Cosmic Run Review

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Cosmic Run is a game by Seamus and Steve Finn, published by Dr. Finn’s Games. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players will be exploring new worlds in space, befriending alien races and trying to protect these newly discovered planets from a massive meteors that are about to destroy them. Players can either play cooperatively or competitively through this game. In the end, the player that can score the most points through exploration, recruitment and collecting energy will be declared the winner.

To begin, the 5 planet tracks are placed in a horizontal row in numerical order with their colored side up. The alien cards are shuffled and a certain number of them are returned to the box, depending on the number of players. The remaining cards are placed facedown above the planet tracks. The top 3 cards are then flipped over and placed in a row beside the deck. The corresponding meteor card is taken, based on the number of players, and placed face up near the planet tracks. The crystal tokens are turned face down and mixed up in a area near the planet tracks. Each player is given 10 victory points. The remaining victory points are placed to the side within reach of all players. Players will each choose a color and receive the corresponding ship tokens of their color, as well as the technology card and marker. Each player places 1 of their ship tokens on the space base at the bottom of each of the planet tracks. They also place their technology card marker on the 0 space of their technology card. The starting player is chosen and is given the 6 dice. Beginning with the starting player and continuing in clockwise order, each player will move the marker on their technology card a certain number of spaces as described in the rules. Once this has been completed, play now begins.

On a player’s turn, they will perform 4 steps in order; meteor strike, assign dice, perform actions and ending a turn. The first step is the meteor strike. In this step, the player starts off by rolling the dice. They then count up the number of active planets and check the meteor card for the “strike value” number. The numbers on the rolled red dice are added, as long as there are more than 1 planet track that are active. The player then checks to see if that number is greater or equal to the “strike value”. If so, then the meteor strikes the planet that’s number matches the blue die’s number. When only 1 planet track is active, then the meteor strikes the planet when the two red dice match each other. If a meteor strike occurs, then a meteor token is placed on the planet. The 2nd time it’s hit, the token is flipped to show 2 meteors. The 3rd time it’s hit, the planet is destroyed and interim scoring occurs. Once scoring is finished, the ships and meteor tokens are removed and the planet track is flipped over to the black and white side making it inactive. If the player rolls a 6 on the blue die, there is no strike. It should also be noted that if on a player’s first roll, they roll a straight, that is all 6 dice show a different number, then the player is allowed to draw a crystal token from the supply.

The second step is to assign dice. In this step, the player assigns dice and rerolls until they are done assigning. There are a few certain rules that must be adhered to though. For instance, every time they roll, at least 1 die must be assigned to a location. Once the die has been placed, it can’t be moved. Once the player has assigned all the dice either to a planet track, alien card or technology card, they will then continue to the next step.

The third step is to perform actions. Once the player has assigned all their dice, they will then perform actions based on each location that dice are assigned to. As mentioned earlier, dice can be assigned to a planet track, alien card or technology card. For the planet tracks, each one allows the player’s ship token to be moved up one space on the track for each requirement that is matched. For instance, the 1st planet track allows a ship to move 1 space for each die placed that shows only 1 pip. The 2nd track allows the ship token to be moved for every pair of matching dice that are assigned. The 3rd track is for every set of 3 matching dice, while the 4th and 5th tracks move for a set of 4 or 5 respectively. Once a player’s ship token reaches the planet at the top of the track, the planet is discovered. Just like with the destruction of a planet, interim scoring occurs. For the alien cards, the player must simply assign the corresponding die or dice that match the symbol on the card. They are then able to take the card and place it face up in front of them, to be used in the future. Some alien cards however must be used immediately, such as to take another turn. Once the card is taken a new card is drawn to take it’s place. A player is allowed to recruit up to 3 aliens per turn but they must all be from a different race. Also, a player is only allowed to have a maximum of 5 alien cards face up in front of them. Recruiting aliens only occurs once all the player’s dice have been assigned. It should be noted that some alien cards provide multiple uses. Every time the alien is used, the card is turned clockwise to show how many uses remain. Once a card has been completely used, it’s placed in the player’s personal supply for final scoring, freeing up space for face up alien cards. For the technology card, the player is allowed to assign any dice to this card. For every dice assigned regardless of the number on it, the player moves up their marker 1 level. The player is able to use the special action at any time during their turn. Once the player has used their power, the marker is returned to 0. Also, the player is able to use any power below their marker instead of just the one that their marker is on. A few things should be noted, if a player reaches level 7 on their technology card, they must immediately perform it’s power. Also if a player reaches level 3 or 5, they may use the power before passing the dice to the next player.

The final step is ending a turn. In this step, the player that’s ending their turn checks to see if any game ending event has occurred. If that hasn’t happened, the player passes the dice to the next player clockwise. Events that can end the game are when all the planets have either been discovered or destroyed, all the alien cards have been taken or all the crystal tokens have been taken. Once any of these conditions has been met, the player’s turn ends immediately and final scoring occurs.

Before I explain final scoring, I should explain how interim scoring works, which was alluded to earlier. On each planet track there are victory point symbols with a number on them. When a track is scored, the player either receives or loses the amount of victory points that their ship token is beside. Victory point tokens are given from the supply, while any lost must be taken from the player’s victory point tokens and/or crystals. If a player doesn’t have enough points to pay, they lose their next turn. If another planet is discovered or destroyed before their next turn, they lose another turn. Once a planet track has been scored, the ship tokens are removed and the track is flipped over to it’s inactive side. Final scoring takes into account several different things. First off, if the game ends due to the final planet being discovered or destroyed, the planet track is scored before final scoring occurs. If the game ends because of any other reason, then the remaining tracks are scored. Players are able to use their technology cards to claim crystal tokens if they’re able to at this time. Players then add up their victory points, alien card bonuses and the value of each of their crystal tokens. A player earns victory points based on how many different alien races that they were able to collect during the game. Players compare their victory point totals and the player with the highest score is the winner.

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COMPONENTS
This game has a lot of really amazing looking pieces. First off there are the 5 large double sided planet tracks. These are made of thick cardboard and have a bright colorful side and a black and white inactive side. The artwork on these is really great and captures the space theme really well. The crystal, meteor and Victory Point tokens are also thick cardboard. As a matter of fact, they come out of the same punchboard sheets as the planet tracks. These are nice as well. There are 4 brightly colored wooden cubes that match the space ship tokens, with 5 of these in each color. The space ship tokens have a neat looking little ship printed on one side. These are really nice and I like how easy they are to distinguish between. The bright colors are really nice. There are also 6 dice included. There are 3 white ones, 2 red ones and a blue one. These are your basic looking dice, nothing out of the ordinary. The final components are the cards. This includes the alien cards, technology cards and meteor cards. They feel a little bit thin but the artwork is really amazing looking, especially on the alien cards. I really love the artistic design choices on everything here. The quality is really great and as I’ve said, it looks amazing. A definitely great looking game.
9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook for this game is really great. It has lots of great pictures and examples throughout the book. There’s a great full color spread of how the game should looked when set up. Everything is laid out really well and in plenty of detail so that nothing should be difficult to understand at all. The rules are all laid out so that you can easily see how to play. There’s a great section about the alien cards that describe what each race does as well as providing a visual reference for the card’s different icons. There’s also a section with a few variants as well as a great section for playing solo as well as cooperative play. Also included in the book is a section for frequently asked questions that will help if something is a bit unclear. Finally on the back of the book is a great reference guide that shows the game summary with instructions on how to perform each step of a player’s turn. Overall I’m very happy with how everything looks and feels in this rulebook.
9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
For a game that’s main mechanic is simple dice rolling, this game is surprisingly good. Much like Yahtzee, you’re rolling dice and setting aside the dice that you want to lock in. However unlike Yahtzee, you’ve got more than just a few rolls that you can make. As long as you’re able to place a die and have at least one die to roll, you can keep on rolling. I really like all the different choices that are available for you. The alien cards add a lot of depth to the game and can really change things up depending on the card or cards that you recruit. I also like that if you’re like me and dice simply hate you, there’s always the option of placing dice on your technology card to make new options available. There’s just so much going on in this game and I love it. With different set ups for different size play groups, the game adapts really well and adds a little bit different feel each time you play. I very much like the solo play option and found it to be very enjoyable. This is a game that I could see someone buying simply for the solo option and it would be worth it. However the real thrill is playing with others, especially competitively. I find that for me, this is the best way to play. Co-op and solo are really good but the competitive play is the most fun. The game is fairly simple to play but has plenty of strategy to entertain even those strategic minded players. Fans of dice rolling or press your luck style games like Roll For It or Machi Koro should really enjoy this one. It doesn’t take long to play either, with most games sessions lasting no longer than 30 minutes. Set up and take down time is fast too so this is a super great filler game. I really enjoy it.
9 out of 10

OVERALL
Cosmic Run is a light weight dice rolling game that is full of tension and thrills. The game doesn’t take long and plays in about 30 minutes. The artwork for the game looks amazing especially on the cards and planet tracks. I really love the look of the aliens. Everything that comes with this game is really high quality and looks great. The game is packed full of fun and can be played solo or cooperatively, as well as competitively. There’s lots of fun to be had with this one. With so many variants, variations and alien cards, there’s lots of replayability to be had with this one. There are plenty of options and decisons to be made that even strategy gamers should enjoy this one. Fans of games like Machi Koro or Roll For It should really enjoy this game. I would highly recommend this game. If you’re shooting for the stars, you’ll be glad that you hit this game. It’s packed full of fun in a small package.
9 out of 10

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For more information about this and other great games, please check out Dr. Finn’s Games at his site.

http://www.doctorfinns.com/

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About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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