Oddly, Cosmic Encounters was exactly what we played today. And this game was one of those "meh" ones you described. We all had interesting Aliens, I had Will (you can encounter any alien, on any planet), my Dad had Deuce (you play two encounter cards, if both are attack you add them together, if any are N then encounter is an N), my friend had Mercenary (you get defender bonus even as attacker and offensive ally, if you win), and my other friend had Pacifist (you win encounters when you play N and they play attack). Not a bad mix. But for some reason none of us wanted to ally or ask for allies, and the Pacifist got hardly an N cards while the Deuce and Will (me) got tons of N cards. So everyone's power was a bit undermined. That's random for you!
We played several games of Glory to Rome and very much enjoyed it. It is a bit of a brain-bender trying to remember which one puts into stockpile, which one takes from stockpile, which one takes from hand, and the like. However, we very much enjoyed the unspoken rule of "if there is a question, always go with the ruling that sounds the most broken." The game is over-the-top and the buildings really can create mayhem or give incredible powers - but because everyone can build these buildings, everyone gets these insane powers. We had a good time with that!
We also played Chaos in the Old World and had a fun game. Nurgle won (and it was that player's first time playing Nurgle) so that was a treat. It came down to some bad ending rolls for Khorne, but still everyone had fun.
Lastly, new to the table was the FFG version of DungeonQuest. At first everyone was a little skeptical and one player was highly irritated with a Ferrox event nearly killing him. However, people started to get into it and succumbed to the madness and everyone had fun (only one escaped, and escaped with a 4000 point diamond from the Catacombs). Even the guy whose torch went out only one tile from the entrance, who spent two turns relighting only to find a secret passage that lead him to a bottomless pit into which he promptly plummeted to his doom enjoyed the game. And we spent the rest of the night making "pit" puns and singing the bard song of Hugo the Glorious. It went as follows:
"Have you heard the tale of Hugo the Glorious, whose torch ran out and he fell into a pit... no seriously... that's all." We later added "He's still falling in the bottomless pit, we look over the edge and all of us spit, we listen real close hoping to hear a HIIIIT!! That is the story... of Hugo the Glorious." So the game is completely random, but also produces some very hilarious results.
RE: Twilight Imperium 3rd - 14 hours???? We have some pretty AP prone people in my gaming group and I think our max was about 8 hours - and we averaged about 5-7. Now we typically only play 3-4 players, so I could see that adding three more players would certainly add more hours, but 14 hours seems a bit much. That sounds like people are not taking advantage of that Imperial card (the 2 points is equal to completing your goal card and can be taken numerous times) or are being "wiener turtles" rather than actually getting out and being aggressive. Still, you have to put a full day into it - or it isn't going to work. FWIW, our games of Arkham Horror seem to also take about 4-6 hours.
And re: Pandemic. I used to love Pandemic until Defenders. Now I can't seem myself playing it. The Roles are uninteresting, the theme is non-existent, and the components are shoddy. Actually, I started to lose my love of Pandemic with Ghost Stories, which is a far more interesting game that takes a shorter time to play. I wish I hadn't bought the Pandemic expansion...