I've played about 7 games of Cosmic Encounter, and by now I've learned that you need to adjust your strategy to take full advantage of your alien power in order to get the best odds of winning. Most of the aliens had powers for which it was clear both why it was good and how I should use it to its maximum potential.

However, I still haven't been able to figure out how to best play my very first alien, Fido:

You have the power to Fetch. After encounter cards are discarded at the end of an encounter, you may use this power to retrieve one of the discarded cards and offer it to another player. If the card is refused, you may keep it. If the card is accepted, the other player keeps the card, then you may either retrieve one ship from the warp or draw one card from the deck.

If I offer bad cards, I get stuck keeping them. If I offer good cards, my opponents keep them and all I get to do is draw a card. If I offer mediocre cards, I get a result somewhere in the middle. How do I take advantage of this power with maximum benefit to myself and minimum benefit to my opponents? How do I determine what cards to offer to whom? Is it just me, or is this one of the weaker powers?


It's not one of the strongest powers, but it's well suited for diplomacy. First, some general principles of Cosmic diplomacy that apply with this power:

  • Diplomacy is active. Don't wait for compromise cards, get out there and make pre-emptive deals. Arrange to be everyone's offensive ally whenever possible.

  • Powers are not all equal. If the game has a dominant power, strengthen other players against it - it's good for you too. If not, Cosmic shifts the attacks and alliances every encounter, so re-evaluate your advantage constantly.

  • Form defensive alliances for extra card draw when you think the defender has a good shot - this is vastly overlooked, especially with Fantasy Flight's new 'reward' deck.

  • Always hold back one good encounter card, if remotely possible. You don't want to be on 4 colonies with no chance to win by yourself.

Now some specifics about Fido:

  • Don't underestimate the value of steady resource gain. Fido should gain a card every single encounter. Your aim should be to offer the lowest-value encounter card that a player might actually accept; in the long run your constant draws will pay off with just a few useful cards - which is all it takes in CE.

  • Offer strong cards to players who are down to 1 card (or who you think are out of encounter cards). Redrawing is a big deal in Cosmic; they'd often be better with a whole new hand than taking the card. Whether they take it or give it to you, you're up on the deal. (Obviously, does not apply if player has 4 foreign colonies and a turn coming up!)

    • Against Anti-matter, Tripler, or other powers that hate high cards, you're golden. Scoop up and offer them the highest cards, all the time. (Don't give the Tripler 8s or 9s!) Consider offering 5-7 to the Tripler or negatives to the Anti-matter, but not if they're already in a good position to win.
  • Offer medium cards to players who've shown several useful flares. They're probably low on encounter cards, and don't want to redraw and lose the flares. So they have reasons to accept.

    • If any other power has good trade / support uses for excess cards, make them your favoured trade parter. Philanthropist, etc. all have good reasons to accept your excess card whatever it is, so you can bid low and still get a draw.
  • In negotiations, trade for a good flare if you don't have one, even giving up strong cards. Because your power lets you draw cards reliably, you should take a long time to redraw your hand, if ever, so a good flare is better than usual for you. (Does not apply with Mayfair-style flares.)

  • Make people promise to invite you as offensive ally in exchange for good cards during or after. That's a win-win for you - with a good card in hand, they can win the battle. (Repeat four times with different players and you only need one good card in hand to win.)

    • Obviously, don't do this with players who are ahead of you in foreign colonies, except at the very start.

    • Important subtactic: When allied offensively, get the player to play his best attack card, not a medium-to-good one. Promise to retrieve it and offer it back after the encounter. You greatly improve the odds of a challenge win, find out a player's best attack, leave the cards no worse for you than they were at start of turn, and are paid a defender reward for it.

  • In smaller games, use cards as bribes to restrict alliances too. If you make yellow promise not to invite red as offensive ally on a winning fight, then do the same in reverse next time, you've slowed them both up for a turn compared to the scenario where they cooperate.

  • Try to talk the other players into house-ruling that Fido can make the extra draw from the reward deck. (This is a common and reasonable house rule, given the wording of the power is the same as a defensive reward.)

Fido is one of the powers that was a popular homebrew before FFG brought it in to the new edition, and there are reasons for that. It's not a great power for solo wins, but it's not at all terrible. It's a reasonably good power for arranging joint victories in 5-6 player games. It does require practiced judgement and persuasive diplomacy to use well, though - if that's not your play style, ask your group for a mulligan rule!

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