a learning curve, so if we were going to do it again, I might take the Flares out of the deck. Still, I think everyone had fun.
Cosmic Encounter is similar to Settlers of Catan and is the spiritual ancestor of Magic: The Gathering. Everyone plays a different alien race trying to conquer the universe. The game is different every time since there are 40 different races and each has a unique power that alters the rules of the game.
We played the out-of-print Mayfair edition. Avalon Hill has put out a schlocky new version that is not the same.