Because let’s be honest, your friends are BASTARDS
I’ve got another board-game recommendation this week, and this is one you’ve probably heard of: Cosmic Encounter. If you haven’t played this glorious game before, the goal is to spread your particular brand of alien amongst the stars and land your ships on your opponents planets as colonies; get enough colonies and you are victorious. Each turn, you’ll draw a card which tells you which player you are attacking, and once the attacking player decides how many ships to send into the battle, both sides can invite the other players to pillage or defend the system, and each player plays one or more cards that modify the strength of your side. The loser (lowest at the end of all that) loses all their ships and the winners place their ships on the other system as a colony.
But oh god, there is so much more. You could also choose to negotiate instead of playing an attack card. If both players play negotiate cards then you have a minute to decide on a reasonable outcome, usually involving some exchange of cards and a colony for each player. That’s good, and benefits both sides. But if one player plays a negotiate card and one person doesn’t, the person who tried to negotiate shows up to a space knife-fight with a space-pen and loses all of their ships.
Oh my god there is so much awesome in this picture
Oh, and did I mention that each player gets one or more species cards which give you crazy abilities. You might get the ability to send spores and infest attacking players. Your lost ships might subdivide, splitting every time they are destroyed. Or maybe you’re space pirates, stealing other people’s ships and holding them for ransom. But you also might be giant crazy yellow peep aliens (no really) and just have crazy amounts of ships. Or you might decide to play with two or three of those crazy abilities. The game is a mix of hilarious abilities, some truly devious social gameplay and some great table talk.
Beware though, this game has the potential to cause some serious problems if your gaming group is either too vindictive or too attached to “winning.” This is a game where treachery is rewarded, and you can have your entire game shot out from underneath you and if your group can’t handle either of those, stay clear. If you can, man there is a lot of win in this game, and the expansions just add more crazy abilities and cards. Highly recommended.