Fantasy Flight Games has announced plans to release a Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition the 3rd quarter of 2018. Tom Vasel’s favorite board game for six years in a row (2010 to 2015), could a new edition of the game cement the place on the top of Tom’s list?

The Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition will become the new standardized version of the game when it is released. The new edition of the game will be fully compatible with all existing Cosmic Encounter expansions.

In the far reaches of space, the aliens of the cosmos vie for control of the universe. Alliances are constantly forged and broken in the pursuit of power as starships journey from planet to planet, ready to build colonies and battle foreign powers, ensuring the survival of their people as they spread throughout the stars. 

Designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Bill Norton, Peter Olotka, and Kevin Wilson, the game was originally released by Eon in 1977. When a new edition of the game was released in 1992 it received the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame of 1991. It was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame in 1997

In 2008 Fantasy Flight Games reprinted the game in 2008 and subsequently released 6 expansions full of additional alien factions and mechanics.

What’s New?

The Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition includes both a revised rulebook as well as an illustrated Quick-start Guide that aims to capture all of the nostalgia of the original game while making it easier for new players to learn the game. The Quick-start Guide is styled as a 1970s comic book style. The anniversary edition also includes translucent ship pieces factions will use while spreading their colonies across the galaxy.

While traditional favorite aliens will be included in set, the game will also include the ruthless Demon aliens. Previously only available at Cosmic Con, the new aliens will be included in the anniversary edition of the game. Having been exiled from earlier editions of the base game, they now seek cosmic vengeance and will use their power to possess other players’ hands, bolstering their strength while draining the strength of others.

Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition will also introduce new Cosmic Combo cards. These cards offer a list of alien species with a brief description of their powers to help curate themed matchups and explore different types of game strategies.

Diplomacy on a Cosmic Scale

Just like previous editions of the game, players will each take on the role as leader of their own alien species with unique abilities, seeking to expand their reach across cosmos. Players will take turns launching spaceships from their fleets through a Hyperspace Gate to reach planets beyond their home system, attempting to colonize on opponents plants.

Colonizing on other planets is not as easy as launching a ship. Each planet is already controlled by another player, and other factions may not let you place those colonies without a fight. Diplomacy will be just as important as military strategy. Once both offense and defensive players launch their spaceships, they can ask the other aliens for support in their campaign.

Other players might jump in, using their Alien Powers, Artifacts, Reinforcements, or Flares to tip the odds in one side’s favor or the other. Win the encounter and you can establish a colony, but lose and your ships will be trapped in the warp.

The first players to successfully establish colonies on five foreign planet will be the winner.

Fantasy Flight Games has announced a new age: a new age of Twilight.  Twilight Imperium, that is, in the form of a fourth edition of the epic 4x space strategy game that has been loved and celebrated in the gaming industry for many years.  This new edition celebrates 20 years of this epic space opera board game of expansion, diplomacy, and war to control the galaxy, best explained in this excerpt from the official release:

For twenty years, the custom space operas created by Twilight Imperium have thrilled gamers like nothing else. Now, Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition builds on the grand space opera found in previous editions while streamlining rules and putting player interaction center stage…Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition aims to be the most complete version of the game ever printed. Seventeen playable races are included in the game, offering a wide variety of starting faction options. Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition brings a galactic space opera to your table, and no two games will ever be the same.

This new version of the game will include 350 plastic units, 51 system tiles, 561 command and control tokens, 80 action cards, 50 agenda cards, 40 objective cards, 59 planet cards, 184 technology and technology upgrade cards, 41 promissory note cards, and much more.

TI veterans will likely be asking (as I did!) what the main differences are between TI3 and TI4.  Some of the main changes include a stunning new graphic design and layout, but with the same great and familiar artwork flavor.  Additionally, changes will be seen in game mechanisms such as Trade, Technology, PDS Units, Space Docks, Politics, and the Imperial Strategy Card, to name a few.  FFG has anticipated the question of specific changes to the game in their product description, which can be read here.

The game is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2017.  To read the entire article that announces the new version of the game, click here.


Following the passing of board game designer Allan Calhmer in 2013, a piece of board gaming history is up for auction right now as part of his estate sale. The first edition of the game Diplomacy was printed as a numbered print run of 500 copies, and the copy up for auction right now is number one of those first  500 editions. The auction ends April 2, 2017 at 9:05 PM EST.

The copy was found in a mailing box with a return address of “Diplomacy,” located in Boston, Mass. Postmarked July 21, 1959, the contents of the auction including, per the auction listing:

The game board
A box of wooden game pieces
3 Conference Maps

“Diplomacy – Rules of the Game” which is 6 stapled sheets (sheets 2 thru 5 are 2-sided).  The back side of sheet 5 is stamped “THIS IS SET NO. 1 OF THE FIRST EDITION, OF 500 SETS” (the number “1” is handwritten in ink pen).

Also in the box is a “Sylvania Signal” newsletter dated November 21, 1958 with an article about Mr. Calhamer and his new game.  This was no doubt put in the box many years ago and will be included.

Diplomacy is a legendary negotiation game with no elements of chance. Per the Avalon Hill game description:

At the turn of the 20th century, the seven Great European Powers engage in an intricate struggle for supremacy. Military forces invade and withdraw, shifting borders and altering empires with subtle maneuvers and daring gambits.

Form alliances and unhatch your traitorous plots as you negotiate and outwit—in a delicate balance of cooperation and competition—to gain dominance of the continent! In Diplomacy, your success hinges not on the luck of the dice, but your cunning and cleverness.

Top Game For Ruining Friendships
Diplomacy has made many Top Ten Lists on the Dice Tower including:

Top 100 Games 2015
Stress-Inducing Games
Political Games
Top Ten EPIC games
Top Ten Mean and Nasty Games
Best Political games
Best Convention Games
Games That Have Stood the Test of Time
Stress-Inducing Games
Mean and Nasty Games

Diplomacy is likely most famous for being one of the friendship killer board games. The game was Tom’s original number 1 pick as the top Mean and Nasty Game.

Google “top friendship destroying board games” and any thoughtful list usually results Diplomacy taking the top spot. Top Tenz list of Top Board Games (for Ruining Friendships) describes the game mechanics:

There’s zero random chance in Diplomacy, so if your friends decide you need to be eliminated there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. And while you hate them for it, you know you would have done the exact same thing to them. At that moment comes the realization that, deep down, you were never really friends at all.

Quinton Smith from Shut up and Sit Down’s list of The Top 5 Board Games That Really Will Ruin Friendships also gives Diplomacy the top rank and warns: “Buy Diplomacy at your own risk. I will absolutely not be held accountable.”

Ruined Friendships By the Numbers
Diplomacy has always been recommended as best with 7 players, that means a combination of 21 friends are usually playing the game. With 9,336 logged plays on boardgamegeek, that makes approximately 65,352 ruined friendships since 1959.

There’s no way of knowing how many friendships were ruined by the very first copy of Diplomacy, but this is your chance to both own a piece of board gaming history while at the same time clearing 6 contacts out of your phone.

For those who feel that tabletop gaming hasn’t yet satisfied the experience of epic medieval expansion, 2017 is starting with something you might be interested in. A massive new miniatures game from Giochix.it is now up for funding on Kickstarter right now – Medioevo Universalis. A very ambitious game where 2 to 5 players, but expandable to 9, command armies in a bid for control over all of Europe. Featuring hundreds of minis, tokens, coins, cards, diplomacy, and warfare, Medioevo Universalis is bursting at the seams to deliver on it’s hefty price tag. Here’s a brief description from the Kickstarter page:

 “Players will lead one of the great medieval kingdoms of the thirteenth century by developing an intricate commercial network, advancing its technology, and weaving diplomatic relations with the other players. A number of possible adverse events can occur: natural disasters, and barbarians that will hinder military conquests or the creation of an empire.

The list of all the stuff in the box, and all that you can do in the game and with so many participants is impressive to say the least. The civilization-building elements are definitely intruiging, so it’ll be worth checking out the rulebook once it’s posted to the campaign page to see how it all really “ticks”. That said, plenty of eager gamers are enticed by what is on offer, as Medioevo Universalis is well beyond it’s funding goal across the three platforms from which it is available. Be sure to check out their campaign page for more information and updates from Giochix.it about this huge new contender in the dark-aged miniatures arena.


Diplomacy is a game known for taking a long time and destroying friendships. In Diplomacy, 7 players each play one of the Great Powers in World War I, trying to gain single control over Europe by making and breaking alliances with other people. Players can talk in private to other players, and each turn everyone submits orders simultaneously, so you won’t know if you’re getting back-stabbed.

Since Diplomacy takes so long to take in real life, many people opt to play it online on sites such as webDiplomacy. This way, you don’t have to dedicate a whole chunk of time to play the game, but the game can last months.

Recently, the longest Diplomacy game ever came to a conclusion. The game started in the 2012 webDiplomacy World Cup, taking 3 years, 7 months, and 10 days to finish. In game years, the war lasted 105 years, bringing World War I to the year 2005. For perspective, the previous longest game of Diplomacy only lasted until 1964 in game years! Unfortunately, this game ended in a 4-way draw with Italy in the lead, not a solo victory.

For more information, check out the Reddit post by /u/CaptainMeme, and his post one month ago explaining the game.

A six player political & military game of the 17th Century struggle that plunged Europe into one of its longest wars.  Control the major dynasties of the era, fielding armies and navies and engaging in diplomatic intrigue and bribery to decide who will exercise control over Europe!

One Small Step Games announces a new political and military board game that allows up to six players to take part in the battle for Europe during the Thirty Years War.  Designed by Mark McLaughlin, Holy Roman Empire sets a gaming environment that relies on complex economic and diplomatic interaction including alliances, naval actions, the Turko-Polish war, and military, economic, and diplomatic conflict.

The heart of the game is the game turn, which is divided into three main phases: Finance, Diplomatic, and Alliances.  After these phases follows movement and combat, the outcome of which will largely be determined by the effectiveness of players’ previous strategic actions.

Players will be donning the mantle of national leaders and not military commanders.  Therefore, to succeed in Holy Roman Empire, players will need to exercise more skill in diplomatic relations than in military strength.  Although most of the game strategy is carried out in the politician’s seat, combat does indeed occur, and can either be conducted via a detailed approach, including a battle map and individual troops, or with a simplified system that speeds game play.

A typical game rounds appears like this:

  1. Random Events
  2. Finances
    a. Receive Income
    b. Pay Maintenance
    c. Construction
  3. Diplomatic Bidding
  4. Alliances
  5. Movement
  6. End Turn

The game box for Holy Roman Empire includes the following:

  • One 22 x 34 map
  • One 11″ x 17″ Battle Map
  • One deck of 72 playing cards
  • 260 back-printed counters
  • One Rulebook
  • One Scenarios Book
  • Two Charts & Tables Folders

This project includes multiple pledge levels and stretch goals and has a primary funding goal of $7,000.  This project is set to end on Monday, April 13, 2015.  For more information and to support this project, visit the Kickstarter page here.

Courtesy Jonathan Lundberg

Courtesy Jonathan Lundberg

Best Choice Reviews dipped their toe into the world of board games with their 50 Greatest Card Games and Board Game of All Time, citing the growing popularity of the gaming hobby.

“Board gaming has experienced increases overall for the past several years, leading to many manufacturers and commentators to talk about the Board Game Renaissance. This list features the best of the old and the new in board and card gaming. These games are popular, influential, and loads of fun.”

Although we here at Dice Tower News are objective reporters and are able to push aside cognitive dissonance like professionals, it is important to remember that “fun”, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

With that out of the way, let’s reveal the contents of your next board game order:

  • #50 – Operation
  • #49 – Gin Rummy
  • #48 – Mouse Trap
  • #47 – Mancala
  • #46 – Metro
  • #45 – Battleship
  • #44 – Parcheesi
  • #43 – Yahtzee!
  • #42 – Carcassonne
  • #41 – Uno
  • #40 – Sorry!
  • #39 – Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • #38 – Pictionary
  • #37 – Chinese Checkers
  • #36 – Whist
  • #35 – Cards Against Humanity
  • #34 – Pandemic
  • #33 – Blackjack (21)
  • #32 – Cribbage
  • #31 – Snakes and Ladders
  • #30 – Candyland
  • #29 – Spades
  • #28 – Pokemon
  • #27 – Dominoes
  • #26 – Dutch Blitz
  • #25 – The Game of Life
  • #24 – Hearts
  • #23 – Connect Four
  • #22 – Trivial Pursuit
  • #21 – Diplomacy
  • #20 – Munchkin
  • #19 – Taboo
  • #18 – Axis and Allies
  • #17 – Ticket to Ride
  • #16 – Canasta
  • #15 – Stratego
  • #14 – Mahjong
  • #13 – Clue (Cluedo)
  • #12 – Scrabble
  • #11 – Apples to Apples
  • #10 – Settlers of Cataan
  • #9 – Backgammon
  • #8 – Magic: The Gathering
  • #7 – Poker
  • #6 – Risk
  • #5 – Draughts (Checkers)
  • #4 – Bridge
  • #3 – Monopoly
  • #2 – Chess
  • #1 – Go

There you have it, the 50 Greatest Card Games and Board Games of All Time. For more on these games and their ranks on this hallowed list, check out the full article.