Shirley cooked up an amazing Friday dinner for us. Yum! Some pics on my Facebook profile.
After dinner, Shirley, Bill, Nadine, Ben, and I played a great game of Cosmic Encounter, Mayfair edition. Shirley doesn't play often, but I think she'd played this game before. Bill had also played before, but not as often as either Ben or I had.
Config: Multiple revealed powers, no reverse cone, no moons, no lucre, no special hexes, 25 flares in the deck. I like to play light on the extraneous craziness, since the basic set of Edicts, Kickers, Reinforcements, allies, and Powers are already pretty crazy. So I add only 25 or 30 flares.
Powers: Jon: Vulch and Sniveler, Ben: Plant and Parasite, Nadine: Grudge and Berserker, Shirley: Pacifist and Spiff, Bill: Insect and Sorcerer.
My Vulch worked decently. Sniveler gained me my tokens out of the Warp once, and both my first and second foreign bases (I wasn't doing too well in the offense dept, as you can tell). I got a few attack cards, too, but they didn't help me much. I lost by one point on a few challenges, to the point that I decided that my motto would henceforth be "One Point Shy". Bill called me the fencepost player.
Ben's Plant and Parasite were a most deadly combo. Nevertheless, Bill and Shirley came very close to winning before he did. Plant could only take over one power, by the way.
Nadine passed over the powerful but game destroying Diplomat, and was partially happy with her resulting powers. She was of two minds as to whether the Grudge was strong enough, or actually too annoying to the other players. But it was just right in a five player game. Berserker didn't do much, other than get copied by the Insect.
Shirley's Pacifist worked well on occasion, and she used her Spiff successfully, once (or perhaps Bill used her power successfully once).
Bill's were the most visible power in the game. His Insect opposite Ben's Plant: he sometimes copied the Plant and then grafted a third player's power. And his Sorcerer was the high point of drama in many a challenge. He guessed right only about 2/3 of the time.
Ben and Bill both reached 4 bases, with Nadine and Shirley trailing at 3, while I had 1. I made it to 3, Shirley made it to 4, and we eliminated 1 of Ben's. We stopped Bill and Shirley from gaining their joint 5th, and then Ben and I gained our 4th.
Ben then attacked Nadine, with Bill and my support. We all gained a 5th base, and then Ben knocked out one of Bill's other bases as the challenge ended, leaving it a double victory for both Ben and me, instead of a triple victory that would have included Bill. Ben could have knocked out one of my bases, too, for a single win, but he was nervous about all the Edicts I held and didn't want to risk my countering his final play. Turns out he could have done it.