Hovering over the game bags (Yes thats right, game bags) the three Bracknellites (Honorary in Paul's case) were unable to make a decision or push forward a preference for the evenings main game. I floated the idea of three player Nexus with the hard sell of three being regarded as the optimum number by blogs and forums alike. Paul, unable to hide his skepticism, graciously accepted and we proceeded to unpack the mutli-various pieces that come with it.
Configured in its three player format the board looked instantly tight and set for conflict. Resources for exploration were randomly placed on the board and after the first few rounds Paul and I looked enviously over at James' industrial heartland churning out a whopping 14 Rubium per turn to our 9. I made early headway to the centre of the board hoping to poach some refineries, the games lifeblood, from James with Paul adopting the same ploy on his flank. Very quickly we began to see why this game is heralded for 3 players. The balance is perfect. In the game I played with four ended up with almost two separate battles on the same map. Downtime was noticeable and it was too slow paced. With three you always feel you are involved in the game even when it isn't your turn because there nearly always is a battle to be fought.
As the war raged on James' early advances had reaped a healthy collection of victory points and was ahead by 5. Then, he found himself fighting hefty battles on two fronts as exchanges between Paul and myself resulted in a stalemate defended weakly by disinterested troops. And anyway, since the winning margin was 12 points James had to be stopped at all costs! Even though we pushed him back and pinched his best refineries James had staged managed his final push to perfection. Breaking out from his home territories with a miner task force and parachuting into a poorly defended hex of mine he vanquished the troops and satisfied several secret mission cards to reach the required 12.
It was a close run thing. I was left wanting to know how the war would've ended even though the battle had been won. In fact James and I did play out one final conflict - Just for the fun of doing it! I was really impressed with how well this game played with 3 and look forward to the net bout.
James - 12
Chris - 7
Paul - 5
We then tried to squeeze in a game of Trans Europa. Everything was going swimmingly until James realised that he had two cards which were meant to be taken out. And we ran out of time. It was decided that this wouldn't contribute to the table. (Although for the record I was winning!)