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Subject: First Game and a Mini Review rss

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George
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I recently picked up Nexus Ops from a sale online. Now, I am not the most experienced board gamer out there, but the game's tactical feel and bright plastic (along with the heavily discounted price) attracted me as a fly to a lantern.

So, I eagerly punched out all the board tiles, freed the bright plastic marauders from their binding plastic prisons, breezed through the manual like a kid at Christmas, and... put the game away, high on its shelf. For some strange reason (maybe it was the box art?) I could not manage to get a game in! With anyone! The game's semi-violent/confrontational style is a bit of a turn-off for my normal group, I suppose. This past weekend, however, a mate came over who's tastes were right up this game's alley. And off the shelf it came!

We set up the board, put down all the hidden counters, and got our dice and little red/blue men. I went first.

My main battle plan was to focus on spewing out cheap humans and then quickly bump things up to units that I could get to the middle fast (the rock spiders and lava leapers in particular). To that end, I spent all of my initial money on meatbags and sent them out to discover what this mysterious world had in store! My friend, on the other hand, concentrated on meatier units, apparently in response to my quick and cheap push, potentially hoping to get the upper hand in combat (that is, rolling first and a lower quota to hit).

Things went well for me right off the bat. I quickly got several free spiders and discovered that nearly all of the 2-mines were on my half of the map! My friend wasn't so lucky. He got stuck with mostly 1-mines and some weaker units. I quickly fielded my army and rushed off to meet him in battle.

Battle proceeded in a fairly normal manner. He won some, I won the others. With around 6 battles completed, he had four VP to my two; not bad from my perspective as I only had cheap, throw away stuff. Now was my chance to roll out the big boys.

I quickly built up another small batch of humans to man the mines and pumped out around four dragons over three turns. Man, these things can shred. Essentially, they get a 1/3rd chance to kill an enemy with no chance of counterattack, and from an adjacent square. Really handy. I proceeded to charge the monolith in hopes of using the dragon's 'fly' ability to rush his mines. That didn't really work out so well for me as...

... he had been busy himself getting dragons! In the end it came to a rather awkward dragon-on-dragon, no holds barred, gladiator battle finale for the monolith. He eventually emerged the Victor with a 15-12 margin. Not too shabby considering it was his first play!


I wouldn't say this game is 'bad' per se, but I think my taste might slightly skew towards the Euros. That and perhaps differing expectations. Nonetheless, Nexus Ops Will definitely see another couple of romps through at least (before My Final Judgment is made ).

Some things I didn't really enjoy about the game:

- The game's pace seems kind of odd. Especially with two players, it seems like the unit cost vs the amount of income per turn was a little funky, in that, we didn't really have much incentive to protect our units (other than ones on mines) as they seemed easily replaceable. Coupled with a medium to small sized playing arena, things escalated rather quickly. This led to (for us) ...

- Too many units. Especially in a two-player game, it was somewhat hard to figure out what units we had moved already and which we hadn't. That and we had trouble telling all the units apart at first (we got better, I promise!)

- The secret mission cards. I can't for the life of me understand why one should obtain another Secret Mission each turn. From now on, I believe we will be distributing 3-5 per player and merely having everyone refresh their hand whenever one is played. Makes a bit more sense that way.

- The rules weren't too clear. Its somewhat hard to figure out how many cards a turn you are allowed to play, and when you are allowed to play them.

- The monolith can be a real pain. Maybe it was just the angle of our seats, but we both found it hard to see over the monstrosity, and ended up removing it from the board in favor of a clearer view of our enemies units.


As I said, the game is not without its blemishes. I believe I'd rather play something like Memoir '44 given the chance. But in a three or four player environment, this game will definitely replace Risk!

Hope you enjoyed it,
George
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Robert Stetler
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gfreaky wrote:
we didn't really have much incentive to protect our units (other than ones on mines) as they seemed easily replaceable.


Correct. Despite the initial impression, the game isn't really about force preservation or tactical position, its a race for points. You can easily win the game by being aggressive and having little tangible to show for it. Given the choice between preserving units and gaining points, the latter will almost always win the game over the former.

gfreaky wrote:
Too many units. Especially in a two-player game, it was somewhat hard to figure out what units we had moved already and which we hadn't.


If you've got too many units, you're probably not using them to gain points as fast as you should. Even so, force buildups do happen, especially when you're playing with few players and you're trying to slodge your purchases slowly to the front lines.

Keeping track of which figures you moved is just an application of the age old "move the units furthest from the base first, and then work your way backwards" trick. As you peel the onion back to the starting area, you'll find you've moved everything just once.

gfreaky wrote:
The secret mission cards. I can't for the life of me understand why one should obtain another Secret Mission each turn.


Because the ones you already have might be too tough to satisfy, and any extras you don't use can be cashed out for Rubium. Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.

gfreaky wrote:
Its somewhat hard to figure out how many cards a turn you are allowed to play, and when you are allowed to play them.


Mission cards - one per battle for the red circle ones, as many as you satisfy the conditions for the white circle. Energize cards can be played at the time specified on the bottom of the card, as many as you want or can play.

gfreaky wrote:
The monolith can be a real pain. Maybe it was just the angle of our seats, but we both found it hard to see over the monstrosity.


I've often popped the thing up, to see exactly what is hidden directly behind it. Its fairly easy to pick up and replace, though.

And you might want to house rule the monolith if you find it doesn't exchange hands often enough (not overly uncommon). We generally play you get the 2 card bonus the turn you take the monolith, but only 1 card for each turn you simply retain control of it.

gfreaky wrote:
But in a three or four player environment, this game will definitely replace Risk!


The game shines best with 3 or 4 players. I can't see pulling this game out for 2 players, there are much better for that role, but its a fast and good combat dice fest for a small group.
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George
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Sounds good!

Will try playing with a more agressive inclination next time. And I'll try to get some other people in there for some four player action
 
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Alex Martinez
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I'll second a lot of what's been said in the first reply. Nexus Ops is a fine game, but it's difficult for many players to grasp because they treat it instinctively as a wargame, i.e. get the biggest army and slowly crush your opponent. This isn't the way it's designed to be played, and that's one of the things I love about it. Nexus Ops is about aggression. I've only played a few times, but in every game, I've won simply because my opponent was too busy creating a strong army and not focused enough on VP.

As for all your rule comments, I have to say that I think the game plays perfectly the way it is. All the cards are pretty straightforward, and it's not hard to know when to play them. I also think getting new secret mission cards as the game progresses helps to prevent players from turtling up and concentrating on only a handful of goals. After all, if I draw a secret mission that gives me VP for holding the most rock plains, then it's a great bonus. In other words, while the game progresses, any secret mission is potentially out there. Also, cards act as bonus Rubidium.

As for the monolith, I usually just leave it off the board. It makes the board look nice, but it just gets in the way. It's a nice touch, but the center of the board works just as well and doesn't block vision.

For what it's worth, Nexus Ops is a very good game in my opinion. It just requires you to rethink all those standard tactics you've always assumed. That doesn't mean the game's bad. It just means it's different. And that's a very good thing to me.
 
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Josh
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KGBRadioMoskow wrote:


gfreaky wrote:
The secret mission cards. I can't for the life of me understand why one should obtain another Secret Mission each turn.


Because the ones you already have might be too tough to satisfy, and any extras you don't use can be cashed out for Rubium. Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.



Really? You can use secret mission cards for rubium? I looked in the rules and didn't see this anywhere. Can you tell me where in the rules this is? They are short, but entirely possible I'm overlooking it.

As to the original post, the game's designed to reward aggressive play, and scoring is almost entirely based on satisfying some kind of permutation of a battle. That's why you need lots of secret mission cards. I think it would be fair to say that it's a new and improved Risk- a dicefest. I like it a lot.
 
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Jim U
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gfreaky wrote:
- The secret mission cards. I can't for the life of me understand why one should obtain another Secret Mission each turn. From now on, I believe we will be distributing 3-5 per player and merely having everyone refresh their hand whenever one is played. Makes a bit more sense that way.


I think doling out secret mission cards one-per-turn acts to slow down the scoring of the winning player. Because he has fewer secret mission cards than the other players, he has relatively fewer opportunities to score big points, and the other players have more opportunities to catch up. It keeps the other players in the game and interested.
 
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Carl Forhan
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JoshBot wrote:

Really? You can use secret mission cards for rubium? I looked in the rules and didn't see this anywhere. Can you tell me where in the rules this is? They are short, but entirely possible I'm overlooking it.

You're overlooking it. It is hard to spot, I'll grant you that. But there is one sentence in the rules which states you can sell unwanted Energize or Secret Mission cards at the start of your turn for 1 rubium each.

And to echo the first poster's reply on a different topic: it can be troublesome to remember which of your units have been moved. The easiest way is to move the farthest units first, then bring up the middle and back lines.
 
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Josh
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For those playing along home:

songbird wrote:
JoshBot wrote:

Really? You can use secret mission cards for rubium? I looked in the rules and didn't see this anywhere. Can you tell me where in the rules this is? They are short, but entirely possible I'm overlooking it.

You're overlooking it. It is hard to spot, I'll grant you that. But there is one sentence in the rules which states you can sell unwanted Energize or Secret Mission cards at the start of your turn for 1 rubium each.


Unobtrusively placed at the top of the second column on page 9.
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George
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This manual is not my friend
 
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Josiah Fiscus
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Wow, I didn't catch that either.
 
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