Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nexus was one of my introductions to area of control

Nexus is a game that has stuck in my head for a good long time. Part of Cheapass Game's hip pocket line and _not_ to be confused with Nexus Ops, I don't know if it deserves the fascination I have with it but it's staying in my collection.

It's a very simple tile laying, area of control game. It's made up of forty-eight cards showing white paths and intersections over a pale blue background. Very plain and simple but still aesthetically pleasing.

The rules are also really easy. Every side has one path so there's no possible illegal plays. However, the intersections range from dead ends to four-ways. In your turn, you place a card and place a marker you supple yourself (Cheapass Games, remember) on any open intersection on the board.

When a chain of paths is closed, you score it. And that's where the clever bit comes in. The value of each token is the value of the intersection it's on. So dead ends are worth one and four ways are worth four. Whoever has the highest value in tokens gets the points. But a chain is only worth the value of the unclaimed intersections. So a good fight over a chain can really tank the score.

By the way, you score closed chains and then place a token so you can't zero out a chain.

When someone gets to ten points, they get to be declared the winner.

I know that one of the reasons Nexus has stuck in my head is that you lay the cards long end to short end to create a basket weave. I know that's because they're rectangular cards, not square, but it still creates an interesting visual.

I also know it made an impression because it was a game I picked up before I really got started collecting games. That definitely gives it a leg up in the old memory department.

I honestly don't know how it would hold up now. Truth to tell, given my limited time to play games, other small area of control games, like This Town Ain't Big Enough For the 2-4 of us, are much more likely to end up on the table. 

However, since it's smaller than a regular deck of cards, it gets to stay in the collection. Devaluing chains in order to claim them does make the game interesting. Maybe it will help me introduce my son to area of control.

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