Captain Nemo Sails Again

howard in chairWe’ve had a few too many adventures here at Jones central lately. My son had a spin out on the highway on the way back to college. He was alright, thank goodness, but the car was damaged enough that we had to take him up the rest of the way, stay the night in his college town, then stop in the college town where he’d had the wreck and see about getting the car fixed. Fortunately no permanent damage was done, although the price of new tires was nothing to sneeze at, and then we headed home.

Bill Ward and I are getting close to the end of our great Conan re-read and after having to write essays about so many tales we’re going to take a little breather, but we’ll be back to read more great adventure fiction.

nemo betaToday I wanted to share a nifty looking Kickstarter, Nemo’s War from Victory Point Games. I reviewed the first edition years ago at Black Gate. This new edition has had a complete visual re-design and some rules modifications. I went ahead and pledged my own nickels. Seems a little early to be buying a Christmas present for myself for next year, but it will turn up just in time to be under the tree in 2016. The picture here is of the BETA version of the board. It looks even cooler now.

Here’s a link for a full write-up, with more pics and a description of play, and here’s a link to the Kickstarter itself, which shows close-ups of the cards, links to the gorgeous rulebook, and embedded links of a two part video that shows you how to play the game (which gives you a great sneak peek at the components).

Funding has blown through all the stretch goals, which means that there’s a ton of additional cards as well as some co-op rules for multiple players. (Nemo’s War was designed as a solitaire game).

Lastly, here’s my review of the original game, from 2011. Again, the NEW components have been completely re-designed.

Nemo’s War
Chris Taylor
Victory Point Games ($29.95)

nemo_display_300You may never have asked yourself what you would have done if you’d had a chance to command the Nautilus and all its amazing resources, but anyone remotely familiar with the premise of the novel’s undersea exploration and adventure during the Victorian Age should immediately see the promise of the idea. Nemo’s War gives you the Nautilus and all the seas of the world, but it also sends the ships of the navies of the world against you. The more of them you sink, the more of them come after you, but it’s not possible simply to avoid them, for once there are a certain number of ships on the ocean, Nemo automatically loses. That said, there are four different paths to victory. If you want to primarily seek out undersea adventure as a scientist or an explorer, you are welcome to do so. You can also launch an all-out war, or follow the novel more closely and set out to liberate the oppressed masses by blowing apart the warships and commercial vessels of the imperial powers. Each path tabulates its victory points differently.

The game is made with simple but attractive pieces, including a three-fold map, a rule book, a pair of the world’s tiniest useful dice, and a whole slew of cardboard chits. Most of these are enemy ships, some of which journey onto the ocean automatically, some of which venture forth when you draw the wrong card, and some of which actively hunt you only when you become infamous enough to earn their wrath. In addition to the treasures you can seek on the seabed, you can upgrade the Nautilus by salvaging the ships you wreck, and incite rebellion among native peoples, which adds to your possible victory points. Along the way you will pull event cards that challenge your resolve. These are randomly shuffled moments from the novel, and to succeed against them you must roll higher than the challenge rating on the card, adding two dice together. If you wish to risk the crew, the hull, or even Nemo’s sanity, you can add a few extra points to the die roll, but if you still fail, those categories are lowered a notch.

Nemo is, simply, a joy to play. You begin pushing cardboard chits around a piece of paper but are soon engaged in a highly involved game of strategy and resource management. Fulfilling those victory conditions and reaching the highest point value (the more victory points, the better the result) is a terrific and enjoyable challenge.


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