At long last, fans of the legendary strategy card/board game Cosmic Encounter can play online. Wednesday marks the long-awaited online debut of this game, which has gone through countless iterations since its debut in the early 1970s, and has been cited as the progenitor to today’s popular card-based titles like Magic: the Gathering. The game uses Flash and MP3 audio, and it’s Mac-compatible.
Cosmic Encounter Online puts you in the role of the leader of an alien race who must prove his, her or its worthiness to lead. The first alien to have four colonies on any planets outside its home system wins the game. Each alien race sports a unique capability that gives them an advantage, but a crafty opponent can use that unique trait to their own advantage, as well.
Cosmic Encounter Online will be playable 24/7, according to the developer, against alien bots, and real players alike. The game tracks statistics so you know who the hot players are. Cosmic Encounter Online has been a long time in coming, and this is not the first time that the game has been prepared for a computer-based release. After several failed attempts through other publishers and developers, Future Pastimes took the bull by the horns and did the work itself. Cosmic Encounter leverages Macromedia Flash, Java and MySQL to work.
Within each encounter, you’ll get to choose which planet you wish to colonize, how many ships you’ll use to launch your invasion and what alliances you want to form with other players. You can attack or negotiate, use special “Artifact Pods” to your benefit, and use your own species’ innate strengths to your benefit.
The game is free to join for the first couple of weeks after its launch, and costs from $5.50 to $8.50 a month thereafter, depending on your membership level. Also, Cosmic Encounter Online is offered with a “no guilt” guarantee — if you play the game less than the average annual member, you’ll get free time automatically extended to your membership.
To find out more or to sign up for your own membership, visit the Web site. Cosmic Encounter officially launches at 3PM Eastern Time on Wednesday.
After this story was initially posted, the section on the game’s history was updated.