Each territory is first filled with peace and tranquility. But feeling of peace of all residents lasts only until the moment, when someone else sees it. And actually it does not matter, if its just one valley, kingdom, continent or planet. It’s always the same. War comes back and carries the burden of betrayal and suffering.
It looks like this even in the world of board game Nexus Ops. Its authors are Charlie Catino and Steven Kimball. Game was first published in 2005 in the production of popular Avalon Hill. But it later handed over its rights to Fantasy Flight Games, who released new version of game in 2012 with illustrations by Christopher Burdett.
Box carves its space in classical boxed shape and does not need more space even for its purple fiery battle on the lid. Players at the very beginning of the game shall use hexagonal pieces to draw their common map with one tile in the middle. Everyone then places a bigger tile (made of three hexangons) in his corner. Rivals will also get their colored board with description of their units. Even before that, they must choose their side, although the units themselves are the same for all participants. You will be battling on an alien planet with their forces. There is a proper bundle of them – specifically 160 together. Each map tile is equipped with one exploration token, and the cards will create three packages depending on their type. Generals are given starting resources in main material: rubium.
Everyone then alternates in being the head general and an active player always goes through six phases in his turn. First step is an option to gather new units for his army. He can pay for them, of course, with rubium and new fighter are immediately placed on the position of home base. No additional deployment or training is required – soldiers are going straight into the action.
This happens in the second phase, which is movement and player can move each of their units once. Usually, this means walking only to neighboring box. Some spaces are inaccessible, but are only limiting entry of specific units. At the beginning of the game, many spaces start undiscovered, so whenever player moves on them, he can rotate any exploration token there and gain eventually a new unit or refinery from it.
Now these factories will be needed to do the hard harvesting work – they add new materials for each miner on their space. Before that, however, fighting will commence on all places, where there are pieces of more opponents. Units attack in strictly given order, by their strength from right to left. Their owner always rolls the dice and tries to hit sufficiently high number. And every such success means eliminating one miniature of opponent, but challenged himself may choose, whom he sacrifices. Victory is rewarded from a special scoring pile and each card is worth one point.
At the end of each turn, there is still a chance to draw new secret mission cards. Such a task can be played for the reward immediately, when its conditions are mete. Other energize cards can be used at start of the turn to improve positions for its course. Game continues by fighting for position and carrying out missions, whether combat or other duties until the moment, when someone accumulates twelve points. Victory can be achieved also by eliminating all other players and their forces.
Nexus Ops is a unique conflict game. All players have access to the same unit base. This is on one hand excellent in terms of balance, but also slightly reduces the replay value. But in this game, this variability consists of entirely different elements – interaction and gaming cards, tasks that take care of the constantly changing situations.
The game, however, is surprisingly light for its style and theme . It does not go deep enough into combat or in any skills. Actually, it just scratches the surface of the style of games, that we would be expecting from it. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Just like this, Nexus Ops is a great game for less experienced players as it is. You can punch each other in the nose with your armies and its does not matter, how experienced gamer you are. It can be played really by everyone without distinction. With just a tactical units movement, need to monitor your tasks and earn points by successful attacks. It is route to whole lot of fun. The player has no chance to sneak somewhere on the side, earning points without contact. They must always go headfirst into battle and try to win. And win is, what actually everyone can do in here.
In spite of this simplicity, there is enough play options, mostly when movement of the pieces is involved. Just because unimportance of one specific units (all are replacable), players can focus solely on pure combat and game will quickly rank among the favorites of many players. Very important part are also dice, that do not have such a crucial role to decide anything with one roll, but they are important enough, that players feel tension with each roll.
Atmosphere really works. Fight for points clearly utilizes victories in battle. At the same time, battles for positions are also required to gain control of the refineries, which represent a funding stream. They are essential for strengthening your army by purchasing more troops.
Through continual battles and dramas, there is just enough story for you to get above one hour with your gaming time. Fortunately, it’s will not get much more extreme, but you will have to count with reaching ninety minutes from time to time. And it really corresponds to what you experience in the game. It is also surprisingly solid in two and rules will also offer other options, that push the replay value even further.
The only complaint is the inability to monitor the process of movement. You do not know, which figures you already used and which not. You must help yourself for example by laying them on the side or something like this. Besides this, game looks very good and greatest joy for everyone, of course, is based in miniatures.
Nexus Ops is literally a Risk-killer. It can prepare much more exciting experiences and adventures, but it maintains a similar simplicity. Thus, the game can only be recommended to all lovers of lighter games, as a gateway game to more complex skirmish games, but also as a relaxation for more demanding players. Nexus Ops can surprise everyone. Usually in the good way.
+ excellent and exciting match
+ simple rules
+ fights are thrilling
+ constant influx of troops
+ cards of secret tasks bring important points
+ forces players to fight
+ suitable for beginners
- too easy for someone