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from 33 customer reviews
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The classic game of colonization, negotiation, conciliation and misrepresentation. Players are aliens on a mission to colonize the galaxy. Through force, guile and card play, be the first to spread out beyond your home system. Molded plastic ships, excellent graphics and 20 alien races allow countless player combinations.
Here are the Cosmic Encounter Design Awards spanning 20 years:
Published 16 editions:
US, Japan, England, Germany, France, Sweden, Finland, Brazil
Selected: Editors Choice
2000 Netscape Editors
SciFi Channel: Originality 8 /10 Enjoyment 9/10
1999 SciFi Channel
Selected: Desert Island Games #4
1998 The Gathering of Game Designers
Inducted: Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame,
1997 Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design
Selected: Games 200
1996 Games Magazine
Voted: Best Science Fiction Board Game
1992 Origins Awards
Voted: Best Science Fiction Board Game
1982 Games Day - London, England
Voted: Best Science Fiction Board Game
1980, 1981 Space Gamer Magazine
Voted: 2nd Best Family Game (after Monopoly)
1980, 1981 Games Day - London
Selected: Games 100 Games Magazine's "Best Games"
'80, '81, '82, '83, '84, '85, '86, '93
Selected: Honorable Mention "Top Ten Games"
1980 Omni Magazine
- 4 Planet Systems (gameboard)
- The Warp (Center of the Universe) (gameboard)
- 1 Mothership Playing Piece
- 4 Defender Carriers Playing Pieces
- 80 Colored Ships
- 12 Orders (Cardboard Discs)
- 46 Encounter Cards
- 20 Alien Cards
- 8 Artifact Cards
- 4 Alien Card Holders
Average Rating: 4.1 in 33 reviews
I cannot understand how these companies have failed so miserably at marketing this game. Everyone I have ever played with LOVES the game. Even those who normally will play nothing more complicated than Hearts will play this game and enjoy it immensly.
GIVE US BACK CE!
Forego the elaborate figures and plastic if it keeps the cost or production down if you must, but please oh please re-release this game and subsequent expansions.
1) IT JUST LOOKS GREAT! Although I got my hands on the Mayfair version before the Hasbro/AH version, the Mayfair version just DIDN'T LOOK inviting enough for me to even try it. With the AH version, I couldnt wait to learn how to play it!
2) IT'S SO MUCH FUN!!! Especially watching your pals turn against each other (and you!) ever so often! It is the NEGOTIATIONS I enjoy most, where both the attacking and defending players lobby for support . Kinda like the great game DIPLOMACY, but lighter (ie. wont lose friends) and shorter playing hours.
3) THERE'S SO MUCH VARIETY! Choosing different alien powers makes every game different!
4) PLAYS SHORT - 4 players can finish in 1-1.5 hours!
5) SO EASY TO LEARN! You can get a new player up and running in 5-10 minutes, and they won't be complaining that you are 'making up more rules as the game progresses'...
It sounds like there's a few hardcore cosmic fans who may have forgotten the full history of Cosmic. Eon did NOT sell to Mayfair. They were bought out by Milton Bradley, who, like Hasbro, got back to the roots and re-released the basic set only. After years of nearly zero sales, an Eon marketing rep came out in 'Encounters' magazine, attempting to explain. When Eon released Cosmic, they had only marginal sales. As they released expansion sets, they found that they sold more expansions than original sets, followed by a coordinated burst in basic set sales, then previous expansion sets. The result: each expansion set increased the market base noticably.
When Milton Bradley released their version of the basic set, they decided to wait until sales showed a marked popularity of the game (at least to the levels Eon enjoyed). Naturally, without expansions, they never saw it. So, we had to wait years before Mayfair got the rights to re-release the game. Mayfair vowed to stick to the original tenants and style of the Eon game, and did a pretty good job of smoothing out many of the difficulties found in the original. But most of all, they did their best to issue as much of the original game as possible, and even came up with new powers in the expansion.
I haven't seen a better looking verson of the game than it's current form. But I urge Hasbro and Avalon Hill to take the lesson of MB to heart: Please concider this version of the game it's beginning, not the end. Based on your current design, I can see that you've planned for an 8 person game, or at least 6. So, at some point, you've got an expansion in mind. You don't need to hit us with over 100 powers right away, especially if you can come up with 75 or 80 that really work well together and keep game fairness high. I'd rather have a 6-player, 6 power [down] game with powers that don't have conflicts.
Keep the Mayfair advancements faithful (like the boarder around the flare cards to make them easy to separate back out of the deck between games), and come up with new ideas of your own (by playing the game yourselves). Moons and Lucre were fun additions, but a lot of people didn't play with them (especially when introducing new people) so keep those separated. And if possible, please, realize the promise made by Eon years ago and release 'technology' in a future expansion.
If you need help, there are 100s of die-hard fans out there to tap. Just put up a BBS and fire questions at us.
I hate to see the ranking of this great game drop below a 4.0 simply because of Hasbro's clumsiness at reintroducing such a classic. Yes, they should have followed up with the many possible expansions, yes the new version of the cone is enough to make you wonder what was going through the designer's head, and yes the old art of the original is greatly missed by the Cosmic loyalists, but the simple beauty of the basic game system has not been tampered with and newcomers will most likely love playing this one many times before tiring of the basic 20 powers offered here. Cosmic has been through many reincarnations and this is certainly not the worst one. Unless you can get your hands on an Eon or Mayfair version, having this one available is better than having it out of print.
Ive been playing Cosmic Encounter for YEARS!
It has got to be the all time favorite classic game of my family and gaming group.
Avalon Hill's new edition really shines too, the game has finally been re-balanced and really streamlined.
This game is a must for any boardgame lover!
Aww, the Mayfair version suffered from severe feature bloat anyways. This new version gets much closer to the series' roots when it was an EON game--simpler and superior. Mayfair's bloated, unbalanced, unweildy version wasn't the original anyways. Some Mayfair games (especially with Flares and Lucre involved) could go on for 6 hours. Tedious. Love this new retro version!
While I am sure that some people will say that the Mayfair version of this game is the only one to play, I whole heartedly disagree. The Avalon Hill version truly offers a great game as well. The board and all of the pieces are very well done. The artwork is top notch. My hope is that Avalon Hill (Hasbro) will release expansion sets just as was done in the Mayfair version.
I've owned the EON version (with all it's varied expansions - some great, some not-so great) and the Mayfair edition and was going to pass on the AH version but was intrigued by the updated graphic design and went for it. I'm glad I did because although the AH version is 'missing' a lot of the added elements of the previous editions, it reduces the game back down to its core elements and presents them with a totally stunning graphic design that the other editions sorely lacked.
I didn't initially approve of removing the abstraction of cardboard chits for little spaceship models and saw issues with placement on the little carriers and defenders but the new system art and alien graphics totally outweigh my issues with the 'kid' bits. Purists can always dispense with the little carriers and just slap down the ships with a homemade cone - and save themselves the few seconds that it takes to align the plastic ships.
Gameplay is stripped of some of the goofier aspects of advanced CE (Luchre, moons, negative cone, etc.) which never really added all that much to the core strategy of the game (in my opinion)- although it would be nice to see that stuff eventually show up as an expansion. The AH CE is a trip back to that first EON set for me and is a joy to play.
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!!
This review comes from someone who never played any of the previous editions. Cosmic Encounter is fun because no other game has this kind of player interaction. I don't think the components are gaundy at all. The board and ships are very colorful and add to the spirt of the game. Especially nice are the alien powers cards. And to top it off, the games are quick (usualy around 45 minutes).
This game does have three cons though. One: Avalon Hill does not have plans for making an expansion at this time (that's a con to me). Two: Cosmic Encounter is not a two-player game. Three: It does seem that it's a little more popular with me than with my friends. They would rather play Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, or [page scan/se=0431/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Axis & Allies (all games that I would recomend, though).
Cosmic Encounter is my all-time favourite. The mechanics of the game ensure that no two games are the same, as all players have one special power that 'bends' the rules of the game (like the ability to look at other player's cards, playing two cards when everyone else can play one, and 40 others that are even better). Since the powers are distributed randomly in each game, each game is different depending on how the particular powers interact.
The game is all about attacking the others players. Both the attacker and the defender can convince players to help them for different benefits. This makes the game a constant (and I mean CONSTANT) interaction between players.
Beacause of the level of interaction, our games tend to be a minimum of 90 minutes, and we have played one for over four hours. Nevertheless, there is never a dull moment.
Highly recommended for everyone who likes to play together with other gamers and not just sit beside them by the board, moving pieces around.
You will find who are your true friends and who are not when playing this game. Alliances, double crossing, Alien powers--it's all here. This is a true multiplayer experience. You must attempt to gain 5 bases outside your own galaxy using cunning, deceit, alliances, and the power of your Alien. Up to 6 players, (original version).
The 30+ Aliens and variations on the game (such as 2 aliens each) make this game worth every penny. If you've never played it, then you haven't lived.
Simply put, sell your house to buy it.
The interim publisher of Cosmic Encounter was Mayfair, not Mayfield. Mayfair released a basic set of Cosmic Encouter that was considerably more involved that the original Eon set. It incorporated many of the elements from later expansions to the original game. More Cosmic Encounter added the rest, and then some.
What Avalon Hill has released is done so with the blessings and good graces of the members of the original Eon team, and the game is VERY similar to the original release of Cosmic Encounter back in 1979, being a simple to learn game with some fun mechanics. It even provides more aliens that the original Eon set did.
Avalon Hill is planning on an expansion, supposedly to be released later this year. This is not only to make money for the company, but to add some of the elements that gamers are wanting from the original set plus expansions. The releases of expansions will maintain the same high production standards as the current AH set, and should eventually meet and perhaps eclipse what was provided by Mayfair.
I had held off from writing a review of Cosmic Encounter because of its scarcity. The Mayfair edition was out-of-print, and I did not think that most players would be satisfied with its little brother, Simply Cosmic. Now that the new edition is available, I am more than happy to write this review.
I began playing Cosmic Encounter many, many years ago, and no game has ever come close to topping it for its 'fun factor.' CE is a game that pre-dates the German invasion of family games by 15 years, but fits right in with these games for many of the same reasons that make them popular. First, it is an amazingly social game. Second, it is rare for a player to ever be truly out of contention for the win. Third, players are constantly involved in the action, even when it is another player's turn.
The new Hasbro edition is either stunning or gaudy depending on your tastes, but is light-years ahead of prior versions in its presentation. The base set provides components for 2 to 4 players, and Hasbro has committed to producing at least two expansions, which will add capabilities for 5 or 6 players as well as adding even more aliens to the mix. I hope that they will also produce some of the more esoteric expansions that made the original and Mayfair editions so much fun.
This base set is a wonderful starting point. The aliens are well-balanced against one another and there are more tnan enough combinations to keep the game interesting for months and years to come. If you are like me though, this will merely whet your appetite for the variety that is to come. CE as it is played by many of its fans is practically a game system, and is customized to suit the players' moods. Want chaos? Add moons. Want more control, including the ability to buy cards? Add Lucre. The list goes on. Some players have 300+ aliens to choose from in their home-brew sets.
This is a game that truly belongs in every game closet. Simple enough to be played by older chidren, strategic enough to satisfy all but the most ardent wargame grognards, playable in an hour or so. This really is the One True Game.
Y'know, for an Evil Corporate Entity That Mercilessly Gobbles Up Smaller Independent Game Publishers, Hasbro sure does some nice work. Close on the heels of the spiffed-up Acquire comes what has got to be hands down the most beautiful edition of Cosmic Encounter ever produced.
Descriptions of how the game is played abound on the web, so instead of rehashing them let me focus on the production. This is a bare-bones, introductory CE edition, a core set that will (hopefully) be expanded by further releases. To make the game more accessible to non-hobbyists, Hasbro has made some minor changes to the terminology: for example, Edicts are now called Artifacts, and Compromise cards are now Negotiate cards. These changes may seem like heresy to longtime CE fans, but you get used to them quickly, and they probably do make the game a bit less confusing for newbies.
The game's contents include:
- Home systems, ships (tokens), and Orders (Destiny discs) for four players, which is really the minimum number you need for a decent CE game. The systems and Orders are made of thick, glossy, German-caliber cardboard; the systems fit neatly around the sawtoothed central Warp (also cardboard), and by angling them differently, you can make room for two additional systems (which will probably be included in the first expansion set). The ships are made of solid, brightly-colored plastic.
- Instead of a hyperspace cone, attacking ships and their allies ride into battle on a snazzy-looking mothership. Each player also has a small carrier, used for transporting defensive allies into blockade position. The mothership and the carriers are made of plastic, and CE players I've talked to seem evenly divided between those who think they're really cool and those who find them cumbersome and annoying.
- 20 alien powers: Amoeba, Anti-Matter, Chronos, Clone, Empath, Filch, Healer, Laser, Macron, Mind, Mutant, Oracle, Pacifist, Parasite, Philanthropist, Sorcerer, Trader, Virus, Vulch, and Zombie. These are printed on the same thick cardboard as the systems and Warp; they fit into plastic clip stands (four are provided) that hold them upright during play. Though I like the feel of the power cards, the artwork isn't as evocative as in some earlier CE sets. Many of Hasbro's aliens look like Rorschach blots (very professionally printed Rorschach blots, but still...); the Macron looks a TRON extra. On the plus side, the descriptions of the alien powers are very clear and easy to understand.
- 54 Encounter cards: 36 numbered Attack cards (values between 4 and 30), 10 Negotiate cards, and 8 Artifacts (2 x Cosmic Zap, 2 x Mobius Tubes, Plague, Force Field, Emotion Control, and Stellar Gas). The cardstock seems durable, and the cards now have flavor text that you will either love or hate (I think the text on the Attack cards is pretty stupid, but the Artifacts show flashes of cleverness).
- A 16-page rulebook, and two 'summary of play' cards. Hasbro did a good job with these. While the rules are still not perfect--there are some conflicting examples of play, and the organization of the more complex rules seems a bit scattershot--they are clear enough that most new players should have little trouble getting started.
So, should you buy it? If you're new to CE, or just need a new set, definitely. If you've already got an Eon or Mayfair CE set with all the trimmings... well, for the price, it still might be worth your while. The components are really, really nice, and you can always bring in Aliens, Lucre, etc. from other sets while you wait for Hasbro to start producing expansions.
I still have my Eon Products edition of this game. This is a 'Beer and Pretzels' game, but the absolute best of the genre. Now that Avalon Hill/Hasbro has produced it, it may finally reach the larger market it deserves. I will definitely be adding this to my Christmas list.
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.
I began playing Cosmic Encounter when I was a young teenager. I loved the game then, so naturally I was hesitant to try the 'new version' of the game. I love it! The graphics are amazing! This is simply the best board game ever! My father still has the 'original' version. I would give a great deal to have it in my possession, but he still plays it!
I fear that Hasbro is waiting for increased sales of Cosmic before investing time/money into more expansions. What they don't seem to realize is that they are missing a key market: the old, hardcore fans who have been with the game since its introduction. Most of us have little desire to spend $30+ for a remake of the basic version that does nothing more than pretty up the pieces. The new art is fantastic but I do miss the comical versions of the classic. And after playing with flares, advanced powers, etc.. it's a bit boring to return to the standard game. Even more disappointing is the absence of any innovative ideas from Hasbro/Avalon with this release, especially considering the excellent enhancements they brought to other classics like Stratego, Axis & Allies, Battle Cry and Risk.
I highly recommend this version to newcomers. It's still a blast and has the best replay value of any game I've owned over the last 25 years. Just don't get frustrated with the awkward plastic ships and realize that Cosmic will always be best with four players. (Five and six players may add more interesting combinations but it sure is a long haul in between turns.) One of the Cosmic websites offers a very creative and strategic idea to improve the endgame. It keeps games from dragging on when very competitive and experienced players are able to repeatedly block a win by ganging up as allies or making creative use of the edicts (artifacts). I plan to mail it in to Hasbro in the event they should ever get around to pumping out a few expansions.
This beautiful classic fully deserves five stars but my frustrations mentioned above keep the Hasbro version at a four.
I never played the original so my experience is only related to the Hasbro/Avalon Hill version of the game. We played it as a two, three, and four player game, and the quality of the game is best with four players. Much of the fun of the game is depended of the alliances formed. After playing a four player game it seemed to lack some punch with only 3 players. I wouldn't even bother with it as a two player game. Would I recommend this game to others. Already have...
Ok, I knew the original and so I had to go out and buy the closest thing to it. Which i did, everebody should. But where's the rest?
I need moons, flares and the Wrap. Not to mention Lucre and the extra powers and hexes. How long will we have to wait for the expansions sets..I've got friends coming round on saturday....
A very enjoyable game. My group found it a little tough to get the strategies, some aliens are way to powerful, and everyone gangs up on the leader, making it soooo hard to win. The game moves along at a nice pace and the Hasbro edition is beautiful.
I hear the Mayfair edition adds more depth, but it's out of print, ergo, hard to get. Maybe Hasbro will release an expansion pack? I would love to play this with 8.
I grabbed a copy of this new version as soon as it came out last year. I had never played Cosmic Encounter, but I heard so much that was good about it, that I figured it was my chance. Well, it took almost a year for the right group to get together for this one. We played our first game last night.
We all had a lot of fun as the game went on. The last 15 minutes dragged a bit. Since players have an encounter every turn, it gets a little monotonous. Maybe it will go faster now that we know all the rules.
I'll add that I think Hasbro did a classy job on this game. Hopefully they'll do some expansions in time.
I must agree with my fellow gamers in saying Hasbro makes great products from great games. Hasbro is like a terrorist organization of many cells. Truly, the most notorious is its computer game makers. However, the board makers are truly the elite of the bunch. They may be buying alomst every game in sight, but they are truly doing justice to games that could never have looked better than this.
The game itself makes a great play on might versus the meek. In one instance, all powerful can be laid waste. In another instance, strengths can be turned into weaknesses. Weaknesses turned into strengths. So it is that my cryptic explanation of CE is really what the game entails.
One thing for sure. Anyone who plays CE will feel they are powerful with crafty undermining options. If you like feeling crafty and powerful, like most people do, then you will see the potential of this game to satisfy almost all who play it. That is a hard one to top.
The only small critism I have of the game is that I can't seem to make a large invasion fleet count for anything. They always seem to get wiped out. I recommend smaller attacks for those who don't want to lose their shirts right away.
I think that I speak for all those who have never played a game of Cosmic Encounter and are standing on the fence wondering 'what the heck is this?' I can relieve your fears in saying that Cosmic Encounter is an interesting game. Since I have bought the game, I have played it 3 times and lost every game. This game should be played with 3 to 4 people, though it suggests you can play with just 2 (never will try that). This game makes an excellent party game. The rules are very easily mastered, but the subtle strategies of the alien races (which a player carves his own niche into) best shines for its replay value. This is a game you can pull out without embarassment at a party. It will be remembered well by those who play it. Certainly it is not a [page scan/se=0061/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Trivial Pursuit, but it does have that fun interactive edge that both games share.
Having played all incarnations of this game (and the Eon version is still the best), I can say that this one is the best since the initial release. It keeps most of the game intact and presents it in a very flashy way.
However, gone are the flare cards and some of the edict cards (now known as Artifacts), such as 'Time Gash.' So, if you're used to prior versions, you can jump right in, but you'll scratch your head about the missing parts.
And about that flashy production... it's pretty but a waste of effort. The little ships do not fit well into the carriers or the mother ship. Once you perfectly arrange the parts and gently place them in, it looks really cool, like Star Wars. But those of us with normal-sized-or-larger hands just give up on using those components.
Mind you, it's still a great game. Not as great as it was 20 years ago, as it no longer can be called cutting edge. So, we can appreciate it as a trail blazer and play it because it's interesting. But with today's flood of great quick-play games, this one is looking a little long in the tooth. It can plod along and forces combat in an era where 'family strategy' games are moving away from those two attributes.
Missing alot of the old features. Moons, Flares, Lucre, Aliens, etc... Thats what made the game! If your going to make a Hollywood version of a game, you do not take out the meat and potatoes, you need them for the stew. I also believe you cut out one or two (been a while) other players from the original.
The update in the artwork and pieces is cool, but you made checkers out of chess!
I liked the original game, and this is basically the same game. However, it seems to have been redesigned by Hasbro marketing to get kids to buy it. The board used to fit together so it didn't come apart. Now it looks cool, but the pieces don't even stay together. It used to have simple cardboard pieces. Now it has fancy plastic pieces, but they are so awkward to put in the plastic ships that we just stopped using the ships. It used to have lots and lots of aliens. Now they look better, but many are missing. I suspect so Hasbro can sell 'expansions'.
It's still a good game, but if you have the previous version, don't get this.
I bought the original Cosmic Encounters game when it was first published by Eon in 1979. In addition to the base game I also bought the expansion sets (2-9) that offered extra aliens, new edict cards, flares, moons, and additional planet hexes.
The Hasbro 'remake' of this science fiction classic is embarrassing. The artwork is shoddy, the design work is poor, the aliens are limited to just a few, and the rules are paired way down from the original game. It is a 'dumbed down' version of the original classic.
I suppose if you have never played the original Eon Cosmic Encounters, or its predecessor that was put out by Mayfair games, it is better than no Cosmic Encounter at all, but just barely.
My advice: go out on Ebay and try to find one of the original games. They rate 5 stars on a scale of 5. The Hasbro want-to-be version rates only two stars, and that's being generous
I was really excited to pick up this game and I like what Hasbro/Avalon Hill has done with the colors and game pieces but the current offering is lacking. I have mildly enjoyed the few games I have played, but it never gets pulled off the shelf when there are more enjoyable games.
The box says the game is for 2-4 players but it is definitely not fun with just two players. Three players helps it a little but not much. Four players is definitely better but until we have an expansion that allows for more players than that, the game won't be played around my house. Also, the alien powers are definitely not balanced, which is mitigated with more players or new game eliments that expansions would bring. If Hasbro isn't going to bring out an expansion then they should allow someone else to take the property and continue to develop it.
In my personal opinion, if someone is going to rerelease a game, they should only change it to make it better/ bigger/ bolder. In this case, AH took out all the things that made the Mayfield version so great. It's still an entertaining game, but ti's lost all it's appeal. It's sort of like plating clue, but with only two weapons, two rooms, and only two people to choose from.
Some of these reviews are saying Mayfair version strayed from original. NOT! Mayfair version was true to original in that if you had an original Eon version in your closet you could use the same cards since both had the same backing! Sure, Mayfair had tons of rules that could make a game stretch out in length, but really no more, or actually no less, than what the original expansions had..and..get this...THE RULES ARE OPTIONAL! You didn't always have to play with lucre or moons or flares or kickers! IMHO these made the game more fun, but you could leave out most of these expanded rules for quick, fun games. The AH/Hasbro version should have left the cards alone and should have done a better job updating the board so that 8 or more ppl could play at once! I enjoy large CE parties! Also should have change it so tokens didn't fall off the cone, and etc...BUT lets keep the classic terminology there! Don't change the game so much that it no longer feels like CE! I love CE and have been playing it for years..DECADES! IF this AH/Hasbro version is the final incarnation then RIP to CE. I'll play my combination Eon/Mayfar version til I die an old man. I may have given this a different review and given more stars, but let me end by asking: WHERE ARE THE EXPANSIONS?!?!
Well its all good and well to rerelease a great game. BUT when u dont include addons like flares,moons,lucre and only have a very small amout of aliens it seems pointless. I personally prefer the old look of the game aswell. True it had litte/no colour but it had something about it. I have played the original sooo many times and with a large amount of aliens using the addons. I would not be able to play it so much without getting bored with it if it did not have flares ATLEAST.....I personaly think that the original cosmic encounters with all addons and aliens should be rereleased...As they say the original is best..