Rewards allow a player to gain extra ships or cards and provide an incentive to ally with the defensive side of an encounter. If the defense wins an encounter, each defensive ally gains one reward for each ship he or she had in the encounter. Other effects, such as Ghoul's power, can also grant rewards to players.
When a player receives one or more rewards, for each reward, he or she chooses one of the following bonuses to be received immediately:
- Draw one card from the deck.
- Retrieve one ship from the warp.
- Draw one card from the reward deck, if it is in use.
A player can take a mix of options if entitled to multiple rewards at once; for example, if a player is entitled to three rewards, he or she can draw one card and retrieve two ships. However, in such cases, players must decide what all of their rewards will be before they take any of them.
Aliens and cards in the Fantasy Flight Games edition of Cosmic Encounter sometimes refer to rewards as "defender rewards" or "defensive ally rewards." These terms all refer to the same thing.