My wife and I have played a number of Nexus Ops games two player (session reports and various photos previously posted) and a few three player games.
Today we roped in my co-worker and his friend for their first game of Nexus Ops, being the second ever four player game for my wife and me.
btw both our four player games have gone quite a bit longer than the "90 minutes" on the box.
My wife played Red and went first, I was second with Yellow, my co-worker's friend third with Green, and my co-worker (and avid Risk fan) last on Blue.
Red played a cautious opening, exploring the immediate two spaces with her limited resources and maintaining her income, turning up a one point mine on her left and a rock strider on her right.
Yellow entirely abandoned his base in favour of a rock strider and humans rushing into exploration, turning up two one point mines to his right and a rock strider to his left.
Green took a middle ground, throwing a rock strider to his right to come face to face with Yellow (turning up a rock strider there) while finding two one point mines on his door step.
Blue played rather cautiously throughout the game, several times not spending all his rubium, pointing out that if he bought extra random units they couldn't reach the action immediately anyway. (Ignoring my suggestions to "plan ahead".) His opening exploration found a #2 mine next to the monolith, a #1 mine and a Rockstrider on his doorstep.
Over the next couple of turns, Red turned up another rock strider and a #2 mine (to her right toward Blue) and took over the monolith. Blue met Red face to face (though refused to do battle) and found two #2 mines near Red's. Green and Yellow found only rock striders in the grounds between them and never contested the resulting wasteland, but found plenty of #1 mines just to his left towards Blue. Yellow did find a #2 mine between him and the monolith, but otherwise found himself isolated from the "real" action which focused on the cluster of three #2 mines between Red and Blue.
Yellow drew first blood in a fight with Red, claiming a #1 mine halfway between them, even before all exploration was complete. Since Yellow faced little opposition from his left he heavily reinforced this newly captured #1 mine against Red's retribution.
Red occupied the monolith uncontested with two rock striders for several rounds, until it was soon apparent that trying to dislodge her would see you face to face with an arsenal of secret weapons. Eventually Yellow took up the challenge, threw three rock striders into the fray, and (in spite of Energize cards played) the resulting one hit each left Red weak. Soon after Yellow was the sole occupant of the monolith with a single rock strider, but in view of Green's massing army next door he chose to sacrifice the single rock strider for three Energize cards. (Count them before you object.)
As usual, the first hour passed with only a couple of points on anyone's board. In Nexus Ops, the points seem to come suddenly and late as people set up to achieve their secret missions.
What was NOT usual was the multiple attacks in home bases. Each of Red and Blue had two of their bases attacked at various times, and Red's had been occupied by each of the other three players at different stages, though only Yellow ever brought in the mining crews.
Also unusual is how close we came to totally eliminating Blue. As I sit ear eyeing the board with the game nearly certain to finish in the next round of play, Blue is down to:
- three rubium
- one lava leaper (isolated deep in enemy territory)
- one rock strider (home base)
- one fungoid (with the rock strider)
And yet Blue is only one point off victory so hasn't judged it too badly.
Almost completely opposite in style, Green has dominated the board and has by far the most units remaining... certainly controlling the territory around his base with tendrils having reached right across the board. In his penultimate turn he had played his gambit... sailing his rubium dragon from the monolith to attack a lone home-base human... who turned out to be St George apparently since it was the dragon that died!
The last round of play was abandoned on account of time constraints! I've never seen such a cliff-hanger of a game abandoned, but there was no choice.
Red (who was first) is next to play, and sitting on only 5 points is not a serious contender. With 9 rubium in hand and much of Yellow's forces in and around her base she may well choose to do a fair bit of damage to Yellow. Alas, since she is now sleeping peacefully (and the game must be packed away) I can only muse as to what she may have done next. There are some easy pickings for points, or a mass of my forces on her #3 that she may try to weaken.
Yellow holds a reasonable board position. He has 9 points, 15 rubium in reserve, and a secret mission: 2 points for winning a battle in the rock plains, and at least one likely target for it. (Red can't seriously pose a threat to that mission UNLESS she contrives to reinforce the most likely rock plain space AND engage in a futile battle but have enough survivors to prevent Yellow moving his rock strider reinforcements.) With a Battle Stimulant card in hand (+2 after die is rolled) Yellow seems likely to take the overall victory. (Hmmm. Although my wife has an uncanny ability for seeing and thwarting this kind of possibility, even in the face of several equally likely and conflicting possibilities.)
Should Yellow fail, Green is next. Also on 9 points with a fistful of secret missions and a board chock full of fighting fit units. And if Green too should fail to achieve a victory, Blue sits on 11 points. Only three units, true, and who knows what might have happened to those by the time his turn comes around, but needing only a single victory to win.
So a close game all around with two notable points about the most likely winner (ie Yellow):
1) On his opening move, Yellow abandoned ALL his home base spaces in favour of exploration.
2) He only ever made one play for the monolith, and only ever held it for one turn.
Abandoning your mines on the first turn? That is an interesting strategy. Does that really pay off? I have not played a 4-player game yet so maybe that is a better move considering that there is more competition for exploration tiles on a crowded board. I might have to try that the next time I play, even if it's only a three player game.
Abandoning your mines on the first turn? That is an interesting strategy. Does that really pay off? I have not played a 4-player game yet so maybe that is a better move considering that there is more competition for exploration tiles on a crowded board. I might have to try that the next time I play, even if it's only a three player game.It's an interesting question, and I hadn't tried it so completely before.
Each space you explore is worth about 6 rubium, roughly. So if you get to explore an extra space because you abandoned a base mine just for the first turn, it seems likely a good payoff. If "abandoning" the base mines turns into several turns of vacant mining, then maybe it's not so good.