The kickstarter campaign for Beneath Nexus is ending very soon (August 31,2016), so I’m a little late to report on this game, but I feel the need to say at least something about it because frankly, I think this game is worth talking about.
I playtested this game at Gen Con a few weeks ago. I’ve never playtested a game before with a designer of the game actually present, so that was exciting for me. My brother, my friend Dan and I were randomly assigned to Beneath Nexus in the Playtest hall. My brother loves dungeon crawls, so he was really excited. Those kinds of games are definitely not my favorite genre, but I have liked a couple.
I’ve only played this once, but after our session, one of the designers of the game gave me all the cards required to play the game so I could try it out with my gaming group, and possibly do a write-up on my site. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get a group together in time to play it again before the kickstarter campaign ended. But I did go through the game myself again, playing a “dummy” game. I feel like I have a few things to say about it. Here goes:
Beneath Nexus is going to be published by Silverclutch Games, designed by Tom Panico & Chris Visco. It plays 4-6 players in about 60-90 minutes.
I’m just going to do a very brief overview of the game, but I will do a full review when the game gets its retail release, sometime next year I presume.
This is a one vs. all fantasy adventure card game in which one player will be the Blight Lord who controls all of the monsters and the final boss. Each other player will take control of a specific hero character, and by using weapons and abilities through card play, will attempt to fight through a slew of monsters and defeat the final boss.
The game is played over 3 rounds.
For the first 2 rounds, a location will be drawn which is where the heroes will be battling the various monsters. Each location has special rules for the round, which is usually bad for the hero players. The Blight lord will play a certain number of cards, which can cause curses on players or bring out monsters to fight the heroes. Then each hero will get their own turn to play cards against the blight lord, hopefully destroying as many monsters as they can.
For the final round, the boss is revealed and the heroes must defeat him in order to win. The Blight lord must destroy all heroes in order to win.
This definitely has a nice asymmetry feel. The one game that it reminded me of and I’m sure will draw many comparisons to is Sentinels of the Multiverse, a game where the players take on the roles of superheroes and work together to defeat a mastermind villain. But in that game, all players work together, and the villain isn’t played by anyone. Here, one person IS the villain. That’s awesome!
I’m going to say this right now. I like this BETTER than Sentinels of the Multiverse, and here’s why. While I like Sentinels, I feel that there are so many little rules that make the game extremely fiddly. Beneath Nexus is definitely a bit more streamlined and a bit more compact. It’s still has a big epic feel, but the mechanics are more focused. Instead of the hero players having 40 cards or so in Multiverse, I believe the heroes in this game have only about a dozen or so cards to play (give or take a few). Because of this, I think the game plays much smoother.
The theme is similar to that of Thunderstone, a fantasy deckbuilding game, and really works for the gameplay here. But the reason why the theme comes across strongly is because of the fantastic artwork. It doesn’t feel like the generic, run-of-the-mill artwork from a lot of fantasy adventure games these days, it looks fresh and unique, giving the game lots of flavor.
Here’s some sampling of the artwork:
I’m not getting into a lot of the details here, but there is a lot to like here. There’s also upgrades the heroes can choose from at the end of each round. I like how the heroes must converse and talk to each other in order to figure out the best way possible to approach the monsters each round. I also like how the turn order is determined, which is by each hero’s speed. And it’s really cool when the boss comes out in round 3 and you have to attack all of his/her limbs! That was a cool idea!
My friend Dan, who normally doesn’t like these kinds of games went nuts for it. My brother was also a happy camper. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this game. I’m very excited to play the finished product when it’s finally released.
If you’re reading this before the end of August 31, then you still have a chance to back this great game! Here is the link:beneath nexus kickstarter
If you do miss the campaign, check out the Silverclutch website so you can stay in the loop on when this game releases!
If you enjoy games like Sentinels of the Multiverse and enjoy wicked fantasy themes from games like Thunderstone, then you should definitely consider picking this one up. It’s a winner!