TABLE GAMES REVIEW Exodus: Proxima Centauri

This time on Geek Syndicate Table Games we head out into deep space with Exodus: Proxima Centauri by NSKN Games. This review is for the revised edition of the game.

Type: Strategy, Empire building
No. Players: 2-6
Age: 12+
Play time: 30-45 min/player

 

Inspired by Stanisław Lem’s “The Magellanic Cloud”, Exodus: Proxima Centauri is the first game of a sci-fi trilogy. In a new universe, marked by a fierce struggle for power, the humanity is building a new civilization on the ashes of a dying race, the Centaurians. Exodus: Proxima Centauri is a full civilization game for experienced players, who enjoy immersing themselves in a new universe and fight for supremacy in a flavored, thematic game.

In Exodus: Proxima Centauri, six factions fight for dominance in an epic empire-building game, striving to build a new human empire on the ashes of the Centaurian civilization. Each player will build his own space fleet of customized ships and conquer new planets, fight the Centaurian Resistance and the other players, negotiate and vote for political decisions, research Centaurian technologies, and much more.

 

I love epic sci-fi  but I am not a big fan of really heavy games so when I received Exodus: Proxima Centauri I was a bit worried that it would be too heavy for my tastes. My worries were unfounded because I have grown to love this game for so many reasons.

There is a lot going on in this game so I won’t be doing a full explanation of the rules but I will go over the basic areas.

The aim of Exodus: Proxima Centauri is to win by having the most victory points after seven rounds. You gain victory points by having population on planets, having ships in an area of space and also in the centre of the star map, by being one of the two highest ranked people in the game and lastly by destroying enemy ships.

The game is played out on a star map made of hexes that have various planets on them. These planets have resources that you can mine and you can colonise the planet. The map is different based on how many players you have and also the difficulty level you want to play at. In fact you can design your own map if you want to but the ones set out in the rule book are perfect for a quick game.

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A game star map set up

As the game progresses you need to buy technology to launch your ships, upgrade them and then explore the map taking population with you to colonize the various planets. However other players want the same thing and they will fight you for it so use your weapons or even your weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) to destroy populations or entire planets from the map. As well as all this destruction there is also politics involved but fortunately it is not the boring kind so don’t worry.

The game runs for seven turns and each turn has five stages which most are done simultaneously. The stages are as follows:

UPKEEP STAGE: The first stage involves increasing the population on your home planet and repairing any ships that have been damaged in the previous round. Also you get income from the various planets that you have population on. This will be in the form of one of the three resources. Crystallised Platinum or CP, Axinuim and Phasium.

COUNCIL STAGE: All players decide and vote on one of three political cards that will have either a immediate or permanent  effect on the game. This could be that all technology is half price or that no one can buy weapons next round. The Vice Chancellor and the High Chancellor will then decide on a bonus action which means in the action round every player get an additional free action. Lastly everyone votes to see who gets to be the next Vice Chancellor and the High Chancellor and all following ranks. It is important to be first in various stages later on.

ACTION STAGE: This stage involves each player choosing a action card that will allow them to do that action. You can trade your resources into another resource, or research which means you get a technology that will make life easier for you or allow you to buy upgrades or weapons. You can bank which means you get more CP or buy upgrades as long as you have researched them first. You could then mine resources from a planet you have resources or lastly build ships which means you put them in play.

FIRE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION: This stage means that anyone who has bought a missile or WMD is allowed to target and fire it. However it is not that simple as first you have to roll one more than the hex distance to be able to reach it, then you need to roll to see if you do damage. You can destroy population or destroy the planet depending on what missile or WMD you have.

CONQUEST STAGE: During this final stage there is a lot going on. You can load and unload population on a planet. You decide where you are going to move your ships and then all ships move at the same time. Then you have to combat any other players that end up on the same hex as you and then the same with the Resistance ships.

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A player set up

The pace of the game is not slow because of the fact that people do things at the same time so not much waiting around and after a few rounds people know what they are doing so it all gets quicker and quicker. In fact you can see people getting nervous and trying to do as much as possible in the last few rounds knowing that the end game is in sight.

I don’t mind rule books being in-depth as long as they are telling the things you really need to know. The rule book for Exodus: Proxima Centauri is a little heavy but I think once you have laid out the game and do a quick solo run it is fairly straight forward. The hardest part is in fact explaining the rules to other players for the first time so I would suggest going through a demo round and explaining that way.

The components for the game are pretty much all great quality. The cards are excellent in design and feel sturdy. The hexes are made from good quality card and the graphics are easy to see. The player boards are amazing and I love the way the cubes slot into the upgrade slots. More games should take a leaf out of this book. Then you have the models of the ships which are all very cool. The other components like the dice and various upgrade parts all look and fit really well. So the components alone show how much care and love has gone into the design and feel of this game.

The designers Agnieszka Kopera and Andrei Novac seem to have grown with every game they have created. I know that some people did not enjoy Warriors and Traders but this shows how far they have come and that they can have a game that can be on people’s top ten list. It speaks very high of the other games that NSKN have released or are releasing in 2014.

The theme of the game is space opera but not too epic. Imagine watching all six Star Wars movies in one go in under two hours and that is what it feels like (but actually enjoying the prequels). It feels like a real universe which adds to the realism of the game. Space, exploration, battles, trade, politics and weapons that can give the Death Star a run for its money.

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What you get in the box

Strategy in this game is crucial and it makes it a whole lot more than just move and combat. You have to think three moves ahead which is another great plus for the fun of playing the game. Also combat plays a key part but combat is also a easy mechanic based on how many ships and how many weapons you have built over the course of the game.

I have played this game with two, four and six people and it works with all the numbers and the time suggestion of 30 minutes per player seems about right. For me this game does not have a “magic number” as I enjoyed it just as much with two players as I did with six players. Because the map changes based on the number of players it will not take long before you are attacking each other and because it has a limited number of rounds it won’t go one for hours.

The recommended age for this game is 14 and up and I have to agree with that. I know a few 12 years olds that would be happy with the rules and the game but maybe not the time it can take so stick with the 14 and up age.

Exodus: Proxima Centauri is one of those games which is great for experienced gamers who want large scale action and complicated mechanics but also will appeal to the gamers who want to move on from Ticket to Ride to something with a bit more meat. It is a bridging game between intermediate and advanced in my eyes.

For me NSKN have created an excellent game that will satisfy a lot of board gamers because this game covers lots of areas. It also demonstrates the quality of the games that NSKN have produced and are producing. Go HERE  for a feature on NSKN Games.

One of my only real complaints for this game is when you have two ships of the same kind and you are supposed to use the 2nd ship markers. This completely takes away some of the theme and excitement when you have the other ships as the models. My request would be to paint the 2nd ships with a 2 on the model somewhere.

Also there is a expansion for the game called Exodus: Generals which adds some special abilities and other cards. A small expansion but I think it will add to the excitement of the game so make sure you add that to your wish list, I know I will be seeking it out.

So overall Exodus: Proxima Centauri is one of my favourite games. It is a great themed and mechanically fun game so it is full marks from me.

See below for our video review.

GS RATING: 5/5

For more board game reviews on Geek Syndicate go HERE.

Source: NSKN Games
GS Blogger: Montoya

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