“Nexus: Scrapyard” is the first game of the “Chronicle” series, games that when played affect the other games. Meaning that a session of Nexus will have an effect on the mechanics and more of the 2nd game of the series!
The game launched on Kickstarter on August 8th. Also, keep in mind that the art, components and some rules are subject to change.
Goal of the game and gameplay overview
Set in a sci-fi world, you are an entrepreneur looking to purchase CivShips from Syd’s Scrapyard, he always has some sweet deals. Your goal is to acquire the best CivShips along with trained Crew and be the one with the most “Renown” points at the end of the game.
The game comes with five different type of cards, so let’s take a look before digging into the rules:
CivShips: There are always nine available CivShips in the game, in Syd’s Scrapyard, ready to be bought. Their basic characteristics are their cost in Credits (the game’s currency), their Crew capacity and a special effect that may trigger in three possible situations.
Crew: A Crew card depicts their cost in Credits, the Renown points they offer and a special effect that may benefit you or give trouble to your opponents.
Components: These cards can either be placed on a CivShip, offering their Renown points or can be discarded to offer their depicted Credits. Meaning that these cards have a Credit and a Renown value on them.
Vouchers: Vouchers are small cards of 1 Credit value that can be acquired and used throughout the game.
Events: An Event card may be triggered when a specific Component card is drawn, meaning that it will occur in an unexpecting moment during the game. Its effect will apply in that situation and affect the game in various ways, depending on the card drawn.
Now that you know all the components of the game let’s see how the game actually plays.
Each player will start with a hand of 5 Component cards, all 9 CivShips will be placed at the center of the table, that is the Scrapyard, and 5 random Crew cards will be placed on a row to create the Roster. Event and Voucher cards just need to be within easy reach.
On your turn, you will have exactly 60 Mins, essentially your available points to spend on actions, inside Syd’s Office. He is a very busy man so you have to choose wisely how to spend your time.
There is a number of available actions to take, each with a cost in time:
- INCOME [15 Min.]: Draw a Component card.
- BRIBE [20 Min.]: There are two available options when you take this action.
1st: Place a Component card to any CivShip in the Scrapyard (in a column manner) face-down. Then, gain a Voucher.
2nd: Place it face-up instead of face-down. Then, gain two Vouchers. This is the only action that can be used only once, even if you have enough time to spend.
- PURCHASE [20 Min.]: Buy a CivShip from the Scrapyard by spending Voucher and/or Component cards with a value of Credits equal or more than the ship’s cost. You take that CivShip along with any Component cards with it, without looking at any face-down ones. Each player’s area in front of them, where their CivShips are placed, is called their “Fleet”.
- HIRE [20 Min.]: Purchase one of the available Crew cards by spending the right amount of Voucher and/or Component cards and place it on a CivShip in any fleet. That means you can hire Crew for your opponents’ ships in order to sabotage them with that card’s ability. Keep in mind that a Crew card’s ability is resolved by the owner of the ship it is placed on!
- RALLY [25 Min.]: Refresh the Roster row.
When you have spent all your time points or don`t have enough left for an action, your turn is over. Play continues clockwise until all CivShips have been bought from the Scrapyard, then all players take one last turn and the game is over! The player with the most Renown points is the best galactic entrepreneur!
Game mechanics and flow
The game is a bluffing, “take that” and management game. You have to manage your hand, resources and action points throughout the game, bluff your way with face-down cards and hurt your opponents in indirect ways or directly.
The flow is pretty smooth and you get used to the actions and their cost after a couple of turns. Add the easy to learn rules and you have a light and quick game with the only complex being the various Crew and CivShip abilities which, at the end of the day, are pretty simple.
A mechanic which I didn`t explain before, is what triggers the CivShips’ abilities. The first way is each time a Component cards is placed, the second is when the ship is purchased and the third is a passive end game scoring effect. This gives you space to play with these abilities and invest in certain ships with the hope to acquire them at some point.
The “take that” aspect of the game comes in the Crew cards, which can deal a lot of “damage” to your opponent if you buy certain Crew members for their fleet. On the other hand, the indirect part comes when you buy a ship before another player. They may place many face down cards there so they can get it in a future turn but you saw through their plan and take it for yourself, or you just fall for their trap.
If played with experienced players the game may take less than the 45-60 mins play time, as the choices are easy to comprehend.
The right mood to play the game
I think that people who like simple games with a hidden information aspect, some management choices and take that elements might like the game. It doesn`t take a lot of time nor space and analysis paralysis is almost impossible, so you will have a fast flow.
So, put on your entrepreneur hat and be fast, cruel and open minded as the competition is high and the good deals don`t last long.
Feel free to drop your questions about the game or its rules on the comments below and make sure to check out its campaign, here, if it seems right up your alley!