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Subject: American wargame on the outside, Euro on the inside rss

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Greg Jones
United States
Washington
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At first glance, this game looks like an American-style game, and a wargame at that. The pieces are day-glo plastic. No wooden cubes here. It's set in the future, not the past. It comes with not one, not two, not ... well it comes with eight dice, in two colors. You can guess what that's for. After a few plays, though, I'm starting to realize how much it has in common with Euro games.

balance without symmetry

I'll briefly explain the exploration system. At the beginning of the game, face-down exploration tiles are seeded on each space on the board. The first person to reach the space gets what's on the tile. The tiles are different, but balanced. You can get a powerful unit, a weak unit and a low-income mine, or a high-income mine. What's great about the variety of tiles is that you need to use very different strategies depending on what distribution of exploration tiles you get.

Another factor that balances exploration is the starting allocation of resources. The first player gets 8 rubium, and each subsequent player gets 3 more rubium than the one before. In a four-player game, the fourth player gets 17 rubium! That's more than double what the first player gets. At first this seems quite unfair, but if the first player makes the right moves, they can actually explore twice as many spaces as the fourth, so it is actually well balanced. Again, your game can be very different depending on where you sit in the player order. If you're first, money will start out tight. If you're last, you can spend, spend, spend.

I'm starting to see that energize card draws are pretty balanced too, though like in San Juan, you have to have some experience in the game to recognize the effective ways to play some of them. Some cards, like "Outflank", which adds two to the die rolls of two of your units, give an obvious advantage. Others, like "Critical Objective", which allows you to continue a battle, can swing the game, but only at the critical moment.

no player elimination (probably)

Player elimination is pretty hard, because to attack an opponent's home base requires moving across several spaces. Movement is generally pretty slow, so by the time you got there you'd be several turns behind in building. Unless the opponent loses their home base, they still have a chance to make a comeback, because the 7 income provided by the home bases is substantial enough to stay in the game.

Ok, the combat system is not very Euro. It's a lot like the one in Axis & Allies. I haven't been satisfied with the combat systems in any Waros I've played, such as Antike or Mare Nostrum. They do a pretty good job of ensuring that combat is harmful to both sides. With the Nexus Ops system, it's often possible to use tactical moves to minimize the damage to your own forces while dealing heavy damage to your enemy.

The replay value is good, and it can be played with a lot of strategic and tactical thinking. It's not just a beer and pretzels game.
 
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Christian
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Lyon
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Plus it's tense and short, you have way more to do than you got time...
 
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Paul Boos
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The title reminds me of Tastes Great, Less Filling...
 
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King of the Dead
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morningstar wrote:
........It's not just a beer and pretzels game.


I would agree with everything you said but that last sentance. My friends and I play Nexus Ops at a local bar about every other week. We get there about nine PM and get a couple of games in before they kick us out (plus usually a filler game like Lost Patrol or some such themeatically similar game).

I suppose our definitions of what a "beer and pretzels" game is is going to differ but since we almost exclusively play while drinking beer and eating, well not pretzels but rather a couple of baskets of chicken strips (and lots of napkins!), then I would say that counts for us.

You nailed the balance right on. When we first started playing we didn't get it. But after a couple of plays it makes perfect sense. Dare I say, it's "elegant". We have people that definately have their own strategies they like to impliment. One of my buddies loves to get mines and bulk up his troops, I like striders and controlling the monolith early and often, another we play with can't get enough Lava Leapers when the lava is at his doorstep. Of course, you can't control this so when things don't go your way you better know what you're doing to be able to react to an unadvantageous exploration and tile layout.

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Plus it's tense and short, you have way more to do than you got time...

Amen to that. We actually like to play to 13 or 14 victory points instead of 12 as it always seems that everyone has that one last great push they were building towards when someone wins. Of course, this is an illiusion. Things change so fast that no matter how many points you play to you would always have the feeling of "if only I had one more turn I could have taken it!"
 
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Greg Jones
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Nazhuret wrote:
morningstar wrote:
........It's not just a beer and pretzels game.


I would agree with everything you said but that last sentance. My friends and I play Nexus Ops at a local bar about every other week. We get there about nine PM and get a couple of games in before they kick us out (plus usually a filler game like Lost Patrol or some such themeatically similar game).


I didn't say it's not a beer and pretzels game, I said it's not just a beer and pretzels game.
 
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King of the Dead
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morningstar wrote:
I didn't say it's not a beer and pretzels game, I said it's not just a beer and pretzels game.


blush Oops. I guess I had an attack of temporary dyslexia.
 
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Neil Sorenson
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MrSkeletor wrote:
This is a (very good) risk clone - there is nothing Euro about it!


A Risk clone?

I'm still trying to figure out a single aspect of Nexus Ops that plays anything like Risk. Unless you meant that the game uses 6-sided dice to determine combat results, then, yeah, I can see what you mean.

laugh
 
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King of the Dead
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Players play a-symmetrical forces who are against all other players.


I'm assuming you meant "aSPACEsymmetrical force..." If so then yes. If you meant "asymmetrical" then I'll have to say "Whaaa?"

Quote:
You control territory by being the sole occupant in it.

Check
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Controlling more territory earns you bonuses that allow you to get more troops.

Well.... sort of... Ok, close enough. Check
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Each turn you move and attack with all forces if you so wish.
Combat is resolved via 6 sided dice.

Check and check
Quote:
You win the game via use of mission cards (see later versions of risk).

This one I might take a (slight) issue with. In Risk the cards are pretty much optional and a "patch" if you will to fix what I think of as a pretty broken game. In Nexus Ops the cards are intrinsically built into the mechanics. They are the main point.
But... Yeah, Ok, Check.
Quote:
The game focuses on combat without other things like political phases, technology and the like.
The game is very straightforward with little in the way of complications like special rules and exceptions as are found in many war games.

Check and check.

Quote:
This to me sounds a lot like the template created/made popular by Risk. Now please explain to me where the hell this is a eurogame, because I certainly don’t recall building the monolith to please a king.


Ha ha! Nicely said.

I agree that it does indeed seem derivative of Risk as well as other ... ugh.. "Ameritrash" games (I hate that word though I love the games). I would say, though, that it is pretty much superior to Risk and in terms of ease of play (teaching and time for two reasons) superior to many others in the same genre as well.
 
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King of the Dead
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MrSkeletor wrote:
I never said it wasn't. Frankly I think it shits all over Risk myself. I wouldn't say it's derivative per say, but it's definatly made from the Risk template as are many (most?) Ameritrash games.


Agreed.

As much as I don't really like Risk I definately like the "template" as you say. "Derivative" may have been the wrong word.
 
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Neil Sorenson
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MrSkeletor wrote:
This to me sounds a lot like the template created/made popular by Risk. Now please explain to me where the hell this is a eurogame, because I certainly don’t recall building the monolith to please a king.


Well, not to me. Some of the elements you quote as similarities are as nebulous as "has plastic pieces" - "has plastic pieces that are different colors" - "is played by multiple people during gaming sessions with the objective of winning the game or at least avoiding being dead last".

But anyway, not trying to bust yer balls... I just found having Nexus Ops compared to Risk as rather strange. But if the two seem somewhat similar in elements to you, that's fine.

And just for the record, I'm a fan of Nexus Ops (I wish that Warcraft the board game had been designed more like N.O.) and not posting to bash it. Oh, and lastly, I never said "mmmm... tastes like a euro" at any point in this exchange so I am the wrong person to enlighten you in that regard. I find the game more like "Twilight Imperium-lite" than anything else.
 
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Rob Leveille
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So its Granpappy may have been Risk, but It's Mama was definitely a Euro. Risk's win requirements are nothing less than total domination and combat is soley for the sake of taking new territory. In Nexus Ops, the Mission cards offer a multitude of ways of gaining Victory Points. You don't even need to control a majority of the board to win. Each player ends up having different win conditions based on the cards they draw.

I see this game as less of a beefed-up Risk and more of a watered-down Twilight Imperium. And while TI is also backed by the Ameritrash tradition, its best parts are lovingly stolen from (and the creator openly acknowledges this in the manual) a variety of Euros, in particular Puerto Rico.

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Anders Pedersen
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Phelonius wrote:
I see this game as less of a beefed-up Risk and more of a watered-down Twilight Imperium. And while TI is also backed by the Ameritrash tradition, its best parts are lovingly stolen from (and the creator openly acknowledges this in the manual) a variety of Euros, in particular Puerto Rico.

I second that!
 
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