Cosmic Encounter Officially Invades Tabletop Simulator

Cosmic Encounter is a fantastic board game, a wheeling, dealing, warring strategy game about vying for control of the cosmos as one of many aliens factions who each throw a different wrench in its simple rules. It’s Rab’s favourite board game and, as a sign of things to come, Quinns wrote about it too. “But Alice,” you say, “you clearly can’t be civil for the duration of a board game, so what are you doing writing about it now?”

It’s simple: Cosmic Encounter has become the second cardboard game officially released as DLC for virtuaboard ’em up Tabletop Simulator [official site].

“The Cosmic Encounter Connector on Tabletop Simulator features 50 alien races, 50 flare cards to boost their powers, 100 flying saucer ships, and all of the premium components from the Fantasy Flight Games board game edition,” say Berserk Games. The cardboard game has been expanded a fair few times since 1977, adding new aliens and cards and whatnot, and expansions are planned for this version too.

The game received an official digital version in 2003 in Cosmic Encounter Online, but that closed down last year after 11 years. Last year, the game’s makers launched a Kickstarter to make a new digital version, but ended up scrapping it. Well, here we are.

The Cosmic Encounter DLC for Tabletop Sim costs £4.61 on Steam right now, thanks to a launch discount. The base game is on sale at the moment too, down to £10.04.

Or you can still download unofficial Cosmic Encounter mods.

More official Tabletop Sim versions of board games are planned.

14 Comments

  1. Kefren says:

    I don’t like the way the home planets are lined up – the fact that they aren’t tied to a board is a nice feature, meaning you can lay out your solar system as you wish. Presumably you can move them in the DLC?

    Cosmic Encounter is a game I like, but one of the core mechanics of it can be frustrating – the fact that you can only be friendly when you encounter someone if you have a “be friendly” card. It’s really annoying to be forced to encounter an ally (random card draw) and have to attack them (not drawn any “friendly” cards into yoru hand), and makes little sense thematically. It is the issue that annoys new players most.
    “But I don’t want to attack them!”
    “You have to. The rules say so.”
    I can see why it is the case in game terms, and sort-of justify it, but it can be jarring.

    • Kefren says:

      Don’t like the big “Cosmic Encounter” logo on the table either – I usually know what boardgame I am playing. A star field would be better (and would be an improvement on my tablecloth at home).

      • grimdanfango says:

        Therein lies part of the wonder of Tabletop Simulator. Don’t like the board… replace it with one you do like! You can pick any image file you want and apply it to the customisable table.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I loved playing The Dictator and choosing who should attack who. Plus in an attack you can agree to mutually stand down or abandon a token ship to the warp, even if you have no negotiate cards, I guess?

      • Kefren says:

        Yes, powers that break the rules are one of the best things in the game.

        As to what happens: well, one or both of the players have to play attack cards even if they didn’t want to. (Presumably neither invites allies). As a result, the attack card player wins.

        “If the Offense Won – The defense’s ships on the planet plus any defensive allies’ ships defending the planet go to the warp.”
        “If the Defense Won – All the ships on the hyperspace gate (the offense’s plus any allies’ ships) go to the warp.”

        link to images-cdn.fantasyflightgames.com

        So yes, you could come up with some workaround, such as the attacker apologising, and only sending one ship. Even then, they have to play a lower attack card than the defender (and they may only have high ones); the defender has to use attack cards to defend against their ally who is attacking their solar system even though they don’t want to… It just becomes very weird and clunky, and not how people expect it to work. Having alliances (and possibly later breaking them when you choose to with a backstab) is a fun feature of the game; being forced to attack allies because you drew the wrong card just feels very forced. I imagine some people have their house rules to get around this, as you suggest.

  2. BathroomCitizen says:

    I wonder if Tabletop Simulator found its audience.

    Out of curiosity, is it any popular at this point?

    • ScottTFrazer says:

      I believe they are scrambling a bit after this:

      link to kickstarter.com

    • sharkh20 says:

      Can’t say anything for anyone else, but I have been using it a lot lately. Castles Of Burgundy plays well on it.

    • Benkyo says:

      Don’t know about popularity, but I have found that every game I’ve seen implemented in TTS is better implemented elsewhere – on one of the boardgame sites, on a dedicated program, or on Vassal.

      • BobbyFizz says:

        Problem is, cosmic encounter isn’t implemented on any other platform. They had an online, mobile compatible project, which looked fantastic, but got completely abandoned.
        Cosmic encounter was already available on tts as a third party mod, the original writers just got wind of that, hopefully this makes some extra cash to get the standalone version done.

  3. Synesthesia says:

    Does anyone know if twilight struggle is available for tabletop simulator, or if there are any digital versions of it? I’d like to play with a friend who moved abroad.

    • Phinor says:

      Playdek is bringing official version of Twilight Struggle to Steam/PC/Android/IOS/consoles(iirc). Their original Kickstarter ETA was like 03/2015, but they’ve yet to release the beta for backers. People did question that date way back when the KS was running but they were pretty adamant they can accomplish that date.

      The (Steam) beta should be coming very soon but we’ve heard that before. Anyway, it is coming (with AI if that’s what you want), just not quite yet.

      • Flavour Beans says:

        The multiplayer beta actually came out more or less as you posted this comment. It’s a bit rough and fussy, but actually plays quite well, has a decent interface, and is just some refinement away from being entirely suitable.

  4. Benkyo says:

    There are lots of good digital versions of Twilight Struggle available. One example is at link to chantry-games.com – that’s the current favourite of the people I know who play online frequently. Vassal is another option.