Okay, so BadmanX told you what it was, but the real reason you're visiting this node is because you want to learn how to play Cosmic Wimpout. No problem. In order to play, all you really need is a set of five six-sided dice. While there are special Cosmic Wimpout dice you can buy, whose faces bear special symbols designed for the game, you can also play with perfectly normal dice if you make a few provisions. First, let's go over the six faces of a Cosmic Wimpout die:
/-------\ /-------\ /-------\ /-------\ /-------\ /-------\
| ,-- | | ^ | | \ / | | .--- | | * * | | | .-. |
| | | | | | | | | `---. | | * * | | | | | |
| --' | | ^ ^ | | / \ | | ---' | | * * | | | |_| |
\-------/ \-------/ \-------/ \-------/ \-------/ \-------/
Please, please forgive my abysmal ASCII art skills. Now let's review each face, from left to right. The first face is the two, and is generally represented by a pair of crescent moons in opposing corners. The second face is the three, represented by three triangles in the configuration shown. Next comes the four, shown as four lightning bolts angling from the corners of the die towards its center. After that is the five, represented by, well, a number five. Next is the six, represented by six stars, and last is the ten. If you're playing with regular dice, the one is usually chosen to represent the ten.
Finally, where the three would be on one of the five dice is a special "wild" face, called the Flaming Sun. I will under no circumstances attempt to make an ASCII drawing of this symbol, but it looks, as you might expect, like a flaming sun. If you're playing with normal dice, you'll need to do something special to one of the threes in order to signify that it is the Flaming Sun. Color that face of the die red or something obvious like that.
Now then, on to the rules. The object of Cosmic Wimpout is a fairly common one: to be the player with the most points when the game is over. Special scoreboards are made to track everyone's score, or you can just use a pencil and paper. Have everyone roll a die, with the high roller being granted the privilege of going first. That player then rolls the dice, amassing points until he either Opts to Stop or he Wimps Out, at which point the player to his right takes a turn, and so on.
After the dice are rolled, points are scored under the following conditions: Any 5s or 10s that are rolled score 5 and 10 points, respectively, unless three or five of them are rolled at once, in which case..
Flash: When three matching faces are rolled simultaneously, it is called a Flash. A Flash is worth 10 times the value of the face that is rolled (that is, a Flash of 2s is 20 points, a Flash of 3s is 30 points, and so on). If you're playing with regular dice, remember that your Flash of 1s is really worth 100 points and not 10. Rolling a Flash also invokes the Futtless Rule, described below.
Freight Train: Five matching faces rolled at once is a Freight Train, which scores 100 times the value of the face that is rolled, with two exceptions. A player who rolls a Freight Train of sixes automatically wins the game, and a player who rolls a Freight Train of tens has just rolled a Supernova and is kicked out of the game.
Flaming Sun: The Flaming Sun is wild. It may be scored as 5 or 10 points, or it may be considered non-scoring and rerolled unless conditions are met to invoke the Flaming Sun Rule (see below), or it is the only non-scoring face in a roll, in which case it must be counted as a 5 or 10 and set aside.
Wimpout: Any time the dice are rolled and no scoring faces come up, you have Wimped Out, which means that not only is your turn over, but you also lose all points accumulated so far that turn. If you Wimpout when throwing all five dice, it's called a Train Wreck.
Each turn begins by the player throwing all five dice. Any scoring dice must be counted and set aside. The non-scoring dice may then be rerolled. Points continue to add up until the player Opts to Stop, in which case he keeps any points he has accumulated and play moves to the next player, or he Wimps Out. There are a few special rules which may prevent a player from Opting to Stop. On your first scoring roll, you must score at least 35 points in order to get in the game. If you Wimpout, you must try again on your next turn. Once you have gotten in the game, this rule no longer applies - you are allowed to score less than 35 points on any turn. There are a few other special rules as well:
You May Not Want To But You Must: If on any turn you score with all five dice, you must continue your turn, rolling all five dice again and continuing to accumulate points.
Futtless Rule: After a Flash, you must continue your turn, rerolling all non-scoring dice.
Reroll Clause: Flashes Must Be Cleared. In other words, for the points scored from a Flash to count, you must continue to reroll the non-scoring dice until you either score points without matching the face rolled on the Flash, or you Wimpout.
Flaming Sun Rule: If the Flaming Sun appears in a roll with two other matching faces, the three dice together must be scored as a Flash and set aside. Obviously, this also invokes the Futtless Rule as a result.
The game ends when one player passes (ie, gets more than) 500 points (or some other agreed-upon goal). Or does it? No, actually, it doesn't, because that's when Last Licks begin. Continuing in the normal order of play, each player tries to surpass the leader's score without Wimping Out. Any player who fails is out of the game. Anyone who succeeds remains in the game. At the end of this round, the player with the highest score becomes the new leader, and another round of Last Licks begins, with all the other remaining players (including the old leader) trying to beat the new leader's score.
There are some variants to the Last Licks situation. One states that during the Last Licks round, when a player surpasses the leader's score, the leader is automatically out of the game. Players who use this variant will often stall for time in a close game, scoring as few points as possible in an effort to not be the first one past 500. Another variant says that when a player passes the leader's score, he immediately becomes the new leader and the direction of play reverses, with each player being given a chance to beat his score. If one of them succeeds, play reverses again and the process repeats itself until there is one winner.
In addition to the Last Licks variants, there are a large number of regional differences in the game. I have played Cosmic Wimpout in the Northwest, Northeast and Southeast USA, and each place seemed to have its own House Rules. Some common modifications to the basic game follow.
The Boot: Whenever you end your turn (Opt to Stop) on the same score as another player, that player gets The Boot, and is kicked back down to whatever score you had when you began your turn. This rule applies during Last Licks as well, and can be absolute murder in any situation.
Three Strikes And You're Out: As the game progresses, Train Wrecks (rolls of five non-scoring dice) are tallied for each player. Any player who gets three Train Wrecks is out of the game.
Back On Track: All players begin the game "In The Station", which means they must score 35+ points in one turn to get in the game, as per normal rules. However, if a player rolls a Train Wreck at any time, they go back In The Station. They're not sent back to 0 points, but they are subject to the same rule: they must score 35+ points in one turn to get Back On Track. Anyone who is In The Station when one player passes 500 points does not get to participate in Last Licks and is out of the game. I've heard that some people play this cumulatively, meaning that if you roll another Train Wreck while trying to get Back On Track, you need two turns of 35+ points each to get Back On Track, and so on. Ouch.
I'm sure there are other regional variations as well. If anyone knows of others, feel free to /msg me and I'll include them here. Otherwise, that's about it for Cosmic Wimpout. If it seems a little complicated at first, that's because it is, but you'll be amazed at how quickly it becomes second nature. Anyone wishing to purchase official Cosmic Wimpout dice, boards, and so on should head over to http://www.cosmicwimpout.com/.
I know of at least one LPMud which allows you to play Cosmic Wimpout online: Ragnarok, located at telnet://rag.com:2222. They also have Hnefatafl. What more could you ask for? Have fun!