Novas in the Cosmic Encounter game are tokens that allow players certain abilities whenever the tokens are in the Warp. Procedure for Novas (or "Novae", if you prefer) is as follows: Before the game begins, take any one of your twenty colored tokens and, on the blank underside, pencil an asterisk (*), star, or other designation. Then turn it colored side up and mix it with your other tokens so the other players (except the Zilch) don't know which is the Nova. You may place the Nova on any of your bases; treat it as an ordinary token in attacks, defense, etc., until it goes to the warp.
When your Nova token goes to the Warp for any reason, at any time thereafter you may say "Nova" and tirn it over to show the asterisk. Now, during each challenge that your Nova is in the warp, you may use, in addition to your own power(s), any one other power not in the game. You may trade hands (Trader), make your opponents play blind (Laser), or use any other ability not being used by another player (you may not use the Reincarnator's current power until he loses it). You may use a different power during each challenge if you wish, and even when you've lost your own. If the power you choose conflicts with your own (e.g., Macron/Amoeba), choose another. Use of Novas is always optional. If your Nova token is lost to the Void or healed by the Healer, you cannot gain its benefits. Note that adroit use of a Nova can turn a Wild Flare into a Super Flare.
Nova powers can be zapped by a "Cosmic Zap" as always, but the Plant and Insect can't copy them and the Changeling can't exchange them. You may not choose a Nova power that another player with an activated Nova has already chosen. The order for choosing powers is the same as for playing Flares; i.e., other players beginning to the offensive player's left, then the offensive player, and finally the defensive player.
At the start of each of your challenges, you take one of your tokens from the warp, as usual. If the only token available is a Nova, you must take it out. Novas can also be released by the "Mobius Tubes" or "Warp Break" Edicts. When a Nova token leaves the warp, it is turned colored side up and becomes an ordinary token again.
As a variation, each player can be allowed two or more Novas. You would then be allowed to pick as many extra powers as you have Novas in the Warp.
Do not use Novas with the Zombie or the Zombie Flare. However, you can choose the Zombie power after your Novas has already gone to the Warp.
Additional variants from Jack Reda
When dealing out powers, deal an extra one to each player. Whichever powers they do not decide to use for themselves go into a pool. These discarded powers are the only ones you can choose from for use with Novas.
When using the Praw, if your Nova is drawn into the Praw, you lose the use of all of your powers (normal and Nova).
The Nova token can be used for many other possible game effects (Lucre gain, exchange or rotation of powers, Moon occupation, invoking an expansion not currently part of the game), etc.
Expansion by Allen Varney