Cosmic Run is a quick, push-your-luck, space race for 1-4 players. On a turn, a player rolls dice and must commit at least 1 of them to one of the various exploration tracks or to an alien card. Some of the tracks require multiple identical dice, with the most valuable tracks costing many identical dice. However, once a player commits a die, it cannot be moved. So players have to decide between a conservative approach (making sure and steady progress along less valuable tracks) or an aggressive approach (pushing one's luck to try to move up the highly valued tracks).
Players may opt to use their dice to befriend aliens, rather than explore, because the aliens provide special powers that can eventually help them move along their exploration tracks even faster.
The game may be played competitively or cooperatively.