Every once in while, I'll be in a long game of Cosmic Encounter, and someone needs to leave. I've always managed to keep the player, but is it possible to keep playing as long as the number of players is at three or more? What would need to be done?
Think this through with me.
If a player leaves:
Yell at the player and tell him or her never to come back (optional).
Shuffle all of his or her cards back in to the appropriate decks.
Remove all of his or her ships from the game unless they are being used by another player.
Remove his or her score marker.
Remove his or her planets which do not have foreign ships.
Remove any tokens the player had in play.
Now, this is where it gets strange. I was thinking that the lost player's destiny cards should be removed. If a player draws his own color, and has a colony on the lost player's world with another player present, he or she may attack another colony on that planet to remove it. I think that this action should be possible since if the lost player were still there, the possibility exists. The only other option is to leave those planets alone, but that could give certain players an unfair advantage since those colonies would be untouchable.
Another, easier alternative would be to just end the game with the current score standing.
What do you think? Is it possible?