This past weekend I played Nexus Ops for the first time in almost a year, and afterwards I found myself wishing that I hadn’t waited so long. It was one of those sessions where you don’t have to remind yourself of any of the rules, where the new players grasp the basics in a hurry, and everyone is able to kick back and just have fun. Nexus Ops is a game uniquely suited to this, because it’s so straightforward. Get in fights to fulfill missions, rinse and repeat.
In this particular session, a feature of the game that I had never noticed presented itself. I found that I did best when I didn’t stress too hard about planning. Oh, I would look at my cards and work in that direction, but since you draw a new card every turn, and since you get VP for just winning a battle, they function more as directions. By the end of the game, I was able to look at the board, see a couple different ways to get points, and just take opportunities as they present themselves. I won that way, and I found myself realizing that it’s one of my favorite ways to play a game. Just take advantage of situations, and not worry too much about the long-term.
Not a ton of games really let you play this way. In our zeal to create games with meaningful decisions and high strategy, it’s easy to create something that won’t let you recover. But I really like being able to look at the board as it is and just do what I can now, instead of needing to map out the logistics. Nexus Ops did this well, and I think it’s one of my favorite things about Cosmic Encounter as well.
Not every game needs to be this way. I like pulling off a well-executed plan as well as the next guy. But sometimes it’s nice to just kick back and not stress that your plan isn’t keeping pace with everyone else. Just roll dice and kill dudes.