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I only played the Mayfair Games version, which allowed 6 players. We currently have Cosmic Enounter and More Cosmic Encounter. With these, there are 4 different game boards alone!! Plus add in the moons (gotta love the Cheese Moons) and the Lucre, and you've got a game that will last for hours -- or our shortest game ever, with 2 turns (6 people) One of the moons landed on revealed all the moons. One of the other moons gave the win to the player with the most bases. Since we were using reverse base hexes, one player, who was playing for the very first time, won the game because he had 40 bases to start!!
Cosmic Encounter is a role-playing sci-fiction game where you take on the role of an alien. Each alien has a special power that enables them to break one of the game's rules. Each game is different depepending on which aliens are in the game. This is a very social game, and the aliens different personalities make for some interesting interaction.
A game takes about 30-45 minutes to play. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being easy and 10 being hard, it is a four in regards to rules and learning how to play. I highly recommend getting the expansion set which adds new aliens to the game.
This game plays best with 4-5 participants. It does not play well with two players, and is marginal with three players.