I often get questions from new players wondering which version of Cosmic Encounter to play. It's especially daunting considering the cost and the number of variations that exist, and sadly many of them are incomplete (usually because they never printed the planned expansions before the game publisher moved on or went out of business).
Fortunately we finally have a publisher who has printed a full set and expansions, so you're probably best off getting the Fantasy Flight Games to start and working your way through the expansions.
Personally, what I like to play is Mayfair because it's complete and it's what I learned on. More specifically I play the CE set with the powers/flares from MCE and some of the cards. I'll throw in moons if I have advanced players who can deal with them. It is fairly universally agreed that Lucre sucks. If someone tells you otherwise, you should regard them with a fair amount of suspicion, they may be after your soul.
I finally have a complete Eon set and would play that if I had some expert players around to try it with. Sadly I don't have my core CE group around anymore..
Here are some possibilities for putting together a Cosmic Encounter set to play:
(If you're desperate and can't find it on ebay, send me an email, I have some extra to sell).
|$50||FFG||Currently CE is under Fantasy Flight Games and they've put together a quality set and expansions, so bless them for that. This is probably the best bet for new players.|
|$100-200||Mayfair||These go by on ebay regularly. They're expensive but complete. You can pick up MCE (More Cosmic) for fairly cheap and it's a worthy addition.|
|$60||More & Simply CE||The Mayfair Simply Cosmic Encounter is not really enough by itself, but you can buy it with the More Cosmic expansion for fairly cheap (you can still get it from Mayfair games, actually). If you put the two together you don't want to use all the cards, because the mix is wrong. If anyone has done some testing of good mixes of cards, please send them in!|
|$30-$750?||Eon||The original Eon set is much like Simply Cosmic. Incomplete by itself. It had four players and 15 powers and no flares. Eon, however, made regular expansions which can often be found on ebay in various conditions. Sets 1 and 2 give you an extra player and powers, which helps. Unfortunately, flares (which I think are vital to the game) come in sets 4 and 8 which are the most rare (aside from 9 which is near impossible to find). Sets 3 and 7 are more powers/cards, and set 5 is moons which is fun to play but not needed for the main game. Set 6 is lucre, which is worthless, and the main thing you get from set 9 is the reverse hex (though it isn't hard to do this without the sticker and cards :) A full Eon set is expensive and awesome.|
|$free-$8.50/mo||Online||Peter Olotka (one of the original creators) has brought Cosmic Encounter to the online world, go check it out at www.cosmicencounter.com|
|time and $??||Homemade||
Some people print homemade sets using online info.
Personally, I think this is a mistake, because:
|Varies||Other sets||Most other sets (such as West End Games, Games Workshop) are incomplete and generally only useful to beginners and collectors. They might be worth trying out if you have access to a copy, but if you like the game, you'll want more, and these can't expand.|
|$30||Avalon Hill||Cosmic was previously released under Avalon Hill which is a part of Hasbro. In my opinion it's not quite complete and needs an expansion, which AH had claimed it would release if the sales for CE were good enough. This was obviously a catch-22, and so CE is no longer under AH and the expansion was never created.|
If you can read german, you might be able to find the German
produced Mayfair CE (especially if you're in Europe). I haven't
opened mine, so I don't know how complete it is - I'd love a
components list if you have it.
If you find a copy of Contatos Cósmicos, Universumin Valtiaat or Tsukuda Hobbies CE, let me know!
Hope that helps!