Nemo’s War is adventure board game primarily for a solo board gamer, but can be played with a group. Taking on the adventure seeking Nemo and his crew, you’ll attack freighters and warships, search for lost cities, upgrade your submarine, and incite rebellions all while trying to score as many victory points as possible.
What I liked:
Thematic Masterpiece – Some of the writing on how events connect to the game are extremely fun and dynamically change the game moving forward. Upgrade your ship to look like a sea monsters and your enemies will not know Nemo was the one to sink them decreasing your ‘notoriety’ intake. You find some magnetic mines in the sea, can you capture them for your use or does your ship’s hull take damage. Rescue the slave ship and increase your crew resource. You will feel like you are going through Nemo’s adventures every time you play.
Beautiful Components – The jewels for treasures are colorfully bright and hefty. The art on the adventure cards, tiles, and board, are all consistent and feel like they are from a well-illustrated novel. Solid cardboard pieces for drawing ships and treasure tokens.
Great Game Board – Pretty much everything you need is on the game board, rule reminders, flow of the turn, etc. And, the board looks like a map sitting on the surface of the ship captain’s desk.
Things Everyone May not Like –
Dice Rolls/Lucks Dependent – The entire game depends on rolling two dice and passing or failing the situation. You will be able to make additions to your results, even pushing your luck to get the most out of each turn. The constant decision point is: do you want to spend this one use resource to pass an event now, or do you want to take the failure and keep the resource for victory points at the end. You will make choices to negate this luck, but you will be rolling two dice 3 times, maybe up to 7+ times a turn. Your luck will also depend on what you draw for treasures, what ships you draw (some easy, some way powerful that come out earlier). You could draw well and have a noticeably higher score while playing with the same strategy.
There are four motivations that will shape what you focus on. Perhaps, you focus on exploring, then next game you want to focus on war. The game will play in a similar way, you will just focus a little more on different actions depending on your motive. The variety comes when you only use about half the adventures per game. You’ll be seeing new adventures for several of your first games. There are several ways to adjust the difficulty level to keep the challenge present. At the end, you’ll get a score and a reading from an epilogue book depending on how well you did.
I enjoy the adventure that is created and the decisions I’m forced to make while playing Nemo’s War. I like thinking back on the adventures I’ve overcome throughout the game, and the story I’ve created over a night or two of adventuring. I don’t mind the luck of the draw, nor the dice rolls. And, there is quite a bit of variety in the adventure cards. Compared to my other favorite Victory Point Game, Dawn of the Zeds, I feel like this one has a little less variety in initial set up. Meaning your crew is the same, starting resources the same. So, games will have less variance than Dawn of the Zeds where you can start with several different characters. This would be my only slight knock against an otherwise awesome game.