After playing a Dune flavored game (not the Dune version on The Warp though). I began thinking of maybe other versions or themes to incorporate into this great game.
Then I thought about one of my favorite game series...Mass Effect. I'm interested in hearing some thoughts and feedback on this from people here.
If you aren't familiar with the series, Humans along with several other races of aliens coexist fairly peacefully with each other and have found these gates throughout the galaxy (this completely lends itself to CE!). Everything is pretty routine until one day a plucky young human commander discovers that there are a race of Reapers which lay in wait in deep space until the technology and advancement of species is ripe and they will come in and harvest the technology to assimilate with their own.
(I haven't played the game in a few years, so I may be rusty on some plot lines)
Throughout the games you have this feeling of completing quests in a hurried state because you know soon the Reapers will come, outpower you and destroy all living things only to start over anew.
So here's the setup.
You must have at most 1 less player than you own colors (4 with the base, 5 with one expansion...etc.).
The unused color has all their ships placed in the Warp (Reapers).
The players can choose from an assortment of different races (Human, Turian, Salarian, Asari, Quarian, Geth, Krogan, and maybe the Collectors) each with their own special abilities like in CE (although I haven't nailed down each and every races ability).
Play per usual Cosmic Encounter rules with your Mass Effect race abilities. But as soon as one player reaches one less than the required amount of colonies to win...that players weakest home planet gets wiped out and 2 reaper ships occupy the planet alone (or all ships including other players gets sent to the warp).
Any ship sent to the warp may not be taken back (to stay consistent with the game's storyline).
Then on future destiny phases any player with one less colony than required to win the game traditionally loses their weakest colony (tie goes to a colony with the least amount of different players).
If say orange is the Reapers, and you draw an orange destiny card off the deck you may attack the reapers at any colony where they are in control. Attack works the same as the when attacking in the warp (See below)
To win you must have the winning amount of colonies and defeat the Reapers in the Warp. To defeat the Reapers in the Warp, on your next turn once you have your winning amount of colonies you must attack the Reapers in the warp who have a full arsenal of their remaining ships and the Reapers score is their ships plus the highest discarded attack card from the previous battle (if two negotiate cards, then draw down until you get to the next attack card).
This idea is very much in the beginning stages and I haven't had a chance to test it. But I'm interested in coming up with a Mass Effect themed game.