Quick Look: Nexum Galaxy: Asteroids
Designer: Enrique Prieto Catalán
Artists: Paco Arenas, Matias Cazorla
Publisher: Eclipse Editorial
Year Published: 2022
In the Nexum Galaxy “Asteroids” Expansion you will find a greater depth of gameplay in the story and asymmetric features of the Civilizations, with technologies, exploration, new resources, wormholes that will connect us to other Sectors, etc.
With this expansion, Nexum Galaxy becomes a 4X game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate).
It also introduces an asymmetry in factions, technology, new resources. It increases replayability by adding new Systems to those included in the base game, as well as Event and AI cards.
I must apologize for not getting to this review sooner, I played the Asteroids expansion to Nexum Galaxy a long while ago, and thought that I had written up my thoughts on it. Apparently, I had not.
If you may recall, I had an extremely positive experience with the base game of Nexum Galaxy, which is a 3x game (missing the Exploration element that would make it a 4x game).
The Asteroids expansion brings a full bevy of changes, which includes the ability to explore new asteroids that are scattered throughout the galaxy for resources.
Additionally players will find that the Hyperspace ability has been altered—you can no longer immediately spend energy to teleport your fleets to any non-adjacent sectors. For the purposes of this new experience, you must now research the Hyperspace technology first.
Which brings up other points. Yes, there are now tech trees that players may and must utilize to properly and strategically advance their society. Players who research Hyperspace early on will gain a huge advantage in mobility for example, while other technologies make your fleets more lethal, increasing your maximum fleet size or improving your ability to harvest resources.
All in all there are three tech paths available, with 4 cards per each skill tree.
The game will also add 18 cards to the Event deck, which adds further randomization, often leading to chaotic and unpredictable things happening at the start of each round.
Planets can now be destroyed, or depleted. There are new types of systems and tiles such as black holes, wormholes, binary star systems and more, each of which creates new effects that you must pay careful attention to. And lastly, there are now 4 unique races that can give asymmetrical powers to each player (in the original game , everyone had equivalent powers from the get-go).
The expansion components easily all fit in the base game box, which means you do not need to worry about an extra box consuming precious shelf space later on. Which is quite a feat, because the original game was essentially almost a full fledged 4x (okay, 3x) in a very small form factor.
This new expansion takes Nexum Galaxy fully into the Twilight experience and then some (minus diplomatic posturing and role playing).
What was once a quick 20-30 minute game easily becomes a strategic 2+ hour venture into war gaming. Again, I find this quite an accomplishment, because you would not expect such a small box could take up such an amount of table space as to rival much larger 4x games.
Now I won’t say that the tech trees and racial abilities are quite as fully fleshed out as Eclipse or TI4, but it is still quite a marvel how much this came can evoke the feel of larger games with such a small footprint. Moreover, I still very much affirm that due to its eschewing of dice and luck in favor of skill-based winning, Nexum Galaxy : Asteroids stands on its own with a unique feel thanks to bucking the traditional use of dice in such games.
Now I will say that there is more of an element of luck in Asteroids as opposed to the main game thanks to the new Random Events mechanism that leads to nasty, random things happening each round. Sometimes you are lucky and an electrical storm wipes out an opponent’s energy surplus in one of their controlled systems, but sometimes you will have the same thing happen to you—multiple times in a row, if so unfortunate. All in all, the odds still favor an equal distribution of catastrophes, but sometimes, unfortunate events will pile up against you.
Fellow reviewer Brad recently shared his thoughts on the base game of Nexum Imperium, and we both agreed that we were caught off guard by our experiences with the game. Neither of us initially thought that anyone could make a 3-4x game that eliminates luck as a variable, and both of us were happy to be proven wrong. Nexum Galaxy even ended up being one of my favorite games of 2022 if that says anything.
Both Brad and I are also in mutual agreement that more people need to try Nexum Galaxy. In fact, more people need to be aware of the offerings of Draco Ideas in general, because everything we have tried from them at EBG thus far has been a hit with us, and it seems that few people outside of Spain (where they are based) even knows of them at all. And we both feel that words needs to get out, Draco Ideas publishes great games.
Bottom line is that Nexum Galaxy : Asteroids turns the base game into a full fledged 4x game in the smallest box you can possibly imagine. It is highly portable, well constructed, and most importantly fun and extremely affordable. Do yourself a favor and check it out if you have even the smallest affinity for 3 and 4x games.
Find out more at BGG.
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Jazz Paladin- Reviewer
Jazz Paladin is an eccentric at heart — When he is not learning to make exotic new foods at home, such as Queso Fresco cheese and Oaxacan molé, he is busy collecting vintage saxophones, harps, and other music-related paraphernalia. An avid music enthusiast, when he is not pining over the latest board games that are yet-to-be-released, his is probably hard at work making jazzy renditions of classic/retro video game music tunes as Jazz Paladin on Spotify and other digital music services.