Game Night - Small World, Warhammer Invasion, Cosmic Encounter

Last Friday evening was too cold for some 40k out in the garage so we retreated into the kitchen for an evening of board game goodness.

First up was round of Small World.

If you haven't played this game yet you really owe it to yourself to give it a try. We instantly took a shining to it the first time we played it. It has a feel similar to Cosmic Encounter in that every time you play you have a different race and power - and these actually change several times over the course of play.

The gameplay on this is pretty light. You have a race and a power and you try to take over as much of the map as possible in order to get victory points. You score at the end of every round. This lends itself to expanding as quick as you can. To take over a territory you simply move your pieces there - there are no die rolls involved to take over - it is simply numbers based. The only time you even roll a die in this game is on your last attack of the turn if you don't have enough tiles to take over a location.

The race and power combinations also determine how many tiles you get to play with. The Dwarves have a dismal 3 tokens on their race card while the Ratmen have a massive 8. Your power adds to this number.

After we played a round of this we moved on to one of our absolute Favorites - Cosmic Encounter.

Let me straighten you out on Cosmic Encounter.

This is Cosmic Encounter.

Or this from 1977, if you are lucky enough to own it -
This is NOT Cosmic Encounter. This is a horrible pretender that should be burned on site -

Cosmic Encounter has a pretty rich history. It was originally published in 1977. It changed publishers several times over the years. The most well known publisher was Mayfair games but West End Games and even Games Workshop had their hands in the pot at one point or another. There were several expansions for this publication and they were all top notch. Today these versions go for gobs of cash on eBay.

The Hogs were actually introduced to Cosmic on this version of the game. Jester's uncle was lucky to have had a copy from way back then (along with a few expansions) and never got rid of it. I remember making a trip over to his place in college and playing Cosmic for hours and hours.

A few years after that we were excited with we heard that Avalon Hills was going to be reprinting Cosmic Encounter. What they turned out was not what we remember playing. It was a very dumbed down version that just ruined it for us.

Fast forward to recently and we have Cosmic back in all it's glory thanks to Fantasy Flight Games. They did an outstanding job on the reprint/update. Pretty much all the aliens are there, as well as a host of new ones. The original gameplay has remained intact and there are even a few new twists that you can use if you want.

There is an expansion coming out this year and we are already frothing at the bit waiting for it's arrival.

Enough history and on to the recap.

We played two games and had a blast with each. Our first game was a very standard setup. We each drew two aliens and then picked one to play with. It was a fast and frentic game and I eventually pulled ahead due to my drawing massive amounts of cards by using my alien power to heal ships that went into the warp. It also helped that I had a card that allowed me to cheat and draw more cards when no one was looking.

Our second game was entirely different. In this game we each drew three alien powers. We kept one, discarded one, and passed one to our neigbor. This added a whole new level of deviousness tot he pot. I didn't fare too well in this setup and Sweet E pulled ahead in a hurry and took us all out.

After having our fill of Cosmic we decided to have a go at Warhammer Invasion.

This is the second time that we have played this and it is starting to grow on us. Last time we played a two way team battle and the forces of destruction came out on top. This time we tried the draft-deck variant.

The Draft variant is pretty neat. The game comes with a set of cards that actually affect the way the draft process works. Each player had a large deck of cards. They draw fifteen cards. They then pick two of these cards for their play deck and hand off the remianing to their opponent. The opponent then picks two that are discarded. This process continues until the fifteen cards are used up. You then repeat this proccess a few times until you have your final deck.

The draft cards allow you to mess with your opponent. You can cause them to draw less cards, discard and extra card out of their pile, or even search your deck for a specific card.

After we built our decks we had another order vs. chaos match. The forces of chaos got off to a really big start that would prove disasterous for the forces of order. I was playing Orcs and I got a massive first turn draw. After just a few turns I had enough creatures in play that I could wreck an entire zone in one round of assault. The forces of order couldn't draw the cards to build up an offense or defense and weren't able to deal with the might of the Orcs.

This game really is growing on us and I have picked up the first expansion. I am planning on getting them as they come out because the price is right - $10 - and it is a pretty neat little game.