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Subject: Battlestations or Nexus Ops? rss

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Diz Hooper
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I need to scratch an itch for a sci-fi game, and my choice has come down to these two: Battlestations and Nexus Ops. I only want to get one. I usually play with a roleplaying group that usually has about four members. The other gamers are not very deep into boardgames though. However, they are generally familiar with most RPG systems. I'm particularly interested in how these two games measure up in three factors: (1)fun factor, (2) replayability, and (3) ease of play/teaching. Thanks.

 
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CHAPEL
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I guess the question is would you rather play more of an RPG style game, or a Risk style game. Battlestations is an RPG with boardgaming elements. Nexus Ops is more like Risk, but way better. Both are pretty interesting games.
 
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Eli Smith
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Well Battlestations is definitley the more complex of those two games, it's also much more "Roleplaying" than Nexus Ops will ever be. The Battlestations Rulebook looks and feels like a RPG book, however the system is fairly simple, and anyone used to the normal complexity found in RPGs will have no problem wrapping thier heads around Battlestations.

NExus Ops is a very simple sci-fi themed wargame, plays in about 60-90 minutes. It's extremely simple, easy to teach.

(1) Fun - If you like RPGs and play it a bit like one Battlestations has an edge here.

(2) Both games have high replayability, the secret missions in Nexus Ops make every game play slightly different, and even when all looks lost you can pull the right missions to eke out a win. Battlestations base game comes with a few scenarios, it's easy to make your own and there are expansions which add a heap more. After several playings though Nexus Ops can feel just like a huge dicefest.

(3) Nexus Ops is the simpler, easier to teach game.
 
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The Dude
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I have played Nexus Ops.

I own, have read the rules, and have not played Battlestations yet.

These are two totally different animals. Nexus Ops is more of a straight forward war game with some variable and random powers thrown in. It is similar to an Axis and Allies type mechanic. However, this is not a RPG-style game at all.

Battlestations is an RPG-style board game. You control a character who is assigned a job on board a starship. You move your character around the ship, perform skill checks, train, and gain experience. It seems that if you are familiar with RPG elements this game will be easy to pick up with some rule book checks. Missions can be linked together or played seperately.

I would say your choice of games comes down to what type of game you want to play--a war type game or more RPG.

Hope this helps.
 
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The Dude
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Ok, so they are faster typers than me.
 
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Kristian
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There is also (4) Price.

If money is no object I can't help you decide, but with the sudden 'dump'
of several Hasbro/WoTC/AH games, you will probably be able to get a copy of Nexus Ops for less than half of what Battlestations will cost you.
 
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Diz Hooper
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Price is one of the reasons that I was thinking of getting Nexus Ops, but I'm a little worried that it might just be Risk with glow-in-the-dark pieces.

 
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Kristian
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thdizzy wrote:
...but I'm a little worried that it might just be Risk with glow-in-the-dark pieces.

I think it is, but with a different flavour.
 
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Aaron Silverman
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Nexus Ops is indeed just a Risk-type game with some twists. It's not terrible, but the round symmetric board layout renders it boring as far as I'm concerned.
 
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Richard Campbell
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DJ Kuul A wrote:
Nexus Ops is indeed just a Risk-type game with some twists. It's not terrible, but the round symmetric board layout renders it boring as far as I'm concerned.



and according to some owners, the plastic bits smell funny
 
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Jason Jullie
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thdizzy wrote:


... but I'm a little worried that it might just be Risk with glow-in-the-dark pieces.



Nexus Ops is similar to Risk, but has important changes that make it much more fun (IMO).

1. Shorter Play
2. Turtling is highly discouraged by mechanics
3. Important choices concerning unit purchases.
4. Multiple Secret missions (per player) that direct each player in different directions for victory.

It's a fun game, but if you don't enjoy rolling dice and pushing pieces of plastic around, you won't like it.
 
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Kevin Chamberlain
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Never played Battlestations but I own Nexus Ops and I am a HUGE fan of that game. Just the bits alone is worth the purchase. I would love to see more game with character and uniqueness in their bits like Nexus Ops provides. The game is simple and a lot of fun also. I'm a bit disappointed by the hex board but I believe it serves its purpose and no other board would be any better. The secret missions make the game great and many times over replayable.

But again, the bits are fantastic! LOVE EM!!!
 
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Eli Smith
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I think comparing Nexus Ops to Risk is a bit of a stretch, MANY factors divide this, while others have compared it (a bit more accuratley) to Axis & Allies although the differences are still significant.

Places where Nexus Ops Diverge from Risk:
1.) Variable unit strength
2.) Combat order (Different units fight in order of power thus casualties may have to be removed before or after they've had an opportunity to dish out damage)
3.) "Catch-up mechanism" - The player losing a battle gets an "Energize" Card which can help give them a leg-up.
4.) Lower Likelyhood of player elimination - Risk has one Winning condition, eliminate your opponents, Nexus Ops has objectives to achieve and thus eliminating a player from the game entirely is unusual.
5.) Variable Objectives - While you can win a game of Nexus ops by merely winning battles (one point each) You're best to stick to your Secret Missions and stack victory point rewards for achieving these objectives, remember the goal of the game is not to kill all of your opponents forces, but to earn 12 vicotry points!
6.) Terrain effects - Certain units have advantages and disadvantages depending on the terrain they are on, moving through or moving to. Some terrains are off limits to certain units. Certain Missions relate to controlling, winning a battle, etc... on certain types of terrain.
7.) Weakest units nessecary - You only gain income from Mines that have a Human, Fungoid or Crystal Dude (forget the real name) on them, this is just a further extention of 1), So what units you have where is an important consideration.

Hope that helps, I really shudder at the risk comparison as the games have very little in common besides rolling six-sided dice to resolve combat.

And let me add that having fewer units and less income than your opponent does not make a loss an inevitibility, Choosing your battles and using your missions to thier greatest advantage can overcome deficiencies in forces (try that one with risk!), I've scored 5 victory points in a single battle in Nexus Ops after beign outnumbered and out mined. It was an amazing win, and I didn't even win that battle (well no one did, but it would have continued if my opponent had got another turn)!.
 
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(Mr.) Kim Beattie
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Also consider number of players. Nexus Ops handles 2 - 4 players whereas Battlestations can handle 2 - 8 players (or 9 with the latest expansion). if you play with a large (4+) group, Battlestations may be your only option.
 
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Phillip Heaton
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Battle Stations is a role-playing game. That means that someone has to be the game master. I know that some of the scenarios might not need a game master, but let's be realistic - if you are going to play this thing, you are going to want a campaign of sorts, one where improving your character and acquiring better stuff means something. Where you can tackle harder missions. Where your impact on the game universe starts to become really significant.

Battle Stations isn't a purely realistic Sci-Fi game either. It is more Golden Age Sci-Fi. Great heroes performing great deeds and against all odds, saving the universe/federation/home planet. This is great fun, if you enjoy that style of play. If you want something more realistic, try GURPS (especially GURPS Traveler).

I haven't played Nexus Ops yet, as I just got it. It was on sale for $19.95 through Toys R Us mail-order, and included free shipping. I couldn't pass that up, since the game was on my want list. I haven't done any gaming for the last few weeks (don't you hate it when real life intervenes), but I plan on playing this soon. I would go into depth about how this isn't like Battle Stations, but others have already done this for me.
 
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Lance McMillan
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The only other comment I'd add to the above (all of which are good) is that 'Battlestations' is highly adaptable while 'Nexus Ops' tends to be more of a "play as is" sort of game.

This isn't a bad thing, just an observation. I'm an inveterate rules tinkerer and like to "tailor" games to fit my own personal foibles/preferences with lots of house rules. 'Battlestations' doesn't just accomodate tinkering, it almost encourages it -- not that the 'Battlestations' rules need any changes, they're fine right out of the box, but it's just so easy, and fun, to put your personal spin on things. On the other hand, 'Nexus Ops' seems a little too finely tuned to be able to fiddle with the rules without adversely impacting play balance.
 
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J. Green
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Nexus Ops is on its way out, is on sale at TRU and probably will never be reprinted. Grab it while you can. On the other hand, Battlestations has two expansions already and looks like it is being well supported by the company so you've probably got longer to make up your mind on that one.
 
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Michael Jordal
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I will say this about the Risk/Nexus Ops comparisons.

I HATE Risk!

I LOVE Nexus Ops!

I can see the connections between the games, but I really enjoy Nexus Ops.

I haven't played Battlestations yet, but I would like to give it a try sometime.
 
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M. Shanmugasundaram
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Jormi_Boced wrote:
I HATE Risk!
I LOVE Nexus Ops!


Ditto.
I have played and thoroughly enjoy both games.
(1)fun factor
I can't really answer this one. Battlestations gets a 10 from me, and Nexus Ops does not, but they don't compete for the same player/entertainment base.
Nexus Ops plays VERY fast, even if you suffer from AP as I do.
Battlestations has a tendency to drag until the GM and players become more experienced and know how to identify and skip nonessential but formally documented elements of play.

For the short-attention spanners, Nexus Ops will win out on fun factor. Games take less than an hour to resolve.

For the dedicated long-term players, Battlestations will win out due to character and ship development, world and universe building, and the role-playing aspect.
You can play this game for HOURS easily. Of course, not all of us have continuous hours in which to play.

Ultimately: DRAW, based on player temperament

(2)replayability
Both games are eminently replayable. The difference is that Nexus Ops is a closed-options boardgame. You have specific things you can do each action, and limited card options (the deck and your hand).

Because Battlestations is an RPG, your options are considerably more open-ended. There are pregenerated missions, but you can easily create your own. There are MANY more character and shipbuilding options to customize your experiences.

Ultimately: BATTLESTATIONS takes this category

(3)ease of play/teaching
There's no contest here. Battlestations is an easy RPG, but it is an RPG. You have to factor in types of equipment, what that equipment does, what your racial and professional capabilities are, how often you use special abilities, be creative in your choice of questions, know how to allocate engine power most efficiently to ship system, and so on.
The most fascinating thing about this game is how your micro-movement within the ship affects the macro-movement of the ships in space. But it does necessarily add a great deal of complexity and teaching time.
Not only do you have the 100-page core book to deal with, but there are two 100-page expansions with more equipment, races, and abilities to accommodate.

Nexus Ops is ONLY a boardgame. Based on the cards you have, you optimize your specialized unit recruitment, placement, and movement to collect victory points. That's it. Just a handful of pages, which are mostly illustrations and examples.

Ultimately: NEXUS OPS takes this category

(4)price
No contest: NEXUS OPS is far less expensive

=============================
Anecdotally, I've run Battlestations once and played Nexus Ops. We had a somewhat petulant player in the Battlestations session (a couple years ago) who got some funny looks when he refused to cooperate with the rest of the crew if they didn't do things his way. No one purchased the game immediately afterwards.
On the other hand, we played Nexus Ops twice on a more recent game night. One of my players went out and purchased in within a week.
 
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Diz Hooper
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Well, it's looking like Battlestations might be the game to get, but since Nexus Ops is going OOP soon I might have to get that. If I do go for Battlestations over Nexus Ops, will I really regret not picking up Nexus Ops when I had a chance?

 
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You probably won't live long enough to regret it.
 
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The Dude
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I just bought Nexus Ops tonight at TRU for $10.

Got to love irony.
 
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I think comparing Battlestation to an RPG is well and good when describing how characters advance and get skills. However, when people ask me what does it compare to in terms of the board-game aspect of it, I'll tell them Zombies!!!

It's much more "heavy" (and I use that term lightly) than Zombies, but board is modular in the same way. When people have played Zombies!!!, they seem to understand how the board works. Battlestations has a TON of replay value. You can certainly get away with 2-players, with 1 person being the game master, and the other "running the team of characters". It's more fun with more people, but we've done it (as one of our first games, actually) with few people and it deos work.
 
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Diz Hooper
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Well, I've made my order and the winner is Battlestations. It seemed to fill a bigger gap in my collection than Nexus Ops would have. Also the replayability won me over, and since I play with RPGers, I don't think it would be so hard to teach them the system. Thanks everybody.

 
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