@zombiepenguin9: I'm still conflicted about Cosmic Encounter, even though I'm the biggest proponent for it in my group of board game people. I definitely see why it's a classic, when you consider that it originated back in the 70s, when board games were in a much poorer state. But today there are so many games that are actually competently designed instead of just Monopoly. Cosmic Encounter somewhat competes with those games, but a lot of times it's a clown fiesta of wildly unbalanced alien powers. Also, I can't help but feel like a lot of games come down to a lot of the players at the table being at 4 colonies out of 5, and whoever wins is just the guy who gets to take his turn after everybody else has finally exhausted all of their fuck you cards such as artifacts, flares, and reinforcements. Maybe that's the wrong way to look at it, I don't know.
So I like Cosmic Encounter, but I'm not sure what I should really explain it to people as. It's this weird combination of A) each player has a unique alien power, B) that alien power only matters a little because each player has a hand of cards with various effects, and C) sometimes none of that matters if you're a good enough negotiator and can get enough allies on your side. It's interesting in that it's not purely mechanics driven, but also not purely a negotation/diplomacy game, but it's got a little of both. I personally also love the goofiness of the alien races and how clever some of their themes are. But also I feel like a lot of games are swung wildly by who draws some of the more powerful artifact/flare cards and gets good mileage out of them, and also who draws the Attack 30/Attack 40 cards, and my players occasionally get salty about that.
Also for the life of me, I don't know how to explain the game to new players in such a way that they don't just always commit 4 ships on every encounter, and also they invite way too many people to help them attack which is basically just giving away free points. I don't like just telling people "that's wrong" as they do it because I don't want to play the game for them, so I don't say anything, but I still haven't found a good way to try to explain some best practices to new players before their first game.